Creative Bankruptcy in TV Animation

Nothing says more about the sad, pathetic, desperate, moribund state of the US TV animation industry than the fact that Seth MacFarlane is the only artist trusted to create new animated shows for a major TV network.

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  • http://www.sisterson.co.uk Dennis Sisterson

    What can we do about it? (I mean that seriously, not rhetorically.)

  • http://stupidmahan.livejournal.com/ Sasha

    Except, you know, all those other guys in the article…

    Though I am not happy to hear about most of that news, and could care less about the rest of it.

    Where is my goddam Korgoth. That’s all I have to say.

  • Gobo

    Sounds like there’s a few more…

    Fox brass had made it a priority to find another hit animated comedy to complement its Sunday comedy lineup. It has several cartoons in the works, including an animated version of its 2003 short-lived live-action comedy “The Pitts,” from “Simpsons” veteran Mike Scully; “Relative Insanity,” executive produced by Jack Black; and “Mothballs,” from “Drawn Together” creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser.

  • http://attackofthekillerspoilers.blogspot.com Starsky

    The Pitts was one of the most terrible things ever created, so that doesn’t really help.

    And regarding the Family Guy spin-off, it must be the worst idea in the history of television. And yes, I’m including the 80′s.

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    Damn right. The current situation just stinks.

    Gobo, those few more don’t exactly make things much better. Mike Scully doing an animated version of a failed live action show? Yikes. Jack Black? What the hell does he know about cartoons? Or comedy for that matter.

    Admittedly I know nothing about Drawn Together or its creators so maybe there’s something good there? I don’t know.

    But it seems like there is precious little out there right now other than pop-culture based (as in, remove the pop culture references and you’ll be left with just an opening and closing credits, if you’re lucky) Family Guy-a-likes.

  • Karl Wilcox

    FAMILY GUY is, in my opinion, the most overrated and unfunny cartoon on television. Next to Seth MacFarlane, Matt Groening and Mike Judge are geniuses. But give me the classic TV cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s anytime. What we need is another Jay Ward or Bob Clampett or Joe Barbera.

    Everything today in animation is either derivative, repetitive, crude or CG (or a combination thereof). I have been watching cartoons for 50+ years and find very little that is being made today that makes me laugh out loud. There will never be another Chuck Jones or Tex Avery, and they are sorely missed.

  • Andrew

    Where in the article does it says he’s the only one? They could mention others, but that wouldn’t be the topic of the article, now would it?

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com The Gagaman

    After writing up about TV animation like Chowder, Superjail and The Kidman and Lemon show, surely there is still hope?

  • http://www.flightoftheintruder.blogspot.com Chris Hatfield

    I thought I was the only one. I miss the old feeling of Saturday morning cartoons. Today its load, obnoxious, and ugly. There are only few shows still in existence which don’t require a lobotomy to watch. The Batman, Legion of Super Heroes,and The Spectacular Spiderman. (speculating with the new Spiderman cartoon) Cable television fairs a bit better than network television.

    Hell, I just may take some money and start my on little online network. Call it “Decartes: Because we always challenge our existence”. New cartoons online every Saturday morning. If only a solid revenue strategy could be developed. Man can dream can’t he :) :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/brandontoons Brandon Pierce

    Cartoons need to return to theaters as shorts before the film.

    And don’t give me the lip that theaters believe cartoons take up space, because honestly, in the time it takes for them to play all those annoying TV ads, and commercials and boring newsreels (yes some theaters, do still have newsreels) they could play 6 cartoon shorts.

    I applaud Disney for making new shorts.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    C’mon, this is from Chapter 1 of the Book of Television Programming:

    “And lo, All In The Family did beget Maude, which did beget The Jeffersons and Good Times. Also did it beget Archie’s Place and Gloria. And the network executives did say, Amen.”

  • http://btouch.typepad.com Brandon Cordy

    I won’t get stoned if I mention that I might actually like this show, will I?

  • http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com Kevin W. Martinez

    They actually have shows by Mike Scully and Dave Jeser-Matt Silverstein in the works???????????? The MacFarlane show will look like gold compared to them, since it looks like the only show in Fox’s queue with any sort of potential.

    Mike Judge is also developing a cartoon for ABC, entitled The Good Family. Why does every prime-time cartoon nowadays have to center around some kind of nuclear family?

