'Family Guy' launches surprisingly somber Emmy campaign; Do they deserve to win?

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Image Credit: FOX

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


Comments (75 total) Add your comment
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  • Jacob

    I like Family Guy, but I think American Dad is better. Roger is funnier than Stewie any day of the week. Bob’s Burgers has really been growing on me too.

    • frankly im insulted that this is even a debate

      but FINE: i think the emmy is so worthless that i’d be ok if family guy took ALL of them for the next decade as long as you stop polluting the legacy of the Simpsons and South Park by continually comparing them to macfalane drivel

    • Ugh

      I’d put the weakest South Park episode against the strongest Family Guy episode any day. Also better: Archer, The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, the best animated program on tv The Venture Brothers, American Dad and the second best Futurama.

      But how dare Seth MacFarlane complain about this? He’s making a usually lazy product and getting paid millions and millions for it. Great! God bless. Just don’t expect anyone to pin a blue ribbon on your turd.

      • will

        ur high

  • Skip182

    Simpsons fans are upset because their show hasn’t been funny in a decade, so they take it out on Family Guy. South Park fans are upset because their shows are written in 2 days, and (sadly) it shows, so they take it out on Family Guy. Family Guy is nowhere near as funny as it used to be, but the hatred it gets is overblown.

    • Brian Wallace

      This.

      Brian

      • South Park fans are upset because their shows are written in 2 days

        hahaha this makes family guy seem so much worse too since south park is like 10 bagillion times funnier + seemingly effortless

    • The Truth

      Or is it Family Guy fans are blinded by their own hatered of the other shows? I like all three, they are unique and enjoyable in their own ways.

      • Skip182

        I watch all 3, so no, it’s not hatred, it’s an honest assesment.

    • Dommy

      why does there have to be a competition? i like both shows and fg has been better this season but it’s still just kind of lost it’s edge and hasn’t found it’s way back yet… i think seth is just spread too thin… simpsons has had a terrific season. but after 22 years a lot of people just take it for granted. my pick is futurama if anything… last season was awesome

  • ben

    I’d rather watch Family Guy than anything else on American TV. American TV is filled with borefests where people try to act sad and it’s a complete turn-off.

  • Jacob

    The Simpsons needs to give it up to others. And by others I mean Bob’s Burgers. Or Archer. Not Family Guy.

  • BHM1304

    “ARCHER” could LEGITIMATELY compete for best comedy. “Family Park” isn’t in the same league and never has been.

    • will

      you misspelled guy

  • Ed

    The problem is that the show is just a giant meme – riffs, comments and spoofs on pop culture.

    There’s no substance, just jokes. And they haven’t even had any good jokes in years (the show has been atrociously bad for a few seasons now).

    When they actually tried to do a story with none of these elements and try to add heart, well, it doesn’t work, because you can’t add heart to such a heartless (by design) show.

    It doesn’t help when the only characters given any depth at all are a talking baby and a talking dog.

    • Sarah

      I agree. I watch it regularly, and laugh at it a lot, but it just doesn’t get above a certain level, you know? Enjoy it for what it is, but there are many higher quality cartoons out there.

  • LOL

    Last night’s South Park was brilliant. That episode alone should win something.

    • Brian Wallace

      “South Park” is not brilliant, ok? Never was. Occasionally clever? Yes. Smuggly self-satisfied? Definitely. But it’s the same jokes as “Family Guy” just done by nerds. If you are a dullard, LOL, you can’t call ANYTHING “brilliant.” You simply can identify brilliance.

      Brian

      • Jacob

        You sure are one pretentious prick.

      • Dave

        The only thing that is “smugly self-satisfied” is you, Brian.

      • Loch Ness

        South Park is too smart for Brian.

      • Kyle

        South Park has and can be brilliant, but you just seem like a pretentious, annoying ass who craves to be smart

      • Radzinsky

        No, Brian is actually correct.

      • Miz Liz

        “But [South Park is] the same jokes as “Family Guy” just done by nerds.”

        That is not even remotely a true statement… Have you even watched South Park since 1999?

      • Monty

        People who sign blog posts when their name appears at the beginning already are too high on the smell of their own farts to recognize quality tv programming.

  • Liv

    I don’t hate Family Guy. I just don’t like it either. It never struck a chord with me. I don’t understand the humor I guess.

  • Ed

    Better shows that deserve the Emmy more than Family Guy:

    Archer, Futurama, Bob’s Burgers, and especially Venture Bros.

    • Skip182

      Futurama!

    • Ed

      Forgot to note that these shows, these days, are more deserving of an Emmy than either The Simpsons or South Park as well.

    • Terry

      Bob’s Burger’s Sucks even worse than The Cleveland Show. Not funny, stupid, and not funny. Did I mention stupid?

  • Dave

    Over the years, there have been so many great comedies that have been overlooked by the Emmys. Better Off Ted and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia instantly come to mind, as does the lack of nominations for Parks and Recreation last year (only Amy Poehler was nominated for Best Actress while the show as a whole was criminally snubbed). Family Guy should be happy that they were nominated for Best Comedy once, because they didn’t even deserve that.

    • Thom

      THIS.

      • jenny

        THIS comment sucks

    • Meghan

      I feel you, especially pertaining to Always Sunny and Better Off Ted.

  • Mark Twain

    Crass does not equal witty or funny. And that goes for all of them. As a lover of animation, I long for the days of smart animation that had a sense of art and wit: Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, Droopy, etc.

    • Randi

      I agree with you. It’s all about shock value now.

  • Randi

    It used to be a great show, like the Simpsons. Now they just try too hard, too “in your face” with their offensive jokes. They want to make you uncomfortable all the time, it takes away from the show. The earlier seasons did have that endearing quality, but now it’s over the top, mindless and crude.

    • Ugh

      Do they want an Emmy for their 3rd Star Wars parody? Even they admit it sucked in the opening text.

  • Al

    Seth MacFarlane has spread himself too thin and the quality of the shows is suffering. King of the Hill and Futurama were replaced by inferior Seth MacFarlane shows and now it will likely happen again with Bob’s Burgers.

  • Amor Fati

    They should just hold out until there’s a Fox Comedy Awards Show.

  • Mike

    Sorry, Family Guy. I’d take the Venture Brothers over your show. The screw-ups on the Venture Bros actually make you care for them.

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