Sunday, March 10, 2013

Family Guy Volume 10 Continues The Disappointment!

The Good: Some amusing allusions, Great animation
The Bad: Not terribly funny, Bland plots, Dull sense of characters, Only one truly funny joke the entire boxed set.
The Basics: Family Guy Volume 10 is a collection of fourteen episodes that continue to illustrate just how far the series has fallen.

I was, for the longest time, a fan of Family Guy; I was thrilled when it was brought back on the air and I kept watching it even after the last of their Star Wars parodies fell flat. I never truly got into American Dad! and The Cleveland Show struck out even faster for me, but I generally enjoyed Family Guy until the point where it seemed like there was some form of directive from Seth MacFarlane that each episode would contain at least one incest joke and that wore thin ridiculously fast for me.

Family Guy Volume 10 comes after that point and the show has truly jumped the shark. More than in any prior DVD set, I found myself not laughing and the stories to be truly derivative. In fact, episodes in this set like “Baby, You Knock Me Out” seem like they are taken directly from The Simpsons. There was truly only one sequence in the three-disc set that led me to laugh; a (mostly) live-action sequence wherein Bill Maher calls out Brian on being a fraud.

In this boxed set of Family Guy, episodes tell the story of Peter, Joe and Quagmire’s escalating Halloween pranks on one another and Meg and Chris’s first big high school party (where they grossly end up making out together). Lois channels her anger into foxy boxing and Brian writes a self-help book that makes him a best-selling author, at the cost of the respect of the people he actually cares about. This is the set that includes the stories of Stewie and Brian’s journey to the North Pole to meet Santa and Peter needing a kidney transplant, which threatens to be the end of Brian.

Joyce Kinney’s backstory is explored when she outs Lois’s past . . . as a one-time porn actress! Peter and Brian join Alcoholics Anonymous, but get all the drunks in Quaohog off the wagon. Chris makes a new friend, in the form of an old man who Herbert believes is an old Nazi he was once captured by. Meg develops an unhealthy infatuation with Joe, Chris and Meg swap places with Peter and Lois and discover being adults is easier for them than being kids, and Quagmire and Brian war with one another over their lost loves: Cheryl Tiegs and Jillian. Lois’s sister gets engaged to Mayor Adam West, Bertram returns to kill Stewie (inadvertently destroying the universe), and Lois has to try to stop Bonnie from having an affair in France while Peter home schools Meg and Chris.

The jokes in Family Guy hit few and far between. After gross-out jokes like Meg and Chris making out in the closet at a party and then being proud about it, the show only effectively hits with live-action gags like Brian appearing on Bill Maher and Lois and Bonnie appearing as Muppet-style puppets for a sequence.

As a largely episodic show, there are few episodes that have real consequences past the episode that is currently on. There remain some ramifications from the prior set’s murder mystery episode – Joyce Kinney’s presence and the absence of Jillian’s husband and Muriel Goldman – but there is no real character development. Peter home schooling the kids seems familiar to loyal viewers because Lois taught them in a prior season, yet that is not referenced in that episode.

The animation in this season is exceptional; the CG animation looks great on HD televisions. On DVD, there are numerous commentary tracks, but (like the episodes) none of them really rock the way some of the earlier ones did. Instead, this is a boxed set that illustrates that the shark has been firmly jumped with Family Guy and it is hard to remain a fan at this point.

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!
Family Guy Volume 9


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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