Meet the Griffins. Peter is a guy who acts on impulse, and his wife Lois is forced to clean up his messes, Meg just wants to live the normal life of a teen while her brother Chris is a little slow. Stewie is intent to take over the world as their dog Brian watches it all unfold. At the end of the day however, they are all family.
Family Guy—Season 1 aired from January 31, 1999 to May 16, 1999 on FOX after premiering after Super Bowl XXXIII. The series received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Family Guy—Season 1 and Family Guy—Season 2 are generally packaged together as Family Guy—Volume 1.
To start off I must come clean…I don’t like Family Guy. As a comedy, it is generally bereft of laughs and what laughs the show does have are easy lobs that are set for a big smash. I saw part of Season 1 while on the air and rewatching Season 1, I continue to hold this opinion.
I will not say I don’t occasionally chuckle or laugh during an episode of Family Guy…but it is twenty five minutes to get a single chuckle. The show tries too hard and just inserts a South Park joke into a script they stole from The Simpsons. The show is disjointed and doesn’t flow. If you took out all the fantasies that pad the show’s time, Family Guy would probably only hold five minutes of story.
The second problem with the show is that there is no one likable in the cast. The voice actors for all the characters are annoying and Peter and Lois are virtual rip-offs of Homer and Marge. Meg is the quintessential teen to a fault and Chris’ character could have just been bumped off and no one would have noticed. People love Brian and his smooth talking, but it just all feels like a whitewash of good adult cartoons. The breakout character of Stewie is simply Sideshow Bob or the Brain from Pinky and the Brain without the fun of Pinky.
I also am not a fan of the art for Family Guy. It is very similar to The Simpsons but with “more realism” in that the characters are more human looking. Part of the joy of The Simpsons or South Park is that the bad animation creates a fantasy world that makes sense and in turn elevations the animation. Family Guy just looks like cheap animation.
I can’t give Family Guy a completely awful review because much worse things exist on television but much better shows also exist. In “A Hero Sits Next Door”, the characters make fun of laugh tracks for a moment, but that is what the whole show feels like…punchy jokes with pauses for laughter, and if only one of twenty jokes hits the mark, it is a failure in my opinion. This is the first season of the series and perhaps it does get better…I just don’t think I can tolerate reaching a slightly higher plateau.
Family Guy—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 Death Has a Shadow Airdate: 01/31/99
After a bachelor party night out on the town, Peter goes to work hung-over…leading to his being fired. When he decides to hide the truth from Lois, he finds his problems might be solved when his welfare check is accidentally $150,000 a month but even Peter can keep the lies up for something that big.
1.2 I Never Met the Dead Man Airdate: 04/11/99
When Peter runs into the satellite dish, he destroys the area’s television signal. Bribing Meg to take the blame with the offer of a convertible, Peter begins to lose touch with reality without television. Stewie sets out to destroy his mortal enemy: broccoli!
1.3 Chitty Chitty Death Bang Airdate: 04/18/99
Stewie’s first birthday has arrived, and Peter has messed it up by missing on booking the best party venue. As Peter tries to fix his mistake, Meg finds herself with a new best friend…who might have a secret of her own.
1.4 Mind Over Murder Airdate: 04/25/99
Peter is under house arrest for punching a pregnant woman at Chris’ soccer game and decides to build a bar…accidentally leading to Lois’ dream as a singer. Stewie works to construct a time machine to get past teething.
1.5 A Hero Sits Next Door Airdate: 05/02/99
The Griffins have a new neighbors, but Peter finds that Joe Swanson is in a wheelchair. When Joe proves to be a hero, Peter gets jealous and tries to prove that he’s a hero too. Stewie tries to unlock the power of Joe’s wheelchair.
1.6 The Son Also Draws Airdate: 05/09/99
Chris is kicked out of Boy Scouts, and Peter sets off to New York City with the family to get him back in whether Chris wants it or not. When Lois loses the family car at an Indian casino, Peter and Chris set off on a vision quest to get it back.
1.7 Brian: Portrait of a Dog Airdate: 05/16/99
When Peter forces Brian to enter a dog show contest, a battle between Brian and Peter erupts. Now, Brian’s on the street and the Griffins realize how much they need him.