Was Family Guy Meant to be a Kids’ Show?

The raunchy animated sitcom might have been a Saturday morning romp for children. Nostalgia Critic takes a look.

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About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

53 comments

  1. MountCDOSgamer

    I actually remember seeing Larry and Steve on Cartoon Network! It was definitely my favourite “What A Cartoon!” segment. Come to think of it, it’s the only one I can remember!

  2. Look I used to be a fan of Family Guy but after the 12th season, I get very violent feelings when I see it.

    • You’re not alone.

      • Agreed. Now I just look up the later seasons on Netflix to see if there are any Stewie/Brian episodes (specials) that have come out. Those seem to be the only ones that the Family Guy staff put any real effort into these days.

    • Chicken Puppet

      I didn’t like the first few seasons, before the cancellation and Mila Kunis voiced Meg.

      I love the five or so seasons after it was brought back, then it really went downhill by the time the Cleveland Show arrived.

      I’ve seen a few recent episodes, there’s some laughs and a few smart jokes, but nothing I’d get excited for again.

  3. I hate Family Guy!

  4. Doug… Does this really warrant it’s own episode?!

  5. The Real Silverstar

    Eh, I checked out from Family Guy a long time ago; it just stayed on too long and started to get really unfunny. It’s my personal opinion that *no* scripted show should go beyond 3 or 4 seasons max.

    • I feel the same about The Simpsons. It’s been around way too long and stopped being funny more than a decade ago.

    • Or at least, they shouldn’t run for that long continuously without taking a break of some kind, i.e., a reboot or revamp. Franchises such as Scooby Doo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have endured, but there’s always been a four or five year gap between each new series or incarnation thereof.

    • There’s plenty of good scripted shows that have gone on longer than that just fine. Parks & Rec has six good seasons (the weakest is the first, actually), Futurama has at least 5 good seasons (7 IMO, but you can’t argue against the first five), and hell, let’s not forget Game of Thrones, which is going strong into season 7.

  6. Man… That old cartoon look more inspired than Family guy.
    At least on that one you can’t bring the argument that it was written by manatees choosing random words to make a joke.

  7. The hurt knee joke is great. It goes from amking the audience laugh, to making fun of the audience.

  8. I used to like Family Guy, but I later started to be annoyed by it, because of the constant use of cutaway jokes, sequences that go absolutely nowhere, and the fact that Seth MacFarlane was almost a 9/11 victim, and he would not stop joking about that terrible, terrible day. Seriously, Seth MacFarlane is to comedy, what Donald Trump is to America. And you better believe that I’m not gonna watch his Star Trek inspired comedy series “The Orville,” which sounds like he only named the title starship after his favorite brand of popcorn.

  9. Chicken Puppet

    Judging by the time period this came out – the mid 90s where everything was making fun of old 50s and 60s TV, Seth McFarland’s fondness for sitcom tropes, and the animals in an “Odd Couple” sitcom setup, I’d say the laughtrack was meant to be ironic.

    I get what they were going for, but even if done ironically, it can become annoying once the joke wears off.

  10. Family Guy might be the worst show I’ve ever seen, animated or otherwise. It’s nothing but perversion and random pop culture references. The animation is horrifically stiff to boot. And before you accuse me of picking on it just because it’s dirty, I don’t like the extreme violence and sexual acts in South Park either, but at least it has more coherent plots, pop culture references that acually make a point, and wittier dialogue. And the animation, while rough, has a charming dynamic to it. Sometimes, a bit of good can shine through the filth. Family Guy, however, is an endless pit of darkness.

    • Chicken Puppet

      I would say the problem with South Park is that every episode they take something from pop-culture, blow it up to a ridiculous extreme, and then beat any last drop of humor out of the premise well before the episode is over.

      Also, the show jumped the shark when Eric went literally full Hitler/Manson level psychopath. Where do you go for shock humor after that?

      • Plus, South Park has that tremendously annoying tendency where they take on a societal issue or controversy, point out that neither side is absolutely, 100% morally unimpeachable, then smugly decide that both sides are equally terrible and that the only correct course of action is to not give a damn (which is a subtle, implicit endorsement of the status quo).

        • Chicken Puppet

          Speaking of smug, both the show and it’s fans have a tendency to dismiss any criticism as people being “too easily offended” or “politically correct”.

          For example: I wasn’t offended at their exhausting 10 minutes of Tom Cruise “come out of the closet” to imply he’s gay…I just don’t care if he is, and I think outing people is petty and cheap.

  11. I used to like Family Guy, then their humor would milk it too much, go for shock value, etc. Eventually, I got tired of it.

  12. handsomefatman

    I find it funny when Family Guy or South Park takes a dig at the other, considering they’re both trash.

  13. For me, Family Guy was okay from the second to about the sixth season, then it went from being bland and then to just being down right unwatchable in every sense of the word. Plus the creator, Seth MacFarlane, has voiced his political views through his work which I found somewhat irritating and he has become a complete self-centered douche as time progressed. Many critics thought that this show was a cheap knock off of The Simpsons and in a way I thought the same thing, just more mean spirited. Since the show does still have an audience and FOX seems to be afraid to let it go, much like the Simpsons, I think it will only get worse and worse until either some other show will outperform it or MacFarlane does something beyond cynical and FOX will have to cancel it. I just hope that the later will happen.

