The Family Guy - Seasons 1 & 2
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Peter Griffin is one of the dumbest guys in the world and that definitely makes him the dumbest guy in Quahog, Rhode Island. Quahog is the setting for FAMILY GUY, a hilarious cartoon about a dumb fat guy, his adorable wife Lois, their dimwitted son Chris, their insecure daughter Meg, an alcoholic dog and a really weird one-year old kid named Stewie who's bent on world domination but who'll settle on annihilating his whole family.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Reminiscent of the glory days of THE SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY is a hilarious, intelligent cartoon about a working class family trying to make the best of what they have. Based less on storylines than on quick, non-stop laughs, you can miss out on some great gags by simply blinking. The premise itself is pretty basic: Peter is a blue-collar schmuck with a wife who's infinitely smarter than him and a pair of quirky kids, but what sets the show apart is the unlikely duo of Brian (the talking, oiled-up dog) and the psychopathic baby Stewie. Brian is a dog who walks on two legs and who sips martinis while dispensing advice to his stupid master and Stewie, is a 1-year old, bitter about that rueful day where he was forcefully removed from the comfort of his mother's womb. His solution? To claim revenge against the world and in particular, to destroy his mother. The fact that he has a British accent and that he's super-intelligent help in making him one of the funniest and most unexpected characters on TV.
Everything that's usually funny in cartoons is funnier here. The characters look funny (note the football-shaped head on the kid), the voices are funny (note the gurgling Chris voiced by Seth Green) and the hijinks are zanier (note anything that happens to Peter). It's also worth mentioning that much like Brian, I also have a strange attraction to Lois who's quite the foxy mom. This is basically a high-quality cartoon and although many of the storylines are ones you've already seen in THE SIMPSONS or other "adult" cartoons, there's just something about this family that will constantly crack you up. Worth watching if only for watching a rugby-ball shaped kid saying stuff to his mom like "Damn you vile woman, you've impeded my work since the day I escaped your vile womb!". Damn you... DAMN YOU ALL!!!!
I'm not sure why this show never had more success. My theory to this day is that many of the gags appear to be really straightforward, but have a subtler edge to them that will make the attentive watcher wet his pants while the casual one may get nothing but a quick snicker out of it. Also, like most shows starring irreparably stupid people, it parodies slices of life in a way much more intelligent than most would expect and also makes tons of obscure references to pop-culture. That makes it great for DVD since the episodes definitely retain a lot of rewatch value. You simply can't catch all the funny parts in one viewing. If you don't want to think too much though, there's plenty more low-brow stuff that will hold you up until that magical day where it all falls into place as well.
The main nacho here (or taco if you prefer), is a set of audio commentaries with creator Seth MacFarlane, Executive Producer David Zuckerman and various cast members. They appear on certain episodes as I've indicated in the table above. While they do provide some laughs and some info, they're filled with long silences during which you're basically just watching the show. For some reason though, they always get worked up right before the punch lines and talk over them which is pretty infuriating considering how much I got into some of the jokes. Not a bad thing to have overall though as they do say some interesting stuff.
The set also provides a quick, four-minute long, studio-made behind-the-scenes featurette in which you get some background on the show and the voice artists as well as a few internet promo spots.
I had a definite blast watching this and seeing as it was a huge disappointment to me when the show was cancelled, I was elated to see it appear on DVD. High rewatch value and some hilarious episodes make it a worthwhile purchase and even though the set isn't necessarily packed with goodies, you get all you need out of the show itself. If you like funny stuff, you will like this.