'Family Guy'

'Family Guy'
'Family Guy'. FOX

Family Guy premiered on January 31, 1999. Like Futurama, Family Guy originally aired on Fox. After Fox moved the show around to various timeslots, the Family Guy drew low ratings and was cancelled in 2002. Later, Adult Swim began airing re-runs. With high ratings on Adult Swim, and brisk sales of the DVDs, FOX brought the show back onto the Sunday night schedule in 2005.

The success of the show has spawned straight-to-DVD episodes, including a parody of the Star Wars trilogy beginning with "Blue Harvest".

Plus, Seth MacFarlane and many of the cast members have performed in ., a live musical show that premiered on stage in Las Vegas in 2005.

Family Guy Premise

Family Guy is an animated comedy that centers around Peter Griffin and his Griffin family, who live in Quahog, Rhode Island. The show features boundless cutaway scenes with pop culture references and makes fun of everyone from Luke Perry to KISS.

The hallmark of Family Guy is its raunchy humor and political incorrectness. While Family Guy is willing to make fun of everyone, the show still maintains very liberal views, even dedicating an entire episode to legalizing marijuana. (See episode "420.")

My Two Cents

I became of fan of Family Guy during the very first episode, "Death Has a Shadow." The set-up was the same as The Simpsons, a family-centered, sitcom-like comedy. But the humor was much more adult-oriented. My mouth dropped open more than once at some of the racier innuendos or spot-on parodies of pop culture moments.

I still enjoy the show, but I'm no longer as shocked or entertained by it. Is it the decreased involvement of Seth MacFarlane, due to his other projects? Or is it just that I've become accustomed to the style of humor and animation?

The best episodes are the ones that parody other pop culture touchstones, like the Star Wars parodies, or when Luke Perry (90210) became Meg's crush.

I'm also including any time the family jumps to a different time or place, like Revolutionary War Peter Griffin, or Pirate Peter Griffin.

Regardless, Family Guy is a forerunner of other cartoons who mercilessly skewer our pop culture and present rude jokes on mainstream television.

See also: Take the Family Guy trivia quiz

Characters

Peter Griffin is the endearingly ignorant father. Lois is Peter's wife, a stay at home mom with no patience for her family's antics. 17-year-old Meg is a social outcast and the Griffin family punching bag. 13-year-old Chris is a socially awkward teen who doesn't have a clue about the opposite sex. Stewie is a diabolically clever baby. Rounding out the Griffin household is Brian, the family dog, who has a penchant for dry martinis and dumb blondes.

Creator

Seth MacFarlane created Family Guy. He cut his teeth in animation on Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory. After Family Guy, he created American Dad and The Cleveland Show. He performs the voices of Peter, Stewie and Brian.

Seth MacFarlane has also established himself as a feature film writer/director and a jazz singer. Find out more about Seth MacFarlane, his career and his awards.

See also: Interview with Patrick Warburton (Joe)