Tuned In

Seth MacFarlane Finds His Medium

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Back in the Wild West days of YouTube, before the copyright lawyers arrived to harsh everyone’s mellow, you could scan through the currently-playing videos and conclude that Family Guy must be the highest-rated show on TV, if not the most popular entertainment on the planet.

Family Guy does well enough, of course, but it’s only a decently rated TV show. But as pirated on YouTube, it was huge. Part of the reason is probably demographic: a lot of its viewers are YouTube’s demo. But there’s an aesthetic reason too—Family Guy is really more a YouTube channel than a TV show.

I’ve taken my whacks against Family Guy before; like Trey Parker and Matt Stone, I think it’s a parade of nonsequiturs and doesn’t care about its characters. But seen another way, that’s just a bitchy way of saying that Family Guy is really a sketch comedy, a run of separate (and often gut-busting funny) gags stitched together by the excuse of some plot involving the Griffins.

So I have every reason to expect that Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy will be a success. Sponsored by Burger King, his site (also a YouTube channel) already features a couple short videos that would work perfectly as Family Guy gag sequences. (For all I know, maybe they were written as Family Guy gag sequences—that doesn’t make them any less funny.) No setup, no need for context, just bada-boom and you’re out of there:

Question 1: Why bleep the dialogue? No FCC on the Intertubes! Maybe that Burger King guy isn’t as free-wheeling as he looks.

Question 2: What took him so long?