The Unfunniest Episode

Brian and Stewie

People don’t really like Family Guy.  Just like Dane Cook for teenagers or the Blue Collar Guys for rednecks.  Comedy acts as a social bouncer.

“Yeah man, I totally love Dane Cook.” or “Dude, I love Family Guy…” which is usually followed by puzzlement about musical numbers, ignorance of references to celebrities outside the generational range of the viewer, or confusion about a lack of cut-aways.

That’s the case for “Brian and Stewie”.

People just don’t like it.  The episode is filler, crap, nonsense.  Hulu even tagged it as “crap episode, worst episode, disappointing, worthless, pure junk”.

That means, you have to Google Family Guy AND worst episode, which actually generates quite a lot of results of tons of different episodes.  Kind of proves my first point.  OK, bad experiment.  Let’s try again.

Why don’t people like it?

Well, there aren’t any cutaways.  And the episode takes place in a single location.  The latter sets a false premise though, because “12 Angry Men” takes place almost entirely  in a jury deliberation room.

No, the real problem comes from reality.  Viewers did not want to face it.

Suicide? Yeesh, way to rain on my parade.  Its Sunday night and I’m getting crunk watchin tee-vees.  Get off my back with the heavy.

Well, I liked it.  A lot.  It lacked all the fake-family undertones that haunt every television sitcom. Just two guys in a room.  One’s depressed and the other cannot stop relating every little detail to himself in a subtly narcissistic way.

By sneaking depression, suicide and deep topics into what the viewer suspects is fun-time, MacFarlane sneaks under the radar and avoids all the possible mental blocks people put up when broaching these subjects.  In the end, he used his own struggle with depression – I’m told he was particularly depressed at the time – to make something wonderful.  He wasn’t the first to catch some inspiration from being depressed.

My favorite example: Hideki Anno, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion, suffered from terrible depression all throughout its production – not like anyone who’s seen it finds that surprising.  NGE is  considered one of the greatest anime’s of all time.  Most likely because of its heavy saturation of character development and its almost Dostoyevsky-like obsession with showing the different aspects of someone’s personality.

What’s wrong with shutting off the laughter for 43 minutes to deal with real-life?  Those same friends who make you laugh get lonely and depressed as well.  They aren’t clowns and neither are  these characters.  So don’t whine because contemplating life’s purpose is too hard.  Don’t toss labels because a TV show forced you to think about what’s really important.

Hell, maybe that’s why MacFarlane was so bummed.  Like Chappelle before him, he realized his audience wasn’t worthy of the depth of his comedy.


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