Friday, May 15, 2009
Family Guy: A Crude Reality
Family Guy: A Crude Reality: No cartoon series has had a bigger impact on the world of cable television than Family Guy. Sure, there are other cartoon shows like South Park and The Simpsons, but Family Guy currently airs on as many as four channels during the week. In 2008, creator of the series, Seth MacFarlane, became the highest paid television writer in history after signing a four-year, $100-million contract with FOX. Given Family Guy's liberal slant, Rupert Murdoch, current Chairman and CEO of News Corporation (owner of the FOX network), clearly put business over politics. Part of what makes the show popular is its controversial depiction of middle-class family life. Nothing in American culture, especially Christianity and conservatism, is safe from the sarcastic commentary that arises from characters on the show. In fact, the show frequently uses cutaway gags and tangential vignettes to illustrate certain points. Another common feature of Family Guy involves the blatant self-awareness of characters who know that they are on television. Otherwise known as metahumor or "breaking the fourth wall," such a tactic merely enhances the comedic response from viewers.