Analyzing the Animation of Seth MacFarlane Analyzing the Animation of Seth MacFarlane

Analyzing the Animation of Seth MacFarlane

A former Family Guy fan, Kyle Evans, has come to the conclusion that Seth MacFarlane is a “talentless writer” who “doesn’t have a clue about animation.” He’s written a lengthy blog post analyzing MacFarlane’s work from a critical perspective. What I found particularly insightful was the section in which Evans observes the clumsy animation in Seth’s shows, particularly in an episode of Seth McFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy titled “Super Mario Rescues the Princess”:

The animation of Family Guy, American Dad and Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy consists almost entirely of character’s mouths moving, with the occasional rigid pose-to-pose animation. This movement is banal and devoid of any true expression, with the same exact timing on every movement. Watching “Super Mario Rescues the Princess” with the sound-down would convey little more than a general sense of displeasure in the characters…I can only imagine how mind-numbingly dull it would be to work as an animator for Seth McFarlane, who continues to stifle any sort of imaginative character design or fluid, expressive movement. But to visualise my point, here is the video edited so that all but the moving parts of the cartoon are blacked out.

  • I expect a good bit of fan boy hate heading your way Amid, despite your truth telling..

  • Fred Cline

    And if you want to see something VERY interesting, check out a sketch from last season’s Robot Chicken that lampoons “The Legend of Zelda” and compare it to the “Super Mario Rescues the Princess” sketch. The concept, the dialogue, the staging…OUCH!

  • Hmm… well, I ain’t no fan boy of Family Guy, but I gotta make a few counterpoints:

    1) yes, the shows wouldn’t work with the sound off. That’s why they broadcast them with the sound on.

    2) Seth and his writer’s have been making the same jokes for years, and it’s a bit boring to me to watch, but I never liked the humor that much in the first place. It relies a little too heavily on cynicism and pop culture references for my taste. But it has fans… so he’s making someone laugh and that seems ok by me.

    3) The animation is very limited and borderline non-existent but it works. These characters are not written with much emotional depth so why would you bother animating them like anything more than flat 2-D characters built to deliver snide one-liners?

    I would shoot myself in the face working on this stuff, but maybe that’s why I don’t work in TV. I used to work on a show that felt like we were playing a video game: hit a few buttons, the character does a pre-design song and dance. oof.

    ok… so making my points makes me realize im no fan. but it works. for some people.

  • i’m not one to defend family guy. but IS seth macfarlane totally to blame for bad design and no animation? …writing is a different story…

    i remember a cartoon network pilot he made back for the what a cartoon show that’s essentially family guy, from brian’s perspective called larry and steve. the design was noticably more cartoony. it almost seems like FOX bought it and said “hey make it look more like the simpsons, adults don’t like to feel like they’re watching cartoons.”

    i just went on youtube and found that pilot and what’s apparently a student film by macfarlane that’s sort of it’s prototype.

    student film

    what a cartoon

    looks a lot different! seems like if you pay a guy a ton of money and tell him to draw crap for fox he very well might draw crap.

    this isn’t in defense of the show or macfarlane per se, just more to think about.

  • Aleksandar Vujovic

    Man, Seth McFartlane (misspelled on purpose) is the reason I stay motivated to replace this junk with something better. That guy doesn’t care about the content of what he does. I’ve watched an episode of family guy a few weeks back and I think there was one, and I mean ONE single thing that was funny, and it wasn’t even memorable enough to remember what it was.

    Down with this garbage. Why did they renew this awful show?

  • Bill

    His post is the sum total of one man’s opinion.

  • The guy makes a good point, but if he had edited the clip so that only the funny bits were left in, he could have made the same argument using only a black static jpg and saved a lot of time.

  • I’m not really a fan, but it’s interesting that the funniest bit of the piece with the most animation was omitted from the video entirely.

    In my opinion, these pieces are great. Family Guy without the family. That’s a step forward. ;)

  • Clumsy or limited? I mean, you could do the same rant about just about any Hannah Barbera cartoon, but especially the Flintstones which seems to have had a very similar production pipeline in many ways. Family Guy does have times when they go more all-out into broader motion and play more with less limited animation, but it’s a sitcom cartoon that is largely dialogue and gag driven, so they keep it cheep to produce by using limited animation.

    Kyle has a specific taste and sense of humor, as made evident by his recommendation of “Adventure Time”, which has some fluid motion, sure, but is based entirely on non-sequiter dialog and constant absurdity. Doesn’t make it invalid in any was as animation, but somebody who doesn’t care for that kind of story or humor could just as easily write a parallel to his screed for that work. Taste isn’t law, and being able to describe something doesn’t make it bad.

