“Family Guy:” a cartoon that has vexed viewers, disgruntled parents and enflamed clergymen. While blunt to the point of blasphemy, in no small feat “Family Guy” has proved to be a wildly successful cartoon phenomenon, airing for 20 years and counting. No small feat.
How many other adult cartoons can say the same (minus “The Simpsons”)? How many other shows can say they’ve been canceled and brought back, poked fun of the FCC, addressed serious topics such as abortion and Black Lives Matter, while also surviving countless lawsuits? One thing is for sure, “Family Guy” has revolutionized the way we make fun of pop culture, and a lot of hard work from a dedicated team goes into this frivolous cartoon. Frazier Moore’s Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History (Dey St.) is the complete guide for any hard-core fan, of which I count myself.
I’ll be honest…when starting this book, I was a little hesitant. I have been a “Family Guy” fan for as long as I can remember and have seen every episode at least twice, so did I really need to read a book on it? I did.
Not only does this coffee table book include insight from the creators, voice artists, producers and more, but it also adds a layer of depth to a show that, after airing so long, can feel like just a cartoon. But a TV show is more than just a TV show. Every step of the creative process from writing the script, reading through it together, creating the storyboards, recording the audio, coloring the drawings, designing the props, characters and backgrounds, syncing the timing of it all to animation…to say it’s a painstaking journey would be an understatement.
Yet, we as viewers often take the passion and collaboration from so many people that funnels into just one comedic episode for granted. Inside Family Guy brings all of the behind-the-scenes work to the forefront of our attention.
Not only does this book serve as a reminder to viewers of all the work goes into the perfect timing of a joke, but Frazier Moore’s visual guide is also inspirational to artists. Young readers who are interested in cartoons, drawing, comedy or animation will be intrigued and creatively motivated by this book. The vast amount of drawings, sketches, scripts, images and other helpful tidbits are the perfect introduction into illustration. Those interested in the production process can also find important nuggets of knowledge in areas such as the assembly line of getting a show off the ground, what gets a show kicked off the air, what gets it pulled back on (hint: the fan base) and how censorship works in big business and most importantly, this book demonstrates how one young person with a vision can make his scene come to life.
Seth MacFarlane did an insane amount of work and combined his hilarity with his passion for cartoons to create a lasting legacy. Inside Family Guy is a testament to his well-paid efforts (as mushy as that sounds).
It’s the perfect gift for the young television buff or cartoon-lover in your family. Or just the regular old “Family Guy” fan. Either one.
Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History is available now.
About Frazier Moore:
Frazier Moore is a charter-member fan of Family Guy. During a quarter-century as television critic for Associated Press he wrote frequently about the show and the creative team that brings the Griffins to life, reaching back to 1999 and the series’ debut episode, which he greeted as “hilarious.” Prior to the Associated Press and enjoying Family Guy, Moore wrote for publications including The New York Times, Spy Magazine, Interview, People and TV Guide and was an arts and features writer for The Atlanta Consitution.