20th Century Fox Television
Originally released June 16, 2009
Style: DVD Review
Article originally written for Static Multimedia
When Family Guy originally premiered back in 2000, my initial feelings towards the animated show were that of extreme adoration. I was an immature high schooler who soon began spreading the word about this new “Simpsons-esque” cartoon that was somehow falling through the cracks. After the show was cancelled, I was one of the millions of people who purchased the first two DVD volumes, which ultimately lead to Fox resurrecting the show. I had both a Peter Griffin t-shirt as well as a Stewie one, and I wore them with pride. At parties, my friends and I would play “Drink the Beer” where if we drank our beer, we won…another beer! So when Family Guy premiered on Fox again in 2005 after that initial cancellation, I was happier then Quagmire in a Vietnamese brothel.
But ever since then, I slowly began to drift away from Family Guy. Episode after episode, the writing began to suffer and the show lost more and more structure. Once a perfect blend of outrageous humor, offensive material and vulgarity, Family Guy now seemed to be more focused on being absurd then being funny. I grew tired of the epic battles between Peter and the Chicken or the musical numbers by the child-molesting elderly neighbor, Herbert. And I really learned to loath the out-of-nowhere live-action Conway Twitty performances. (Seriously, does any Family Guy fan find them funny? I’d like to know.)
Which brings us to 2009, where my opinion on Family Guy can best be described by that of Lois Griffin’s opinion on her husband. She loves him and always will even though his stupidity can get so overbearing that she feels like she’s wasting her time. Sure, she can do better and sometimes wishes she did. But in the end, the good times outnumber the bad times, which results in her decision to faithfully stand by his side. And that is precisely how I feel about the newly released Family Guy: Volume Seven. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll laugh more than you’ll sigh despite these episodes being a far cry from the classic Family Guy that I fell in love with.
Of Volume Seven’s thirteen episodes, not too many of them stand out as great television. Because of the show’s structure, you can only really hope for funny moments and dialogue to pop up sporadically throughout each episode. The infamous cutaway gags/flashbacks that Family Guy is so well known for are also pretty hit-or-miss. Ones like the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion getting pissed at Dorothy because she admitted she was going to miss the Scarecrow most of all right in front of them are hysterical. But then you get ones like the Shouting-Arab Gram Business that completely fall flat.
A huge perk of purchasing this DVD rather than just watching the individual episodes on television is the profanity that gets sprinkled in each of the episodes by the creators. I have to admit, it’s pretty hilarious hearing each member of the cast drop an F-bomb at least once, especially Stewie. Other special features that are included on the DVDs are deleted scenes and commentaries by the show’s creators. A featurette entitled “Family Guy Cribz” got my hopes up that they would parody the MTV show Cribs by having some of the show’s most popular characters take us on a tour of their house (How funny could Quagmire’s have been?). Instead, I got a real documentary on Family Guy’s production offices in Los Angeles and the people that work there, which only left me wishing I worked for Family Guy. Finally, Volume Seven comes with a sneak peak of Fox’s new spin-off series The Cleveland Show where Stewie takes the words right out of my mouth. “What the hell? He’s getting his own show?”
Regardless of Family Guy’s slow decline in quality, I still find myself laughing out loud at these newer episodes. The characters are still enjoyable to watch and I will always be fond of the show’s immature nature. Family Guy: Volume Seven is not a waste of time by any means, I just hope that by the time Volume Eight comes around, we see a Family Guy that doesn’t have to spend an entire episode of Peter singing The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” just to squeeze a laugh out of us.
Review: 3 out of 4 Stars