  • amid

    Tim: About your point #3, I agree that there are certain times that using limited animation helps to put across the humor. Nowadays, however, the limited animation card is used as a blanket excuse for any show that’s poorly animated. We intended it to be that way, the creators say.

    MacFarlane’s shows are animated crudely and clumsily not for any creative reason that enhances the material, but simply because it is the style that requires the least amount of effort. There is so much action-oriented material in MacFarlane’s various endeavors that cry out for a funnier animated treatment done with skill and creativity.

  • Not defending Family Guy or anything, but I find it funny that he deliberately cut out the most animated part of that Mario short, at the very end when Bowser jumps in and snaps Peaches head off like a candy bar. The funniest part of the whole toon and it was the only part without yapping.

  • Corona

    Try doing the black screen effect when Peter’s fighting the guy in the chicken suit.

  • The earlier episodes of Family Guy had a much greater amount of animation and activity. That and it was written with effort and thought. I guess something changes when your job is secure?

  • …I am reminded of the South Park chapters “Cartoon Wars”…

  • I agree with the former fan completely. He doesn’t have a clue about animation. Just watch this interview:—a-new-kind-of-animation

    After watching that clip, I don’t need people to explain why his work stinks.

  • deke

    This is a common problem that I see animators have. They get so caught up in the quality of the animation that they don’t realize that the script sucks or the dialogue is boring. Just like in film, you can have amazing cinematography, actors, vfx, etc.. and still have a crappy movie because the script sucks.

    Family guy goes the exact opposite but atleast it makes me laugh.

  • Pretty harsh. I’m not a fan of Family Guy but I’ve never really understood why it pisses so many people off. It’s sort of like an animated talking heads comics strip with cut aways to funny visuals.
    Most of the humor is in the voice acting delivery–which obviously appeals to a lot of people because the show is a huge hit, especially among teens. As far as the animation goes is it really any worse that a lot of the William Street stuff on Adult Swim? These shows aren’t about pushing the medium, they’re about getting quick laughs. Sometimes they hit sometimes they miss. Not ever show has to be driven by great characters writing or judged on the same merits.

  • Tom Pope

    Not sure what Zach is referring to regarding Seth’s interview. While Seth doesn’t exactly sound like Milt Kahl analyzing a scene from “Sleeping Beauty”, he DOES sound like someone who’s been around the industry for a while and has made a film himself. One can’t help learning SOMETHING about animation doing that (you hope).

    Besides, c’mon. Mainstream TV has never been about great animation. There have been exceptions (like “Samurai Jack”, ” Ren and Stimpy” if that’s your taste, and cool titles like that of “The Jetsons”) but it’s just too expensive and time-consuming to keep up the quality of animation you see in features, indies, and some commercials. With TV most people are very satisfied if it’s funny.

  • Chris Webb

    When has the animation on a TV show ever been good? When has the animation been the reason to watch a show?

    Off the top of my head, theres some scenes in Ren And Stimpy, maybe a few moments in the 90’s Batman Animated Series show, and many cartoons on Sesame Street that have good ol fashioned character animation.

    But that’s not the point. TV cartoons have NEVER been about animation. They’ve ALWAYS been about writing, voices and timing. Sometimes art direction. But the best of the bunch, The Simpsons, South Park, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Flinstones – never relied on acting.

    So I think it is fair to criticize Seth McFarlane on his writing, his timing, and his voices, but to go after the animation on his TV shows is beside the point. The animation on TV shows is never as good as it could be.

    Seth McFarlane is no ground breaking rebel. He is not going to change the TV animation template.

  • Keith Paynter

    “Illustrated radio” and limited animation has been around for 50 years, people. Hanna-Barbera thrived on it, and Adult Swim programs like “Harvey Birdman” and “Space Ghost C2C” carry the torch, and sometimes they’re damned funny!

    Anyone care to comment on recycled Spider-Man/The Hulk/Rocket Robin Hood (etc.) animation or Star Trek: TAS while we’re at it? They have their admirers and detractors as well, but you don’t hear them getting bashed around here…

  • fishmorgjp

    On top of all this, Stewie is still just a ripoff of Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.

  • Marc Baker

    This guy make a pretty good point about Seth MacFarlane’s style of animation, which wasn’t designed for fluidity, and is on a grinding TV schedule. I also agree that the early episodes had more of an edge to them compared to the current ones. Plus it’s no surprise that Seth Green’s humor on ‘Robot Chicken’ isn’t any different from ‘Family Guy’ since he works with MacFarlane as the voice of Chris. Yet, ironically, Green dose show off a bit more fluidity with toys, and action figures in a 12 minute time span. Though not by much.