  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    *Bangs head against desk* Nooooooooooooo.

  • http://utopiamoment.ca Jack Ruttan

    Bland and derivative is easier to sell. Plus, it’s easier to meet TV-style deadlines with it. Failed creativity=craziness. Things have to be organized somehow, to make cartoons on a regular basis, but that organization squeezes out the art. None of this is new.

  • http://www.mattcandraw.com Matt

    Good god, we all get it most people don’t like family guy… but…. Family guy is what is drawing the people in for some laughs. Simpsons hasn’t been funny for at least 5 years (that last treehouse of horror was horrendous). and King of the Hill? Really? there is humor there? come on people….

    Here’s the deal… the article says that Fox is looking for new animation ideas… instead of sitting here complaining about family guy come up with something better and get an agent and present it…. then you can all see family guy go away while you educate all the small minded people with more educated smart humor…

    Oh and by the way, i just went to see a disney movie(might have been enchanted) and there was a animated short of Goofy trying to install a tv… The faces on the people on how aggravated they were to have to sit thru it was incredible (i didn’t mind myself)… maybe not the best place anymore for animated shorts… and those commercials pay for the life of these megaplexes… most of them are almost bankrupt so that brings money in.. not our fault or do i like the commercials but it keeps the theatres in business…

    Go ahead blast away….

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    The better new cartoons come from Canada, IMHO (namely 6TEEN and GROSSOLOGY; The latter is still showing on Discovery Kids, with new eps on the way, and the former had a short run on Nickelodeon and unfortunately got cancelled, while it’s still going strong in Canada).

    THE VENTURE BROS. is still the single best show on Adult Swim (before that, it was MISSION HILL, and the pilot for WELCOME TO ELTINGVILLE). That’s a show worth waiting for. Everything else is pretty weak.

    Otherwise, I pretty much watch reruns of MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, EL TIGRE and other shows. It’s really a drag that so many good shows got cancelled within the past two years, and replaced with mediocrity. To Nickelodeon, SPONGEBOB and AVATAR are the Center of the Universe (before that, it was RUGRATS). Nothing else matters to them. I even lost faith in Cartoon Network, for cancelling their good shows and replacing them with nonsense like OUT OF JIMMY’S HEAD.

  • http://www.schlafman.com Dave Schlafman

    It’s the industry as a whole, especially in the volatile economy. No one can afford to take risks. You look at the Nickelodeon Saturday AM lineup and you get two shows: Spongebob and the Fairly Odd Parents…back to back to back. Every single weekend. If you don’t breed a successful show overnight, then it’s seen as a failure. Instead, they go with the safe bet. It leads to the same product over and over and over again. But with that said, just because Networks do the safe thing, doesn’t mean you can’t go out and create your own great animation work.

  • Christina S.

    “I won’t get stoned if I mention that I might actually like this show, will I?”

    Oh yes you will. Personal taste is shunned here, unless you only like Pixar or independent animation studios. Although from the looks of things from the Oscar thread, you might get crucified now for preferring Ratatouille over Persepolis.

    Me? Family Guy’s alright. It invests too much in obscure culture references rather than character humor, but when it’s a reference I actually get then I can’t help but laugh. And the chicken fights are always hillarious.

    But then again, I’m a teenager who has never worked in the animation industry. What worth does my opinion have?

  • http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/mjf7583 Michael F.

    A new show by the creators of Drawn Together? Although it could be much better than that show I doubt it would be. Plus, I don’t know of any Family Guy characters that would have work for a successful spinoff, so why bother with that?

    And as for Jack Black’s idea, I don’t see that going well. Now a Tenacious D cartoon, on the other hand…

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    I remember reading that Matt Groening had pitched a couple of Simpsons spinoffs years ago and they were rejected out of hand by the Murdoch brain trust, who you’ll recall also dropped Futurama and buried unaired episodes. I think that there must be something in the water there that makes them make decisions that ultimately kill great shows and for the most part champion things that are lousy. I’m sure that each one of us can name a half dozen or more Fox shows that were canceled before their time, but the Family Guy/American Dad hour of programming airs with heavy promotion every Sunday evening. Family Guy is a cable staple now too, and does well in syndication. Go figure.

