The Simpsons may be the royal family of primetime animation, but do they have a talking, cigarette smoking dog named Brian and a maniacal baby who speaks with a British accent and tirelessly plots his mother’s demise? Well The Family Guy has all that and a big, fat, fumbling dad, and the entire first season is now available on DVD.
While it only lasted two seasons on Fox, the irreverent animated comedy about a sweetly dysfunctional suburban family has built a cult following. “I think that, ironically, a lot of it did have to do with the fact that the show was constantly fighting to stay on the air and was kind of hard to find,” says series creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane. “It almost created this feeling among the fans that ‘Oh, this is something we know about and enjoy and the rest of the world doesn’t.’”
MacFarlane also recognizes that “animation fans tend to be more enthusiastic and passionate about what they like.” He comments, “For me personally, it’s much more rewarding to have someone come up and just be frantic about how much they love the show as opposed to working on a more mainstream, traditional sit-com kind of thing where you just don’t see as much of that. You really don’t see the rabid, passionate Becker fan.”
While the loyal fan base will no doubt be snatching copies off the shelf, MacFarlane hopes others will discover the show on DVD. “It creates a new life for a project like this,” he says. “Who knows? There’s always the possibility that if it did extremely well, Fox or someone might take notice and say, ‘Wait a minute, maybe we ought to give this thing another look.’ But the more likely thing would be that maybe there would be a direct-to-video release of a Family Guy feature or series. I’ve never heard of anything like that happening, but you never know.”
Though he has ideas for other TV projects, MacFarlane has turned his attention to the big screen. He is currently writing and directing the R-rated CG feature film Party Animals for Twentieth Century Fox Animation. The film is based on the book Frisco Pidgeon Mambo by C.D. Payne and is being produced by Bobby and Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber).