Family Guy

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Family Guy

Cover of issue 458 of Mad Magazine, showing the Family Guy characters crossed over with characters from The Simpsons.

Family Guy is an animated American television sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane that airs on Fox and regularly on other television networks in syndication. The show centers on a dysfunctional family that lives in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island. The show uses frequent "cutaway gags", jokes in the form of tangential vignettes.

Family Guy was cancelled once in 2000 and again in 2002, but strong DVD sales and the large viewership of reruns on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim convinced Fox to resume the show in 2005. It was the first cancelled show to be resurrected based on DVD sales.

Family Guy was created in 1999 after the Larry shorts (its predecessor) caught the attention of the Fox Broadcasting Company during the 1999 Super Bowl commercial. Its cancellation was announced, but then a shift in power at Fox and outcry from the fans led to a reversal of that decision and the making of a third season, after which it was canceled again. Reruns on Adult Swim drove interest in the show up, and the DVD releases did quite well, selling over 2.2 million copies in one year, which renewed network interest. Family Guy returned to production in 2004, making three more seasons (for a total of six) and a straight-to-DVD movie, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. The show celebrated its official 100th episode during its sixth season in autumn of 2007, resulting in the show's syndication. Season 7 began airing Sunday, September 28, 2008. The show is contracted to continue producing episodes until 2012.

The show usually revolves around the adventures of Peter Griffin, a bumbling but well-intentioned blue-collar worker. Peter is an Irish American Catholic with a thick Rhode Island / Eastern Massachusetts accent. His wife Lois is generally a stay-at-home mother and piano teacher, and has a distinct New England accent from being a member of the Pewterschmidt family of wealthy socialites. Peter and Lois have three children: teenage daughter Meg, who is frequently the butt of Peter's jokes due to her homeliness and lack of popularity; teenage son Chris, who is overweight, unintelligent and, in many respects, a younger version of his father; and son Stewie, a diabolical infant of ambiguous sexual orientation who has adult mannerisms and speaks fluently with an affected upper-class English accent and stereotypical archvillain phrases. Living with the family is Brian, the family dog, who is highly anthropomorphized, walks on two legs, drinks Martinis, smokes cigarettes and engages in human conversation, though he is still considered a pet in many respects.

Many recurring characters appear alongside the Griffin family. These include the family's colorful neighbors: sex-crazed airline-pilot bachelor Glenn Quagmire; mild-mannered deli owner Cleveland Brown and his wife (ex-wife as of the fourth-season episode "The Cleveland–Loretta Quagmire") Loretta Brown with their hyperactive son, Cleveland Jr.; paraplegic police officer Joe Swanson and his perpetually pregnant wife Bonnie; paranoid Jewish pharmacist Mort Goldman, his wife Muriel Goldman and their geeky and annoying son Neil; and creepy old homosexual pedophile Herbert. TV news anchors Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons also make regular appearances (along with Asian Reporter Tricia Takanawa and Blaccu-Weather meteorologist Ollie Williams), as well as mentally disturbed celebrity Mayor Adam West (voiced by and named after the real Adam West).

For its first three seasons Family Guy did not use an especially large cast of recurring minor characters. Since returning from cancellation, many one-shot characters from prior episodes have reappeared in new episodes, although most of the plotlines center on the exploits of the Griffin family.

The majority of events on the show take place in Quahog, Rhode Island, a fictional suburb of Providence. Seth MacFarlane, the show's creator, resided in Providence when he was a student at Rhode Island School of Design, and leaves unequivocal Rhode Island landmarks from which one may infer intended real-world locations for events. MacFarlane also often borrows the names of Rhode Island locations and icons such as Pawtucket and Buddy Cianci for use in the show. MacFarlane, in an interview with local WNAC Fox 64 News, has stated that the town is modeled after Cranston, Rhode Island.

Several times every episode, the actual Providence skyline can be seen in the distance.The three buildings that are depicted are, from left to right and furthest to closest, One Financial Center, 50 Kennedy Plaza, and the Bank of America Tower. This ordering of buildings and the angle at which they are viewed (see figure at left) indicates that Quahog is primarily west of downtown Providence if it is to have a real-world counterpart. However, in a few episodes Quahog is shown to have a coastline (see "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", "Fore Father" and "Perfect Castaway"), which only Cranston and Providence possess. This is supported by the fact that the real-world "31 Spooner Street" is located in Providence, immediately west of Roger Williams Park. This could be a coincidence, as MacFarlane has said in a DVD commentary that the street was named after Spooner Hill Road, along which is his boyhood home. In "E. Peterbus Unum", a map of Rhode Island is shown with Quahog shown in red with Quahog appearing to be in the vicinity of Tiverton.