  • dan

    family guy is going on its 7th season, american dad is going on its 4th, and cleveland is getting his own spinoff show. the people that love those shows dont care about the qulity of animation they want to laugh, and they do. if you want to talk about bad animation, talk about allmost every hannah barbera cartoon, or every flash cartoon. as bad as you think family guy is, there are dozens of cartoons with much worse animation, look at the adult swim cartoons. but there funny so it dosnt matter, if you dont like it dont watch it. ps at least its 2d animation, theres nothing better.

  • Mr. Semaj

    I, as a more tested Family Guy fan, would not be as upset about the Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy if it wasn’t using the exact same art as FG and American Dad. It makes the whole program a boring spin-off for Family Guy’s cutaways.

    I wish I had a picture or clip to show, but there was one Family Guy episode from this past season where it shows Sonny (from the Cocoa Puffs commercials) applying to be an astronaut. Already coming from perhaps the worst FG ever, the bird was just standing straight up the whole time, even though he was drawn with different posture, and the actual joke that came with it sucked all of the fun out the whole segment.

    Stiff art yes, but now they don’t even TRY to be funny.

  • Emperor Tomato Catsup

    I’m not a great fan of any of his animation work, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed his voice role in Hellboy II. Maybe he has a new career ahead of him in that area.

  • david

    So out of all his work, they decided to criticized the animation made for the WEB? Did they really think his web animation would be any more animated by his TV shows?

  • Jorge Garrido

    Lucas: HB shows were done in “limited animation because they were done on the cheap.

    Limited animation means they can only move one part at a time.

    Family Guy is done for TONS of money (millions of dollars) and is done in “full animation” in Korea, and it STILL has worse animation than Yogi Bear.

  • Saturnome

    It sucks, so what?

  • After making some obvious points towards where MacFarlane’s lack of style goes sour, Kyle Evans questions why the creator of Family Guy is even in the animation business– but I think it is quite obvious. It’s the cheapest format to make quick-cut parodies and mindless pop-culture nostalgia– forgettable crass jokes executed with bland, generic, limited expression. Essentially, it’s the plastic wrapping on individual pieces of candy, there’s no substance, it may be enjoyed briefly by those so inclined, and it wasn’t meant to last long as it is a disposable commodity.
    Every industry has a nigh majority of non-committed, lacking integrity, average participants who are involved for many reasons besides art or philosophy.
    That said, there’s nothing wrong with what Seth MacFarlane is doing, he’s getting very rich off of the stoners, celebrity worshipers, and internet memes fans; he’s found a captive audience. It isn’t destroying the animation industry by association. If he’s set the bar for television animation, the bar remains low. Very low. So if you have a problem with it, simply step over it. It isn’t difficult.

  • Scott

    Nice to see some coming to the defense of MacFarlane, and not just “fan boys.” Believe it or not, it is possible to appreciate varying types of animation, from Wall-E to South Park to Spirited Away to Family Guy. We’re living in the true golden age of animation, and I’m happy to have a smorgasbord to pick and choose what appeals to my tastes, which I don’t have to justify. Hertzfeld, Venture Bros., Family Guy, early Sealab 2021, PES, Lucy Daughter of Satan, Creature Comforts, Persepolis, etc. Sorry you guys don’t like all of it, but then there’s plenty I don’t like either.

    Cartoon Brew would be better if you guys concentrated on what you like, instead of these snide swipes at what doesn’t appeal to you. Okay, you don’t like Adult Swim, we get it. Do you have to be so repetitive about it?

  • Jokerman

    While I think the article brings up some good points, it’s approaching the show from the wrong perspective. I don’t think FG was ever created with the idea that the animation should be completely fluid and expressive. As others have said, it’s pretty much just a talking head show and that’s all it’s ever set out to be. Kyle seems to be approaching it from a ‘feature’ stand point, and I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do.

    As for the humor, that all comes down to personal taste. I like the show, it makes me laugh and thats all it needs to do. I’m an animation fan but it doesn’t really bother me that FG is quite limited in its movements.

    Also, Seth’s work in Hellboy 2 was really good. I think he’s quite a good voice actor with a lot more range than someone like Trey Parker (who I love, but no one ever seems to ‘pick’ on him). South Park has ‘terrible’ animation by traditional standards, but it’s the creators intention to have it that way. I honestly think FG is the game. Besides, when its needed, they occasionally have quite fluid movements.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Well this is the only logical conclusion.

  • Design-wise, the thing that bugs me most about “Family Guy” is the thin, lifeless line work in the art. It looks like some kind of auto-trace macro applied to pencil drawings. Like it’s animated by twisting around vector graphics.

