Monkeys, not Guys
Don’t normally moan on my blogposts (it’s unbecoming, common as muck and largely counterproductive). But one subject above all others is irritating me beyond belief at present: crap animation on the telly. In particular, I refer to the execrable Family Guy which is played in a continuous loop on BBC 3. Can’t fucking stand it.
My loathing has been fed by years of repeats. There are episodes I know by heart, like the scars and scabs on a scrofulous pet rat. There is one kind of joke in Family Guy, Thats it. Peter Griffin says “it’s like when…” and there is a cutaway to a literal depiction of what fathead Pete was talking about; a little vignette of a slightly humorous nature. Sorry. Two kinds of jokes. One of the characters has a catch-phrase. Giggety, giggety.
Still, I acknowledge I might be in the minority here. That my chortle-deficient response to the antics of Stewie and Bryan might be to do with my own particular knobheadedness. Perhaps that is so. But I would certainly be less excised about the whole thing if it wasn’t repeated so bloody often. If, for example, it was on once a month, I could be more magnanimous “Ooh, there’s the cartoon show I find mildly irritating. Never mind, Changing Rooms is on after this.” ..and that would be that. But no. Family Guy is shown daily. Twice. Does much comedy bear endless repetition?
I know nothing about TV scheduling or the price of cartoons, but it does seem odd that this particular piece of American sub-humour has been chosen to repeated ad nauseam on the worlds best broadcaster. There are other US animations that could also serve – Beavis & Butthead, Clone High or Ren and Stimpy – these are slightly less formulaic and joyless. If its a question of price (cartoons are expensive and you need to justify the price by broadcasting them over and over again), why not try something from outside the US?
An excellent example of an animated series from outside the US is Bro’Town. Devised by the genius that is Ant Sang, it is the tale of a New Zealand gang of kids from Maori/Pacific Island backgrounds. It is sharp, funny, satirical and best of all, takes you somewhere different. You may even learn a few bits of Maori (ok, swear words in Maori). It should be worth a go. Given the success of Flight of The Conchords and Summer Heights High, it should be obvious by now that the antipodeans are funny buggers.
Another option that the BBC could take is to raid it’s own vaults for animation. What about reruns of Stressed Eric or Monkey Dust? In fact, why was Monkey dust ever taken off the air? It was the best animated satire series ever. I still find myself going to youtube and seeking it out fabulous stuff.
The main reason why the Beeb should take Family Guy off the air is because they are being played for suckers. The same thing happened with South Park (now THAT was a show!). It was shown on Channel 4 until it became popular (i.e. Channel 4 built up an audience for it) and then Sky snapped it up. Now those fans had no option: if they wanted to see it, they had to pay for a Sky subscription. Similarly, the Simpsons has been ruthlessly exploited to build audience share for the Murdochpoly. US animation is in essence a marketing gimmick used to hoik people into paying subs for Sky and Nickolodeon. Cooperating with these scum-sucking parasites isn’t funny. Which brings me right back to Family Guy.