According to Mayor Adam West in "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", the town was founded by a sailor of a New York colony-bound boat who was thrown overboard for his loquaciousness. A magical clam rescued him and brought him to shore. Together the two founded a new town named Quahog, a quahog being a type of clam. On MacFarlane's part, the choice of name is a nod to the state's characteristic staple. Although quahogs are common throughout New England, the small state of Rhode Island produces one quarter of the country's catch.

The main cast do voices for several recurring characters other than those listed, as well as impersonate celebrities and pop-culture icons.

Recurring cast members include: Patrick Warburton as Joe Swanson; Adam West as the mayor Adam West; Jennifer Tilly as Bonnie Swanson; John G. Brennan as Mort Goldman; Carlos Alazraqui as Jonathan Weed (until the character was killed off in season three); Adam Carolla as Death (excluding Death's first appearance, during which the character was voiced by Norm MacDonald); Lori Alan as Diane Simmons.

Lacey Chabert voiced Meg Griffin for the first production season (15 episodes); however, because of a contractual agreement, she was never credited. She was eventually credited at the end of The Family Guy 100th Episode Special, which featured clips of her voice work on the show.

For the first half of the first season, the writers tried to work the words "murder" or "death" into the title of every episode to make the titles resemble those of old-fashioned radio mystery shows. On the DVD commentary for the first episode "Death Has a Shadow", creator Seth MacFarlane says that the writers stopped doing this when they realized they were beginning to get the titles confused. Beginning with "A Hero Sits Next Door", the episodes feature titles descriptive of their plots.

Some episodes are not aired in full in their initial broadcast because of profanity or cultural references. Scenes are either re-edited or removed entirely from the episode. Some cut material is restored for later broadcast on other venues, such as Adult Swim. DVD releases also contain the uncensored material.

Entire episodes can be streamed online on three VOD websites: Hulu, a jointly owned site between Fox and NBC, Adult Swim Video, the broadband video section of, and Fox on Demand.

Currently, there has never been an official crossover between the two. However, Seth MacFarlane said there might be one during the current seventh season of Family Guy.

The show often incorporates musical numbers in Broadway style as part of its episode technique, either as tangential vignettes or to advance the plotline. On April 26, 2005 Family Guy: Live in Vegas was released and was a collaboration between composer Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane. It features a show tune theme. Only one song, the theme song, is related to the show. Also included was the music video "Sexy Party".

During the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, official production of the show was halted for most of December 2007 and various periods afterwards. Fox continued producing episodes without creator Seth MacFarlane's final approval, which he termed "a colossal dick move" in an interview with Variety. Though MacFarlane refused to work on the show, his contract under Fox required him to contribute to any episodes it would subsequently produce. Production officially resumed after the end of the strike, with episodes airing regularly from February 17, 2008, onward.

28 episode podcasts were released on iTunes, and are also made available on the official site. These are audio-only promos where cast members talk about upcoming episodes and joke amongst themselves. As of October 2008, these podcasts were no longer available on the US iTunes market.

The show has also been nominated for ten Annies, and won three times, twice in 2006 and once in 2008. The show has also been nominated for a Golden Reel Award three times, winning once.

Family Guy has been panned by certain television critics, most notably from Entertainment Weekly, which was in turn attacked by MacFarlane with a scene in "There's Something About Paulie" in which Peter uses a copy of the magazine as toilet paper, and another scene Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story where Stewie snaps the neck of a reporter for the magazine.

The show is criticized for using story premises and humor similar to those used in episodes of The Simpsons. The Simpsons depicts Peter Griffin as a "clone" of Homer Simpson in a Halloween special, and as a fugitive accused of "Plagiarismo" (faux-Italian for plagiarism) in the episode "The Italian Bob". Family Guy is also mocked in a two-part episode "Cartoon Wars" of South Park, in which characters call the show's jokes interchangeable and unrelated to storylines; the writers of Family Guy are portrayed as manatees who write by pushing rubber "idea balls" inscribed with random topics into a bin. Seth MacFarlane responded to the criticism on the Volume 4 box set DVD commentary, saying it was completely founded and true, even giving reference to many skits and jokes that were meant for previously scripted episodes and later cut and recycled in future episodes.

Other cartoonists who have publicly criticized Family Guy include John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren and Stimpy: "If you're a kid wanting to be a cartoonist today, and you're looking at Family Guy, you do not have to aim very high. You can draw Family Guy when you're ten years old. You do not have to get any better than that to become a professional cartoonist. The standards are extremely low".

The show's penchant for irreverent humor led to a controversy over a sequence in which Peter Griffin dances, in musical revue fashion, around the bed of a man with end-stage AIDS, delivering the patient's diagnosis in song.

The Hollywood Reporter announced that there are plans to produce a spin-off of Family Guy to be focused on Cleveland Brown. The project is named The Cleveland Show and will be created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Henry (the voice of Cleveland) and American Dad! showrunner Rich Appel. This was spin-off by Cleveland on the show at the very end of the episode "Baby Not On Board" (where he asks Quagmire if he knew he was getting a spin-off).

In March 2007, comedian Carol Burnett filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, claiming that it was a copyright infringement for her Charwoman cleaning character to be portrayed on the show without her permission. Besides that, Burnett stated that Fox violated her publicity rights. She was asking for $6 million in damages. On June 4, 2007, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson rejected the lawsuit, stating that the parody was protected under the First Amendment, using Hustler v. Falwell as a precedent.

On October 3, 2007, Bourne Co. Music Publishers filed a lawsuit accusing the show of copyright infringement upon the song "When You Wish Upon a Star" by a parody song entitled "I Need a Jew", from the episode When You Wish Upon a Weinstein. Bourne Co., the sole U.S. copyright owner of the song, alleges the parody pairs a "thinly veiled" copy of their music with antisemitic lyrics. Named in the suit are Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co., Cartoon Network, Seth MacFarlane, and composer Walter Murphy; the suit seeks to stop the program's distribution, and unspecified damages.

Because "I Need a Jew" uses the copyrighted melody without commenting on that song, it may not be a First Amendment–protected parody per the Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. ruling.

In December 2007, actor/comedian Art Metrano filed a lawsuit accusing the show of copyright infringement over a scene in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story in which Jesus performs Metrano's signature "magic" act which involved absurd faux magical hand gestures (such as making a finger "jump" from one hand to the other) while humming the distinctive tune "Fine and Dandy". Metrano's suit claims this performance is protected under terms of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Named in the suit are 20th Century Fox, show creator Seth MacFarlane, and collaborators Steve Callaghan and Alex Borstein. Metrano performed this routine on programs such as The Tonight Show, where he made several appearances.

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Criticism of Family Guy

The animated series Family Guy has been the target of numerous complaints concerning taste and indecency, as well as criticism from animators concerning quality and originality. While most attention has been given to the moral criticisms (i.e. crude and blue humor), stylistic content and thin storytelling with a loose plot and overuse of "cutaway sequences" has drawn much criticism from critics and fans alike. The creators of animated sitcoms South Park and The Simpsons have expressed disdain for the series, and the organization Parents Television Council has morally been opposed to the series and filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission over allegedly indecent content.

A few controversies have occurred over the series' jokes about a number of sensitive issues. The "You Have AIDS" sequence, in which Peter Griffin dances and sings in a barbershop quartet fashion around the bed of a man with end-stage AIDS about his diagnosis, drew protests from several AIDS service organizations. In his 2006 book The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture, author Frederick S. Lane described Family Guy as among several television sitcoms that premiered in the 1980s and 1990s he felt were "aimed at the darker side of family life".

The Parents Television Council, a watchdog group founded by L. Brent Bozell III of the conservative Media Research Center, has a stated mission to "promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry", has published outspoken critical views of Family Guy. Initially, the PTC had speculated that Family Guy would be "pushing the envelope" before the series' 1999 premiere. In May 2000, in its weekly "E-Alert" email newsletter, the PTC launched a letter-writing campaign to the Fox network to persuade the network to cancel Family Guy following a return from a long hiatus in the show's second season, due to what the PTC claimed were "strong advertiser resistance and low ratings".

Family Guy made the PTC's 2000, 2005 and 2006 lists of "worst prime-time shows for family viewing", having been chosen and several Family Guy episodes were chosen as "Worst TV Shows of the Week" for reasons of profanity, animated nudity and violence. The Council has frequently noted that the series was among the most popular shows among children aged 2 to 12, cautioning parents that children will be attracted by the show because of its animated format while asserting that the series is suitable only for adults. Family Guy was also named the worst show of the 2006-2007 season by the PTC. The PTC has also objected to Fox scheduling Family Guy during early primetime hours due to their concerns of children being likely to watch the series.

