Saturday, February 9, 2013

Family Guy Volume 9 Is A Flat-Out Disappointment.

The Good: Animation quality, DVD bonus features
The Bad: Largely not funny, No genuine character development, “Jokes” that are predictable and just gross.
The Basics: In a predictable sequence of dull plots fleshed out with at least one incest joke per episode, Family Guy Volume 9 rapidly distinguishes itself as the worst compilation of the series.

It used to be that I was right on top of Family Guy DVD releases. It’s not like now I am not on top of them because I am unable to be, either; it is because I have lost interest. I caught the episodes from the last two DVD sets in their first run on FOX, loathed them, and decided not to waste my effort on considering them. However, on Black Friday last year, my wife and I were out and the first set I had not yet added to our permanent library or reviewed was on sale for less than $10. I figured that was about the right price for me and she picked it up for the holidays. It took us until last night to get through the fourteen episodes contained therein.

Family Guy Volume 9 makes it clear that the show has jumped the shark and overstayed its welcome. Gone is the clever, edgy, often satirical lampooning of politics, pop culture and history. Instead, we get an incest joke per episode and plots that feel like they have been done before (if not on Family Guy, then on The Simpsons). More than ever before, Volume 9 of Family Guy makes the viewer feel like Family Guy is unimaginatively treading where The Simpsons (which it, admittedly, exceptionally tired now itself!) had already gone several time and in order to keep the illusion of originality up, the writers go for jokes that aren’t funny, aren’t original, and are homogenously rape or incest-related. Note to the Family Guy writers: it’s not funny. The rape and incest jokes were not funny the first dozen times you told the joke; why did you think it would suddenly become humorous the twenty-fourth through thirty-eighth times?!

So, what is in Family Guy Volume 9? This three-disc set contains fourteen episodes – one of which is double-long. This is the collection that features Peter taking over Carter Pewterschmidt’s business when his father-in-law falls into a coma, Brian tries writing a magazine article and discovers Meg is dating a convict, which results in Meg going to prison and coming out hardened and evil. Peter pretends to be psychic, is sexually harassed by his boss at the brewery, and goes in search of the origin to a particularly raunchy joke. In the meantime, Brian dates Quagmire’s post-op transgendered father, the residents of Quahog fall victim to a killer in a mansion and have to solve a whodunit, and Carter’s marriage is threatened when he has an affair, which Peter takes advantage of to blackmail him.

Outside the death of one peripheral character in “And Then There Were Fewer,” which leads to a new peripheral character filling their same role, there is no real character development in Volume 9 of Family Guy. Meg goes to prison, comes out and sodomizes Peter with a luffah on a stick in the shower, but is back to being the butt of everyone’s jokes by the end of the episode. Similarly, Stewie and Brian do not really grow or develop and Lois and Chris have remarkably little air time.

On the plus side, the animation in the episodes in this volume is incredible. Sets and many of the situations are now handled via computer animation, so there are smoother transitions, bolder designs and the show looks good. Similarly, on DVD, there are wonderful extras, like commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and multiple featurettes on each disc.

Unfortunately, the bonus features do not bring up the quality of the source material and Family Guy Volume 9 is a pretty stunning waste of time and money. Even at less than $10 on sale, it boils down to: this is a series of episodes that have not stepped beyond the bounds of good taste, they have simply stopped making us laugh. We wish, despite the many hours of enjoyment they used to bring us, they would simply stop.

For other animated works by Seth MacFarlane, please check out my reviews of:
Family Guy Volume 1
Family Guy Volume 2
Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
Family Guy: Live In Vegas
Family Guy Volume 3
Family Guy Volume 4
Family Guy Volume 5
Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest
Family Guy Volume 6
Family Guy Volume 7
Family Guy Presents Something, Something, Something Dark Side
Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy
Family Guy Volume 8
Family Guy Presents Partial Terms Of Endearment
Family Guy Presents It's A Trap!


For other television shows, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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