    And while I’m hesitant to repeat the mantra “I’m not really a fan but…” I have to say that I find the show very funny at times. “Family Guy” may lower the bar for animation but it’s success doesn’t really preclude anyone else from doing something better.

  • @ smo
    Holy crap, Seth can draw and animate! Such a shame then that he’s let his standards go – those cartoons were far more interesting for the more dynamic animation alone.

  • AdrianC

    Hanna-Barbera did produce some cringe-inducing shows but they also generated some good stuff. A few examples are classics like Yogi Bear, Tom & Jerry (generic but appealing) and The Jetsons. At the very least, their better work featured appealing designs, which is something I can’t say for Seth MacFarlane’s shows. Everyone is puffy and/or stiff. I’d rather look at Scooby-Doo (the character, not the show) than Peter Griffin.

  • John

    Seth MacFarlane is a “talentless writer” who “doesn’t have a clue about animation.”

    And in other news, the sky is blue!

  • john

    the thing that bugs me about animation critics today is that everything has to be a certain way or its automatically bad, reguardless of personal taste. animation can be anything, wich is why its cool.

  • Skip

    Who said Family Guy, The Simpsons, or South Park are even concerned with animation?

    Animation is simply the medium in which these shows exist. They are mean’t to make us laugh not to impress us with their use of animation.

    If Fox offered you 100 million for the next 5 years to write and direct Family Guy like they did Seth I would highly doubt you would be so bold as to change the animation.

    Real talk.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I just started on CLEVELAND, the Family Guy spinoff. And I actually enjoy the hell out of working there. The people are nice, and the artists working there are very talented. It’s not a crew made up of hacks. And the table reads are damn funny. But even I find faults with FG ( and I work for Seth ) The drawing style is really flat and sometimes very aggrivating. We use ToonBoom storyboard, which is an amazing program…but it does lend itself more to cut & paste than actual dynamic extremes.

    Still, the FG philosophy is based on clear staging and strong poses. But most scenes are strictly one point perspective, so yes, it’s pretty flat.

    I guess I can see how FG and it’s spinoffs might be seen by many animators as an affront to “classical” animation…but clearly Seth is doing something right here. He just signed a 100 million dollar deal, so he’s clearly appealing to a lot of people.

    And while I’m at it, I’ve worked at a lot of studios. When I mention the things I worked on, a lot of people shrug and say “That’s cool.” But when I tell them I work for Family Guy, they light up and become very interested. And they always say the same thing…


    my two cents :D

  • Classeye

    Judging Seth McFarlane’s cartoons based on it’s technical animation points is like judging McDonald’s burgers against gourmet food. It’s not made for quality, it’s made for quick snappy enjoyment for those who enjoy it.

    I have no worry about doing this kind of animation because any production that already cuts corners to the degree McFarlane does already outsources the animation anyway.

  • Kevin H

    Really? Its Family Guy, its for laughs, not squash and stretch.

  • Stop the Insanity!

    FG takes the safe route (not dissimilar to ‘Happy Days’) by mocking fads of yesteryear with sort of a fuzzy fondness. The gags which are intended to shock (sexual, scatological and so forth) also seem dated to me – this sort of humor was common in the Spike and Mike festivals and elsewhere on television and movies over a decade ago! In terms of writing it’s toothless and pointlessly verbose, in terms of design it’s Garfield, and in terms of animation it is jerky, forced (probably at gunpoint) and overwrought – a quality not evident in the Hanna Barbara cartoons of the 60’s.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Being reminded of what :: smo :: had stated, as I had seen those before myself years ago. “Life of Larry”, Seth’s student film, was an interesting idea for it’s time of what if we had a show like that, which obviously became Family Guy as we know it, but on it’s own, I could tell MacFarlane’s skill wasn’t all that great despite being a student effort, he merely concentrated on lip movements and adequate pacing to get by along with the dialogue. “Larry & Steve”, his “What A Cartoon” during his tenure at Hanna-Barbera, showed a lot more promise of where he could’ve gone if he had went down that path prior to FOX’s interest in developing FG. I do think those earlier seasons of FG were slightly better animation-wise over the rest, though my interest in the show altogether has wained greatly. My sister watches that constantly and doesn’t understand why I don’t like it at all.

    Of course, this is not a show for everyone, but the guys who do like it perhaps aren’t always the people who would care for animation in the way some of us do if all they’re looking for is that laugh they want.

  • Marc Baker

    I can understand how most people frown upon shows that don’t have the flashiest looking animation. If a show can make me laugh, then the style is irrelevant, though i still have my preferences. While ‘Family Guy’, and it’s ilk may not have the prettiest character designs, i’ve definitely seen worse.