Additionally, the PTC, which has generated most of the indecency complaints received by the United States Federal Communications Commission, has twice filed formal FCC complaints about Family Guy. The first indecency complaint, following the January 2005 rebroadcast of "And the Wiener Is...", was denied by the FCC on the grounds "that because of the absence of explicit or graphic descriptions or depictions of any sexual organ, along with the absence of shocking, pandering, and/or titillating effect, the episode ... is not patently offensive." In November 2005, during "Sweeps" period for the 2005-2006 television season, the Parents Television Council launched a campaign for its members to file indecency complaints to the FCC for the episode "PTV", the Family Guy episode that satirized the FCC, for its sexually explicit humor. However, the PTC had expressed doubt over whether they would formally complain to the FCC over that episode; the PTC has not logged any complaints filed through their website. In fact, that episode was highlighted in the Fox special TV's Funniest Moments that was broadcast on June 1, 2007; a rerun of the program on August 20 that year was named "Worst of the Week" by the PTC, noting that the "PTV" episode was among the highlights in the special. On March 11, 2009, PTC filed complaints about the episode "Family Gay" over claims that the episode contained sexual content in violation of indecency law.

The PTC have also accused Fox of failing to include "S" (sexual content) and "V" (violence) descriptors in content ratings for some Family Guy episodes, part of what they consider a pattern of broadcast networks of giving programs inaccurate ratings. Additionally, the Council has asked Family Guy sponsors Wrigley Company and Burger King to stop advertising for the show and has frequently accused the Fox network of what they perceive as the show being marketed to children. Several weeks following the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, PTC TV Trends columnist Christopher Gildemeister recommended that fans of Family Guy watch other animated shows that he had claimed were less vulgar: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, although he also wrote that The Flintstones and The Jetsons were "every bit as intelligent as Family Guy, even if they lack its lascivious and grotesque elements". On January 2, 2008, The Washington Times reported that the Cadbury Adams company told the PTC that it would discreetly sponsor Family Guy based on a preview of episode content.

Family Guy executive producer David Goodman responded to the PTC's criticisms by claiming that Family Guy is "absolutely for teenagers and adults" and he does not allow his two children to watch the show.

The group Answers in Genesis accused the show of anti-Christian bigotry for mocking creationism in the episode "Petarded". Also, Entertainment Weekly TV critic Ken Tucker criticized the show for perceived anti-Semitism. L. Brent Bozell III expressed in a column of his written in 1999 that he felt that the episode "Holy Crap" promoted anti-Catholicism.

In addition, the Parents Television Council has criticized Family Guy over its run, perceiving negative treatment of religion on the program, concluding in its 2006 report Faith in a Box: Entertainment Television and Religion 2005-2006 that "mockery of God is a constant" on the show.

On October 3, 2007, the Bourne Company publishing house, sole owner of the song "When You Wish Upon a Star", filed a lawsuit against the makers of Family Guy, claiming copyright infringement over the song "I Need a Jew". The suit claims harm to the value of the song due to the offensive nature of the lyrics.

In addition, Family Guy has been panned by some media critics. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly has frequently panned the show, grading it with a "D" and naming it the worst show of the 1999-2000 television season. Tucker responded to a reader's question in 2005 that he continued to dislike the series. Mark Graham noted "MacFarlane's incredibly rocky relationship with both the magazine and its lead television critic, Ken Tucker" in a blog on the New York magazine website.

In the commentary for Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Seth MacFarlane notes that Entertainment Weekly had been much nicer to them recently, giving them a cover story upon their return to the air. In that same episode, Stewie breaks the neck of an Entertainment Weekly reporter.

The cartoon Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth was created in 1991 by artist Chris Ware, eight years before the premiere of Family Guy.

MacFarlane commented on the similarities.

The show's animation has come under fire by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, who expresses concern that the current generation of aspiring animators will be negatively influenced by the quality of animation in cartoons like Family Guy.

When South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were questioned about the meanest thing ever said to them, Stone replied "When people say to me, 'God, you guys have one of the best shows on television. You and Family Guy.' That fucking hurts so bad." Parker agreed adding, "Very well said. It's such a kick in the balls." Their opinions are showcased in the two-story arc "Cartoon Wars", the first part of which aired on April 5, 2006, and "part two" a week later on April 12.

In the DVD commentary, Parker and Stone state for the record their opinions on Family Guy. They say that, although they respect it for its fans and making people laugh, and having some smart humor, they ultimately hate the show itself and have absolutely no respect for its writing, given its overuse of gag humor. They compare the show's reputation among other animated shows to the way serious musicians feel about Justin Timberlake.

In the episode, fake Family Guy clips are shown depicting nonsensical cutaway jokes with no apparent relation to the plot. Three flashbacks occur, and references are made to David Hasselhoff, Knight Rider, Mr. T, Captain Kirk, and Captain and Tennille in less than a minute.

