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Ok, I don't get it, why did 'FAMILY GUY' fail?


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#1 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 10:06 AM

I just finished watching the last of the 28 episodes on the dvd's and I cannot fathom why this show was cancelled! The show has everything that The Simpsons has and more IMO. It has it all, great writing, inspired ideas and charactors, bright and pleasing animation, all star voice talents, cutting edge wit and humor, and most importantly, is CRIMINALLY funny!

So what happened here?

I've heard that FOX kept moving it around too much on the schedual, but that can't be the only reason. Was it the racey subjects that the show sometimes touched on? If so that baffles me even more! Please tell me and help me to understand this, because from where I sit, they were damn FOOLS to cancel this sure fire hit that somehow missed. Posted Image

Seth McFarlane should seriously consider trying again, perhaps on another network like the Cartoon network (new eps, not reruns) as this show died a very premature death. Posted Image
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#2 of 34 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted April 30 2003 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
I've heard that FOX kept moving it around too much on the schedual[sic], but that can't be the only reason.
That IS the reason, coupled with the fact that in its last scheduled time slot, it was on at Thursdays @ 8 PM (ET/PT), against Friends on NBC, Survivor on CBS, and Whose Line is it Anyway on ABC. That was the death slot for FG, and would have been for most shows, as well. It has/had too much of a cult following for lack of popularity to be a major reason for its "failure."

#3 of 34 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted April 30 2003 - 10:59 AM

"It failed because it sucks!"

I'm just saying it now before the inevitable thread-farter does. Call it pre-emptive sarcastic slam.

Anyway, I think it failed for the following reasons:

1. Don't understimate shuffling the schedule. I would guess that a minority of people go out of their way to check TV schedules on-line every week for a TV show like some of us might. Especially for a non-serial comedy.

2. Some of those time-slots were vicious, specifically Thursdays at 8:00pm against Survivor and Friends.

Most important reason, IMO:

3. The type of humor is very specific. That is, I think a lot of people won't get the point of all the cutaways and flashbacks and huge suspension of reality. Plus, the emphasis on references to 70s and 80s pop culture further limits its accessibility.

The show is more akin to Dr. Katz or even South Park, where is really only appeals to a cult type of following. This kind of programming does not belong on a major network, which has to cater to as wide an audience as possible.

Family Guy belongs on Comedy Central.

#4 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 11:21 AM

I don't know about the accesibility theory, I mean i'm 30 years old and I caught just about every pop culture referrence in the show with only moderate exposure to tv in my lifetime.

One doesn't need to be an expert to get the joke with baby Stewie, if they've ever seen a Bond film they get what he's about, and what about Brian the dog, he drinks Martini's and dates human women for goodness sake, who wouldn't find that funny? Posted Image Taking into consideration the reasons given, I must say i'm still in the dark, the show is a sheer delight to watch for anyone IMO.

Just another source of pleasure that 'Survivor' has robbed from us I guess. Sorry, that's just my frustration talking, don't mind me.

Bottom line, FOX jumped the gun BIG TIME cancelling this show, it got a bum rap, they know it and we know it. Far more entertaining than any of those shows it was pitted against IMO. It has a cult following, yes that's true, but it deserved/deserves a mainstream following like The Simpsons got.

It just goes to show that most viewers wouldn't appreciate new and daring tv if it jumped up and kicked them off the island!
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#5 of 34 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted April 30 2003 - 11:53 AM

I'd say erratic scheduling, like so many Fox shows.
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#6 of 34 OFFLINE   ChadM

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Posted April 30 2003 - 11:55 AM

Too much like the Simpsons and the time shifting.

I swear if you want to watch something on Fox you have to be PROACTIVE and most people just will not try that hard and rightfully so.

Case in point if 70's show were on NBC it would outdraw Friends.

#7 of 34 OFFLINE   Jaime_Weinman

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Posted April 30 2003 - 12:04 PM

The time slot thing I think is not the biggest factor. I mean, King of the Hill and even The Simpsons managed to survive some truly crippling time slot changes. Family Guy was just never a real hit, in any time slot. It had a cult following that makes it a hit on DVD, but a show on network TV needs more than a cult following to make it successful.

I think the biggest factor is the show's basic lack of a) Story and b) Characters. Most episodes told very simple -- hell, almost nonexistent -- stories, constantly interrupted by a stream of cutaways, flashbacks, fantasy sequences, etc. And the character development was pretty minimal. In general, sitcoms that succeed (and this includes animated sitcoms) are the ones that offer characters that the audience cares about. I know it sounds sappy, but it's true. That's why The Simpsons was an instant hit, because people liked Homer and Bart and the rest. That's why King of the Hill -- which FG co-creator David Zuckerman wrote for -- was a big hit in its first season, because people liked Hank and Bobby and so on. But the Family Guy characters didn't really have that kind of resonance, because they were basically props to hang gags on, and many of them were frankly reminiscent of other characters on other shows (not just Peter's resemblance to Homer, but Stewie was in many ways too similar to Brain on Pinky and the Brain -- which was a better show anyway).

I may have liked some of the jokes but I just didn't give a damn about these people, and felt no inclination to find out what would happen to them at the end of the half-hour. And I don't think large segments of the public felt any such inclination either. It doesn't mean the show has to be sappy (Seinfeld had no hugging or learning, but I sure cared about Jerry and George even if I didn't always like them).

EDIT: Oh, I'm not saying you have to care about the characters to enjoy a show. But we are talking about why the show didn't become a mainstream hit, and I think that's why -- not enough people cared to find out what would become of these people.

