Monday, 15 May 2006

South Park already did it.

Things to do if you meet Seth McFarlane: Number One.

"Oh my god, it's Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy! Man, this is more awesome than the time I appeared on Number 7T3 when it was guest-hosted by Mickey Thomas, Wendy Craig and the Roly-Polys..."

Then just sort of stand there, staring into the middle distance, kind of thinking to yourself for exactly one minute and twenty seconds, before piping up again.

"Heh. Sweet. Oh. Sorry, I was just thinking of an unfunny retro pop-culture non-sequitur that went on for too long without even adding any additional jokes or anything, so I don't have to bother thinking up a proper plot or ending or anything. DO YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID THERE?"

Yeah, I've just been watching a few recent episodes of once-mighty Family Guy. Why the cocking hell can't they get it right any more? No wonder the BBC aren't in any particular hurry to show any of the post-season three episodes any time soon. Now, I'd complain more vociferously about the whole affair (using Venn diagrams to better illustrate points, and everything), but I've noticed that the quality of new Family Guy episodes seems to be inversely proportional to the quality of American Dad broadcast at the same time, and I don't want to jinx anything.

It's even got proper sub-plots and everything!

American Dad really is uncommonly good at the moment, you see, and getting ever better with each passing week (or, thanks to American television schedulers, every one-to-six weeks. I've a good mind to not pay my imaginary illegal BitTorrent downloader licence fee, you know). Possibly this is due to Seth McFarlane actually having very little to do with the scripts for it, so there's no way he can shoehorn in the ten minutes of rejected Robot Chicken sketch ideas that end up finding their unlikely way into the reminiscences of the Griffin clan. Thus, I can at least expect a rip-roaring twenty-one minutes of US animated sitcommery on a Monday evening, even though it's likely to be followed by a frustratingly similar period spent making the occasional chuckle before angrily staring at the screen waiting for a seemingly endless cutaway gag about Katie Couric to end, just on the off chance there’s another rogue great episode, like the ‘PTV’ one.

Honestly, during every tedious sequence featuring Stewie continuing to play 'Marco Polo' with Helen Keller a good ten seconds after everyone got the not-that-great-in-the-first-place joke, I can actually feel a tiny bit of my life ebbing away. Curse you, McFarlane.


4 .:

Adam Aitch said...

I think Family Guy has always been walking a tightrope with the reference gags and the whole 'man this is worse than the time I did x with y' bits. It seems like the last episode they really got right was the season 4 come-back, North by North Quahog. It had the bed bath and beyond bit which was funny and just the right length, that genius sequence with Peter driving whilst reading the comic book and managed the now seemingly impossible Family Guy act of a main storyline with a decent subplot.

There's occasional glimpses of magic in the newer episodes - these usually involve the script writers writing actual jokes based around Peter's character and not some lazy reference gag - but in all honesty I could live with just the three seasons of Family Guy we had already.

Mark X said...

As I think I'd mentioned, the entire episode 'PTV' is a return to former glories (the opening scene starts as if it's going to be another episode full of tedius reference humour, before embarking upon a rollercoaster ride of riotous whimsy, as if they were acknowledging the faults of earlier episodes, and from now on they were going to concentrate on being really, really ace from that point on).

Of course, since then, every episode has been worse than the time we took a temp job as holiday cover for the girl in the 1970s test card...

[Cutaway to a 1970s BBC Test Card. In the centre of the test card isn't Test Card Girl, but rather BrokenTV, with the scary toy clown.]

eee (continues in this vein for three minutes) eeeeeeeep.
Ah nuts, we're sick of this! We're off.
[BrokenTV storms off, knocking the blackboard over on it's way out.]


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