This perfectly summarizes why I love the Simpsons and hate Family Guy.
I watched that episode with my family and I could just feel how uncomfortable everyone was. Honestly, it was a really jarring, unpleasant episode.
Homer is a terrible dad. So is Peter. But Homer’s saving grace has always been that he tries—he’s bad at it and he fucks it up a lot, but he loves his family and he wants to be better than he is.
One of my favorite Homer moments is in “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife.” Tl;dr Marge writes a steamy romance novel starring herself and Ned, and when Homer finds out, he chases down Ned and, rather than attack him, asks him to teach him how to be a better husband.
There’s some part of his stupid self that wants to do better.
I never got that impression with Peter. Instead, the family has gotten more and more abusive towards Meg. It’s really unsettling for me when I started realizing that’s what happens sometimes in abusive families. Abusers sometimes single out one child to abuse, and quite often the other family members take the abuser’s side. After all, it’s easier to side with an abuser than to run the risk of becoming the target yourself.
There’s never really a point where it seems like Peter cares at all that his shitty behavior impacts his family. It actually seems to have gotten worse over the years. He expects everyone to clean up his messes because that’s always what happens; there’s really no reason for him not to be shitty.
And it’s easy to see how Meg is affected. She doesn’t have much of a character, really, because so much her screen time is devoted to being abused. The bits of character development all seem to hinge on her being this sad, neglected person who’s trying her best but never really gets any help from anyone. Quite the opposite; there have been a lot of episodes where her family sabotages any attempts to be herself.
It can be easy to forget how awful this behavior is when the only context is the show itself (frankly, everyone on Family Guy is kind of terrible). Seeing it played against the Simpsons, who are a flawed and dysfunctional but ultimately loving family, was painful to watch.
This perfectly sums up why I don’t like Family Guy.
All of Family Guy’s characters are garbage for the sake of comedy, and they all fail horribly at it because they become so 1-dimensional that they’re bland and unlikable. Many forget that throughout the earlier seasons, the characters functioned very much like The Simpsons in a way until they eventually started dumbing them down for comedy’s sake.
Peter was the “dumb dad that wanted the best for his family” as you can see in some episodes where he actually does treat Meg like a daughter he cares about as opposed to a plague on the family and you could still enjoy his character because he still had some likable traits. They dumbed him down so much over the years that he’s become almost impossible to enjoy as a character because his antics and attitude towards his family are so unbelievable that you feel no remorse for him when he does fuck up, all you feel is sympathy for anyone that suffers from what he does.
The rest of the family is a nice little collection of 1-dimensional stereotypes so uninteresting, you could replace them with some of the background characters and you’d never notice a difference because the main focus is Peter. You’ve got characters like Chris and Lois, who feel like they’re horribly underdeveloped and only there for a quick joke, and it’s made painfully obvious they have no character whenever, god forbid, they have their own episodes. You have characters like Brian and Stewie who have completely changed personalities throughout the years. Brian’s become a character to use for jokes about being liberal, a joke about his failing love life (which includes beastiality jokes at times), or if they want Quagmire to have something to hate (I never understood where this joke even came from, it makes no sense). Stewie is there just to be a gay joke, plain and simple. Meg, as mentioned above, is basically just around to harass whenever the audience is getting bored with the lack of entertainment. She’s the only one with potential to be likable, but they’re constantly trying to portray her as either creepy/desperate, or just really gross/weird to try and justify the reason no one likes her, but it still just comes off as really horrible.
I’m a fan of horror movies, and in those movies, characters like this are the ones I’m hoping get killed off fairly quickly. These are the characters you want to see dead and gone. You don’t find joy/comedy/relief when they fuck up really bad and then fix it in the end because they’re genuinely horrible characters and you wish they would just go away. This is why no one outside of middle school talks about this show with any praise. The characters are so unlikable that you don’t want to watch a comedy about them. The writing is so bad that you just don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to see them resolve their problems because they spent the whole episode causing it themselves. You don’t want to listen to the same joke you’ve heard in the past 5 seasons repeated over and over as if it were the shows golden ticket to fame and their one saving grace because it’s tiring and repetitive. The show is just terrible.
The Simpsons isn’t a flawless example of television, but they give more respect to their characters and take the time to make each of them unique and appealing. Even villainous ones, like Sideshow Bob, have great character development and still remain likable while being the enemy. Family Guy never puts this much thought into their characters. The first thought for character development in Family Guy is “what joke are we using this character for” and “how can we make this character fit this joke in the most visually obvious way possible”.
Family Guy is just a poorly developed mess and honestly, I don’t think Seth McFarlene knows anything about writing a comedy show, or about comedy for that matter. His shows are all just rehashed versions of Family Guy and he lacks any real creativity. Good voice actor, shit writer.
Family Guy is the worst show on television.