MacFarlane: We'd Have To Be High To Kill Family Guy's [SPOILERS]

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MacFarlane: We'd Have To Be High To Kill Family Guy's [SPOILERS]

Time-traveling Stewie saves the day.

So, it was briefly a thing, and now it is maybe less of a thing: Family Guy's Brian the Dog, last seen pushing up daisies, is alive and well. "Thank you for saving my life," says Brian, as time-traveling Stewie pulls him out from under the wheels of a car. "A lot of other families would have just gotten another dog and moved on."

"You didn't really think we'd kill Brian, did you?" Seth MacFarlane Tweets. "Jesus, we'd have to be fucking high." Brian, says MacFarlane, is overcome with gratitude by people's concern.

Presumably this means the end of Vinnie, Brian's replacement, who made all this possible by helping Stewie get his time travel device back. But then, how many people really care about Vinnie?

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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I think everyone and their dog saw this coming, but nevertheless good to have him back. Got to hand it to MacFarlane, that was an excellently pulled off publicity stunt.

Called it! in animation and TV there's always a loophole, esp. when time travel's involved

Hate the show, hate the creator, hate that they pulled this old marketing gimmick crap and people believed it.

wow. i am so surprised. who would have seen this twist coming. i can barely contain my shock. omg. wtf.

Yeah, this outcome was about as unexpected as the outcome of dropping a dinner plate from a 5th floor window onto a concrete parking lot. I would have been more amazed if they stuck to their guns and left him dead. In fact, it seems likely they wanted to do just that, but when faced with the massive backlash over the whole thing, they backpedaled (or were forced to by their superiors)and are now trying to play it like this was their plan all along...

LazyAza:
Hate the show, hate the creator, hate that they pulled this old marketing gimmick crap and people believed it.

Totally agree, they are just doing this stuff to pull in viewers with the promise of something important happening and then the next episode yanking it away and going "FOOLED YOU THANKS FOR THE VIEWS SUCKERS."

Well let me try and be surprised..... Nope did not happen. I never thought he would be dead for very long.

LazyAza:
Hate the show, hate the creator, hate that they pulled this old marketing gimmick crap and people believed it.

Yet you like it enough to take the time to click a link exclusive for the show and write a post about it..... Now THAT is some good marketing!

People still watch Family Guy? I am blown away by this!

Jandau:

In fact, it seems likely they wanted to do just that, but when faced with the massive backlash over the whole thing, they backpedaled (or were forced to by their superiors)and are now trying to play it like this was their plan all along...

I doubt it, cartoons tend to be planned, written and animated months in advance of the actual airing. Changing their plan would require the whole rest of the season to be altered greatly, which considering the 'death' only happen three weeks ago, seems largely unfeasible.

It's true this was the obvious outcome, but I gotta give them props for the thorough trolling. In terms of execution and pacing, it was perfect. From the emotion-packed death episode, followed by a week on hiatus, then an episode that played exactly like a normal one, except with him dead, and finally bringing him back just in time for christmas.

Good job, and you've earned your momentary spike in viewership. Granted, I still dislike family guy immensely... perhaps I'd be more welcoming of it if MacFarlane would just learn that projectile vomiting is not the guaranteed laugh he seems to think.

Seth MacFarlane gets to play as himself again! wooo. So who was actually surprised?

This might actually be the most boring thing Family Guy has ever done. I'd actually have liked to see them play with the formula more, but apparently, despite what Brian thinks, there is a god and it is the status quo.

Yeah, I'm honestly not that surprised this happened. Actual character building and plot progression? Talking about important personal matters like grief, coming to terms with loss and handling death in a family with maturity? Those are elements you see in GOOD tv shows, not Family Guy.

Okay, to be fair, I gather from anecdotal evidence that for the episode that it occurred, the show did treat the event with the weight it deserved. But this "slap the reset button" sort of reaction? F'heh, not surprising, since when you get down to it, shows like Family Guy aren't -really- about making statements, learning lessons or tackling issues. It's about finding a popular, profitable routine and sticking with it. I guess there's some merit to the show being fairly uncomplicated and being just simple, dumb fun with slapstick, pop culture references and sitcom-style story structures; using the fact its animated to get away with things that you couldn't with a live action sitcom like Seinfeld, Friends, NewsRadio (you can probably tell by those titles I don't watch a lot of current-generation tv). Sometimes you turn on the tv to watch something emotionally moving and intellectually thought provoking...and sometimes you turn it on to watch a dumb fat guy get attacked by a crazed raccoon, then go in an outhouse and have it knocked over while he's in there.

