By John Saleeby
"There's got to be an explanation for all this!"
"You want an explanation? God . . . is . . . PISSED!!"
Sometimes the fact that I'm thirty seven years old and still not married or a parent gets me down. Like one night six years ago when . . . SIX YEARS AGO!?! My God, I'm FORTY THREE years old and I'm still not married or a parent! I'm so old that when my kid is a teenager everybody will think I'm his Grandfather and I'll have to hire Tim Allen to play his Father. When it's time to stop changing my kid's diapers it will be time for him to start changing mine. Oh man, the closest I'll ever come to parenthood is yelling "Whooo! Allright! I am outta here!" on The Maury Povitch Show when the DNA test proves I'm not the author of Margeret Cho's stand up act. But thanks to the miracle of Animation which enabled me to vicariously open up a can of spinach and eat it (Boy, that "Fantasia" is even more of a trip than Leonard Maltin says it is!), I can now experience the joy of being a Husband and a Father through Seth McFarlane's "Family Guy".
"Family Guy" ran on the Fox Network until getting cancelled for not being as entertaining as Lionel Richie's junkie daughter putting her arm inside a cow's ass. Poor Seth McFarlane! Although, as a poverty stricken ex-stand up comic living in the shed behind his parent's house, I was not sympathetic. Celibate Nuts O' Christ, this punk kid moves out of LA with a notebook full of funny drawings and lands a series deal with a major network - We were all so jealous if he had been accidentally snorted up by former members of Guns N' Roses in some tragic nightclub mishap it would have been declared a national holiday. Anybody ever seen a picture of Seth? There's a reason for that - All those spiteful bastards walking around LA hating the guy, if anybody knew what he looked like he woulda been shot . . . Oh, I'm sorry . . . he woulda been TAKEN OUT a long time ago. Wow, Quentin Tarantino must have more decoy lookalikes than Saddam Hussein!
But once "Family Guy" got cancelled and it was easy to imagine McFarlane living in a cardboard box on the street eating out of garbage cans, begging for spare change, infested with all kinds of horrible vermin, his teeth turning green and sprouting legs and crawling around with little crab eyes on stems looking at you . . . Okay, maybe I spent a lot more time imaging how down and out Seth McFarlane was then anybody else did. When you've been as down and out as I've been for the past few years it takes a lot to get you up and out of your cardboard box in the morning . . . But once "Family Guy" was cancelled and McFarlane was as big as a loser as everybody else around here, all of a sudden animation fans thought "Family Guy" was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, animated sliced bread. Take a loaf of sliced bread and use stop motion animation to make it dance and shake it's ass in your face. Yes, people came to like "Family Guy" even more than that! Whoa! The Cartoon Channel began showing "Family Guy" and when it was released on DVD it sold so well The Cartoon Channel hired McFarlane to produce new episodes to begin airing later this year.
Sure hope Matt Groening isn't sitting by the phone waiting for that to happen with "Futurama"!
"Hello? Yes, this is Matt Groening! Yes, the guy who created 'Futurama'!"
"Matt, this is the guy from The Cartoon Channel! Yeah, the guy who called Seth McFarlane on the phone and ordered a whole bunch of new 'Family Guy' episodes!"
"Boy, I bet right now you're prancing around like a chorus boy on his way up to accept a Tony Award, aren't you?"
"You're . . . You're that guy from Acid Logic who's always talking about how much of an asshole I am, aren't you?"
"How are you ever going to make it as a comedy writer carrying on like this?"
"I'm not trying to make it as a comedy writer - I'm just screwing around!"
"Uh huh . . . What's your name?"
"My name? My name is . . . uh . . . Wil - Wil Forbis!"
"Well, I'm going to see to it that you never get anywhere in this business, Mister Wil Forbis!"
There were animated cartoon shows all over network television for a while there and, aside from "King Of The Hill" and "Family Guy", they all sucked. Even worse than "Futurama" - Remember "The P.J.s"? Even worse than "The P.J.s" - Remember "The Critic"? Even worse than "The Critic" . . . I'm sorry, I can't think of anything. This was all because of "The Simpsons", of course, but don't forget "Married With Children", the first animated cartoon shot with live actors in front of a studio audience - Innovative! But "The Flintstones" was the true original - Stone Age Man painted on cave walls but how did they make cartoons of Fred and Barney on em? I bet that obelisk from "2001" taught 'em how to do it.