    Since “prime time” is agreed to start at 8 PM, and Fox affiliates run local programming starting at 10, Seth McFarlane’s productions account for 1/14 of Fox’ entire prime time schedule. That’s without the Cleveland show.

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    So that mention of the Prison Break spinoff at the end was a bit out-of-place. I choose to willfully misinterpret it to mean that it will be a cartoon about the zany antics that go on in an all-female prison.

  • Charles

    “Where is my goddam Korgoth. That’s all I have to say.”

    Seriously. That one episode was amazing.

  • http://timrauch.blogspot.com Tim Rauch

    “In addition to “Cleveland,” Fox and 20th TV also are developing a spinoff of the drama series “Prison Break,” set at a female prison.”

    Ok, so I know that doesn’t SOUND like an animated show, but they didn’t specifically call it live action, so maybe it is! (yeah, I know, it’s not, but it should be within the realm of possibility).

  • Some Guy

    Anyone who thinks Family Guy at its PEAK is better or worse than the Simpsons in 2008 needs to get their heads examined. There are no jokes on either show, they are eqaully terrible.

    Seth Macfarlane is a smug no-talent.

  • Pedro Nakama

    That is really funny. Sad too, but really funny.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    FAMILY GUY is usually hilarious. There I said it. Maybe CLEVELAND will be as good.

    A show by the DRAWN TOGETHER guys could be a great thing. It was one of my favorites. The creators knew cartoon, comic-book, and “reality TV” conventions inside-out and poked big bloody holes in them every episode.

    Re:
    I miss the old feeling of Saturday morning cartoons. Today its load, obnoxious, and ugly.

    What, you miss GILLIGAN’S PLANET and HAMMERMAN and RUBIK THE AMAZING CUBE and CAPTAIN PLANET and POPEYE AND SON and LITTLE CLOWNS OF HAPPYTOWN and FUNKY PHANTOM and US OF ARCHIE and SUPER PRESIDENT and a bunch of others I can’t remember right away?

  • uffler mustek

    The mistake a lot of people make is thinking that this has anything to do with animation.

  • Keith Paynter

    Family Guy has replaced The Simpsons as the big money maker for Fox in syndication. EVERYBODY wants it. You could count on 2 hours of Simpsons on Sunday afternoons on Global here in Canada, and it was the big selling point when The Comedy Network launched here back in ’97. Not anymore. Danny Elfman’s residual cheques are getting a lot small as of late…

    FP: you forgot GOOBER AND THE GHOST CHASERS and HULK HOGAN’S ROCK ‘N’ WRESTLING!

  • http://siskavard.blogspot.com Corey

    Classic quantity over quality scenario.

  • http://educatedmetalhead.blogspot.com/ DanO

    “Drawn Together” is the most crass, unimaginative, heap of garbage ever to be put on television. It panders to the same fan base who spent money at the cinema to see “Meet The Spartans”. These guys getting development deals confirms that which we already know; television executives are idiots.

  • Keith Paynter

    P.S.: Cleveland will be another show written by manatees!

  • Jenny

    I’ve enjoyed some family guy in my day, but I din’t think this is gonna go over well.

  • Ryan

    What!? A new show from the creator of two other popular shows? That’s unheard of!

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    As Cleveland himself would say “Oh…that’s naaasssty”

    Cleveland is the most droll character on Family Guy. Why they’d build a show around him instead of one of the funnier side characters (like Joe or Quagmire) is a mystery.

    We’ll just have to see!

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Personally, I either like or don’t like FAMILY GUY. On the one hand, some of the stuff they did was actually funny, but on the other hand, the pop-culture stuff gets old really fast. Either way, I don’t mind having it on TV next to me while I sit at the computer. Perhaps as a method of self-torture? :)

    I never cared for AMERICAN DAD. That show makes FAMILY GUY look good. Which isn’t saying much!

    Personally, I was never a big SIMPSONS fan, either, but I actually appreciate that show now. Let’s face it: THE SIMPSONS was a *godsend*, at a time when the general public thought that animation was just for kids! It’s too bad the networks, even today, never really understood what made it so successful (to the point where all prime-time cartoons they commission have to imitate it; FAMILY GUY is one such imitation).

    But what’s worse? FAMILY GUY, or original Adult Swim “programming” like the god-awful TIM AND ERIC SHOW?

