Home > #3, Media grammar > Family Guy

Family Guy

I chose Family Guys because it is one of my favorite shows.  Family Guys genre is a comedy in the form of satire.  Family Guys pokes fun at modern day celebrities and events in the news.  Several times in each episode, the show goes completely off topic in a unrelated tangent that could poke fun at anything from a currently popular television show or celebrity or a political figure or decision.  For instance in one episode it makes fun of Kobe Bryant, the superstar basketball player, and his apparent innocence in his infamous rape case.  In another show, a character on Family Guy is a contestant on the Bachelor and throughout the episode the show satires the dramatized and somewhat idiotic nature of the so called “reality” television show. The creators of the show us these satirical tangents to present their subtext.  Family Guy episodes present an anti-pop-culture subtext.  The Family Guy creators use their satire to present their opinion that celebrities are attention-grabbing fools and they also poke fun at the viewers who tune into celebrity news, and reality tv.  Family Guy has been featured in many magazines and television programs.  The coverage is mixed and can be very positive and complementary or very negative. Many stories portray family guy as a crude yet clever and entertaining comedy show.  While others portray it as offensive to young children who could be exposed to the show.  It also has been criticized for possibly modeling itself after the popular animated sitcom The Simpsons.

The music in the show seems to vary quite a bit.  In the beginning of the episode there is always the same opening song in which all the main characters sing a song with a piano in the background. Throughout the episode there is always music that resembles that of classic sit com cut scenes.  However music plays a more prominent role in other episodes.  In some satirical scenes where the show pokes fun at things such as action movies, the music fits with what is going on on screen.  Also, some episodes have extended jokes involving music.  For instance, in one episode the main character becomes obsessed with a classic pop tune from the 60’s, and routinely plays the music throughout the episode. The genre of the show is an animated comedy and the point of view in the show is always done in 3rd person.  Their target audience is teenage and college students who are more open-minded to the sometimes offensive nature of the sketches.  The show borrows from the online environment because in some episodes it pokes fun at the nature of online interactions such as blogging and youtubing.

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  1. January 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Marc, it sounds like you appreciate the ways in which Family Guy contributes running social commentary on celebrities and other aspects of popular culture. What do you think its underlying assumptions are: e.g., that celebrities are full of themselves and they deserve the negative publicity they get when they do something wrong? That reality programs are dumb (or that we as audience members of reality programs are pretty silly for liking them?)? In other words, are there patterns to what the humor turns on that give you clues about what the writers think about various issues (and what, in turn, fans tend to agree with in their commentary)? Also, satire is related to the genre, which is animated situation comedy; subtext is the message. Please rewrite this entry to clarify and make clearer what the subtext(s) is (or are).

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