  • Corona

    FG’s 1st season was just glorified storyboard. Pete Michaels can tell you that.

  • Well, at least Seth McFarlane is consistent! :)

    Seth’s “animation” reminds me somewhat of Walter Lantz’s later cartoons (since the mid 60s), only much, much, much worse. At least Lantz had more range!

    But after all, it’s all about the ideas, right? The idea of seeing cynical parodies of established characters in what’s a derivative dimestore SIMPSONS ripoff, masked in cheap animation. ROBOT CHICKEN did it *way* better (minus being a SIMPSONS ripoff).

    I’ve seen really good Flash & ToonBoom animation better than the whole bulk of Seth’s work, let alone Matt Groening. And that’s not even saying much. Any of YOU guys can do better animation, I’m sure!

  • Jorge Garrido


    Clear Staging was Tex Avery and Mike Lah’s 50s films. It was makign sure the backgrounds both framed and fit the characters. Strong posing was Chuck Jones’ 40s films.

    Seth breaks BASIC animation principles.

    I can’t belive what I’m hearing.

  • Basically, some people hate it because it has bad animation, some hate it because it doesn’t make them laugh.
    But others (sometimes they work in the industry, mostly they don’t) like it or love it.
    And I don’t believe that “Flash animation is crap” or “Hanna-Barbera were just as bad as FG”. Hanna-Barbera’s stuff had better designs and better animation, and it (sometimes) has much of the focus placed on the artistic side of the process. And flash animation is not all made by one guy, or one company. When will (some of) you get this into your heads?
    In my opinion, it is fine for there to be animation that is fairly crappy if there is an audience for it.
    Why is it that every week or so people leave comments complaining about the “state of the industry” or how everything that is not on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection or a Disney classic is crap?

  • Chris J

    @ those who blast McFarlane:

    Paul K has made the most sense out of the issue. If you hate it so much – go out and do something better. May I also refer everyone here who constantly whines about the lack of artistry in modern animation to watch this:

    Love him or hate him – Bakshi had the balls to go out and make a film. How many of us can say the same?

    Bakshi is so dead-on here it’s frightening. With Flash, Toon Boom, and the plethera of other software available, what excuse could a frustrated animator possibly have to explain why they’re not making their own movies? Hell, we’ve even got distribution channels available with YouTube, Google Video, etc.

    If half of the animators I hear on this board and others would spend as much time sitting down and knocking out some animation as they did complaining about how the studios that they and others work for are artistic black holes, we’d have a lot more quality animation to talk about on sites like this.

  • Luke

    I think this is a slightly unfair and pointless critique.

    Seth Mcfarlane isn’t out to make a quality animation and I don’t believe he really has any particular interest in cartoons and the language they typically use.
    He’s all about the comedy and the dialogue. He uses animation because it’s the easiest and most obvious way to present the outrageous and silly situations his characters get into. Also it means he can voice his own characters which he obviously likes doing. It’s not like he’s trying and failing. He just doesn’t give a damn. It’s a slightly better and more high profile equivalent of someone making a shitty flash animation which is actually quite amusing.

    It is crappy animation, but it does the job for the kind of cheap humour he goes for.

  • joecab

    Not all animation has to be groundbreaking. Seth’s cartoons have always been carried by humorous dialog, and his limited animation emphasizes that. Same thing with Dilbert. I don’t get what the big deal is. Hanna-Barbera was in a similar spot when it began. I love them both.

  • ridgecity


    Come on dude, accept crap as crap.

    The show is pretty bad, mostly:

    character 1: I remember that time on “….” tv show how they did something like this…

    character 2: stays silent…

    goes to a snippet from another show doing something ridiculous…

    character 2: I know! it also it also happened on “….” show…

    goes to a snippet from another show doing something ridiculous…

    character: let’s go…

    Reminds me of an animated version of the Emmy’s… tiny clips between people talking… and let’s not mention how funny the show is… I hope they don’t make a special show called “America’s New Depression” with broke people hanging themselves…

    @Chris J: Bakshi just wanted to create controversy also. He did a movie about pornography, a movie about violence and a movie about racism, and none of them feature nice animation or artistic development, even Robert Crumb says the Fritz The Cat movies were pieces of shit and he had to kill his character in the comics for how angry he was about the shitty movies!

  • ridgecity

    “Believe it or not, it is possible to appreciate varying types of animation, from Wall-E to South Park to Spirited Away to Family Guy.”

    How can you put those animations together????? that’s like eating caviar with pizza!!

  • MattSullivan

    I said it was the philosophy, not the execution.

    Someone’s a bitter Betty :D

  • MattSullivan

    Seriously! Why is everyone bitching and moaning instead of creating?