The very best thing about "Family Guy" is Mister Family Guy Himself, Peter Griffin. Peter isn't just the funniest cartoon character on TV in years, he is - Along with Jackie Gleason, John Belushi, and Buddy Hackett - one of the Great Lovable Fat Funny Guys Of American Comedy History! "Family Guy"s opening credit sequence has Peter's wife Lois sitting at the piano singing the theme song and then Peter comes in and you go "Look at that guy! He's so lovable and fat and funny! I LOVE HIM!" But then it cuts to his stupid kids and you're like "Where'd he go?! Where'd he go?! Who are those people!? I don't care about them! Where'd the lovable fat funny guy go!? I LOVE HIM!!" Then you see the whole cast dancing in a big musical production number but all you care about is "There he is!! There he is!! And he's wearing a top hat and tails and he's dancing!! Look at him dancing!! He's twirling his cane around! Twirl! Twirl! Twirl! I LOVE HIM!!!" Peter's just a really funny guy like Norton on "The Honeymooners", Joey on "Friends", and Kobe on "The Six O'Clock News". He's like Bill Murray, you don't have to come up with any big situation for him to be really funny, just have him stand up and say something like "I had some pizza this afternoon and it was GREAT!" and it'll be the funniest thing since Stan Laurel told Oliver Hardy what he ate for lunch in the classic 1934 two reeler "Pork Chop And Lima Beans".
As a Cartoon Character Peter Griffin is PERFECT (He's only a drawing so I can carry on like that without coming off like a homo, just don't get me started on Race from "Johnny Quest") - That big fat head! That big fat gut! Those big fat feets! That chin that looks like a scrotum! Well, I don't know about that chin that looks like scrotum . . . Wait a minute . . . Wait a minute . . . If his chin looks like a scrotum . . . His nose . . . His nose looks like . . . like . . . HIS NOSE LOOKS LIKE A DICK!!! By The Gods! If Charles Schultz had come up with a character whose chin looked like a scrotum and whose nose looked like a dick "Peanuts" would have been as big as "Cathy"! Peter Griffin is so good on "Family Guy" that in the future there will be a dramatic animated feature where he goes to Tokyo to make some whiskey commercials and drinks all the whiskey and dresses up in a rubber monster suit and falls into Tokyo Bay and drowns. (That was the original story for "Lost In Translation" until Sophia Coppola found out Peter Griffin didn't actually exist and decided to go with Bill Murray instead.)
Peter is Da King but the other characters on "Family Guy" are funny, too. Everybody loves Baby Stewie, who is kind of like Kelsey Grammar as an infant. Kelsey Grammar as an infant who wants to murder his mother. Kelsey Grammar as an infant who wants to murder his mother and conquer the world. That may be hard to imagine, but once you have accepted the reality of Kelsey Grammar as the star of a popular TV show anything is possible. Even funnier than Stewie is the Griffin family pet, a martini sipping, cigarette smoking witty intellectual dog named Brian. This character works brilliantly, but - Come on! - a martini sipping, cigarette smoking witty intellectual dog named Brian? "Flopsy" maybe, but "Brian"? That's just crazy! But Brian's cool, although I'd be more comfortable with his elegant Mister Sophisticated act if he'd show a little interest in the "bitches", if-you-know-what-I-mean. Good Lord! Not even the cartoon dogs are exempt from the fag jokes around here - Not even the CARTOON DOGS! (Ever notice how "Peanuts" went straight to Hell as soon as Snoopy began his "relationship" with that creepy little Woodstock? Hhmmm . . . ) And it's kind of creepy in the early episodes when they still draw Brian sitting like a dog rather than like a human. It's disturbing when someone on TV speaks like a human yet sits like an animal - Was "Family Guy" on before Magic Johnson's talk show?
