Review: ‘Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History’ by Frazier Moore

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History by Frazier Moore

Family Guy, is celebrating being on television since 1999. If you look it up for a basic description you get a “sick, twisted and politically incorrect animated series featuring the adventures of the Griffin family.” That’s a good place to start. It’s one of those shows that may or may not have been on your radar and, if it did catch your attention it could leave you loving it, hating it, or scratching your head. And that’s okay since that is apparently what creator Seth MacFarlane had in mind when he first conceived of the show back in college. Twenty some years later, it a good time to take stock of a pop culture icon with the release of Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History by Frazier Moore, published by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The family at rest.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind about Family Guy: this is the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, a young, talented, ambitious guy with a certain point of view with a subversive edge. If you don’t care for his idea of satire, then this show may not work for you. If you revel in his particular sense of humor, then this show may work for you without a problem. It’s one person’s vision of crossing the line. That has so much to do with what Family Guy is all about. You’re looking at an unrelenting pursuit of crossing the line, much in the same vein as South Park. In this regard, this book does a great job of presenting the ins and outs of such a journey, warts and all. It also does a fine job of providing an in depth look at how a major network animated series in put together covering ever detail from drafting a script to post-production.

The notorious un-aired abortion episode, “Partial Terms of Endearment,” from 2009.

The book’s author, Frazier Moore, makes no secret about being a superfan of the show no matter what. What makes for the most interesting section to this book is when Moore explains the controversial history of Family Guy, a mashup of kooky family TV tropes and explosive content. It is in-your-face humor and that can be quite a bumpy ride for all involved. The best case in point is the notorious abortion episode, “Partial Terms of Endearment.” The justification from Moore for a Family Guy episode on abortion is that Norman Lear wrote about it for Maude in 1972. Well, let’s just say that this justification is quite a stretch. The way Family Guy handles the subject is to have the main character, Peter Griffin, engage in a variety of acts of torture to induce his wife, Lois, to have a miscarriage. Towards the end, Peter begins to have misgivings but, at the very end, matter-of-factly, Lois has an abortion. So, yeah, not exactly Norman Lear. That said, a typical episode of Family Guy is pretty impressive and just what you can expect from a show that is upfront about its goal of being “sick, twisted and politically incorrect.” This new book honors the eight-time Emmy Award-winning show and proves to be an essential guide.

Character designs

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History is a 256-page fully illustrated hardcover, published by HarperCollins, available as of May 14, 2019. For more details, go right here.

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5 Comments

Filed under animation, Comics, Family Guy, Satire, Seth MacFarlane, Television, The Simpsons

5 responses to “Review: ‘Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History’ by Frazier Moore

  1. selizabryangmailcom

    Omg. The first thing that hit me was 1999? I had no idea Family Guy has been on that long! Thanks for making me feel REALLY OLD. 🙂
    I definitely agree–MacFarlane’s humor will be love it, hate it, or just complete confusion.Hubby and I loved it! Although recently my spouse has turned against Seth due to The Orville. He thinks he’s a terrible actor and The Orville doesn’t know what it is: comedy or drama. I’ve got to admit, I don’t enjoy Seth’s preachy captain’s persona, even if it IS mixed with humor and self-deprecation sometimes. Oh, well! Can’t win ’em all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it goes back to 1999 with a few hiccups along the way. Due to one controversy or another, it was cancelled a few times and then returned. So, some gaps there in its 20-year run.

      Like

    • The rest of your comments were cut off from me for a moment. So, as far as The Orville, as I understand it, this is MacFarlane’s sincere ode to sci-fi. Yeah, I think he’s best as a showrunner and not necessarily as an actor but kudos to him for following his passion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. selizabryangmailcom

    Oh, yeah, the Orville is his love letter to Star Trek. Some Trek fans think his show’s better than the new series Star Trek Discovery !!!

    Like

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