With the Griffins returning this coming Sunday on FOX for their milestone fourteenth season, I think it's time we finally take a long, hard look at the animated series that's spanned a decade, become a pop culture phenomenon, and survived cancellation. After fourteen long years, we must finally ask ourselves, "Is it time to let them go for good?"
Family Guy has been a major part of American television and culture for the last decade and a half. In that time, we have seen the adventures of the dysfunctional Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Brian, and Stewie Griffin transgress across all boundaries and bypass any limitations of political correctness, way before Donald Trump made it a thing. But after all this time, is the show still as fun to watch as it was back in 2000? 2006? even 2009? I'm not so sure. Having been an avid watcher for many years now, I find myself looking less and less forward to FOX's former Sunday animation domination, largely in part to the schtick of the Griffin family that is really past it's prime and bordering on sheer stupidity (without the laughs).
One of the major problems surrounding the show is that they've lost that ability to conclude the episodes with a heartwarming sensation felt by the audience. Shows like Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons, though not as brash or exploitive, have since garnered stronger reception due to the fact that lessons are learned and in the end, people can walk away from the episode feeling satisfied and excited for next Sunday. This is not the case with Family Guy. At the end of each week, instead of being overwhelmed with excitement, faithful fans instead shrug and hope that it'll be better next week.
Speaking of FOX shows that have gone on too long, The Simpsons return for their twenty-seventh season on the same night. The lengths I would have to go to explain why their end is long overdue could not possibly fit in the same article, it's best left for another time.
Personally, it seems to me that more effort to get laughs is being put towards Seth MacFarlane's former FOX animated comedy, American Dad, now running new episodes on TBS. Comparing the two shows, one could easily notice just how much effort is being pulled from the elder series and put into this one. Many fans have found that to be true, often advocating their new love for characters like Roger, Stan, and Francine over Stewie, Peter, and Lois.
It seems to be a habit of FOX to cancel the smart comedies, such as the case with Futurama and the original run of Family Guy, and keep whatever appeals best to the lowest of intellect. I mean, could it be that MacFarlane and his crew have given up on trying to make Family Guy worth more than a perverted chuckle because of FOX? Or is it that he simply just doesn't care anymore? In more recent years, he has expressed his desire for the series to come to an end, possibly finish it off with a film adaptation.
Well, whatever you do, Seth, do it well like you did with Ted and Ted 2.
In the end, it comes down to whatever FOX wants to do. And with the success they've had with Family Guy in its current state, it won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe MacFarlane and his team will surprise us, but for those of us who have been waiting for that surprise for eleven years, we find it to be highly unlikely.