Lois Griffin demonstrates the happy difference between "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" - The people on "Family Guy" are pretty goofy but more recognizably human than the apelike wretches lurking about in "The Simpsons". If I ever walked into a bar and saw a guy who looked like Moe serving drinks I'd have to get drunk just to quit drinking all over again. "Family Guy's" Lois, however, is a sexy, good looking woman - If Matt Groening ever drew a housewife with a teenage son, a teenage daughter, and a new born baby she would look like . . . God, I get frightened just trying to imagine such a thing. I'm gonna go hide behind the couch for an hour. Oooohh, I found that Izzy Stradlin CD back here!
As usual when writing about comedy in Acid Logic I'm not going to share any of "Family Guy"s jokes with you cause I'm too busy shoving my own nutty bits down yer throat. Aw Hell, the "Family Guy" writers are so much funnier than I am I couldn't relate their jokes properly if I tried. Like when Peter says to President Clinton . . . No, wait - You're not supposed to know he's talking to President Clinton until after the fat Jewish girl says . . . Well, you see what I mean. I'm always putting the wrong part of the gag in the wrong place, I'll never make it as a pro comedy writer. I mailed a joke to Conan O'Brien with his address inside the envelope and the joke on the outside. Remember in that article about Tommy Chong when I tried to describe the plot of "Up In Smoke" and it somehow turned into a recipe for a lemon bundt cake? I don't know what the hell happened. People were trying to make desert for their kids and wound up driving around LA with a charismatic Mexican American named "Pedro". And even though it was all my fault, no one would give me a lift or spot me a little weed! Shit.
My only complaint with "Family Guy" is with all the TV references. There are more TV references in an episode of "Family Guy" than hollerin' hillbillies in an episode of "The Jerry Springer Show". I enjoy making jokes about television as much as anything else that is polluting the lives of billions of men and women in this world but, geez - "Dharma And Greg" jokes? If anything got on my nerves that much I'd go to California and hack everyone involved to death with a butcher knife and write jokes about hacking people to death with a butcher knife. "Family Guy" making fun of "Greg And Dharma" or "Dharma And Greg" or whatever that mess was called is like Acid Logic making fun of a thirteen year old kid's web site full of booger jokes. Hello, what's this in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly? The thirteen year old kid with the web site full of booger jokes has landed a series deal with a major network? When is that Rapture thing going to happen? I'm sick of this place!
Fortunately the writers of "Family Guy" have more tools in their comic arsenal than the TV Reference, like that thing where they put the characters in a situation and then they say something inappropriate or that other one where a character says something and another one repeats it in a way that gives it a second meaning. Boy, if Neil Simon ever sees this show there is gonna be the biggest lawsuit since Fred Sanford slipped and fell in George Jefferson's dry goods store! But Peter Griffin is entitled to talk about TV all the time since he is on it himself. If he was a real person in the real world he could ignore TV, but a TV person in the TV world who ignored TV would be as messed up as a real person in the real world who watches TV! And I thought I'd get away from this kind of thing once I quit smoking pot.
Take my advice, kids - Until the new "Family Guy" episodes show on The Cartoon Channel pick up at least Volume One of the "Family Guy" DVD set. Ten and a half hours of quality comedy entertainment for fifty bucks! I watched the whole thing before writing this and now that I'm almost at the end my Izzy Stradlin CD and I are gonna take permanent residence behind the couch and watch it over and over again until that stupid Rapture shows up. I'm sick of this place!
Well, that was the Acid Logic "Family Guy" Motherfucking Masterpiece and, if you think it's kind of silly, what do you expect from a guy who just sat through twenty eight "Family Guy" episodes in a single sitting? Boy, good thing I moved the DVD player and the TV set in the bathroom, eh? Oh, I'm sorry - What old TV show could I blame that one on? What? That wasn't a TV reference? Oh, it was a bathroom joke! Ah, that's right - There are three kinds of jokes we do here at Acid Logic - 1) TV References, 2) Bathroom Jokes, and 3) . . . uh . . . I forget . . . I'll have to ask Forbis. Forbis? Oh, that reminds me! 1) TV References, 2) Bathroom Jokes, and 3) Homo Jokes. There.
Oh! "The Oblongs"! THAT'S what's worse than "The Critic"! Thanks of the email, Lovitz. Don't ever write me again.
"Now get outta here, ya nut, and go have yourself a spiritual vision!"
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org