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“Family Guy” gains Emmy breakthrough where “The Simpsons” failed

July 16, 2009

When Emmy nominations came in on Thursday, one of the biggest headline-grabbing surprises was the best comedy series nod for Fox cartoon “Family Guy.” The show from bad boy TV darling Seth MacFarlane leapfrogged the long-running, critically acclaimed “The Simpsons”  to become the first animated program nominated for a primetime comedy Emmy since “The Flintstones” in 1961.

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How did “Family Guy” succeed where “The Simpsons” failed?

Since first appearing on television in 1989, “The Simpsons” managed to land cartoon dad Homer Simpson’s buzzword “d’oh!”  into the Oxford English Dictionary, created a multi-billion dollar merchandising empire, inspired critics to call Homer, wife Marge and children Bart, Lisa and Maggie America’s first family of TV and spawned a raft of other primetime animated series, including ”Family Guy.”

Time magazine has said, “‘The Simpsons’ triumph is so absolute and its reach so total that it’s hard to realize that there was a time when its dense, rapid-fire allusions weren’t the lingua franca of comedy, when irreverence wasn’t the default mode of popular culture.”

The show has even been the subject of university courses.

But still, “The Simpsons” has encountered resistance from a small sector of TV viewers who will never flip to a cartoon, and it has never been nominated for a best comedy series Emmy, although in other categories it has garnered a couple dozen Emmy nods, including for best animated series.

The fact that “Family Guy” has succeeded in winning an Emmy nomination in the coveted best comedy series category speaks loudly of the show’s appeal. Edgier than

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 ”The Simpsons,” MacFarlane’s creation is, like its predecessor, a Fox Broadcasting show. It has generated more controversy than “The Simpsons,” thanks to episodes such as a 2005 sequence featuring a song-and-dance routine about a man diagnosed with AIDS.

But “Family Guy” has also garnered 11 Emmy nods in other categories since its 1999 creation.

What is it about “Family Guy” that allowed it to go where no comedy series has gone since “The Flintstones”? And since critics have said that “The Simpsons” has been running on empty for several years, does it stand a chance of ever getting a best comedy nod?

Comments

I have to say that I agree with the writer. I’ve been debating with people all day about this. Family Guy’s “edge” is what got them where they are now.

 

This is simply outrageous, while “Family Guy” HAS had a few funny episodes here and there, certainly none of them have been recent, and their consistency has always been spotty at best. And while “The Simpsons”, arguably, has left their best years behind them, they’re still pretty consistently funny. Frankly, this makes me question the relevancy of the Emmy.

Posted by cart00nstrip | Report as abusive
 

i think family guy is one of the most entertaining shows out there and i’m not one bit surprised about the recognition it is getting this year

 

I think The Simpsons have always generally had issues bringing their plots all the way around at the end. Family Guy eps build up to huge payoffs – making the entire show like a classic, half hour long joke that keeps building and building to an awesome punchline.

Not sure if this keeps the Simpsons from getting emmy nominations, just an observation.

All that being said, I’m not tryin’ to hate on the Simpsons. They always have many many many laughs leading up to their endings, and my week revolves around Sunday nights in front of Fox because of both shows.

Posted by MoreGruelPlease | Report as abusive
 

I love the Family guy but the Simpsons have been paving the way and absolutely deserve an Emmy as well.

 

The Simpsons is funny, but Family Guy makes me laugh every time. They just throw random hilarious things in, it’s awesome.

 

This article is currently being linked to in Seth MacFarlane’s most recent update on Twitter… MacFarlane and all the other animators, actors, producers, and staff of Family Guy deserve a HUGE round of applause for being recognized at this year’s Emmy Awards.

These guys did the impossible; they did the material THEY wanted to do. Against all odds, they have triumphed over the curmudgeonly FCC in their battle over words and indecency.

Congratulations, Seth!

