I have been a fan of Seth MacFarlanes smash hit Family Guy for about four years and having seen every single episode multiple timesI have to say, Seth, please just let it go.
I would consider there to be about three distinct eras of Family Guy: the pre-wide screen era, the cutaway/HD era and the woke era. The first phase being from about season one to season eight, the second era being season nine to about season 15 and then the final era going from season 16 to present.
The pre-wide screen era of Family Guy was what I consider what Seth wanted to make when he came up with the show. It was the purest form. It balanced cutaway gags and actual plot very well and managed to sprinkle in several fun episodes that just felt effortless. The “Road To …” episodes are some of the absolute best the team put together and most fall in the first era.
The cutaway/HD era is where things start to take their sad and eventual downturn. Season nine, episode one titled “And Then There Were Fewer” showcased what the animators could do with wide screen and HD and it’s truly a pretty episode. The episode, however, foils a lot of those nice, simple plot lines by killing off their driving character. At the end of this episode, after all is said and done, the viewers can tell that this is the beginning of a new era for the show.
Then there is the cutaway part of this era. Season 11 was riddled with cutaways. There is an average of about 11 per episode in this season which breaks down to about one every two minutes. These lead to a choppy and very thin plot that make most of these episodes about 10 minutes long when you really boil it down. That’s not what I tuned into watch. A cutaway is supposed to add something to a moment but in this era it feels as though it takes away more than what it provides.
There can be a case made that the show is just trying to stay topical as the cutaway allows them to splice in current events that hadn’t happened yet at the time of the episode conception, except, that isn’t what the viewership wants and the ratings of this time can attest to that. The issue is that people tune into Family Guy for the absurd, slapstick animated comedy that they were used to from the start, not something that feels like it’s trying to be an animated SNL.
Then we finally land in Family Guys’ current woke era. In this era the writers cut back on cutaways which is welcome, but they did it for all the wrong reasons. Now, entire episodes feel like a season 11 cutaway, very topical and a bit political. There are still a few original style episodes peppered in here and there, but this era feels the furthest from what Family Guy set out to be. I looked to Family Guy as an escape from the real world, as an animated land to get lost in but it feels like the writers are trying to take that away.
Do I want the show to be cancelled? Absolutely not, I want to see a return to form with the childish humor that made this show what it once was. But I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not going to happen. So Seth, I think it’s time to give this show a banger finale and then let it go.