  • Tom Pope

    I’ve had enough of Family Guy and American Dad (definitely) myself.
    However…

    To Cristina S.- Your opinion is worth as much or more than anyone elses on this site when it comes to product for a mass audience. People who work in the industry (self included, at times) can debate the quality/value of shows from now ’til the 24th-and-a-half Cent-chury(!), but executives only care what YOU and millions of others watch. If you like Family Guy or American Dad, there’ll be more of it, plus “Brian Loves Lois” and “Glen Quagmire, USMC” and the folks who draw it can like it, create something better, or head back to Kokomo.

  • http://jamessuhr.blogspot.com james suhr

    I think Kevin Martinez hit it right on the head with the question, ‘why does every primetime show have to be about a nuclear family?’ It’s the same thing I ask when I watch some of the kids shows: ‘why do most kids shows seem to be about kids going to school?” No wonder most people nowadays will watch crap and applaud mediocrity. They grow up coming home from school only to watch shows about kids going to school, then grow up to come home to their family only to watch another guy coming home to his family. The entertainment industry has managed to bore their audience’s imaginations right out of them.
    maybe it makes it easier to sell the commercials crap they shove on us.

  • Danny R Santos

    Well as for Venture Brothers and Family Guy, I never cared for shows with toilet humor. The’re just not funny. With the way animated shows are being made nowadays i’m kind of embarassed to tell people that I’m an animator. God how I miss animated shows with falling anvils and dynamite explosions.

  • Bauer

    FOX prefers “Family Guy” and its clones to “The Simpsons” because they OWN all of it. They only own a small percentage of “The Simpsons” and it really gripes their chafed, greedy ass.

  • http://kubankin.blogspot.com Dan szilagyi

    Well after reading everyone’s comments ( i know this is an older post) i think the bottom line is always MONEY and it always will be, there are so many talented artists out there who can make amazing art and animation but it doesn’t matter because you’ll never see really creative and unique stuff on TV unless its a show on the subject.
    So the question is what can you ( as the artist or writer or whatever) do to make the problem better? I’m not saying i know how but i think alot of things would need to change and i think studios and businessmen will never like to do that.

    In europe there is such a level of freedom and even funding for arts and animation and it shows because some of the best films and art come from there ( france is the global leader for unique style comic publishing)

    So to re-cap i think north america needs to get its hands off the money and start something good again

  • http://escapistcartoons.blogspot.com Behonkiss

    This spinoff will be a huge flop, but the only artist trusted? Is that supposed to be serious?

  • http://www.spitandspite.com Spit & Spite

    Santos: “Well as for Venture Brothers and Family Guy, I never cared for shows with toilet humor. The’re just not funny… God how I miss animated shows with falling anvils and dinamite explosions.”

    AHAhahahahahahha. Sarcasm, how I love it.

    You were being sarcastic right?

  • http://www.flightoftheintruder.blogspot.com Chris Hatfield

    Re:
    I miss the old feeling of Saturday morning cartoons. Today its load, obnoxious, and ugly.

    What, you miss GILLIGAN’S PLANET and HAMMERMAN and RUBIK THE AMAZING CUBE and CAPTAIN PLANET and POPEYE AND SON and LITTLE CLOWNS OF HAPPYTOWN and FUNKY PHANTOM and US OF ARCHIE and SUPER PRESIDENT and a bunch of others I can’t remember right away?
    —————————————————————————

    No Fp.
    I’m talking about shows like Batman:The Animated Series, Superman, Batman Beyond, Teen Titans, Gargoyles, X-men: Evolution, X-men, Spiderman, Pinky and the Brain, and Static Shock.

    Granted some of these may have suffered animaton wise from episode to episode, but at least they treated you like you had half a brain.

  • Danny R Santos

    spit and spite, um I know animated shows should be about substance and stories that move people. Yes I was being partially sarcastic, but unless you have met people like Chuck Jones and Rob Mckimson and learned from these legends a thing or two on solid humor and incorporate it in todays society without having the FCC breathing down your neck, it could do wonders.

  • http://constipanimated.blogspot.com Greg

    Spinoffs? Is that really the best you guys can come up with? Is it risk aversion or lack of imagination? It would seem neither quality is desirable in a development exec/show runner/producer.

