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The Simpsons vs. Family Guy vs. South Park vs…..

August 2, 2011

To better position ourselves at the top of the SEO heap, we at TBTS frequently examine the search terms that direct readers to our site.  Most such phrases are what you’d expect: “brown tweed society” or some variant thereof, “Kim Kardashian” and “Nickelback” for better or worse, “Diana Krall” and “Chazz Bono” when a search algorithm goes temporarily awry.  Some, however, are funny (“bear riding motorcycle”), some are odd (“pretty good penis”), and some are …creepy.

Where do YOU stand on animated comedy legacies and newbies?

Recently, two viewers discovered our site with the search phrase “it’s ok lois daddy’s just taking your temperature,” which struck me as really creepy (and vaguely familiar) until a fellow Tweedman clued me in that it’s from a Family Guy episode which generated a bit of controversy precisely because of that utterance.  That started the following discussion regarding Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park, and, to a small extent, animated comedy series in general.

Me: “OK, so these ones are just weird and creepy…and one of them apparently directed folks to our site twice today:
‘it’s ok lois daddy’s just taking your temperature’
‘when did megan fox become a female’
Never ceases to amaze, and sometimes repulse.”

L: “I think the first one is a Family Guy reference. Not that that makes it any less creepy, but it does make it less funny.

Me: “that sounded familiar, but still creepy.  And since it was from Family Guy, that alone makes it less funny.”

P: “Wither the hatin’ on the Family Guy…”

T: “One of my favorite search terms was the Cyrillic form of ‘Chester Cheetos’, and something in Chinese Hansi.”

Me: “Besides Archer and a couple others, my knowledge of animated TV comedy stops about 7 years ago (maybe longer), when I still had a soft spot for The Simpsons and found Family Guy to be a super-derivative, unoriginal ripoff.  Perhaps FG has funnied itself up since then?  I know The Simpsons has not.”

C:  “At one time I thought the Family Guy was just a Simpsons rip-off, but [name] got me to watch several episodes and for about a two-month span in about 2008.

One thing I will cop to is an admiration for McFarlane and company to commit to a joke. I remember one episode when something awkward happened, and Peter just turned to the camera and said ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Conway Twitty,’ and it cut to a live-action, circa-mid-seventies musical number from one of Conway Twitty’s specials. At first it was just mildly amusing, but then they proceeded to air the ENTIRE four and a half minute song. I thought ‘that’s pretty clever.’ So I will stand by finding that amusing. But I’m not a fan.”

T: “From its debut 1999 (…Oh Yeah!…) until its eventual resurrection in 2003, I absolutely loved Family Guy. After moving to Minnesota, I’ve basically abandoned the Sunday night bloc of animated shows. When I gave them a watchin’ a few months ago, including South Park, I was still impressed by the quality of the writing. Some critics claim that the shows have degenerated, but I strongly disagree. While they haven’t really changed (in fact, they may have stepped up their game), my tastes have evolved, and for reasons I’ve yet to understand, I just don’t find them entertaining or funny anymore.  Some shows are like a bus – they aid in us moving from one phase of our cultural life to another, and for me, these shows were one hell of a Jefferson Lines MegaBus.”

L: “Yeah, that’s about where I’m at too, T. I thought it was fairly fresh back in the day, but I haven’t watched in years. And I’m just kinda tired of the McFarlane schtick–shock value with (arguably) questionable underlying substance.

Plus that whole thing a couple of years ago where Family Guy was begging to be noticed by the Emmy committee, and doing so by releasing ‘cute’ online clips where Bryan and Stewie are trashing the Office and other shows, was pretty bad mojo, you ask me.

On the other hand, though I don’t watch it all that often, I think South Park HAS stayed substantial over the years. When I do watch it, I’m usually impressed with the level of social criticism going on.

Just one man’s not-all-that-informed opinion, of course. I was really just f*cking around with my original Family Guy comment. Haven’t thought about the show in months/years before this morning.”

In a recent piece that focused on Archer, Tomlin explored whether the animated adult comedy series “genre” in general is on the decline.  Or is it just that some GenXers, who grew up on The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, and the like, have simply lost interest in those shows and others like them?  Or are the shows themselves declining in quality?  Or both (my view of The Simpsons) or neither (look at the burgeoning popularity of Archer and its colleagues)?

What do you think, dear reader?  Pitch in and pass judgment.

  1. July 2, 2012 2:08 pm

    Guys should check out this new social network – it’s pretty awesome. I asked this same question there and Family Guy won.

  2. July 2, 2012 2:09 pm by the way lol almost forgot to show you guys :P

  3. May 11, 2014 7:33 pm

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