Fox // 2011 // 349 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 13th, 2012
The legendary beast is on the hunt!
Welcome to suburban Quahog, a town filled with some of the weirdest residents you'll ever meet. For example, the Griffin family: bumbling father Peter (show creator Seth MacFarlane), patient wife Lois (Alex Borstein, ParaNorman), dimwitted son Chris (Seth Green, Robot Chicken), smart but awkward teenage daughter Meg (Mila Kunis, Black Swan), super-baby/super-villain Stewie (MacFarlane again), and their walking talking family dog Brian (MacFarlane yet again). The Griffins spend their days stumbling into all kinds of misadventures, from traveling through the space-time continuum to fighting giant oversized chickens. The easily offended are asked to leave the room, because Family Guy is in the house!
Volume 10 contains fourteen episodes spread across three DVDs...
* "Halloween on Spooner Street"
* "Baby, you Knock Me Out"
* "Brian Writes A Bestseller"
* "Road To The North Pole"
* "New Kidney In Town"
* "And I'm Joyce Kinney"
* "Friends Of Peter G."
* "German Guy"
* "The Hand That Rocks The Wheelchair"
* "Trading Places"
* "Tiegs For Two"
* "Brothers & Sisters"
* "The Big Bang Theory"
* "Foreign Affairs"
This is one of the most polarizing shows on television. If I were to take a poll right now, asking a random group of people, "Do you like the show Family Guy?," their responses would vary from "That show is awesome!" to "I wouldn't touch it to rid the world of the Kardashians." Rarely is anyone lukewarm in their feelings about the series.
It will come as no surprise that Family Guy utilizing the same essential building blocks as Fox's other long running animated hit, The Simpsons. Both have oafish brainless patriarchs, level headed matriarchs, brainy daughters, underachieving sons, and a large cast of odd supporting townsfolk. However, that's where the similarities end.
Whereas The Simpsons's adventures are often filled with as much heart as it is laughs, Family Guy's simply goes for the jugular. One of the series' biggest missteps is its complete lack of heart. Episode after episode, the writers skewer as many hot button topics as possible, often focusing their attention on the ones they know will bring the most offense: dead babies, Christians, people with disabilities, homosexuals...no one is safe. In fact, Family Guy seems to actively hate its main characters, by making them all loathsome creatures; like the Griffin's neighbors who are sexual deviants and elderly pedophiles.
I understand envelope pushing is big in Hollywood, especially when it comes to comedies. The problem with that here is the stories often take a backseat to the writers' need to shout "Look what WE did!" The fact is, making a crude or offensive joke isn't enough; it needs to have real context to be funny. For instance, one episode involves Lois and the pornographic movie she made when she was younger. When their church congregation finds out, she's kicked out, because according to this show that's how most Christians act. In an attempt to get past her status as a pariah, Lois sneaks in and shows the film during Sunday mass, hoping to diffuse any judgment. The crowd, aghast at first, hoot and hollar as the priest exclaims, "That **** is hot!" That's where the episode ends. Now, I'm not one who gets his feathers ruffled easily, but callous stories like this are what push me away from Family Guy. What's the point of that ending? If everyone would only watch a porno in church, they're sure to love it? Or maybe porn is a part of life, so we should learn to accept it? You've got me.
Yes, I know...this is just a dumb animated series, and I'm offering too deep a critique of intentionally juvenile humor. Did I laugh watching Family Guy: Volume 10? Of course. I won't lie and say there aren't any laughs to be had; sometimes it was the more inane moments (like when Quagmire was abducted by aliens, disappointed to learn they weren't going to anal probe him) and sometimes it was the truly offensive moments (a dog, an erection, and a lipstick).
If I am to offer any genuine praise for Family Guy, it's that the show has done a fine job peppering its episodes with pop culture references that aren't always easy to spot. During one episode, Peter recites dialogue from Jurassic Park, though only fans well versed in the film will know what he's quoting. Other references include 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series, Falco's '80s hit "Der Kommissar," and Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, all of which made me laugh.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Family Guy isn't really a show that sports super detailed animation. Though some episodes feature impressive CGI work, this is a standard broadcast animated series that looks very good on DVD. The colors are vividly bright and I didn't notice any issues with imperfections or defects in the transfers.
The Dolby 5.1 Surround mixes are better than average for TV animation, with a surprising level of directional effects; though most of this dialogue driven show remains front heavy. Also included are alternate language tracks in Dolby 2.0 mix French and Spanish, with English, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Bonus features include select commentaries from various series' writers, directors, producers, and cast members; deleted scenes; three short featurettes ("All I Really Want for Christmas: The Music of 'Road to the North Pole'," "Herbert & Franz: The Making of an Epic Fight Sequence," "Adam West Star Ceremony"); and some select pre-production animatics.
Even with a smattering of laughs, I'm forced to distance myself from Family Guy. When my fiancé came over and caught me watching the show, I quickly noted it was only for the purpose of writing this review. In other words, I was embarrassed to admit I was actually watching the show; not something most producers would see as a badge of honor.
Guilty...[insert pop culture reference here]
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 349 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site