Talking dog, evil infant, mastermind

That is the title to an article from cnn.com today about Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane. At 31 he has created two cartoons meant for adults that have become a craze to watch (more Family Guy than American Dad–I saw the American Dad episode that aired after the Super Bowl this year and I didn’t think it was that good. I mean it had funny parts but it was just a version of Family Guy, that’s all. Hopefully with the full series on it’ll actually get better). If Seth MacFarlane is 31 years old now he must have been around 24 when he created Family Guy. That amazes me. I have to get the fucking ball rolling soon. I just need some fucking time to get my shit together with my writing.

Here is the article on Seth MacFarlane along with pictures:

Talking dog, evil infant, mastermind

Seth McFarlane heavily invested in two series

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Posted: 9:39 AM EDT (1339 GMT)

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Meet Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Fox’s “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” as well as the voice of many of the characters on the two witty and ribald animated series.

This day, at a table reading for an episode of “Family Guy,” MacFarlane as title character Peter Griffin sings a song about working, works his way through baby Stewie’s biting commentary, and invests Brian the mutt with lively common sense.

He also subs for so many other roles — later to be filled by guest actors — that eventually even he, in an exchange between Brian and Peter, gets the voices mixed up — to a chorus of laughter from some 60 people gathered in the conference room at MacFarlane’s office.

Among them are network watchdogs scribbling notes, undoubtedly marking extremes of sexual and religious humor that may not make the final cut in this post-Janet era. “We give them a few red herrings that we figure they would take out,” MacFarlane says.

Although he wonders why the standards and practices people get so upset sometimes, he credits them for generally being reasonable, “particularly with the pressures they are under right now with the FCC.”

Fox originally canceled “Family Guy,” but has picked it up again, along with his new series, “American Dad.” MacFarlane says he recognizes the cancellation was a business decision the network was entitled to.

But now, in response to the success of the “Family Guy” DVDs and reruns on the Cartoon Network’s late-night “Adult Swim” lineup, 35 new episodes, along with at least 13 episodes of “American Dad,” have been ordered by the network. (Cartoon Network is a division of Time Warner, as is CNN.)

The half-hour shows, which got a prominent kickoff following the Super Bowl telecast in February, begin airing regularly on May 1, in the 9 p.m. EDT time slot.

“I’m too excited to gloat,” the 31-year-old MacFarlane says, laughing.
Drawing from ‘All in the Family’

Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman, co-creators and executive producers of “American Dad,” say it helps to be “twisted” if you work with MacFarlane.

“American Dad” is about Stan Smith (voiced by MacFarlane), a trigger-happy CIA agent obsessed with national security. His ultraliberal daughter, Hayley, is voiced by MacFarlane’s younger sister, Rachael. Roger, a space alien also voiced by MacFarlane, lives in the Smiths’ attic, and the family circle includes Klaus (Dee Bradley), a German-speaking, sexually obsessed goldfish, the result of a CIA experiment gone wrong.

MacFarlane says the show’s concept “sprang from the climate during the (presidential) election … a very politically charged time, with the whole country split in half.”

He’s a big fan of “All in the Family,” which satirized the sharp cultural and political divisions in the 1970s, and feels “that’s what we are dealing with now.”

A liberal on most issues, MacFarlane co-created in Smith a right-wing character who is “completely the other end of the spectrum.” But he says, “It’s interesting, because by its nature, it does keep us in check from getting on a soap box, because at the end of the day, you have to like your main character.”

So there’s equality of thought in the parodying of the absurdities of both Stan’s knee-jerk reactionism and Hayley’s ultraliberalism.

“Originally we intended for Hayley to be the voice of reason, but as it’s gone along, it’s much funnier to play a little more extreme,” says Barker.

The visual style is the same on both the Griffin- and Smith-family shows — which are hand-drawn in Korea — but Weitzman believes what most clearly marks the difference between the two is that “American Dad” has “much less non-sequitur humor than ‘Family Guy’ … We are more narrative.”

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MacFarlane freely acknowledges his influences and inspirations. He’s a fan of “The Simpsons” and of Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” cartoons, in which the “animals were always drawn completely real. If you look at his cows, there’s nothing cartoony about them — other than that they are standing on their hind legs. But those leg joints are like real cows, only these have names like Warren, Paul and Steve.”

I am very excited about the return of Family Guy on May 1st. I was not a big fan of it when it first came out. I thought it was a rip on The Simpsons (and in fact it is only that the baby can actually talk (along with the dog) and son isn’t a brat). But I gave the show a shot in college and thought it was amazningly funny. I hope that bringing it back won’t ruin the show. I don’t want them to change anything about the show. Leave it just the way it was. And if you can’t, don’t fucking touch it!

I think Mathew would respond to me like Brian would if he could talk.

–Socram

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