back to article Family Guy creator's sellout to Google almost complete

Google is revealing new details on the recruitment of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to attract prime-time television advertising dollars to web-only video content. In September, the search giant plans to roll out a series of animated clips funded by its AdSense network called "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low bar...

    "So, er, the bar has been set pretty low"

    I may be pretty drunk, but I did chortle to myself there...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That reminds me...

    I must make that loan

  3. Anonymous Coward

    RIP Family Guy

    Wow Family Guy just became very uncool......

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh dear

    Let's hope this isn't the start of a Simpsons-esque slide into grubby sell-out advertising of everything under the sun, at which point previously brilliant series coincidentally become shit.

  5. GHok
    Thumb Down

    re: oh dear

    I'd say the Simpsons was still funny for a few years after it put its name on everything (which wasn't that long after it started, really), but it stopped being worth watching about ten years ago now.

    Is Family Guy still popular? I got the impression that even its fans found it rather tired by now. I think it reached its height about three years ago, at least here in North America. Personally, I've found it to be pretty terrible. There's about one brilliant joke an episode and the rest is just an exercise in being uncomfortable...

    There's been just as much Family Guy merch been put out as there is Simpsons stuff, anyway.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: re: oh dear

    " I think it reached its height about three years ago, at least here in North America."

    Maybe so, but Fox are showing it twice a night, Adult Swim still shows it as do other networks... MacFarland has just signed a deal worth more than $100 million and the spin-off (The Cleveland Show)... not saying this is any indication of quality, but it does show it's highly lucrative and there’s a market.

    However, this story isn’t actually about Family Guy…. why bring it up?

  7. Adam Owen

    Sellout? Hah, remember the time that...

    ... other dysfunctional family sold out and released merchandise and a feature film?

    *Cut to the Simpsons swimming in money*

    I do like Family Guy, I still watch the DVDs all the time. As do I watch the Simpsons. But American Dad is where it's at - it's like Family Guy, except with more guns and more funny.

    That being said, if Seth actually had any cool points left he would have just lost the rest of them with this stunt, poor form.

  8. Stuart

    No big loss

    I thought the first series of Family Guy was funny and inventive, and after that, it seemd to be nothing but pastiches and rip-offs thinly disguised as parodies or "homages." If McFarlane's come up with an original idea for maknig money online, then at least it proves he is capable of having them, something you wouldn't know from watching Family Guy.

  9. Mark SPLINTER


    "“What is exciting is that this is a way to monetize the Internet immediately. Instead of creating a Web site and hoping Seth’s fans find it, we are going to push the content to where people are already at,” said Karl Austen, a lawyer who worked on the deal"

    A *LAWYER* ????!!!?!??!1!!11!!

    Couldn't they find someone LESS qualified to make a comment about how "cool" a new idea is?

    And what he says is the opposite of the truth, i'll translate it from legalese to english for you:

    "What is annoying is that this is a way to piss people off immediately. Instead of creating an intertube datapage and hoping a miracle happens and people actually want to watch this shit, we are simply going to ram it down their throats instead," said Karl Austen, a scumbag who hasn't got a clue about entertainment.

    "What's good is the naive advertisers will pay a fortune for this idiocratic experiment and we are completely insulated from risk, and also we get a cool press release about partnering with a hasbeen animator," said Bumblety Kablethump, a PR girl who joined Google 3 months ago because "their office looked really kewl on youtube".

  10. Bo Pedersen
    Thumb Up


    its all part os Stewies world dominance plan.

    come on guys where's you sense of humour

    slamming something before its even turned up, it might actually make web ads less BORING! :)

    If I am gonna have Merch shoved in my face on the web, I would rather it be funny! :)

  11. Matthew
    Dead Vulture


    What does 'monetize' mean in english?

  12. Serrio

    Re: Family Guy.

    Family Guy stopped being funny after Blue Harvest. It just seems like they burned out on humour during it. It just seems to be going for the somewhat tired "ZOMG YOU CANT SAY THAT ON TV LOLZ" jokes now.

  13. Liam
    Thumb Up

    family guy dead my ass...

    still the best cartoon series created. yes its uncomfortable sometimes. but thats the point. its like watching a very toned down jimmy carr :)

    i have series 1-6 on dvd (actual originals !!) and series 6 is just as good as the rest... go on... give it a go... :)

  14. Cyberwlf
    Thumb Up

    Family Guy

    Series 5 rocked, quite twisted in parts but lots of original ideas, series 6 isnt as strong but still OK. If you dont get season 5 you probably hate Drawn Together too.