  • Brian H

    Seriously, Jerry and Amid? Can you PLEASE put a moratorium on posting anything related to Family Guy or Seth McFarlane? It’s always the same thing about TV ANIMATION IS DEAD AND SETH MCFARLANE HAS RAZED AND SALTED THE EARTH SO THAT NO GOOD CAN EVER GROW FROM IT AGAIN coupled with the same fifteen comments by angry curmudgeons convinced that nothing animated past the 60′s is worth watching, except for the stuff that isn’t.

    I mean yes I thought the show was funny (occasionally REALLY funny) eight years ago before it was cancelled but now not so much. So I guess my point is that everybody hates it except for the millions that watch it but we all GET it, OK? We GET it. Can we agree to stop talking about it unless there’s something NEW to add to it?

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    “Danny R Santos says:Well as for Venture Brothers and Family Guy, I never cared for shows with toilet humor.”

    I don’t know which Venture Bros. cartoons you have seen, but I definitely don’t think that that’s a fair appraisal of that show. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve had to wrack my brain to think of any examples of toilet humor in any of the episodes to date. I think that there is a pee joke in the space station episode, but that may be it. Give it another try and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • Daikun

    You can’t be serious. Cleveland is one of the dullest characters on Family Guy AND HE GETS HIS OWN SHOW?!?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the fan-favorite, oh, I don’t know…STEWIE? He’d have a far more interesting series, don’t you think?

  • Paul

    “Oh and by the way, i just went to see a disney movie(might have been enchanted) and there was a animated short of Goofy trying to install a tv… The faces on the people on how aggravated they were to have to sit thru it was incredible (i didn’t mind myself)…”

    I think this is a really telling quote. Let’s face it – in the minds of the vast majority of Americans, animation is for kids. There are always going to be a few exceptions – South Park is maybe the best example of that today – but most people I know just ignore it if it’s animated. Heck, some of my friends gave us crap when we watched Rudolph in the dorms last Christmas.

  • Nipplenuts McGurk

    So, I wonder…after you’re all done huffing and puffing, how many of you are getting your resumes and portoflios together to try to get a job on Cleveland? ;)

  • top cat james

    Instead of developing new animated programming, I’d much rather Fox bring back “Futurama, “The Critic”, and “The PJs”.

  • brent

    so glad I canceled my cable. Now to cancel my internet…

  • http://utopiamoment.ca Jack Ruttan

    I’m wondering about the stuff they turn down. Brilliant ideas, or unworkable? Erratic creators prone to having nervous breakdowns? Remember that they have to produce this stuff to a schedule, and keep it consistent. I also gather that it takes months and lots of Harvard degrees to write a “Simpsons” episode, and lots of those were still in the shop with problems being tinkered with, before being “locked.”

    Still, I look at the links in this blog and see all these interesting artists, and I weep when someone such as Genndy Tarkovsky (spelling?) is stuck doing “Star Wars.” Where are the young and coming Miyazakis and Brad Birds? Trampled over by the system?

    Sometimes I think of the rottenness around as something to push against, that we can do better than that. Not that it’s easy!

  • http://kitschensyngk.deviantart.com/ Kitschensyngk

    Someone on a forum I frequent asked what could be done to improve the state of US animation.

    I responded with this:

    We need more cartoons that aren’t age-specific, that are neither condescending to children nor too stupid for adults to watch.

    We need more cartoons that don’t sacrifice story, content or art design for ratings and target demographics.

    We need more cartoons that don’t just exist to push toys or clothes or bedspreads.

    We need more cartoons that are quotable and well drawn or rendered, not either/or.

    We need more cartoons that are made as animators and studios see them, much like buildings are made as architects and construction crews see them.

    Only time will tell when the day this all will happen comes, if at all. But I still have hope.

    Also, give me American Dad over Family Guy any day. At least the Smiths can find a plot and stick to it.

  • http://www.thexbridge.com Jeff Harris

    I’m not ready to damn “Cleveland” like a lot of the Seth MacFarlane haters around here but be honest.

    When was the last time a spinoff of a series featuring a fan-favorite, super popular character worked? Flo didn’t work. Neither did Fish. Who remembers Joey?

