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634 Name: ( ˃ ヮ˂) : 1993-09-6755 09:00

Over the past week, to kill the time and ignore my problems, I have marathon-watched all the episodes of Family Guy from season 1 to season 6. I feel compelled to write a mini-review somewhere while my thoughts are still fresh.

Overall, Family Guy is not great. It often repeats the same jokes, relies on shock value for cheap laughs, and does not develop its characters well. Low humor doesn't do it for me. However, it has its redeeming moments, and sometimes shines when it comes to dark, piercing satire.

Consider Family Guy's main source of humor: the cutaway gags. They're hit or miss, and more often the latter. The first type of cutaway gag shows a humorous flashback, often featuring the character in a ridiculous situation. These can be funny, but only if they do more than simply repeat one of the show's many tired gags (Peter is stupid, nobody likes Meg, etc.).

The second type of cutaway gag is the pop culture reference. Often I do not even recognize these, but when I do they are rarely funny. They have some success when showing a darker side of a more wholesome show, like Charlie Brown. Yet far too many jokes are simply too blunt, and thus fall through. For example, take all the "Such and such television show is bad" jokes: it's often true, but not funny on its own.

Besides cutaway gags, there's satire, usually of different walks of American life. Family Guy does quite well here when it avoids exaggeration. My favorite scenes are when characters simply act realistically - satire is most biting when it cuts close to home. Simply depicting the inane conversations of typical middle class Americans can be surprisingly funny. However, often attempts at satire are too blunt to be funny.

Then there's the dark humor, whether it be racial stereotypes, over-the-top fighting scenes, or ridiculous perversions. Once again, these jokes are hit-or-miss. Often they seem to exist just to be controversial. But slapstick can be hilarious when timed well. I personally loved the extended fight-scenes with the man in a chicken suit, for example.

As far as character development goes, there's not much. And it's not impossible for a show with this format to develop its characters either - Futurama did so very well, for example. Later episodes have started developing Brian and Stewie more, but other characters seem to be losing what little depth they had to begin with, probably because their personalities just aren't that interesting or complex in comparison. (Also, I have no idea if this is true, but Brian seems to be a blatant self-insertion on the part of Seth MacFarlane.)

The problem with lolrandom humor is that it has to be timed well and done with the right degree of randomness to work. This applies to pretty much everything in Family Guy, from the cutaway gags to the random bursts into song and dance. Sometimes the random humor makes me burst out laughing. But more often than not, it just falls flat. I feel sometimes that quantity is favored over quality - like you could take all the best parts of Family Guy seasons 1-6 and compress it into one really good season.

In the end, I'd give Family Guy seasons 1-6 six out of ten bu-ns. I'm going to marathon the rest (7-10) and see if it gets better or worse.

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