  14. Hi, I’m Seth McFarlane. So how did you like my idea?
    What’s that? You want it more kid-friendly? No problem!!
    What’s that?? You want it more like The Simpsons? Can do!!!
    You want musical numbers?? I can do that!!!!
    You want me to get down on all fours and bark??? Woof!! Woof!!!
    Just pick up my show and pay me already!!!!

  15. The Mysterious M

    I feel like this is … somewhat accurate. Along with the “Larry and Steve” pilot, looking back on those early episodes of Family Guy, it was pretty tame compared to what the show tries to get away with today (the “tries’ pertaining to whether it was successful or not, not them actually doing it). Then again, viewing guidelines and “child appropriate programming” has also changed in the past 2 decades since the 90s.

  16. WOAH. I never heard of this. I would have liked this more. I watch Family Guy a few times a year in the rare instances when I have literally nothing else to do. Every time I watch it, I have a different reaction that ranges anywhere from hatred to mild enjoyment. Lastly, thanks for posting something.

  17. My organism negates Family Guy. It makes me sick.

  18. Neo-stalgia Fan 1

    I’d actually be more interested in Family Guy if it ended up more like the first two pilots and didn’t get any of the Fox “This has to be like the Simpsons” BS that led to everything else I have problems with when it comes to Seth MacFarlane and his shows.

  19. Actually, this is sort of the same thing with JG Quintel, the creator of Regular Show. An original short he made back in 2006 called “2 in the AM PM” that would eventually become the show he created were very adult, containing swearing, drug use and implied raunchy moments. Regular Show, while having some adult jokes, is more aimed at kids, so it’s kind of a reversed situation.

  20. I remember the punchline to the joke “I didn’t spend 12 years in kindergarten because I was stupid”, it was “I got my head stuck in the radiator”.

  21. I have another bit to add to this. On the DVDs of The Weird Al Show, on the audio commentary for one of the episodes (I forget which one), Weird Al says that when they were planning out the show, they were approached by Seth McFarland with his early cartoon sketches. He says they couldn’t use it cuz it was too adult for their kids show, but they wished him luck. He then goes on to speculate that their show could’ve almost been for Family Guy what The Tracey Ulman Show was for The Simpsons.

  22. Honore de Ballsack

    I find it odd that HB used a laugh track for a lot of their cartoons considering the fact that I find them really unfunny.

  23. prime-10@hotmail.co.uk

    I just wanna go on record and say I do love Family Guy. I use to like it alot back in the day and while they’re might be better stuff I haven’t seen or just don’t give a crap about I still enjoy it whenever I rewatch it, though there are times when I may be annoyed by it. It’s hard to say when it stopped being aT it’s peak because I live in the UK and the dvd seasons are kinda mixed up but I still find that there are funny episodes after it “stopped being funny” or at least a funny joke or two that’s worth revisiting. Like remember the episode ‘Back to the Pilot’ where Stewie and Brian went back in time to the very first episode. Now I can’t remember what season it came from but I’m very sure it was from a season that isn’t considered one of FG’s best but it was a funny episode though the first half when they’re actually back to the pilot was funnier than the other two halfs but they were still funny. The show might have gone down hill by that time but it was still funny and there are a few funny episodes or at least a few jokes in a single episode that follow. To be fair I would rather watch the later Family Guys than say the later Simpsons seasons after the movie and I probably might choose the entire Family Guy show over alot of the Simpsons throughout the 2000’s. But I just wanna go on record and say that I do actually like The Simpsons more than Family Guy but I still like Family Guy.

  24. A show made from the combined efforts of both Seth McFarlane and Butch Hartman joining forces!?!? Jesus Christ, and people thought Sega letting people officially custom create their own Sonic fan characters in the new game was unleashing hell onto the world…

  25. Daniel Brizuela

    I love NC, however for some reason I have trouble with Vidme as it always stops or mutes by itself every few seconds.

  26. Yes, I remember that short! You did a “Family Guy” editorial! That’s the most complained about show ever! Personally, I don’t hate it, but I don’t care for it. I think it can be funny. Do one on why old Simpsons episodes are better.

  27. At the time, I thought Steve was actually one of the few geuinely intelligent cartoon characters I’ve ever seen. Not Dexter “can make robots” smart or Obiwan “we are informed that he is wise” smart but gentine, “actually says smart things and actually demonstrates real intelligence here and now” smart. In a way, it’s actually a pity they turned Lary & Steve into a Simpsons ripoff because I would have liked to see more episodes of Lary & Steve. Oh well.

  28. Seth Macfarlane wrote an episode of Johnny Bravo where Johnny dates a talking antelope he met on a dating site.

    No, seriously. It’s actually a surprisingly good episode, as Johnny is too much of a gentleman (yeah) to turn her down, and she just acts as if it’s perfectly normal.

  29. I saw the pilot it was a fun one

  30. Larry and Steve is still better than the actual show (Family Guy)

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