Family Guy

February 16, 2011
“Family Guy” is a television show that centers around Peter Griffin, a middle class, Irish-American man, and his family. It takes place in a present day, small town called Quahog, Rhode Island. It originally aired on FOX, but now may be seen on various other stations. It is an animated situational comedy that spoofs many aspects of pop culture, and plays on various stereotypes.

Peter temporarily works at a toy factory, but later becomes a fisherman. Eventually, he gets a job at the local brewery. His family consists of his wife Lois, his oldest son Chris, his daughter Meg, his baby son Stewie, and his dog Brian. Lois is a stay-at-home mom that teaches piano, and represents the stereotypical housewife. Her past includes being brought up in the rich Pewterschmidt household, but always resists her parents’ attempts to offer money. Peter was brought up in a more humble background, setting up funny dialogue between Peter and Carter Pewterschmidt (Lois’s dad). Lois is portrayed as a good-looking, smart woman that is greatly contrasted by Peter’s simple-minded, unattractive persona. Chris, in many ways, is a younger version of Peter. Just like his dad, Chris is obese, and unsophisticated. Much of the comedy with Chris involves him cowering in fear of the evil monkey that lives in his closet. Meg is the punching bag of the series. She is the butt of a lot of malicious jokes. No one seems to like, or even show any interest in her. Meg is portrayed as the unwanted kid. Stewie’s whole life is geared toward killing Lois. Although he can talk, most of the characters can only understand him about half of the time. In many episodes, Stewie shows confusion about if he’s homosexual or not. Brian is the family’s highly intelligent pet dog. In many episodes he talks and drinks martinis, but in many ways is still portrayed as a normal dog. He is the only character that can understand everything that Stewie says, and has a love-hate relationship with him. They act like they hate each other, but always end up making up. Brian has a crush on Lois, but loves Peter too much to tell anyone.

There are also many recurring characters. Peter hangs out at various times at the town bar, The Drunken Clam, with his best friends Joe Swanson, Glen Quagmire, and Cleveland Brown. Joe is a cop that had a horrible accident, before he moved to Quahog; this paralyzed him from his waist down, leaving him in a wheelchair. His wife Bonnie is expecting a baby for much of the show, until she gives birth to Susie in a later episode. Glen Quagmire just goes by his last name in the show. He is a pilot and a bachelor that seems to be with a different woman every episode. Most jokes that Quagmire makes are sexual innuendos in some form. Cleveland is an African American that experiences marital problems with his wife Loretta about midway through the series. Cleveland left Quahog when his spinoff, “The Cleveland Show” premiered. He now appears rarely in the show. “Family Guy” also boasts other minor characters that produce comedic value. Dr. Hartman is the family physician. Herbert is the pedophile down the street. Mort Goldman is the Jewish pharmacist and his family also appears in the show. Bruce is the homosexual shown doing many different jobs. Horace is the bartender at the Drunken Clam. The Griffins also watch the news frequently, featuring anchors Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons, Asian reporter Trisha Takanawa, and Black-U-Weather Forecast reporter Ollie Williams.

The plots of the episodes are shown in a time period, and flashback fashion. A character, usually Peter, will reference something that is a memory, and the show will display what happened. For example, in one episode, Peter referenced a vacation in purgatory. The show jumped to a scene displaying the family being in a blank space. He then said that it wasn’t that bad, and also wasn’t that good. A lot of the satire involves allusions to anything that they can make jokes from, and irony. They play on stereotypes of various characters, such as Cleveland, an African American, Mort Goldman, a Jew, and Bruce, the stereotypical homosexual. There are also occurrences of real people voicing themselves in the show to make jokes about themselves. Some of them are recurring characters. James Woods is portrayed as psychopath that harasses the Griffin household, and Adam West is shown as the mayor of Quahog. Adam West is extremely egocentric in the show.

There are many gags that show up throughout the series. One of these is Peter fighting against a giant chicken. It starts when the chicken gives Peter a coupon that he can’t redeem in an episode. This upsets Peter, and they start fighting. There are several instances where Peter sees the chicken, and cuts off whoever’s talking in order to fight against him. It is revealed in a later episode that the chicken was created as a result of Dr. Hartman attempting to clone a chicken. Another gag is Death being portrayed as a guy in a black robe, with a hood, and a scythe. It is a representation of the Grim Reaper. His face isn’t visible. In one episode, Peter writes that he deceased in order to not pay a medical bill, and Death comes to get him. Death breaks his ankle, and has to stay at their house. He also appears in various other episodes for various purposes. Another gag is Stewie attempting to kill Lois and take over the world. He is depicted as a villainous, genius baby. Although, he wants to murder his mother, he can never get up the courage to actually do it. Lois and Peter are oblivious of his evil ways. There are many examples of him inventing various scientific machines, and possessing state-of-the-art weaponry.

“Family Guy” is a satirical masterpiece. The comedy represents pop-culture, so there are always new references. The jokes never get old, and this is one comedy that will continue to evolve.

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