Family Guy• Family Guy is a family sitcom but with a dysfunctional twist. The characters are counter-typical stereotypes.• In a typical family sitcom, the story revolves around a nuclear family comprised of a husband, wife, and a couple of children. The story for each episode is stand-alone, and is most commonly about the familys mishappenings with each other, their friends, or neighbours.• In the end, the problem is solved and the family live on happily. This is the typical narrative structure of Family Guy.
Intertextual references• The series is full of intertextual references.• The Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, based some of his characters on previous animations:• Brian Grifﬁn looks similar to the famous cartoon dog character Snoopy: White fur, Black nose, participates in human activities, Stewie has a striking resemblance to the 1991 comic-strip character Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. Football-shape head, dislike towards mother, intelligent, etc.• This humour can only be found funny if the audience is well tuned with media texts such as these. Family Guy is constantly using references from other shows and movies and the internet. Many understand the intertextuality because they are so "media savvy."
Intertextual• The series also demonstrates the idea that Postmodernism will eat itself, as a lot of what is featured is just regurgitated pop culture.• Every type of media text that is popular is covered, TV, ﬁlm, and online digital media.• Family Guy is postmodern by always having references from other popular media texts and makes fun of itself whenever it can.
The Show and Title• Even the main idea of the show is a reference to the very popular television genre; the family sitcom.• The title Family Guy is said to be a reference to the popular television culture of family sitcoms.
Title theme tune• Its introduction theme tune is parodying modern television.• "It seems today that all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV...... where are those good old fashion values on which we used to rely? ... Lucky there’s a Family Guy."• The audience know that although the Family Guy voiceover is saying that its series will show family values, we know that it is going to be the complete opposite, therefore it is parodying its own role as promoting sensible family entertainment.
Borrowing from ‘The Simpsons’• It is speculated that Family Guy is a copy of the famous sit- com cartoon The Simpsons: the family consists of the typical nuclear family: father, mother, son, daughter and a baby child.• They also live in the same type of neighbourhood, Spooner Street, Quahog for Family Guy and Evergreen Terrace, Springﬁeld for The Simpsons.• Peter Grifﬁn and Homer Simpson are also very similar characters with both of them being dim-witted and clumsy.
Pastiche• Pastiche is the borrowing of something used before and re-using it in another context without changing it too much.• Family Guy contains a pastiche of Star Wars, Grease, and other TV / ﬁlms.• With pastiche, the past is reworked - Star Wars was a very popular TV series and ﬁlm(s) from the 70s and 80s. Both are famous today and still popular which is why it is easily understood and appreciated in Family Guy. The series combines pastiche with parody. It isnt making reference to Star Wars in a negative way, only a positive one - the ﬁlms and TV series were popular and still are.• It’s used to enjoy other TV series/ ﬁlms, to pay homage to them, for humour, and to reward cultural capital.
Confusion of Time and Space• There are particular episodes in which time and space is used to create confusion.• One shows Stewie and Brian in a ‘Disney universe’, Peter and Lois in the ‘Flintstone universe’ and ‘Road to the Multiverse’. There is also an episode in which characters travel to the future and one where they go back to Nazi Germany.• The idea of parallel universes is used to create confusion in where the characters are as it is set in a different universe, and set in the future. The characters travel from one parallel dimension to another. In each one, to comedic effect, they meet different versions of themselves. This is portrayed in a very playful way. Its also an intertextual reference to the Flinstones cartoon.• The reason it is post modern is that it rewards cultural capital if you recognise the references from the past, its playful, and humorous.
A non linear narrative• The episodes follow a non linear narrative.• In each episode there are at least 3 ﬂash backs to when something happened. This usually happens when a character says a line similar to “this is worse than the time…”• After this line there is a ﬂashback to a bizarre unrealistic situation, used just for the comedy value.• A non linear narrative is often used as its a common feature in post modern media to be playful with the chronology of events. Po mo does it because it can and it also reminds you about the process of production - its just TV, its not reality
The decline of the grand narrative.• These are concepts which describe progress and a belief system, for example; Christianity, Science, Buddhism, etc.• Post modernism highlights the decline in these values.• Grand narratives are constantly open to criticism in Family Guy. For Example: Jesus Comes To Dinner and God pulling.• Here Family Guy is exploring the death of the grand Narrative in terms of Christianity and is making humour out of it. This is an example of the decline of the grand Narrative.• This is done for humourous purposes and is a bit of an ‘in- joke’, so you feel you get it alongside others.
Playfulness with Realism.• In many ways, Family Guy conforms to a conventional family sit-com and the environment is realistic - similar to other family sit-coms, eg. My Family.• But, there are parts of the series which are unconventionally unrealistic, for example an intelligent baby, a talking dog and other characters like Jesus, Death and God.• In the series, though, these characters are accepted as if they were everyday citizens.• The reason its done is its humourous.
Conclusion - why is Family Guy post modern?• Intertextuality• Borrowing or appropriation• Pastiche• Parody• Confusion over Time and Space• A non linear narrative• Decline of the grand narrative• Playfulness with realism
Homework• Evaluate what elements of Family Guy are post modern and explain in detail how speciﬁc examples from the series can be described as post modern.• Please try and explain why the audience gets pleasure from the post modern techniques used in the series.• 800-1000 words due for Friday.