Seth MacFarlane: man of the people
Seth MacFarlane was quoted in a July 20th NYTimes.com article:
“People in America, they’re getting dumber,” Mr. MacFarlane said. “They’re getting less and less able to analyze something and think critically, and pick apart the underlying elements. And more and more ready to make a snap judgment regarding something at face value, which is too bad.”
They way I see it, Mr. MacFarlane should thank his lucky stars – its the reason his shows are still on the air.
I do want to be clear that I think Mr. MacFarlane is correct, but doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical for the man who brought us Family Guy, American Dad and the Cleveland Show to be criticizing our intelligence? He’s the one making us dumber!
When Family Guy came back (the second time) from cancellation in 2004, their blend of copying parts of old Simpsons episodes with original episodes was abandoned for a far simpler formula of shock value mixed with lengthy illusions (to Wrath of Khan?) and beating gags into the ground (like the return of the Giant Chicken), I feel that the show has outlived it’s entertainment value… or they could just fire all of their writers and start over.
I know Brian is the smart, cultured character, but he’s flawed; this makes him complex, which is good, but also makes it impossible for him to deliver messages and have them taken seriously the way Lisa does on The Simpsons. Just imagine for a second what it would be like if Lisa was an alcoholic.
It seems contrary to me to push three different shows, one of which barely includes any linear story telling, and then tell the audience they’re dumb. The strange thing is, if you see Mr. MacFarlane in an interview of any length, particularly if he’s not pushing anything, he’s articulate, witty, perhaps even brilliant. Too bad his products don’t reflect the man.