On ‘Family Guy’s 25th Anniversary, Seth MacFarlane Promises to ‘Continue to Feed the Beast’ With No End in Sight

The ‘Family Guy’ creator doesn’t see any reason to call it quits when the formula is still functional
On ‘Family Guy’s 25th Anniversary, Seth MacFarlane Promises to ‘Continue to Feed the Beast’ With No End in Sight

Nothing says Family Guy quite like keeping the same joke going after a quarter century.

25 years ago today, Seth MacFarlane’s seminal animated sitcom Family Guy first premiered on Fox with the debut episode, “Death Has a Shadow.” Right at the tail end of The Simpsons Golden Age, the network launched their next perennial hit about a nuclear family that would captivate the comedy world for ten seasons before beginning a slow slide out of the zeitgeist as casual fans gradually stopped tuning in for new episodes while die-hards continually promised that, “The show is good again, I swear.” The longest (and possibly endless) period of a prolific animated comedy’s life cycle is the last stage, when voice actors start to show their age, writers repeat themselves and viewership stabilizes at a level that justifies keeping the money printer humming until the power goes out.

On its 25th birthday, Family Guy finds itself in the middle of its post-Golden Age golden years halfway through its 22nd season. With a devoted fan base and a winning formula, MacFarlane believes that the show can continue on like this for the foreseeable future and beyond, telling The Wrap“There’s no indication that the show is going to end anytime soon.” Clearly, those manatees haven’t run out of idea balls.

“It’s still surviving and thriving. It still has a sizable audience and is a perfect example of there being an appetite for something,” MacFarlane explained, “So we continue to feed the beast.” Though MacFarlane’s portfolio of hit shows has grown since his breakthrough project – many of MacFarlane’s fans consider American Dad! to be his best work, and the recently premiered Ted TV series attracted record-breaking viewership for Peacock – he remains committed to his first love. “I’ve just been going at a dead run ever since the show premiered,” MacFarlane said, “Between then and now just feels like one really long day to me.”

That’s not to say every moment of Family Guy’s prolific run has stuck with its creator – “There’s now so much of it that there are episodes that I don’t remember,” MacFarlane admitted. “I go back and I’ll look at a show and I have a vague memory of making it. You’re faced with the reality of the passage of time and at some point in the past, this episode, this scene, this moment, frame by frame was so important that I had to get it exactly right, and now I can’t remember what happens next. I mean, there’s like 400 of these things. Who can keep track?”

Though the years have worn on MacFarlane’s memory of the show, Family Guy has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity among the younger crowd in recent months – the show’s crossover with the ever-popular video game Fortnite coincided with the rise of Gen Z Family Guy fans who first encountered the show either in the multiplayer shooter or through popular clips on TikTok. As it turns out, non sequiturs and fifteen-second standalone scenes appeal to a generation that prefers bite-sized bits to attention-intensive content.

But Family Guy’s enduring appeal is painfully simple, according to MacFarlane’s assessment. He posited that his show is “a room full of comedy writers who just want to fucking laugh,” positing, “That’s the mission statement of the show and it doesn’t ever really try to position itself with any pomposity as anything more than that, which I think in this instance is probably a good thing.”


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