TV’s greatest visionary, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, just dropped a new album, because voicing half the characters in three shows didn’t provide him with enough opportunities to hear his own voice. Fans of Family Guy‘s excruciatingly long musical parodies will especially love this vanity project, which features MacFarlane putting on his best Sinatra impression to croon long-forgotten showtunes. TheWrap reviewer Chris Willman says it’s “not terrible” and “nearly unmockable,” but calls MacFarlane’s voice “generic.”
So now the Family Guy guy has a big-band album, and the South Park dudes have a hit Broadway musical. What’s next, an opera penned by Mike Judge??? Face it America, your bad boy purveyors of crude cartoon filth are actually just a bunch of band geeks. [TheWrap]
Okay, listen up people. We all know The Simpsons can’t go on forever. Yes, it’s been on the air for a fifth of a century. Yes, we’re almost at the point where The Bad Episodes constitute two-thirds of the series. But it has to end at some point. Now, the smart money is on the show wrapping things up when Year 25 rolls around. But Fox can’t just cut and run; the network needs an exit strategy to take care of the gaping hole in its formidable Animation Domination programming block The Simpsons would leave behind. Luckily, the executives have thought ahead and ordered a whole bunch of animated series – some of which is already airing, some of which will probably get cancelled after a couple episodes, and some that probably already died in utero. Just for funsies, let’s pretend it’s a big Sport Game with brackets and stuff, which I have helpfully diagrammed below:
As you can see, these cartoon sitcoms are locked into a NO HOLDS BARRED BATTLE TO THE DEATH. Only one show can take over the coverted 8pm Sundays timeslot sweetspot The Simpsons currently occupies. Or, actually, maybe one can take it over for a little bit, then be replaced in mid-season by another one. Who knows. Let’s take a closer look at the competitors…
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The inexplicably beloved Hanna-Barbera franchise The Flintstones, which holds the dubious distinction of being the first cartoon sitcom, is being reinvented for today’s audiences by Seth MacFarlane, the auteur behind 90% of today’s cartoon sitcoms, including Family Guy and Family Guy Spinoff. Remaking a boring Honeymooners rip-off from half a century ago that nobody actually likes, except maybe nostalgia-blinded baby boomers? Check. Another goddamned Seth MacFarlane show greenlit by Fox, despite their ridiculous insistence that their strategy is not “all Seth, all the time?” Check. This is the state of television in 2011. [Deadline.com]
Lately, Fox has been taking a huge gamble by ordering a bunch of cartoons that weren’t made by Seth MacFarlane – including a Napoleon Dynamite show, a Jonah Hill show, and a Jack Black show – and then chucking them into the lions’ den to see who makes it out alive, in the hopes that one day they might have a show with decent-enough ratings to ensure the survival of Animation Domination in a post-Simpsons, post-Family Guy future.
Surprising everybody, the enjoyable Bob’s Burgers has managed to make it out alive with all the lioncrystals, and has been handsomely rewarded with a second season, thus ensuring Bob will live to burg another day. This means people on the internet can now transition from “TOO BAD FOX WILL CANCEL IT JUST LIKE FIREFLY & FREAKYLINKS “ to accusations of shark-jumping.
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On November 8th, The Simpsons will be replaced by an episode of Family Guy, which will then be followed by a 30-minute “variety special” starring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and featuring integrated advertisements for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. [Variety via A.V. Club]
Newsarama tried to stealthily ask showrunner Al Jean why he’s been showrunner for the past nine years, and he answered that the writers haven’t been getting offers to work on other comedies and that comedy might finally be back on the upswing. I guess all those Judd Apatow-produced movies and animated comedies (some of them not created by Seth MacFarlane) and single-camera sitcoms like Arrested Development and The Office that have popped up in the past couple of years were actually part of a downswing?
Nrama: But haven’t you always had a philosophy of keeping the writers rotating? It kept new blood flowing.
Jean: Well, it was never a philosophy. There were two dynamics at work. In the 1990’s, there were a lot of comedies on the air. People who were on ‘The Simpsons’ got all these offers to work elsewhere. So they would leave, often to head their own projects. So we’d replace them.
This decade, unfortunately, comedy has not been doing so well. If people are doing a good job, then I keep them. So it doesn’t rotate as much. Still, I’m encouraged by this year’s ratings. Comedy might be back on the upswing. ‘American Family’ has started off really well.
Sit Down, Shut Up, the recently-premiered TV cartoon on the Fox Network created by the creator of Arrested Development and produced by one half of the former Josh Weinstein/Bill Oakley Simpsons showrunning superteam, was pretty much cancelled (TV channels never actually say the word “cancellation” because it is like saying Voldemort, basically) in order to make room for the upcoming Family Guy spin-off about the black guy, which was picked up for a second season even though it hasn’t even aired yet. Yes, the first episode of Sit Down, Shut Up (or SitShut, as those in the ‘biz call it) was real bad, but it was getting better, yes/maybe/kinda?? Anyway, doesn’t Seth MacFarlane already have enough cartoon shows, and also the whole Spawn thing? “Simpsons Spinoff Showcase” is becoming true except for Family Guy because nobody in the world watches The Simpsons anymore, and even less people are watching the new shows [SFGate]
Simpsons creator Matt Groening has always enjoyed a favorable relationship with the press. Serving as a sort-of go-to cultural commentator, the head of Fox’s billion-dollar cartoon franchise is often quoted on everything from animation to music to high school to Olympic mascots. These days, however, he is often asked to comment on Fox’s other billion-dollar cartoon franchise, Family Guy. In a Wall Street Journal article about Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, MacFarlane’s contemporary is relegated to a handful of sentences, including a paragraph which curiously reads like a line from a Fox press release:
Cartoonist Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” says, “He’s laid the groundwork with this smash hit show and now, with new media opening up and Seth’s specific kind of rapid-fire visual humor, how to exploit it just depends on how ambitious he wants to be.”
Given that Fox and the Journal are corporate siblings, could this be another sign of The Simpsons‘s diminishing stature in the eyes of Fox executives? [Wall Street Journal]
A critic at a Television Critics Association panel asked a panel of nine FOX animated show producers why they’re so white:
A critic gets a laugh by starting a question with,”Here’s a question for the women and people of color up there” (there are none) … and asks about the lack of diversity in the genre.
[Family Guy creator Seth] MacFarlane: “There’s something about the medium of animation that it’s male dominated … might also have something to do with the demographics of animation also skewing male.”
[The Live Feed]