Eric Cartman justifies his hatred for Family Guy using words that echo Parker and Stone.

Don't you ever, ever compare me to Family Guy, you hear me Kyle? Compare me to Family Guy again, and, so help me, I will kill you where you stand! Do you have any idea what it's like? Everywhere I go: "Hey Cartman you must like Family Guy, right?" "Hey, your sense of humor reminds me of Family Guy, Cartman!" I am nothing like Family Guy! When I make jokes, they are inherent to a story! Deep situational and emotional jokes based on what is relevant and has a point, not just one random interchangeable joke after another!

On the other hand, Cartman's anger towards Family Guy spurs him to comment to his friends regarding how offensive it is, telling Kyle Broflovski and Stan Marsh, who are big fans of the series, how they would react if there was a show that mocked Jews, a reference to Cartman's own antisemitic behavior in numerous episodes of South Park. The show also mocks itself through characters that imply that South Park itself is preachy.

At the 2006 Comic-Con in San Diego, writers and producers of Family Guy and American Dad! admitted during a panel that they enjoyed "Cartoon Wars", and that they now refer to throwaway jokes as "Manatee Gags". On one DVD commentary, they watched a joke, and did the bad impression of Peter, "You think that's bad?", referencing the satirized gags shown in "Cartoon Wars".

A short clip of a fake Family Guy episode is also shown in the recent episode "Canada On Strike", in which the boys from South Park are watching Terrance and Phillip, which is subsequently taken off the air because all Canadians are on strike. They then switch to Fox, on which Family Guy is airing. Cartman hastily jumps up and switches off the television, claiming that he will never resort to watching that.

Numerous writers associated with The Simpsons, such as Matt Groening, Al Jean, David X. Cohen, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Joel H. Cohen have made fun of Family Guy during public appearances, in interviews and on DVD commentaries.

You know, it's funny. Matt Groening and I actually have a great relationship. We've talked several times in the past few weeks and joked about this. One day out of nowhere this rumor pops up in papers and magazines. Actually, it was probably one comment that was taken out of context in Blender. Matt's just a cool guy, and fortunately neither of us was ruffled by any of that stuff. We just laughed it off.

At the end of the episode "Missionary: Impossible", Betty White entreats viewers to help keep "this crude, low-brow programming" on the air, while the television next to her says "Family Guy". In "Treehouse of Horror XIII", Homer creates an army of clones of himself that are each progressively dumber than the real Homer. One of the clones is shown to be Peter Griffin.

The rivalry is very affectionate. Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is a good guy and he does great work, and I certainly have no problem with the perceived competition. If anything, we have the same kind of competition that Pugsley Addams and Eddie Munster had in the old days. They duked it out a few times, and so did Seth and I, but that's probably before your time. I think Family Guy and American Dad have definitely staked out their own style and territory, and now the accusations are coming that The Simpsons is taking jokes from Family Guy. And I can tell you, that ain't the case.

In "The Italian Bob", swipes are taken at both Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane's other creation, American Dad!. In trying to identify Sideshow Bob, the Italian police look through a book of criminals, in which there are pictures of Peter Griffin (labeled "Plagiarismo") and Stan Smith (labeled "Plagiarismo di plagiarismo").

According to the DVD commentary for "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", the scene in that episode that makes an extended reference to The Simpsons is shown only on Adult Swim and the DVD, because, according to Seth MacFarlane, FOX refused to air it on the basis that they wanted "the feud" to end.

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Adam West (Family Guy)

Adam West on Family Guy.png

Mayor Adam West is a fictionalized caricature of actor Adam West on the animated television series Family Guy. The character, voiced appropriately by West himself, is the Mayor of the town of Quahog, Rhode Island, where the series is set.

Mayor West is characterised as an intense, soft-spoken lunatic whose delusions often come at great expense and sometimes risk to the taxpayers. During the Star Wars retelling by Peter, he plays the character Grand Moff Tarkin. As Mayor of Quahog, Adam West is the city’s most powerful civil servant, able to spend the entire city budget on anything he sees fit. It is occasionally hinted that he may be involved in corrupt activity.

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane wrote several episodes of the cartoon series Johnny Bravo. West played a similarly intense and eccentric rendition of himself in an episode written by MacFarlane, Johnny Meets Adam West!, first broadcast in December 1997. In the episode, West's fictionalized persona displays similar deluded characteristics to the later Family Guy character, such as believing a race of megalomaniac mole-people live under a local golf course. However, he dressed formally and behaved slightly similar to his character in the 1960s series of Batman. Seth found West's character and performance in Johnny Bravo so funny that he created a similar character for Family Guy.

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Source : Wikipedia