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Family Guy : Volume Three (2005) (seth green mention)

Saturday 17 December 2005, by Webmaster

Peter: Everybody, I’ve got bad news. We’ve been cancelled.

Lois: Oh, no, Peter. How could they do that?

Peter: Well, unfortunately Lois, there’s just no more room on the schedule. We’ve just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That ’80s Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky Links, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, and Greg the Bunny.

Lois: Is there no hope?

Peter: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes we might have a shot. - (Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein)

Review By: Rich Rosell

Published: December 14, 2005

Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis Other Stars: Mike Henry, Wally Wingert, Phil LaMarr, Nicole Sullivan, Drew Barrymore, Gary Cole, Rachel MacFarlane, Judd Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Adam West, Tara Strong, Gene Simmons, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Warburton, Randy Savage, Danny Smith, Cloris Leachman, Gilbert Gottfried, Nancy Cartwright, Jessica Biel, Ray Romano, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Gabrielle Union, Patrick Stewart, James Woods, Adam Carolla, Jenna Von Oy Director: Kurt Dumas, Sarah Frost, James Purdum, Chuck Klein, Zac Moncrief, Peter Shin, Pete Michels, Seth Kearsley, Dan Povenmire, Greg Colton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mature humor and language)

Run Time: 05h:20m:00s

Release Date: November 29, 2005

UPC: 024543212959

Genre: television

It is fairly rare a television series that gets cancelled is brought back to life. Sure, it has happened on occasion, more so in recent years it seems, but it is even more unusual when the revived series is as strong or stronger than its original incarnation.

Fox, the apparent exalted high kings of premature cancellations of quality programming, took the ax to the politically incorrect animated series Family Guy in 2002 after three seasons, much to the chagrin of the unimaginably faithful fan base. The high volume sales for the DVD releases of the series led the charge for its eventual triumphant return in May of 2005, and as this fourth season proved right away, any concerns about the show’s volatile comedic approach losing any of its biting edge in the era following the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction were thankfully unwarranted.

Creator Seth MacFarlane-who also does many of character voices for the series-avoided any semblance of becoming politically correct from the outset. The result had storylines once again broaching potentially taboo subjects-especially for an animated series-such as Peter embracing his newly diagnosed mental retardation that gives him newfound freedom to do whatever he wants (Petarded) or an interracial neighborhood affair between "giggidy" guy Quagmire and Loretta (The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire). MacFarlane and the writing staff embrace the concept of the gag that runs too long, taking a quick joke and turning it into something awkwardly overdone; as a repetitious punchline or sight gag gets beat down hard, it then becomes funny to see how long it can be stretched out, like the a capella singing group, The Four Peters, who opens the Model Misbehavior episode or any of the Stewie/Brian conversations that meander and loop back on themselves.

The premise hasn’t changed at all for this fourth season, with the series still set in the fictitious town of Quahog, Rhode Island centering around the dysfunctional Griffin family. Peter (voiced by MacFarlane), he of the testicle-shaped chin, is the rotund head-of-the-household, and his wife Lois (voiced by Mad TV’s Alex Borstein) is often times the only sane voice to be heard, though in the episode Model Behavior she does go off the pill-popping deep end when her modeling career takes off. Their two angst-ridden teenaged children are Chris (voiced by Seth Green), the chubby introverted artist wannabe, and Meg (voiced by Mila Kunis), the lonely president of the Quahog chapter of the Luke Perry Fan Club who is continually mistreated by Peter, an example of yet another un-PC recurring gag. Stewie (also voiced by MacFarlane) is the Griffin’s one-year-old son, and he is constantly planning violent upheaval; it’s never made entirely clear whether Stewie, who speaks like Sideshow Bob’s well-heeled sibling, can actually be heard by anyone else in his family, but that is one of the show’s recurring unexplained gags. Lastly, the Griffin household is completed by Brian the dog (MacFarlane again), a martini-sipping alum of Brown University who, like Stewie, can talk.

As before, there are pop culture references galore and plenty of "That was like the time..." flashback moments, with some hitting their mark better than others. But it is the quantity approach that works so well here, with the surreal and bizarre factor always lurking around in each scene, so much so that it is generally impossible to predict where a given storyline will go. In a weird "be careful what you wish for" paradox, purists have vocally criticized this second coming of Family Guy on message boards all over the Internet-and I guess I see some of the arguments about a reliance on nonsensical sight gags-but those complaints generally seem like overanalysis of an animated series that is continually daring and unpredictable.

There have always been fan-based comparisons for different components of pop culture. Ginger or Mary-Ann? Betty or Veronica? Angel or Spike? Mulder or Scully? Dick York or Dick Sargent? The Simpsons or Family Guy? Now, I have always been a diehard Simpsons fan, and as much as I love the first three seasons of Family Guy, it never managed to come close to challenging the title. I did have a weird epiphany, however, halfway through the airing of Family Guy’s fourth season, when my daughter asked me which show I found myself looking forward to more each week.

Was it The Simpsons or Family Guy?

Somehow I felt like a traitor to Homer, but I had to admit it was Family Guy. Say it proud, baby.

Rating for Style: B+

Rating for Substance: A-