    The only reason Frasier worked is because Frasier, though popular, was given a cast of characters around them. Certainly the producers of Frasier could have given a spinoff to Norm, Woody, Cliff, Carla, even Rebecca, but people would have such high expectations of comedy gold in every episode. That’s what killed Joey, probably the craziest and most popular male character on Friends. People expected so much and got so little.

    Really, what would a Quagmire series entail? The zany adventures of a horny, perverted pilot globehopping across the world? And how about Joe? A comedic cop series with a handicapped lead role akin to an animated version of COPS? Part of the FG crowd’s loathing of the spinoff has something to do with their latent racism, but I digress.

    But Amid, I should take some comfort that even though you and a lot of the Spumco/South Park acolytes despise Seth with a frothy vengence, you did call him an animation artist. He’s been called worse by a lot of folks.

  • Asymetrical

    Gee Family Guy makes 1 billion in sales? Um… that sounds like a hit fellas. Not a failure. Granted the 90′s animation was pretty cool but those days are dead; eaten up a long time ago by corporations.

    The problem with animation industry today is the fact that they hire development executives from outside the industry such as marketing and merchandising who then have no clue about their market except to troll websites and find what they think are trends in buying to support lame assed ideas that flounder. WTF do they know about content? Not to mention the fact that most dev execs don’t have kids!?!?!? WTF is THAT about?

    the other problem is the same 5 people keep moving from studio to studio and developing shows on other networks. the head of Nick just left for Disney. The head of Disney is going to CN. The dev execs from WB are over at Nick. The SAME execs who came up with Loonatics BTW. Good God help Nickelodeon. If you thought it was bad before wait until you see the lineup next year! It’s incest man! Pure incest! If you think I’m wrong you’ve clearly never been in the development machine.

    The only way you’ll see a new era in animation is if some unknown studio gets a hit on the air. When Tom and Jean ran WB it was a different world. No corporate meddling. They go to do what they pleased. And apparently it pleased us.

    The soul is missing from animation today but honestly no one seems to care or the 1 billion in FG sales wouldn’t be there. Kids don’t see cartoons the way us olden folk do. It’s a different animal and they aren NOT us. they might as well be aliens with the differecne between how they are brought up and how we were brought up. Even if you’re only 18, the kids today don’t think Bugs Bunny and Animaniacs rules. they’ve never SEEN either because the networks don’t air it. Why? Back to back SpongeBob because it sells. (and when I say kids I mean 7-11) truthfully kids watch what’s on regardless of what development execs or networks think. They just do. They LIKE Danny Phantom and FOP and Sponge Bob and Chowder and Avatar. Prove me wrong.

    Besides as I’ve said forever on this site, CARTOONS ARE NOT MADE FOR YOU! Even Family Guy is made for teens and the college crowd not grownups. If you don’t think it’s funny it’s because IT’S NOT FOR YOU!!!!! Apparently with one BILLION in sales it’s clearly for someone! :-)

    Still like that one dude said, you’re all whining for no reason unless you get off your cheese doodled ass and make a better show yourself.

  • http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/mjf7583 Michael F.

    You know, the more you think about it you’ve got to remember – this is Fox we’re talking about. The station that lets Family Guy and the Simpsons thrive while Futurama and Arrested Development get cancelled and 24 is left for dead.

  • http://http//kittyhasfleaz.blogspot.com Felicia Spano

    Not play Devil’s Advocate, but I actually do enjoy Family Guy. Though it has lost its glimmer over the years, it’s nonetheless entertaining. My only problem is that the design, in itself, is bland. I can actually remember a time when the show first started and the layouts, character designs and animation were quite poor. The budget has increased and its blandness has been accentuated. Really, that’s about the biggest gripe I have with Family Guy, American Dad and the upcoming Cleveland. Obviously, the jokes in the show make up for that — if its entertaining, it’s good. That’s how the general public views most television.

    Okay…I’m rambling now. Going back to the subject at hand….despite my love for the show, yes, I am very upset about the spin off. Though Cleveland is a funny character, he is hardly a deserving candidate for a spin-off show. Cleveland is Family Guy’s “token black guy.” He’s a punch line and the writers/creators haven’t provided him any substance. Basically, there shouldn’t be any spin off shows. Despite the success of Family Guy and American Dad, it’s simply idiotic to think that one person can create three programs with equal success. Isn’t it a high financial risk? It just seems like a really stupid decision — it’s illogical! Variety actually brings viewers to a network. The idea of three shows created by Seth MacFarlane turns me away (both as an animator and tv viewer) from the network. It’s FOX. Not the Seth McFarlane network. Personally, I don’t want to watch a television station that consists of shows only created by one person — eventually the shows will blend together. American Dad and Family Guy are essentially the same program despite their few enjoyable differences. The Simpson and King of the Hill are one of the highlights of the Sunday night lineup and that’s what Fox is known for as well.

