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Family Guy, season 1

Building on and extending the prime-time cartoon arc created by The Simpsons, Family Guy pushes things along at a faster clip and with sharper humour. It’s great to not only see the early fruition of the show, and the characters especially, but in particular the amazing amount of characterisation inherent in the voicings themselves. Brian and Stewie, and Peter’s laugh are perfect inspirations, not cardboard cutouts. It’s almost as though Seth MacFarlane emerged a fully fledged TV writer with script and multiple voices in hand. The Simpsons, in contrast, were a lot slower to emerge as full patterns of predictable character. But then again FG rides in the groove opened by Groening & co: it has a chaotic, selfish father and a stable mother-figure, and the kids are rich side-arcs. It comes back to being about the Dad in the end, though FG has far more referentiality and flashbacks and parallel pisstakes of television. And a bigger hunger for absurdity and PC-baiting unaffected by a necessary return to regular reality or emotional centres. And to make an extension of The Simpsons contrast, the real differences in what/where/how are with Futurama, which is another choco bar altogether.

Any episode with Brian or Stewie in the lead is best; the cult episode (Chitty Chitty Death Bang), the Indian casino ep with hilarious moral-tv-time-outs (The Son Also Draws), the dog show with Brian and the one with Gumbel 2 Gumbel (Beach Justice!) (If I’m Dyin’, I’m Lyin’) (absolutely cracking police interview with nodding Bryant Gumbel and pen), the parade float based on a Who’s the Boss scene (and debate about who actually is/was the boss)… it’s all gold. Also the Hitler show, with Slater’s arse, great.

Stewie is my new comedic hero, the insultive Dr Zachary Smith of the show, by way of Rex Harrison. And Seth cut his chops over with Johnny Bravo, I see.
His sense of pacing and comedic timing is superbly abrupt or extended as the case may be. Peter’s darting eyes. Superb writing smarts for TV. Lessons for all. Three more seasons to go. Comedic bliss.

posted by rino breebaart  # 7:03 pm
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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