#8 of 34 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted April 30 2003 - 12:31 PM

Quote:
I mean i'm 30 years old and I caught just about every pop culture referrence in the show with only moderate exposure to tv in my lifetime.


I would say 30 yrs old is the perfect age to get the jokes. And know matter how much TV you watched, everyone of that age remembers Family Ties and Three's Company.

Heck, I miss a ton of references, but there's always another one around the corner to make me laugh if that happens.


Jaime, I think you're right about the characters. They are just props for jokes. For me, that's what I like about it- on ongoing series of great gags. There are already other shows in which I care about what happens to the characters. Posted Image

#9 of 34 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted April 30 2003 - 12:52 PM

I don't know specifically why it failed, but I love the fact that many TV shows that are considered failures by nteworks can pull in as many as 4 million viewers a week. There are some feature films that would kill for that size of an audience in it's entire run.

Acutally, I'll make a guess as to why it failed. Networks don't want moderate hits anymore--it has to be a home run to stay on the air.

#10 of 34 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted April 30 2003 - 01:11 PM

Most episodes told very simple -- hell, almost nonexistent -- stories, constantly interrupted by a stream of cutaways, flashbacks, fantasy sequences, etc.

That structure also helped to kill another very funny animated show, The Critic. Wonder where *that* DVD is?

I know I stopped watching FG because I never knew when it was on.
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#11 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 01:33 PM

Let's just say that I whole heartedly disagree about not caring about the charactors. I grew quite attached to them through the duration of these dvd's. Each and every charactor on the show had their own unique personality that came through loud and clear to me.

Since when is that a factor anyway? Seinfeld was full of sarcastic and unlovable people that just made you laugh, and that's the same thing here, caring about the charactors is not a factor IMO as long as the show is funny.
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#12 of 34 OFFLINE   Jaime_Weinman

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Posted April 30 2003 - 01:37 PM

Quote:
Since when is that a factor anyway? Seinfeld was full of sarcastic and unlovable people that just made you laugh, and that's the same thing here, caring about the charactors is not a factor IMO as long as the show is funny.

That's a myth. Seinfeld had characters that viewers cared about. They were flawed and selfish but they were still worth caring about in spite of (or perhaps because of) their flaws, and audiences rooted for them. The problem with Family Guy is that there was so much time spent on gags that there was little time to develop the characters beyond basic sitcom stereotypes. A sitcom that sacrifices some gags for character development is more likely to succeed than one that sacrifices character development for extra gags. Because it's the characters that keep people tuning in week after week.

#13 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 01:42 PM

Yes, but as I said, the show did that in my eyes. I saw nothing that differed this show from either 'TS' or 'KotH' structurally speaking. Watch the show from beginning to end and tell me that one doesn't grow fond of the Griffin family. I did.

And to give you the benifit of the doubt, let's just say that this was a deciding factor in the shows downfall, I think it's reasonably safe to say that the show had enormous promise, if this was a problem, retool and rework the charactors, don't just throw in the towel like FOX did. It's almost as if they were trying to kill it. From what I understand, the show had a fanbase, one that might have kept the show alive, but FOX kept moving the show around on them which isn't fair to both the show or the people who loved it and wanted to see it each week.

They treated a first class show like second rate crap.
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#14 of 34 OFFLINE   MickeS

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:04 PM

I watched it when it started, didn't find it very funny. Rather crude and derivative humour. Maybe other people felt the same way. This is not a thread-fart, just an answer to the question. Posted Image

Of course, the time slot didn't help either.
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#15 of 34 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:07 PM

It looks like the Fox website for the show is still active, though it hasn't been updated in quite a while.
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#16 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:15 PM

Let me throw this out their too, is it possible that FOX was actually afraid of the show? The show did some pretty outlandish things that dealt with sex, alchoholism you name it, maybe FOX got cold feet which would explain their apparant eagerness to get rid of it quick and quiet.

Curious that the site is still up over there too. Further evidence that they know they were onto something special with the show and people are still interested.
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#17 of 34 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:21 PM

Let me throw this out their too, is it possible that FOX was actually afraid of the show?

Fox? The network of "Married with Children" and "When Married Hillbilly Cousins Attack"? They seem to be pretty comfortable pushing the envelope.
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#18 of 34 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:26 PM

Yeah, it was just a thought that occured to me. But I never saw Bud Bundy plotting to kill his own mother on a near constant basis with knives, darts and death rays either. Posted Image
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#19 of 34 OFFLINE   Neil M

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Posted April 30 2003 - 02:57 PM

I watched this show occasionally when it was on Fox but am now watching it on Cartoon Network every night. The last few episodes they've shown were not that great. In fact, they were pretty bad. Most of this season's Simpsons episodes were much more funny than these episodes. Don't get me wrong...some of Family Guy's episodes are a half hour of perfection. I think for a show like this to survive, it needs to be consistent in its first few seasons and I don't think Family Guy is a very consistent show. It has the charm, but not enough of it to survive the likes of the Simpsons and South Park....which it was inevitably compared to. Just my opinion though. The time slot didn't help either.

#20 of 34 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted April 30 2003 - 03:25 PM

I never much liked the show. I thought it was too mean-spirited at times to laugh at it, and I agree about the character thing. Stewie was really the only good thing about the show, since it was the only really well defined character in the show. Also, in comparison with the other animated sitcoms that Fox had, they were saturated and "The Family Guy" was the weakest of the bunch.

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