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Luke: He doesn’t go for anything clever. Constant and random commentary on pop culture references isn’t creative or funny. Also stuttering and babeling isn’t clever dialogue either.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    I also don’t know why people actually put H-B on the level of Seth Mcfarlane. At their peak, H-B had very specific acting in their animation as well as top notch voice actors.

  • Foreign Twenty

    As understand it, Crumb’s reaction to Ralph’s FTC had more to do with the trouble it caused him with the IRS than the content of Fritz.

  • “Limited animation means they can only move one part at a time.

    Family Guy is done for TONS of money (millions of dollars) and is done in “full animation” in Korea, and it STILL has worse animation than Yogi Bear.”

    Well, I’d argue that the millions of dollars FG gets doesn’t trickle down to the animation budget…it’s going to Seth and the ten million “producers” that are on the show. Same with the Simpsons…how much better *could* the animation be if there weren’t so many producers already taking pieces of the pie?

    But it’s been said a billion times…the animation itself is not what makes FG unfunny or funny or whatever. I’ve never laughed at a joke on FG because it was animated well!

  • Family Guy is aesthetically uninspiring, and the humor is juvenile. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad- I’ve enjoyed cartoons much more juvenile that this. But apart from the poop jokes, sex jokes, stolen jokes, and the non-jokes that are just references for the sake of referencing, what really irks me about Family Guy is that none of the characters are engaging enough for me to care about. They’re all obnoxious and flat, and without any sympathy. (Stewie was quirky enough to be interesting for a few episodes, but then I watched an Pinky and the Brain and had a much better laugh.) So thats why I don’t enjoy Family Guy.

    But lets keep arguing- surely someone’s mind will change! ..anyone?

  • why would anyone watch this shit anyway?

  • I am very surprised at how tolerant people around here seem to be about family guy and Seth Mcfarlane’s work. It’s because of the general acceptance of this kind of quality that we aren’t seeing more creative and progressive animation on television. I’m not just talking about the animation, I’m talking about the product as a whole.

    How is animation (the medium) going to move forward if the people making it are apathetic to this?

  • Joanna, that’s a point. No-one will change their minds.

  • Chris J

    “Bakshi just wanted to create controversy also. He did a movie about pornography, a movie about violence and a movie about racism, and none of them feature nice animation or artistic development, even Robert Crumb says the Fritz The Cat movies were pieces of shit and he had to kill his character in the comics for how angry he was about the shitty movies!”

    The quality of Bakshi’s movies and/or his motives for making them aren’t the point. The point is that he didn’t complain that no one was making the kind of animated movies he wanted to see – he actually got off his ass and made them.

    The artistic merit of his movies are subjective. The objective point that cannot be argued is that with the tools available now, there could be 1000 Ralph Bakshi’s out there making independent animated films right now. Where are they? They seem to be hanging out on message boards complaining that Seth McFarlane uses limited animation.

  • dave

    i am a working animator, and his criticisms about the animation are on-point.
    the thing is though, i dont think anyone but us really cares. do we make these shows for us?
    i dont watch family guy for the quality animation. it might as well be a sitcom, just like king of the hill or simpsons.
    i think he’s losing the forest for the trees here.

  • Mike Russo

    Bitch bitch bitch.

    Really, this is getting old. Family Guy never set out to have fantastic animation. Only to make people laugh. And it’s obviously succeeding at that considering how popular it is.

    Some of you people really need to let this thing go. How many times are we going to have one of these “OMG Family Guy sux and it’s ruining all animation” discussions?

  • bob

    how many of you have your own shows, i hope to be as talentless as seth one day.

  • bob,
    You took the words right out of my mouth. To paraphrase Liberace,
    “I bet Seth cries all the way to the bank”.

  • Christina S.

    Here’s the thing: I really don’t care about the animation in Family Guy. To be perfectly honest, most adult cartoons don’t have a whole lot of effort put into the art because a good many people believe adults are entertained more by verbal jokes than visual jokes (and believe it or not, there are a ton of people that really are like that!). My beef with Family Guy is that the writing just plain sucks. No character humor AT ALL.

    It’s kinda like what Cartman said: “I am nothing like Family Guy! When I make jokes, they are inherent to a story! Deep situational and emotional jokes based on what is relevant and has a point, not just one random interchangeable joke after another!”

  • P.C. Unfunny

    People who are on the “it’s popular must mean it’s good” group really need a serious reality check. The standards of entertainment are incredibly low and people watch garbage because that is all that’s being shown on TV. And also the ones that keep on saying that FG isn’t after good animation are again missing the point. You all that keep saying this pretty much don’t know what the purpose of animation is. Animation is about visual appeal, not just movement. Roger Ramjet for example had practically no animation but alot of visual appeal, same goes for early hanna barbera. Those cartoons had alot of jokes mostly to do with dialogue but again, visual appeal. FG has neither visual appeal or “good writing” and to seperate visuals from the quality of everything else that makes a good cartoon is a common ignorant belief.