    As for the Seth MacFarlane bashing. . . .why all the hate? Seth’s idea initially started off very small with his pilot and it blossomed over time. We shouldn’t blame the show’s creator for what the network is obviously doing. I find it hard to believe that Seth is at all satisfied with the progress of show. Granted, he’s probably content with his lifestyle, status and money, but is anyone really going to turn down offers like that? Okay, so it ISN’T artistically fulfilling, but he appears to be having fun and what’s wrong with that?

    Overall, the situation is upsetting, but if anything…blame the network for the chaos. Seth is just enjoying the ride and I’m sure he had some sort of artistic vision before his programs were taken over. Besides, he’s a vocalist and I’m sure the show is another outlet for that.

  • Hoss W.

    Jack Ruttan: “…where are all the young Brad Birds?” The young Brad Bird himself was damned near destroyed by the system for twenty years and change. He only broke through because it didn’t kill him. You could call Brad the John McCain of animation, but with a brain and talent.

  • Brannagin’s Law

    I know I’m in the minority here but I for one enjoy the change of pace that came from Family Guy’s writing. It’s hit and miss for me these days and unfortunately theres more misses, but they helped to widen the bar. It might not be your sense of humor but they got away with a lot and that’s good for everyone, whether you want a show to go there or not, it’s nice to now you can. Let’s face it, Family Guy isn’t made for kids or older people. If we wrote jokes that were on par with all the classic WB toons, most audiences would be lost today. Family Guy is not a great design, but I can say the same for a lot of the classics. Comedy has progressed to edgier and faster wit. Comedy will always be changing and people will always be left in the dust. My mom thinks the Drew Carey Show goes too far. It’s all relative and for all you guys that want the hey day of animation design and writing back you need to stop bitching and go make your own. There’s plenty of resources out there at this point. If you want to make a quick limited short or a fully animated short it can be done, and it all depends on the creator not the tool you use. South Park still works and usually still funny yet it animates like ass. So do you want good writing, design, or animation… because they rarely happen upon the same show. I definitely feel Hollywood is a huge part of the problem. They’re not really known for giving good artists shows they want. I think Family Guy has a place out there, but I agree also that they are short changing all of us for not looking outside their little formulaic boxes for the next thing. But a throw back to Colonel Bleep, Ren and Stimpy, Warner Bros., or UPA isn’t a step forward… it’s just a pleasing and familiar step to the side. The problem with the American viewer is, make something bad, and they will still watch.
    But don’t bash Family Guy because of the way it looks or because you don’t think it’s funny, because there’s people that think it looks similar to the Simpsons when compared to something like Samurai Jack. And what is Furturama but a much better written Simpsons? I say let it fail or succeed, either way there’s no one stopping you from making the shows you want to see in the meantime.

  • Mr. Semaj

    I thought this was serious.

    You are right about the subject. I mentioned some time ago that a lot of new and current projects are often being delayed beyond our understanding.

    -Adult Swim launched Season 2 of The Boondocks last October, after a 19 MONTH wait. But now, two episodes have reportedly been banned, and it’s been a month since the last new episode. AS won’t tell us if the banned eps will be released on DVD, or if there’s going to be a Season 3.

    -Nickelodeon STILL won’t tell us when Random Cartoons! is supposed to premiere.

    There are a few good signs, like the new SpongeBob episodes, and Disney Channel’s new Phineas and Ferb series.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Hmmm, another show I need not to watch!

    Of course, if there’s one show from my past I wouldn’t mind seeing again, it could be Saturday Supercade!

  • Samii

    Some Guy said, “Anyone who thinks Family Guy at its PEAK is better or worse than the Simpsons in 2008 needs to get their heads examined. ”

    Yeah, well, some of us just like Family Guy, so, you know, fuck you. Where did you develop the inflated ego that tells you your taste in animated comedy is somehow defining?

