Family Guy, former Hanna Barbera animator Seth MacFarlane’s not-just-for-kiddies, cutting-edge humor cartoon that virtually rose from a cartoon drawn in his kitchen to television dead meat to DVD sales bonanza to a $1 billion franchise and now one of the TV’s biggest comedy hits, is now campaigning hard to win the Best Comedy Award at the Emmys.

Here’s the cartoon’s highly viewed Emmy campaign cartoon clip, which cannot be confused with Huckleberry Hound of the 60s:

TV Envy gives a bit of background:

Family Guy’s Emmy clip, which dubs in new sound over footage from an episode, is already a classic. This is truly a great award campaign, though the animated comedy hardly lacks for accolades. Family Guy has been nominated in several different Emmy categories ten times, winning three.

The 2009 nomination marks the first time the series has been up for Outstanding Comedy Series, a significant achievement. The last animated series to receive the same recognition was The Flintstones.

When Family Guy debuted on Fox on Jan. 31, 1999 in Fox it was blasted by some maintream TV critics as being crude and not half as good a cartoon as The Simplsons. It didn’t last too long but DVD sales of the vanished show went rhrough the roof and it eventually made its way back to Fox, where it is a solid hit…as it remains on DVDs as well.

The Flintstones was the first TV animated situation comedy aiming at an adult audience. It was firmly grounded in the culture of television sitcoms — a virtual copy in many ways of a show that had gone off the air a few earlier, Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners. Fred looked like Gleason’s Ralph. Alice looked like Ralph’s wife Alice. Mel Blanc who voiced The Flintstone’s Barney Rubble (who looked nothing like anyone on The Honeymooners) reportedly resisted some suggestions that he do a voice similar to The Honeymooner’s Art Carney. Some episodes even had a laugh track inserted by ABC (so did that mean the audience sat there as each frame of the cartoon was inserted onto the film?).

Family Guy also reflects the times with humor more akin to what teen and adult audiences watch today — a much edgier, unPC humor that would have been rated R in the 60s or 70s. MacFarlane’s recent $100 million deal with Fox has made him the highest-paid television writer and producer in history. A future episode will feature Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh (yes, the real ones). it can often push the envelope and be highly controversial, although it has on occasion been slapped down by the network:

Several weeks after “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane announced that the Fox network refuses to air an abortion-themed episode — on a series best known for combining controversial topics with off-color jokes — the puzzle remained: How offensive could it possibly be?

“It’s not as bad as you think,” MacFarlane promised a group of reporters and TV Academy members Wednesday night at the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood, right before he and his cast members, including Mila Kunis and Alex Borstein, launched into a live table reading of what he called the “infamous abortion episode.”

There’s been a mystique surrounding MacFarlane’s unaired opus — that it would violate taste boundaries that even Fox, which once let loose “Osbournes: Reloaded” and “Temptation Island,” had never dared to cross. But MacFarlane’s shrugging assessment proved largely on the mark. Only a few jokes, all very much unprintable, caused audible gasps and demonstrated the episode is not TV-safe.

Otherwise, the crowd laughed, applauded and groaned in all the predictable “Family Guy” places. Cases in point: Peter asking a couple unable to conceive, “Which one of you has something horribly wrong with you?”; an antiabortion advertisement implying that if abortion didn’t exist, the Three Stooges might have found a fourth; and some Hitler and Osama bin Laden attention-getters.

Here are some You Tubes of the “live” performance (WARNING: some adult material):

Here’s McFarlane talking about that episode (which Fox is allowing to be produced for DVD release) and his show:

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • family guy is a wonderful tv show