  • Mike Russo

    *rolls eyes and puts on a Family Guy DVD. laughs.*

    Family Guy gives me a cheap laugh. All I’m asking for. All I’m getting. If I actually wanted to watch good animation I’d watch something else. But if I want a cheap laugh I’ll watch Family Guy.

    Family Guy haters are a noisy bunch. Not very tolerant though.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Not very tolerant though.”

    Yeah I am not very tolerant of crap. Hell, I watch AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE. That dosen’t have great animation but at least it can come up with something orginal. Every five secounds someone won’t cut to a “memory” and which is just an excuse to stuff in a pop culture reference from the 80’s.

  • Sam Filstrup

    Yeah it’s funny at times but the animation has always been lacking, I’ve always been more keen to Futurama myself. Come to think of it wasn’t Seth kicked off Johnny Bravo after it’s first season? Along with Butch Hartman and Van Partiable I believe. The quality of the show grew dramatically after that as well, just sayin.

  • FP

    These miles-long threads about FAMILY GUY and MacFarlane are possibly more telling than many of the participants might desire.

    From my perspective: FAMILY GUY makes me laugh like crazy, so I don’t structurally analyze it. I only do that to stuff that bugs me. FAMILY GUY is pure heavenly candy, and I enjoy it as such, along with SOUTH PARK, VENTURE BROTHERS, ROBOT CHICKEN, BOONDOCKS, AQUA TEENS, FRISKY DINGO, SPONGEBOB, CHOWDER, and other wonderful animated TV things, even the ones that are hardly animated at all. That the creators of some of these shows are at odds with each other, specifically the SOUTH PARK guys bashing FAMILY GUY, only adds to the fun.

    Is it jealousy that makes people complain about MacFarlane? Why should you give a f*ck about MacFarlane? Enjoy the cartoon… or don’t watch it. Yes, FAMILY GUY is formulaically cheap, derivative, repetitive, barely animated, all that stuff, but it “clicks” – with me anyway.

    Animation is both a means and an end. In Disney’s PINOCCHIO, it was an end. Pure art. In FAMILY GUY, it is a means – a slideshow to keep the picture tube alive while jokes unwind from the dumb spool. I have PINNOCHIO on DVD, but it’s the FAMILY GUY and AQUA TEEN and 12 OZ MOUSE DVDs that are always in the player…

  • Matt Sullivan

    I just thank God there’s a show like Family Guy that makes people laugh and employs a lot of animators. Fine. It’s not high art. It’s fart jokes and randomness.

    It still makes me laugh.

  • Mike Russo

    I think the Family Guy haters just keep this up because it’s “fun” to create controversy and upset FG fans and it’s an easy way to increase site traffic.

    Who is excited for the new season on Sunday? I know I am!

  • “Is it jealousy that makes people complain about MacFarlane? Why should you give a f*ck about MacFarlane?”

    It’s not jealousy, at least not here. The jealous ones would be those desperately trying to copy Family Guy.

    “I think the Family Guy haters just keep this up because it’s “fun” to create controversy and upset FG fans and it’s an easy way to increase site traffic.”

    It’s easy to assume, because yes, too many of your cynics seem to think there is only ONE suitable format for an animated production. It’s not so much their hating Family Guy that’s the problem, it’s that they think anyone who says otherwise is an ignorant troll who’s against a medium that’s already doomed to indefinite ghettoization, as a kids’ genre, in the mainstream society.

    Sometimes, their arguments will devolve into complaining just for the sake of complaining.

    It’s not just the haters. There are still a number of fanboys out there who seriously believes their precious show is immune from any type of criticism. While a lot of people are upset about the current direction of Family Guy, fanboys can’t come up with any better argument than copout phrases like, “Don’t like it? Don’t watch it!”, where the problem isn’t even THAT simple, and just avoids the actual argument altogether.

    When an entity fails to foster healthy critiques, and makes no effort at self-improvement, what you’ve got is chaos, and that is what Family Guy has caused. People will whine all they want about how “bland” The Simpsons are, but at least THEY listen to their fans, rather than simply pandering to the lowest-common denominator.

    “Who is excited for the new season on Sunday? I know I am!”

    Going by the number of problems from last season, I can’t share your enthusiasm.


