When most of us relax for the evening, or it’s a rainy day at the weekend, at some point we will find ourselves tuning into Family Guy.
This show has been a classic animated sitcom staple from Fox for many years now. There are few who haven’t heard of Peter and Lois, plus their children Stewie, Chris and Meg.
Family Guy has been running since the late 1990s, and as of September 2019, there are just under 350 episodes. In other words, bingeing the entire archive would take you quite a while!
The Griffiths family are the central focus of Family Guy, and each character has a strong personality. For example, Peter is a blue-collar employee who is simple-minded yet means well. He is clumsy but charming in his own way. Meanwhile, Lois stays at home as mom and teaches piano.
As for the kids, Chris struggles with his weight and is portrayed as not too intelligent. The daughter, Meg, is frequently depicted as being overlooked by the family, while Stewie is the classic evil genius stereotype whose sexual orientation remains somewhat unclear.
Cast and characters
- Seth MacFarlane – Peter Griffin, Brian Griffin, Stewie Griffin
- Alex Borstein – Lois Griffin
- Mila Kunis – Meg Griffin
- Seth Green – Chris Griffin, Neil Goldman
- Mike Henry – Cleveland Brown, John Herbert Bruce, Consuela
- H John Benjamin – Carl
- Bryan Cranston – Hal, Dr Jewish, Bert
- Johnny Brennan – Mort Goldman, Horace the bartender
- Christine Lakin – Joyce Kinney
- Phil LaMarr – Ollie Williams
- Rachel MacFarlane – Olivia
- Mark Hentemann – Opie
- Niecy Nash – Sheila
- Kevin Michael Richardson – Jerome, Cleveland Jr
- Danny Smith – Evil Monkey, Al Harrington, Ernie the Giant Chicken
- Alec Sulkin – Jesus Christ
- Jennifer Tilly – Bonnie Swanson
- Patrick Warburton – Joe Swanson
- Gary Cole – Principal Shepherd
- Lori Alan – Diane Simmons
- Carlos Alazraqui – Mr Weed
- Drew Barrymore – Jillian Russell
- Carrie Fisher – Angela
- Nicole Sullivan – Muriel Goldman
- Lisa Wilhoit – Connie D’Amico
- Adam West – Mayor Adam West
Family Guy does not have a filming location in the traditional sense, as it is an animated series. However, the production company behind the show is Fuzzy Door. This company is the product of Seth MacFarlane, and it has also produced American Dad, The Cleveland Show and science documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey to name but a few.
The writing process for Family Guy involves 14 writers who take turns creating the scripts. The rest of those on the team will read a script when it has been completed. A number of gags are pitched to MacFarlane and the others on the team, and the best will make the cut to be included in the series.
In terms of production, MacFarlane has elaborated on this process in the past. It will take around 10 months on average to produce an episode, due to the fact that hand-drawn animation is used.
Episodes and reception
The first episode of Family Guy made its debut in January 1999, just after the broadcast of the Super Bowl XXXIII on Fox. While 22 million viewers were tuned in, it was very quickly deemed to be controversial due to its adult content.
Generally speaking, the show initially aired on Fox in between The Simpsons and The X-Files on a Sunday night. When the show was placed into another slot, it struggled to compete against Frasier on NBC, so Fox removed it from the schedule for a while.
When Fox tried to sell the rights for show reruns, they encountered difficulties with finding people who would be interested. In the end, Cartoon Network was the successful party, and it has been reported that the rights were bought ‘basically for free’.
There are 18 seasons of Family Guy. Most of them average out at around 20 episodes, while season 4 had 30 and the first season had just seven episodes.
Due to its use of pop culture references and satire, critics have praised the show. The general consensus has been that, while people recognised how crude the humour was and felt it was ‘wrong’ to watch, they also enjoyed how intelligent it was.
Happily, the show has become successful on Hulu, ranking second only to Saturday Night Live. Viewers who enjoy shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Modern Family are recommended to check out this series if they haven’t already.
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