That said, while some shows are good at pulling off the multiple style thing, balancing humor with serious subject matter, Family Guy doesn't strike me as one of them. It's strong points have been with its out-of-left-field antics and ridiculously over-the-top situations. In that way it's very similar to South Park; hell, South Park had an episode where they touched on comparing the two shows. But something Family Guy's writers and creators could stand to learn from South Park is that the more you write about serious subject matter, the harder it becomes to stay true to a beginning founded on fart jokes, sex humor and celebrity roasting. I think back to earlier South Park episodes, like The Red Badge of Gayness, Trapper Keeper, Starvin' Marvin in Space and remember enjoying those. They were silly, didn't have a lot of messages behind them but were entertaining to watch. Then I look at some of the more recent episodes and I see thinly veiled politics and social commentary all over the place; episodes like The Snuke, Smug Alert, I'm a Little Bit Country and Fantastic Easter Special. Maybe there was always some of that in South Park, but earlier on I think it was woven in much better and was more...well perhaps not subtle, but less heavy-handed, not making me feel like I was getting beaten over the head with someone's social or political agenda. Some may argue that the South Park writers don't have a political or social agenda, that they treat both sides equally, but I'd say that in and of itself could be considered an agenda; to constantly take the two major sides of big issues (liberal politics vs. conservative politics, pro choice vs. pro life, strong military support vs. restraining the military and so on) and portray them as both being stupid and fanatical. To my mind, it's stopped making South Park look clever and smart with socio-political satire and is now coming off as the show being pretentious and showing contempt for anyone with a strong opinion.

Going back to Family Guy, I think they could stand to look at South Park and consider it something of a cautionary tale. When you start out on a certain path with a show, tonal shifts are difficult at best to pull off and even if they work, you run the risk of creating something that will alienate longstanding viewers/readers/etc. It can be done, but it has to be gradual, not some sudden, jarring emotional sucker punch (I'm looking at you, webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del). Maybe you could argue that's the nature of a lot of personal tragedies, but in an episodic creative work, I'd say toying with people's expectations and then blindsiding them with something unexpectedly heavy and serious is playing with fire. But if you are going to do it, you need to do it right and treat it with the maturity and dignity it deserves, not like just another gag to be forgotten about a couple episodes down the line.

Not really surprised by this. TV networks these days don't have the spine to actually mix things up on any of their shows. I've seen this bait and switch crap 4 or 5 times this TV season from both network and cable.

...So that happened. Talk about a let down, here they had a chance to shake things up and they just let it go to waste... then again I don't regularly watch this show, so I could really care less... yet something about it bothers me still. Dunno why.

Is anyone surprised by this at all?

It was so obviously a cheap publicity stunt, and hey look, it worked!

Jandau:
wow. i am so surprised. who would have seen this twist coming. i can barely contain my shock. omg. wtf.

Yeah, this outcome was about as unexpected as the outcome of dropping a dinner plate from a 5th floor window onto a concrete parking lot. I would have been more amazed if they stuck to their guns and left him dead. In fact, it seems likely they wanted to do just that, but when faced with the massive backlash over the whole thing, they backpedaled (or were forced to by their superiors)and are now trying to play it like this was their plan all along...

As Moviebob pointed out in the related Big Picture episode, there had already been a list of upcoming episodes released to the public and two of them had his name in the title. They always knew he was coming back, as did anyone else who felt like doing a few minutes of investigating.

That sounds quite lame. It would have been slightly more clever just to have Brian reappear like nothing ever happened, with no explanation of how, and only acknowledge it with a subtle fourth wall joke or two.

(Yes, I am aware that subtlety is far from Family Guy's strongest suit.)

JoJo:
I think everyone and their dog saw this coming

My cat didn't. But she rarely watched Family Guy anyway.

TechTim:
Called it! in animation and TV there's always a loophole, esp. when time travel's involved

Unless the Doctor's around.

Jandau:
In fact, it seems likely they wanted to do just that, but when faced with the massive backlash over the whole thing, they backpedaled (or were forced to by their superiors)and are now trying to play it like this was their plan all along...

As mentioned, cartoons are planned well in advance and we already had two episodes known with Brian in the title. It's highly unlikely that they produced a cartoon to backpedal in just a couple of weeks, especially since rushing one cartoon is one thing, but they'd have to rush to alter more.

And then, why would they still already be making episodes about Brian?

Karloff:
But then, how many people really care about Vinnie?

But then, how many people really care about Family Guy?

(seriously, this show died after the third series!)

Vinnie was bland anyway. Already the show after he was introduced and he was already two dimensional and boring.
But yay! Brian's back. As I speculated in another thread here it would have been crappy for future storylines if Stewie would have given up on his time travelling (which he would have done - if they wanted to keep Brian dead). Some of the best shows were when Stewie time travels.

