"FAMILY GUY: VOLUME FOUR"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
Seth MacFarlane as PETER GRIFFIN
Seth MacFarlane as STEWIE GRIFFIN
Seth MacFarlane as BRIAN GRIFFIN
Alex Bornstein as LOIS GRIFFIN
Seth Green as CHRIS GRIFFIN
Mila Kunis as MEG GRIFFIN
Created by: Seth MacFarlane
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Unlike some people, I had never seen “Family Guy” until the fourth season landed on my doorstep for review. Before watching this, I had only seen Seth MacFarlane’s “American Dad!,” which I found to be one of the funniest shows on television.
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After checking out the episodes of “Family Guy,” I will say that it’s not as funny to me as “American Dad!,” but it is still pretty darn funny.
Season Four of the show comes after the series was canceled twice by the FOX network and subsequently resurrected due to overwhelming fan support. With this kind of history, it’s clear that the show has a feeling of immortality. This actually contributes to some of the funniest television writing out there. After all, if they can be canceled twice but still be on the air, the writers can practically do anything.
The show follows the Griffin family in the quaint little town of Quahog, Rhode Island. Like its predecessor “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” has a relatively normal American family filled with utter dysfunction. Like other MacFarlane fare, reality is breached even more than traditional animated sit-coms by having a talking dog named Brian and an intellectually superior baby named Stewie.
Season Four starts off firing with both barrels. It challenges the concepts of censorship and decency standards on television. No subject is too taboo for the folks on this show, and that’s what makes it funny. The brilliant thing about MacFarlane and his writers is that they manage to take the crass and obnoxious and throw some intelligence behind it.
“Family Guy” is deftly written, refusing to just garner a laugh from a simple fart noise or sex joke. Rather, each use of profanity or offensive device is backed up by a solid joke of funny event. It also doesn’t rely solely on the offensive to make a laugh. There are plenty of clean jokes that are funny, too, but you really don’t hear about them from the press.
“Family Guy” gets its strength by not being politically correct. It’s one of the first television shows to openly buck the politically correct bandwagon. Like “American Dad!,” this show calls things as it sees them, and both sides of the political aisle are fair game.
In its fourth season, it’s a funny show. Topics of the episodes include everything from discrimination of fat people to organized religion, artificial insemination to sexual indiscretions with a politician, and from erotic novels to gay teenagers and dogs.
Volume Four of “Family Guy” comes loaded with special features. There are more than 40 deleted scenes from the season as well as commentary tracks on every episode. Several featurettes populate the bonus menu, including a hilarious walk-though of the studio with Adam West.
It seems to be that traditional cell animation is having the strongest impact on adults. Even though “The Simpsons” has now been embraced as a family show, it’s still loaded with adult humor. Disney can have the kiddies. With “Family Guy” and “American Dad!” in the line-up, FOX stands as the bastion of adult-centered cartoons.
Specifications: Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. Fullscreen (1.33:1). French and Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.