When I was a freshman in college, there wasn’t a more popular show than Family Guy in my dorm. Despite the fact that it had been off the air for a couple of years, the DVDs of that show were on almost every night in someone’s dorm room. The show used jokes that were funny, witty and just plain goofy at times. (Like when Peter was setting up a picnic outside with a red blanket and a bull came and pulverized him.)
The characters were likable as well. Lois was the well-meaning matriarch, Peter was the irresponsible yet loving husband, the kids were normal, Brian was a talking dog and Stewie was an evil baby. All of them fit together well in their own ways.
Yet…the show was canceled.
DVD sales and fan outcry brought back the show from the depths and Fox networks renewed it in 2005 to rave reviews and high ratings, yet over the years, the series tone changed from the goofy and witty jokes, to political agenda and an avenue for creator Seth MacFarlane to push his beliefs.
For example: The season 3 episode of Road to Rhode Island depicted Stewie and Brian missing their flight, and having to find a way back home. On the journey they encounter different people, ending with Brian finding his mom and putting her to rest for a final time. Contrast that with another Brian and Stewie episode where the duo gets locked in a bank vault over the weekend. Instead of the show’s normal borderline comedy, this episode focuses on Brian eating feces, and contemplating suicide in a desperate attempt to try to be “deep.”
That episode in and of itself is excusable. The team of writers wanted to get off of the beaten path and I can respect that. However, it follows a disturbing trend where MacFarlane tries to push his own beliefs through his show. The episode 420 is all about MacFarlane’s love of marijuana. Road to the Multiverse depicts MacFarlane’s atheist beliefs, showing a universe with no crime, pollution, or poverty. When asked how far in the future this universe is, it is revealed that it’s the present day; however, organized religion was never invented to “hold us back.” Not All Dogs go to Heaven is another example, where MacFarlane (through Brian) states that God can’t exist because Meg is so ugly and she came from a beautiful mom like Lois. (Extra anger is given to this episode since they somehow messed up an episode with the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seriously, you’re given gold like that and you crap all over it? For shame, Seth.)
MacFarlane’s ultra-liberal political beliefs are shown in many episodes, mostly through hyperbolic use of the opposite side’s viewpoint. Brian has countless quips throughout the series admonishing former president Bush, and calling conservatives evil in general. Recently, last Sunday’s episode Tea Peter had Peter embracing the Tea Party, overthrowing Quahog’s government, and then installing the exact same type of government in its place. Again, the episode did nothing to entertain; rather, it only poked fun at a belief that MacFarlane disagrees with.
I don’t care what Seth actually believes in. If he’s an atheist, fine. If he’s a bleeding heart liberal who thinks that the only good government is a socialist one, fine (as long as he’s not in political power). But the quality of Family Guy has sunk dramatically and it’s because MacFarlane can’t keep himself out of the writing. All I ask is that Family Guy stops trying to be a messenger of society, and starts being funny again. I’d much rather watch an episode where Peter finds a treasure chest and his father-in-law tries to steal it from him than another whiny episode of how Christians are the downfall of society.
Until then, I’m not watching anymore. Goodbye Quahog.