Family guy was only funny when it was new, the randomness then became less random and more forced, actually making it cringeworthy to watch now. Unfortunately it was inevitable. American dad is by far aging much better and can watch that anytime as it doesn't keep to rehashing old jokes until they become staler than whatever's left at the bottom of my cupboard these days. Something known as good writing i believe.
Weirdly, watching the simpsons the other day; which i declined for years during the family guy boom, it still is a good show with much to say. Also if they can mention Hunter.s.Thompson and Megadeth within 60 seconds, then it pretty much sells it for me!!

I love it how I don't have the faintest clue what is this about because where I live we are about... Hmm.. 2-3 seasons behind you. Because your networks it is uncool to let rest of the world keep up with major media - then cry about why downloading is so popular.

Well i am sure in about 6 months I know what it going on.

On topic:

Why would they kill the only character that can tie things up in the series.

Xsjadoblayde:
American dad is by far aging much better

This.

Which is interesting, because when American Dad first came out, my thoughts were along the lines of "It's funny, but once the whole "Xenophobic CIA man" premise runs out of steam, it'll end up getting cancelled, wheras family guy has more places it can go.".

However, I like how they've taken Roger the Alien and just gone fucking nuts with him. You can go way more places with 'Lazy wine-loving bi-sexual alien' than you can with 'talking dog'.

Stu35:

Xsjadoblayde:
American dad is by far aging much better

This.

Which is interesting, because when American Dad first came out, my thoughts were along the lines of "It's funny, but once the whole "Xenophobic CIA man" premise runs out of steam, it'll end up getting cancelled, wheras family guy has more places it can go.".

However, I like how they've taken Roger the Alien and just gone fucking nuts with him. You can go way more places with 'Lazy wine-loving bi-sexual alien' than you can with 'talking dog'.

True. I didn't see American Dad lasting long when it came out. Yet again that was during the family guy boom. You never know where humour will evolve. Roger definitely has won me over. Also Clause (is that how you spell it?) has his moments :)

Hurray. The status quo had been restored. I can now go back to expressing compete apathy towards this show online while secretly watching entire seasons of it on Netflix in one night while eating ice cream.

In all fairness though, it is good to have my cultural and liberal doggy back. The Winnie opening just looked odd to me

I'm glad he's alive. And I don't even watch Family Guy that much.

Xsjadoblayde:
Also Clause (is that how you spell it?) has his moments :)

It's Klaus.

i guess that guy who got a r.i.p. brian tattoo and had a pic of it float around the net is a bit less happy about this than others

I have sort of drifted away from Family guy and hadn't watched it in a while, I have always preferred American Dad and The Cleveland show (even though I am aware that The Cleveland show isn't all that popular), but I have been watching more of The Regular show, Adventure time and The amazing world of gumball.

This could be a set up for the actual, old-age death of Brian. Here would be the ultimate mind freak: Brian passes away of natural causes, and Stewie, unable to cope, uses his time machine to kidnap puppy Brian from the past. Paradox shenanigans ensue, perhaps ending with Stewie learning a life lesson and returning Brian to his proper time, or perhaps not.

MonkeyPunch:
Vinnie was bland anyway. Already the show after he was introduced and he was already two dimensional and boring.
But yay! Brian's back. As I speculated in another thread here it would have been crappy for future storylines if Stewie would have given up on his time travelling (which he would have done - if they wanted to keep Brian dead). Some of the best shows were when Stewie time travels.

I dunno, the episode today where Vinnie gave a severed foot to Stewie was kind of interesting and showed some depth to the character. To say nothing of basically giving up his own existence for Stewie to be happy - there were some interesting moments there.

Also...Stewie is nothing like what he once was, as a character he has deepened and changed significantly since the series began. Oddly though, Peter and especially Lois are far less interesting characters than they once, likely due to the series' nearly myopic fixation on Stewie and Brian.

So, then what was the point of all this?

image

Now if only Seth MacFarlane would move along from these shows and go into a new direction. It's safe to say, at least to my POV, Family Guy and its spin-offs have worn out their welcome with the viewers. While its nice to see Seth branch out with his first movie Ted and bringing back Cosmos, he needs to break free of his triple threat animation formula (double threat since Cleavland Show is getting the ax soon) and try new ventures. Maybe finally get into that remake of the Flinstones. Just hope that he doesn't make Dino talk and have more issues than a comic book convention.

It's hard to know how to comment at any length on this aside from to say that I'm not surprised but I am disappointed.

So I haven't seen either the episode where Brian actually dies, nor the episode where Stewie saves him, but wasn't the whole thing that Stewie couldn't use his time machine because he wasn't able to get certain components for it? But now he just... can?

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