    That said, i reckon these ads will be bollocks. Bring on more Family Guy.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Family Guy is still really rather good, though it peaked around season 3, which was consistently brilliant. The Simpsons has been pretty awful and try-hard for a good few years now, though of course it paved the way for all other modern animated comedy.

    Over here in the UK we see mercifully little Simpsons-branded advertising, though when in the States I have been stunned by the way they stick the Simpsons on every product under the sun. Very grubby....

  16. Lloyd
    Paris Hilton


    "I got the impression that even its fans found it rather tired by now."

    Really? Perhaps you North Americans and your lacklustre humour don't get it, your comedy tastes are catered for by such classics as "everybody loves Rainman" or the fat delivery guy one, or possibly even a bit of good old Benny Hill, I'd say that's much more suited to our six fingered cousins.

    On a more positive note, McFarlane is doing the voice of Johann Kraus of the BPRD in Hellboy II which is nice.

  17. Whitefort

    The good old days...

    Ah, yes... I can remember Family Guy when it was really, hilariously funny....

    But then, I'm REALLY old.

    He totally lost the plot a few series ago - Google are welcome to him!

  18. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The good old days...

    Yeah, yeah, everything that used to be good sucks now and everything that was never any good sucks even worse.

    I blame Comic Book Guy for this prevailing attitude, personally. But by my calculations Family Guy could be 200% more smugly self-referential and cynically 'outrageous' than it is and it would still be 500% better than 97% of everything else available to look at with your eyes.

    Anyway, did you know Seth McFarlane was booked onto one of the planes that hit the WTC, only he missed it? So really the entire series is all about how you manage to live your life after dodging a terrible fate. That, and dick jokes.

  19. Mike Taylor


    I'm too old for Family Guy????????

  20. Dan Atkinson

    Revolutionary way to monetise the Web?

    Amazing - Original content shown on a screen with adverts around it!Can't believe it's not been thought of before.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Never too old!

    Not at all Mike, we're just on the black part just outside the doubles.

    Family Guy is still great I'd say. For example, the whole Pirate episode and the trying to throw a toad out the window with a shoebox lid? Genius I tells ye, yaaaaar. Also, it's mostly better than American Dad, although it has its moments too.

    And yes, far better to have amusing adverts rather than fake glamour, enticing smiles and condescending bullshit.

  22. Liam

    never too old for family guy

    you just mean you dont get it... thats ok granddad :)

    yeah - the humour is more like english humour now. and compared to our stuff its really tame (apart from maybe quagmire - who is now just a total perv). but in england we like the perv. we arent anywhere near as conservative as the yanks.

    and for anyone who hasnt seen the blue harvest star wars special - check it out now! its brilliant!

  23. Gav


    Family Guy sucks. It has always sucked. Anything it ever does right it has stolen from The Simpsons. Other than that it is an idea-free vacuum of staggering obviousness. Despite barely manage scenes of longer than 30 seconds, you can spot the punchline to every unfunny gag in what seems like half an hour in advance. And then it runs out of ideas and switches to another scene. Repeat this ad nauseum.

    If this is the level of Seth McFarlane's inventiveness I'll not be rushing to view Google's offerings.

  24. Matt

    giggity giggity goo

    Giggity giggity.......

    alll riight....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You stupid, miserable ballbag. Get a sense of humour you dull, stupid mong.

  26. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    @ 'ballbag'

    Now, now. There's no need for that.

    Or, is there?

    (Not really.)

  27. Glynn Williams

    Aaah... So now we see

    Where the Moderatrix spends all her time...

    Watching Family Guy, and following Seth McFarlane around the world...

    There's a reason they call it a restraining order!

    (Sorry Sarah! Love ya really! :P )

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Gav

    You are completely wrong. It staggers me to think that someone so completely wrong about something so fundamental could actually be out there endangering the rest of mankind with their inherent wrongness.

  29. andy gibson

    Family Guy would be better

    If it weren't aimed squarely at US audiences with a working knowledge of popular US sitcoms from the 70's to the present. There are loads of references to shows and people which are meaningless to the rest of us.