Posted by Cambo | Report as abusive
 

AMAZING!! 30 ROCK DOESNT EVEN SHOW UP IN THE TOP 20 FOR THE SEASON OR FOR THE WEEK AND IT GETS 22 NOMINATIONS?

LAST YEAR “30 ROCK” RANKED 119th ON NIELSEN FOR THE YEAR AND TIED WITH AMERICA’S MOST WANTED.

IS ANYONE EVEN WATCHING IT? I GUESS IT PAYS TO BASH REPUBLICANS.

CAN YOU SPELL CRONYISM? C R O N Y I S M CRONYISM – YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I WILL SCRATCH YOURS.

NIELSEN TV RATINGS FOR PRIMETIME
2008 – 2009 Season Through 06/21/09
———————————————-
1 AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY
2 AMERICAN IDOL-TUESDAY
3 DANCING WITH THE STARS
4 DANCING W/STARS RESULTS
5 NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
6 CSI CBS
6 NCIS CBS
8 MENTALIST, THE
9 DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
10 60 MINUTES
10 TWO AND A HALF MEN
12 CRIMINAL MINDS
12 GREY’S ANATOMY
14 CSI: MIAMI
15 CSI: NY
15 WITHOUT A TRACE
17 SURVIVOR: GABON
18 ELEVENTH HOUR
19 BACHELOR, THE
20 MENTALIST, THE

NIELSEN TV RATINGS
WEEK OF 06/15/09 – 06/21/09
————————————
1 NCIS CBS Tue 8:00 PM
2 MENTALIST, THE – TUESDAY CBS Tue 9:01 PM
3 TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS Mon 9:00 PM
4 CSI CBS Thu 9:00 PM
5 MENTALIST, THE CBS Thu 10:01 PM
6 CSI: MIAMI CBS Mon 10:00 PM
7 60 MINUTES CBS Sun 7:00 PM
8 BIG BANG THEORY, THE CBS Mon
9 CRIMINAL MINDS CBS Wed 9:00 PM
9 SO YOU THINK CN DANCE-WED FOX Wed 8:00 PM
11 CSI: NY CBS Wed 10:00 PM
12 48 HOURS MYSTERY TUESDAY CBS Tue 10:03 PM
12 NCIS THURSDAY 8PM SP(S) CBS Thu 8:00 PM
14 SO YOU THINK CN DANCE-THU FOX Thu 9:00 PM
15 BACHELORETTE, THE ABC Mon 8:00 PM
16 WIPEOUT ABC Wed 8:00 PM
17 COLD CASE CBS Sun 8:59 PM
17 WITHOUT A TRACE SUNDAY SP(S) CBS Sun 10:00 PM
19 BIG BANG THEORY, THE:SP(S) CBS Mon 8:00 PM

Posted by xinunus | Report as abusive
 

@xinunus Not to bash, but maybe the popular opinion isn’t always the best opinion. Just a though.

Posted by trsndrwd | Report as abusive
 

how can they give family guy a nod and not 1 to the simpsons or south park during their heyday. If you compare the prime episode of each series south park and simpson blow family guy away. family guy benefited from the fact that the 2 better shows are past their prime(not so much the case with south park), an expanded nomination field, and the fact there is crap on tv nowadays. in the 90′s south park and the simpsons competed with much better shows for a nominations.

Posted by jay | Report as abusive
 

It’s silly to have an opinion about this either way. It’s TV, not life. There are all sorts of politics going on with this and every other awards show in the history of mankind. I mean every award. Whether it’s the Nobel prize or a bunch of little blue haired old ladies baking pies. In my opinion The Simpsons is the better show, though I do see some value in Family Guy. I think the general public, myself included, doesn’t know or care about this kind of thing. But The Simpsons is the granddaddy of them all. They’ve been on TV for 20 years. Look at it this way, Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar either.

 

i’m sorry but the simpsons shouldve won many emmys if family guy did. the early simpsons still might be the funniest television ever along with early seinfeld.

 

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