Monday, May 13, 2019

Books: Inside Family Guy

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History
By Frazier Moore; foreword by Seth MacFarlane
Dey Street Books; hardcover, $34.99; available Tuesday, May 14

If you can believe it, Fox's seven-time Emmy Award-winning primetime animated series Family Guy, debuted twenty years ago.

Frazier Moore, who has been the Television Critic for the Associated Press for the past quarter-century, is a charter-member fan of Family Guy. He has written frequently about the show and the creative team that brings the Griffins to life, reaching back to 1999 and the series’debut episode, which he greeted as “hilarious.”

Moore has created the ultimate companion to the groundbreaking show, Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History, which is produced with the full cooperation and authorization of Seth MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions, which, along with 20th Century Fox Television, is the longtime producer of the show.

MacFarlane, who created the series, writes the forward to this much-awaited, behind-the-scenes look at the series provides a comprehensive background on the animation production process and plenty of cast and crew stories, and is sure to please its legions of fans.

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History is a fully illustrated, full-color visual guide honoring its reign—from storyboards to character sketches to script excerpts to cast and crew interviews—and giving fans exclusive access behind the scenes. This comprehensive guide is an essential collector’s item for the millions and millions of Family Guy fans around the world.

Featuring 240 pages of concept art, exclusive interviews with crew and cast members—including Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein, and Mike Henry— script excerpts, production notes, and countless insights on the making of the episodes as well as fan favorite characters Meg Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, Brian Griffin, Lois Griffin, and Cleveland Brown, this is the ultimate guide to one of the most popular animated shows ever created.

Moore writes of how Family Guy made its mark by pushing the envelope, "As viewers would quickly discover, Family Guy lives to mock human nature and human frailties. It dumps on the human condition without fear or favor. Sex, race, religion, physical infirmities and disabilities, Anne Frank, British bad teeth, the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, the coma of Terri Shiavo, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s fatal plane crash - on Family Guy, nothing is out of bounds for ridicule. (Why leave it to the attending physician to tell a patient he has end-stage AIDs when Peter and a barbershop quartet can deliver the news with the jolly song 'You've Got AIDS'?)
"'The characters don't need to be redeeming,' Seth MacFarlane declared in 1999 in response to early squawks of disapproval. 'I just think we live in a culture where people are sitting with notebooks, dying to be offended, writing things down.'
"MacFarlane was a the cheezy whiz kid who had whipped up this funny, shrewd, and often cringe-inducing Our Town, populating it with characters he conceived and drew himself based on his own experience growing up in New England. Going forward, he would continue to play a major role in crafting the scripts. He would furnish the voices for three of the the Griffins (Peter, Stewie, and Brian, the well-spoken family dog) plus dozens more characters. In short, he was running the show.
"Just 24,he was coronated as the youngest executive producer in TV history. Besides, MacFarlane's show wasn't going to be on a niche cable channel, but a major broadcast network whose production arm had signed him to a contract said to be worth a freakin' sweet couple of millions. With this level of talent at such a young age, he was poised to be the Orson Welles of animation. 
"The January debut was a special Super Bowl-launched 'sneak preview.' The additional six episodes of the show's first season wouldn't air until April and May. But with its return that spring, its weekly ratings would prove promising.
"Then came some legendary stumbles: Not just once but twice, the show would face death, then resurrection, by the Fox network. In retrospect, the fact that Family Guy survived, and would continue to thrive years later, isn't just unheard-of (which in the annals of TV it pretty much is). It's also another sign of great good luck. But that all lay ahead the night of January 31, 1999, when viewers met the Griffins and the world they inhabit.
"Family Guy tapped into a rich legacy of live-action family sitcoms reaching back to the birth of TV - though mostly focused by MacFarlane on 1970s and '80s comedy fare - typically lorded over by a blowhard manchild with a wife who would seem to be out of his league, and, usually, a brood of mouthy kids."

Commentary from the crew will walk fans through every step of production, from conception meetings to the final print, detailing not only the artistic process but the history of its creation as well. Featuring storyboards, costume designs, reference photographs, immaculate background paintings and much more, the world of Family Guy and its memorable characters has never been revealed in such gorgeous detail before.

Millions of fans watch its new episode premieres across a variety of broadcast and streaming platforms each week, and millions more continue to watch the over 300 episodes produced to date that are currently in syndication. There are over 50 million Facebook fans following all the Family Guy action worldwide.

Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History makes the perfect gift for everyone who loves this hilarious show.

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