Family Guy is nothing if not resilient. The Fox animated sitcom debuted in 1999 and was canceled twice before finally coming back once more in 2005. Since then, it’s become a TV institution much like The Simpsons. Yet, despite the fact that Family Guy is currently in season 18, the show’s new episodes fall dramatically short of its earlier ones. Here are six reasons why.
6. The original ‘Family Guy’ team has split up
In its first few seasons, Family Guy had a core group of writers and producers behind the scenes. But many of the creative minds instrumental in the show’s early success have moved on. Some have shifted to series creator Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad! and The Cleveland Show.
As the team has changed, so too has the tone and quality of Family Guy varied quite a bit. Gradually, the spark that once led fans to champion for the show so hard has flickered out. And now, save for its memorable theme song, the show feels more like a hollowed-out shell of the TV comedy it was.
5. Streaming has changed television
Since Family Guy‘s triumphant return to the airwaves, the world of television has changed immeasurably. Streaming services are popping up all over the place, and consumers have a wider variety of programming they can choose to watch. Rick and Morty is only the beginning.
How does this affect Family Guy? Well, besides viewership, fans now have more, arguably better options. Other shows — like Netflix’s Big Mouth, for instance — cater to the the show’s demographic. But the difference is they do so with more intelligent writing and in a truly uncensored environment.
4. The ‘Family Guy’ leads are self-parodies
Family Guy has always been a show populated by an expansive supporting cast. Yet, while many of them exist essentially for one type of joke each, the Griffin family started out much more well-rounded than that. As the years have gone by, everyone has devolved into their most basic selves.
Peter and Lois, for instance, were always on the stupid and wild side, respectively. But they were also concerned parents and well-intentioned spouses. Likewise, Stewie was devious and had an ambiguous sexual orientation. Now it feels like each character has only one discernible trait.
3. Shock humor no longer works
As creativity has slipped away, Family Guy has come to rely more and more on shock humor. Of course, this was always a key element of the show. After all, we’re talking about the series in which two of the most memorable musical numbers are “You Have Aids” and “Prom Night Dumpster Baby.”
The problem is that times have changed a lot since even the show’s 2005 return. We live in a much more politically correct world. And for better or worse, that means the signature in-your-face nature of Family Guy‘s comedy doesn’t quite hit as cleanly — or hilariously — as it once may have.
2. The show has gone on too long
Much like The Simpsons, Family Guy remains on the air for no discernible reason. Over the years, the show has seen its fan base dwindle. And as a result, its storytelling has suffered quite a bit. At a certain point, every show runs out of new story ideas. So instead they begin rehashing previous ones.
In recent years, Family Guy has only made headlines with stunts like The Simpsons cross-over, Peter Griffin’s showdown with Donald Trump, and worst of all, a short-term death for family dog Brian Griffin. Once upon a time, fans wanted a Family Guy movie. But is there anything left to say now?
1. Even Seth MacFarlane doesn’t care about ‘Family Guy’ anymore
Even MacFarlane admitted in 2011 the show should have ended by then. And in recent seasons, that disinterest has come across on screen. After all, MacFarlane has directed films like Ted, its 2015 sequel, and 2014’s A Million Ways to Die in the West. So Family Guy hasn’t been his priority for years.
Most recently, MacFarlane created and stars on The Orville, which jumps to Hulu for Season 3 in 2020. And he’s released five albums as a traditional pop vocalist. If the man who conceived of Family Guy doesn’t have his heart in it, is it any wonder the show isn’t what it used to be for longtime fans?