    You people really come across as a pack of jealous asses. I can’t imagine working in the animation industry. It sounds worse that how a friend describes being a route salesman in back in college for Budweiser.

    brent said, “so glad I canceled my cable. Now to cancel my internet…”

    Too bad you didn’t cancel it before posting that.

  • Quisling

    Brannagin’s Law said, “But don’t bash Family Guy because of the way it looks or because you don’t think it’s funny, because there’s people that think it looks similar to the Simpsons when compared to something like Samurai Jack.”

    But that’s the way it is around these parts. Hell, that’s the way it is everywhere. People don’t like something, but they can’t understand that it’s just personal taste and the THEIR TASTE DOES NOT MAKE THEM ANY BETTER OR WORSE THAN ANYONE ELSE.

    I like Family Guy. According to some here I need my “head examined.” To me, someone who thinks I have a mental failing because I can laugh at a goofy show (mainly due to NOT having a broomstick shoved up my ass) is, himself, not mentally all there. Besides, I have a measured IQ of 147, have nine complicated patents with my name on them, and I am a pretty damned successful human being, so if any of the FG haters want to correlate and compare mentalities, bring it on.

    My God! Someone is succeeding. We can’t have that! How dare something Mighty Amid does not like do well! Blasphemers!

    I say good for Seth and his team.

    And as I recall, Amid once dissed Samurai Jack, so in my book, he ranks about 900,000th on any list of people who are savvy about animation.

  • H Park

    Instead moaning about our pathetic state of TV animations, let us do something about it.

    We have to become efficient: After spending 10 minutes reading “The Simpsons: the movie” ending credit, do we really need an army of 1000 specialists to make a 2 hour animation?

    We need to have complete understanding of TV and Film production & financing system. So that we can take advantage of the system to our favor rather than Executives dictating which animation is good or bad.

    Start tackling animation as cinematic film like other countries. Don’t just make comedy. Make Drama; make tragedy; make something that appeals to mainstream in different way. Why can we not have non-animator directors? Is there a rule that director of feature animation must have animation background? We have instances where people like Tim Burton directs animation and Live action. Why not the opposite? It would be nice if we have more directors coming from live action arena.

    To all you surviving mainstream animators in North America with 5-10+ years of experience: Be expressive with your “craft”. Don’t just become boring animator stuck with old school mentality. Draw Off-model! Stir up some artistic controversy!
    Stop grinding down aesthetic principles to hopefuls. Start bending some rules! If someone complains about off model animation, give them the finger.

    We need to break up the Studio system that strangles creative freedom. Live action films became more vibrant with by becoming smaller independent studios. How come animation production has to be done by Disney, WB, Nick, and CN only?

    Let’s not dumb down ideas to age groups. Let’s look for daring TV producers who can support our visions. We don’t need those business school type. We need gambler. We should be the one who’s calling the shots. We have technology and thousands of creative individuals.
    If French made serious Noir adult animation like “Renaissance”, we can do just as good as them. Since Japanese make animations with sex and violence, we should do that too. Why are we limiting ourselves by some producers negative attitude?

    Let’s focus building fan base.

    Let’s try to develop full “on shore” production rather than “off shore”.
    What’s wrong drawing animation in Kansas and Idaho? We need to develop future animators.

  • I’mPopeye

    Why is it that every mainstream TV show broadcast outside cartoon channels has to be a comedy show? That for me signifies the creative bankruptcy within TV animation. Fox expects every new cartoon show to pull the same ratings and success as The Simpsons. Therefore, each new new show has to follow the same tired formula. There is a lot of potential in the animation medium to be entertaining, catered to adults and not be comedy. When the audience and TV networks realise that, is when animation on TV will mature. This is where anime in Japan has vastly surpassed its Western counterpart.

  • Geshgulla

    TV animation doesn’t go any more downhill than this. Family Guy is a sorry rip-off of The Simpsons. Not only jokes but entire segments and storylines are liberally lifted from the show and dumbed down to suit the average FG episode.

  • Ingram

    Hey,
    I have a great idea for a cartoon for children it is fun, funny and teaches children good behavior, morals and good character. Trust me children and parents need this. How and who should I pitch my idea to? How do I make contact with a TV cartoon producer?