The Curious Absence of Humor in Primetime Animation The Curious Absence of Humor in Primetime Animation

The Curious Absence of Humor in Primetime Animation

Are The Simpsons and Family Guy creatively bankrupt? Is the Pope Catholic? The New York Sun‘s David Blum wrote a sharp commentary about this topic earlier this month:

Is it genuinely funny to see an animated, overweight, middle-aged dude on a living room couch, waiting for the chorus of the “Maude” theme song to kick in? To me it’s mildly amusing, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be the target audience for Fox’s “The Family Guy,” where that reference turned up on a recent episode. Very few 12-year-olds have a working knowledge of theme songs from 1970s sitcoms, and those who do need to get into something more useful, like stamp collecting. But this is what happens when you entrust the writing of prime-time cartoons to adults. They write what they know. And if you’ve ever met a Hollywood television comedy writer, you know that most of them grew up with baby sitters named Sony and Panavision.

I don’t think there’s all that much entertainment value in a television version of Trivial Pursuit, and that’s what television cartoons have largely become — a catalog of lines from old movies, theme songs from 1960s sitcoms, and mentions of actors like David Hasselhoff. I’m probably the only person in my ZIP code to catch the “Simpsons” reference to Fox’s 1991 sitcom trainwreck “Herman’s Head,” and that’s not a proud moment.

(again, via Michael Sporn’s Splog)