Tag Archives: Family Guy
I love great sketch comedy, and as demonstrated on this site, I have tremendous nostalgia for the video industry of the 1980s and ’90s. By nature I am protective of those things, out of love. I have little tolerance of exploitation of them.
I believe the modern peak of sketch comedy came with two shows; Mr. Show with Bob & David, and The Kids In The Hall (both on HBO). Since the 1990s, these programs set the gold standard. Inevitably, new sketch comedy shows are compared to them, and they seldom hold up. I don’t think The State gelled until they became Reno 911. Broken Lizard has moments; generally one or two per film. Too many comedy groups nowadays are post-UCB; all manic energy, no focus. That’s fine if the group is performing live for an drunken bar audience. TV is a different matter.
When retiring his comic strip Bloom County, Berke Breathed remarked “a good comic strip is as eternal as a ripe melon.” Personally, I think that’s bullshit, and reflects more on Breathed’s motivation, or lack thereof. A good comic strip lasts a lifetime. We still pass around clippings of The Far Side and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, decades after they were printed. A cartoonist who can’t perpetuate over changing times has inked themselves into a corner. Or dried the well.
If a comic strip is still hilarious long past its sell-by date, it is a successful comic strip. That is the acid test.
I’m old enough to remember when Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian; i.e., a person who stands behind a microphone and makes people laugh. I have vague memories of Kathy Griffin doing the same thing. As far as I can determine now, Maher and Griffin just make people mad, by saying or doing something deliberately inappropriate, and then flaying open their breast in apology, crocodile tears a-flow.
Then they go back to being unfunny. Because funny ain’t what pays their bills.
I’m also old enough to recall when Maher’s show Politically Incorrect lived up to its name, instead of being a vehicle for trendy virtue-signals. My pal Jim Goad once made an appearance. It was far more fringy and loose. Now it’s a reductive caricature, a safe forum for “differing viewpoints” (vetted by the network/sponsors). It’s a funnier joke as it is than anything that ever came out of Bill Maher’s mouth.
Do you know what a “cold open” is? Sure you do. Every current sitcom you watch uses it. It’s when the show just begins, no fanfare, no opening titles. Right into the action, because the producers know you’ll change the channel if you have to sit through 30 seconds of the same music every week.
“Cold opens” are like “cold sores”. They spread easily. Saturday Night Live has done cold opens since before you were born. You’re used to it in sitcoms. Hell, you were getting tired of the “typical sitcom theme”, anyway.
That’s why they suck now.
WARNING! WARNING! WEIRD AREA AHEAD!
The closest I ever got to molested was when I was eighteen.
I was walking to Fair Lawn late at night, to cause trouble. I was thinking about Rorschach, the masked psychopath from Watchmen. An overweight creep with glasses stuck a tiny knife in my back, herded me behind a border of hedges, and tried to force me down on the ground.
Let me tell you one of the ways my beloved mother drove me up the wall when I was growing up.
She watched the 5 O’Clock News every day.
I grew up in Jersey, part of the Tri-State Area, which includes New York, where I was born. In 1972. Otherwise known as The Year Everything Went Straight To Hell. Continue reading
In the 1960s, there were two unusual homesteads on television. One was monstrous, the other creepy and spooky. Both had excellent opening titles music.
The Munsters was easy to comprehend, for the most part; it was a show about a family of classic movie monsters (hence the pun). Father Herman was the great Fred Gwynne dolled up as a friendly Frankenstein’s monster; wife Lily and Grandpa were vampires. Son Eddie (Butch Patrick) was the wolf-boy, with a prominent widow’s-peak that ensured I would be humiliatingly likened to him, and daughter Marilyn was the freak, with no monstrous qualities whatsoever. They all lived in a spooky mansion on 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Who knew or cared about the genetics involved in such a lineage? Continue reading