Monday, September 24, 2007

Has "Family Guy" Jumped The Shark?

I'm putting this out there to you because I'm a bit undecided.

Watched the much-hyped "Family Guy Star Wars Special" last night.

It was okay...but not great. The jokes were more hit-or-miss than in your usual Family Guy episode.

My favorite jokes were:

1) Moving the couch
2) Meg
3) R2D2 with the handgun
4) The "Robot Chicken" tirade at the end (bearing in mind that Chris is voiced by "RC" creator Seth Green)

Conversely, there were a bunch of jokes that just fell flat or I just didn't get. Also, it was a pretty paltry use of the enormous comedic talents of Stewie as Darth Vader. Rick Moranis did a much better job as Dark Helmet, in my opinion

I'm wondering how much is my disappointment stems from the fact that this seemed to be an episode written for hard-core "Star Wars" fans (me being a "soft core" fan). There were a lot of references to the sort of nitpicky flubs and details that such fans have always griped about -- which must have been as funny as hell to them, but which I just blink-blinked on.

It all brought me back to the general idea that even a funny show like "Family Guy" tends to jump the shark after a point, and I'm wonder if the Star Wars thing was it, or maybe it came before (like that Stewie DVD movie).


  1. As someone who considers himself a huge Star Wars fan, I thought that the episode was rather flat other than some more amusing moments. I enjoyed the nods to John Williams and having him replaced by Danny Elfman. But the best part was the Robot Chicken discussion at the end.

    Was it just me or was the computer animation just off? Too much jumped out to me as being produced on a computer rather than feeling like a natural part of the show.

  2. I still enjoy the occasional Family Guy episode, but I really haven't been able to watch it with any regularity since South Park so gracefully nailed the show's "formula". It was some sort of criticism masterstroke, the sort of thing you usually only see at the end of kung fu movies.

  3. I feel the opposite way about Family Guy. I hate the older episodes of the show, and have only, in the last year or two, begun to enjoy it. I love South Park and think they absolutely nailed it, but, like they even admit in their episode, sometimes it's fun to just laugh at jokes and whatever. It's still pretty hit and miss for me though, and it was really obvious how much Family Guy relies on cutaways and random jokes when they're doing a story that doesn't allow for it.

    My favorite bits in the episode were the Danny Elfman bit, the Darth Vader theme muzak, and -- even though I thought the set up when on way too long -- the call back to the couch when Peter and Brian are sitting on it in the Falcon.

  4. My favorite part was when they went to hyperspace and the intro to the Tom Baker Doctor Who came on. And then I promptly fell asleep on the couch.

  5. I gave it a half-hour, and realized I wasn't laughing as much as the concept should have made me do.

    So I flipped over to America's Next Top Model instead.

    I was pissed that ANTM was more entertaining that Family Guy. That's just not right.

  6. The best joke was:

    "Aren't you a little fat to be a Storm Trooper?"

    "Why don't you rescue yourself you stuck up bitch."

    And Family Guy jumped the shark when American Dad started. American Dad jumped the shark before it started.

  7. Oh, I think they can definitely still be funny, and yeah, sometimes that's enough. I think it's mainly the lack of effort to provide any actual context for the jokes that starts to wear thin - sometimes I want some smarts backing up the funny, too.

  8. Chris and Dupree said anything I could say, other than I thought the Robot Chicken joke at the end worked against the episode. To reference the Robot Chicken episode and assume the Family Guy episode is on par with it is pretentious; to reference it after doing a poor job on ripping off the idea just makes the Family Guy episode irrelevant.

  9. I watched it with Sweetie & The Boy. We laughed, a lot, and I really liked the art (I didn't think it looked to computer-y.) I thought it was a good parody even if Star Wars has been over-parodied.

    But like Chris said, South Park sort of took something away from the show for me. It's still funnier than most other shows on TV, though.

  10. I fell asleep twice, but the Robot Chicken part was pretty genius.

    Seth Green totally pwned McFarlane.

    (also funny after the Seth Green mockery of Chris Crocker's Britney meltdown where he references Robot Chick, that guy will plug his shit EVERYWHERE)

    And I was also disappointed it was only Episode 4. It really felt like I was watching Star Wars with an occasional joke added.

    I have a friend who has never seen SW, and I said, "well you just saw it."

    PS. South Park was not only right about Family Guy, but also STILL FUNNY even after a major theater release and 10 years on the air.

    PPS. Drawn Together starts October 4, so eveything else will just disappear into not as funny land anyways.

  11. Those first three seasons of Family Guy were comic brilliance. My stomach would hurt after seeing them from laughing so hard. I still enjoy the show quite a bit, but after it came back from cancellation, it hasn't been the same. There've been a few classic episodes, but mostly just okay episodes with some great jokes here and there.

  12. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Well according to South Park, Family Guy couldn't jump the shark because it was never good to begin with.

    Sorry. Bad joke.

  13. Rest easy, the show just wasn't that funny.

  14. I haven't enjoyed Family Guy since the Stewie movie. After that, it went downhill rapidly. But I did enjoy the Star Wars episode.