  30. Law

    RE: Family Guy would be better

    I'm a 27 yr old male in the UK, and I get about 95% of the jokes.... most of the tv shows were ported over here anyway.

    I for one welcome our new Family Guy overlord....

    PS - I love family guy, American Dad grows on you eventually, and how much do you want to bet that they filter out the rest of the world so only the US can see these new shows, it's guaranteed now that advertisers have their claws into this.

    PPS - Sarah, I solute you!!

    brb, that bloody chicken is back.... *cue fight music*

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    andy gibson

    Yes, because trying to include references to shows and people from every country around the world wouldn't have the effect of watering down the show for everyone would it you moron. It's an American show. Of course it has mainly American references. Do you think football would be "better" if it included the odd tennis racket? Or that your local news should feature stories about Bolivia? You indescribable arse head.

  32. Peyton

    @Family Guy would be better

    I was actually wondering that myself, wrt how it could be popular outside of the States. I mean, I live over here, but I don't get a lot of the jokes b/c I'm too young to remember stuff from the 70s and 80s.

    What I want to know is how the show's script-writing manatees feel about this move.

  33. Ross Fleming Silver badge


    "Anything it ever does right it has stolen from The Simpsons"

    Please watch the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It" - hilarious insight into people that get hung up on who came up with stuff originally... The premise being that nothing is new anymore.

    I'm biased though - love Family Guy and watch it over and over again. Giggiddy.

    PS Sarah - loving your calculations, absolutely spot on. If you haven't already, look out on YouTube for Seth's speech he gave at a graduation in various FG guises (search "Seth McFarlane Harvard Class Day" - 4 in total)

  34. fixit_f

    South Park is waaaaaaaaaay better than Simpsons or FG.

    And you can get the US DVD sets imported for about a tenner from Amazon's new or second hand section.

  35. Tim

    I heard..

    I heard that when Family Guy was cancelled after the third series and then reinstated a year or two later they had lost a lot of their writers, which is why it seems a bit unoriginal since then

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ the people who don't like family guy

    try smoking something good first, then watch it

  37. GHok


    I actually don't own a television, but what I do watch of television (not very much) via DVD is normally British.

    My comments mearly were trying to say that I think Family Guy hit its peak of popularity about three years ago here. That it's been losing popularity since then. I think it's something people still watch, but you're not going to find as many hardcore fans anymore. A very similar thing happened to South Park.

    What I think about the quality of the show is irrelevant. I just don't the majority of it find it funny, despite the hints of cleverness that peak through once in a while. I was just trying to shed some light on why Macfarlane would be making the kind of "sellout" move the article suggests. Shows with endless pop culture references very rarely have legs.

    Why you chose to take that as an insult and lash out, I don't know. Plenty of others disagreed with me without making xenophobic remarks.

    North America entertainment includes more than mainstream US television, by the way. However, I do suppose that's where you're going to find the majority of dick and fart jokes that my "lacklustre" North American sense of humour just doesn't get. But as I said before, I watch very little television. Maybe your television is worse than here, I wouldn't really know.

  38. Stuart

    @ Peyton

    "What I want to know is how the show's script-writing manatees feel about this move."

    One of the best South Park story arcs in recent times. I guess it might be because its airing here in Zild coincided with the astonishingly rapid collapse in the quality of Family Guy, but it was the first time I was 100% behind one of Cartman's schemes, and I was gutted when it failed.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    family crap

    family guy is a piss-poor simpsons rip-off and the characters are borderline 'freak-me-out' material. i mean, does no-one else find an adult baby with an upper-class english accent vaguely disturbing?

    nothing beats early simpsons, when it was still capable of ridiculing american society - before it became a watered down vehicle for celebrity guest star brown-nosing and really hit rock bottom with a guest appearance by your favourite war criminal, tony fucking blair.

  40. pctechxp

    South Park

    Even though its dull, family guy is much better than south park which seems to just revolve around how many times they can get supposedly primary school kids to say f**k or whatever expletive in a sentence.

    Apart from the voiceover by Isaac Hayes (Chef) its often difficult to determine what they are actually saying.

    I would assume that fixit_f is devoid of higher level intelligence and accompanying sense of humour if he/she thinks its the zenith of comedy or perhaps they are a 13 year old who has found their way onto El Reg as I cant think of anyone with half a brain that would find SP funny.

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