  • dave

    PC, the sooner you stop regurgitating everything John K says, the better.
    Animation does not have a specific ‘purpose’ other than to be a medium, in which you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want.
    Let me know what its like when you actually get work animating something you dont necessarily agree with to put food on the table. You will work on stuff that is total crap, and you will work on stuff that is good, like the rest of us.
    Its a MEDIUM. Its a tool.
    Roger Ramjet vs FG? Apples and oranges!

  • Greg

    I hate Family Guy because it has the gall to call itself “comedy.” It’s the opposite of humor. It’s offensively unfunny. Whatever funny is, Family Guy couldn’t find it with a magnifying glass, a telescope, or a metal detector.

    I think the reason we all hate it is because it has no redeeming value. It’s the “Full House” of animation. We all hated “Full House” for no other reason than it had the gall to pretend that it was a funny show worth watching, right? And yet there it was, on TV for season after season after season, determined to never die or go away. We might even get stuck sometimes watching a commercial for Dave Coulier mugging it up while channel-flipping, and that would be enough to set us off. But with Family Guy? We get to see all of the licensing crap everywhere we go too!

    Family Guy’s suckiness is so bad that it offends at the mere mention of the name of the show.

    That’s why we hate Family Guy. It’s not the animation. It’s the content. Total. Complete. Crap.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    “Animation does not have a specific ‘purpose’ other than to be a medium”

    And that’s were I stopped reading.

  • Mike Russo

    Oh please, Greg.

    Family Guy isn’t the greatest show ever created. Far from it. But some of you talk about it like it did something personal to you, like raped all the members of your family, women and men.

    It is a comedy and lots of people find it funny. You just don’t. Accepted and understood. But still…hostile much?

  • P.C. Unfunny

    “But still…hostile much?”

    Pot calling the kettle black. You are so offended by the negative Family Guy comments, you consider all of it basically a massive conspiracy.

  • PorkyMills

    Well, you certainly don’t need an analysis to determine why the Family Guy is horrendous. The stories are weak, the characters are bland and caricatures of themselves and the voice acting is absolutely jarring. And above all the animation deficiencies possessed by Seth (and there are a myriad) I just wish he understood the “timing of a joke.” For some reason, Seth feels the need to stretch a segment to boringly long proportions, so much so that you just wish they would show you the punchline and be done with it already (see: the part where Stewie travels to some actor’s house to tell him his movie sucks).

    > It is a comedy and lots of people find it funny. You just don’t. Accepted and understood. But still…hostile much?

    I wouldn’t mind Family Guy at all if it wasn’t for the fact that it is so popular, thus it has a lot of exposure and I am bound to come across it sometime. That, and the fact that it is the product of a talentless hack who has ripped off entire segments and lifted jokes from (yes, undeniably ripped off) one of the most iconic TV shows, The Simpsons (who I happen to be a huge fan of) is what I find most annoying.

  • Kent

    McFarlane probably gets a kick out all this super-analysis.

  • H Park

    Yeah. Someone has definitely wasted his time over analyzing TV animation instead of checking reality.

  • tyler

    seriously i would bet that half the people on here are republican and thats the only reason you are complaining about it.if you dont like the show then dont watch it. dont try to ruin it for the rest of us. and Aleksandar Vujovic “mcfartlane”? seriously how old are you,5? im 17 and im more mature then you. you people need to just leave it alone. he makes a great show and you all are jealous.

  • For everyone bitching about Flash, might I point you to Augenblick Studios.
    Also don’t forget Chuck Jones made about 12 cartoons, and Spumco 20, all in flash.

  • Ralph J

    The most irritating thing about Family Guy is the fact that it’s making a completely talentless and unfunny man very rich and famous. How a comedy show totally lacking in wit, intelligence, art or charm can become so incredibly popular is truly unbelievable.

    Joanna mentioned what I think is the biggest fundamental flaw in the show – the utterly unsympathetic characters. It’s almost as if creating the cast was an exercise in turning each Simpsons character into a distorted version of itself that you obsess about suckerpunching in the mouth. Recipe for Peter Griffin – take Homer Simpson, remove all decent qualities, give lobotomy, and add a large dose of bad atmosphere. And not the good kind of bad atmosphere. The type of bad atmosphere you might experience when your house party gets gatecrashed by 20 pissed-up 70’s football hooligans.

    I know it’s obvious to most of us (I hope), but for those that haven’t realised yet, those stretched-out jokes they use all the time are filler disguised as a new idea.

    Family Guy is the most pathetic excuse of an attempt at humour that I ever hope to witness. If you’re a fan, please watch more telly.

  • Joe

    Have you guys mentioned Peter’s fights with the giant yellow chicken? They’re rather well animated for the most part and funny, in an over the top way.

  • jenifferJ