There are so many people who hate Family Guy for so many reasons. Animation purists have never forgiven the show for copying the DNA of The Simpsons (as if The Simpsons was the first show about a fat dumb dad and his wacky family). Artsy elitists argue that Family Guy is a shallow zingbot joke factory without any South Parkian depth. I know many jilted fans who prefer the original, pre-resurrection Family Guy; they are the same horrible people who bought all those Stewie Griffin T-shirts from Hot Topic back in summer 2002. There is something fundamentally poetic about hating Family Guy, especially since Seth MacFarlane’s other shows (American Dad, The Cleveland Show, and the upcoming Flintstones reboot) have slowly conquered Fox’s Sunday night as surely as Alexander’s army slowly spread across the known world.
But it’s easy to overlook the most endearing thing about Family Guy: The show is desperate to be liked. That especially comes through in the show’s new Emmy campaign: Stewie Griffin stares up at an empty trophy case. In the original image (which you can see at Deadline), there’s an additional somber message: “It’s been this way for eight years, and it’s starting to hurt morale.”
Now, whatever your feelings on the show, it’s not fair to say that the Emmys have overlooked Family Guy: the show’s won a couple of Individual Achievement animation awards, and MacFarlane’s won a pair of Emmys himself (one for voice-over performance, and one for co-writing “You Got A Lot to See” with Walter Murphy.) Heck, Family Guy was the first animated series since The Flintstones to be nominated for a Best Comedy Emmy. But the big prize — for Best Animated Program — has always eluded the show.
I’m not sure Family Guy is anywhere close to the best primetime animated show on right now — I’d put Archer, Bob’s Burgers, and Venture Brothers a few miles ahead of it. But at the same time, I’m not sure if the Emmy committee’s run of Animation awards is all that defensible — South Park and The Simpsons have been tossing the award back and forth for years, with a brief digression last year when the special Prep & Landing won. Viewers, do you think Family Guy will ever win its big Emmy? Is it really any worse than recent episodes of The Simpsons? And while you’re in an animated mood, don’t forget to vote for your pick for the best animated series ever. Come on, Liquid Television!
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich