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Rant: 'Family Guy' can't touch 'The Simpsons'

February 19, 2008|By EVA NIESSNER / Pulse Correspondent

Anyone who watches TV these days knows about "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" - they're both prime-time favorites for adults and are both, well, animated. And when one is mentioned in conversation, often the other will follow.

But is that really fair to "The Simpsons?" I don't think so. I enjoy watching "Family Guy" sometimes, but I vastly prefer "The Simpsons" because it's more original and much less offensive.

Now, I'm not accusing "Family Guy" of stealing anything from "The Simpsons." But in 1992, "The Simpsons" released an episode where the mother accidentally leaves a store without paying for something, and is sent to women's prison for shoplifting. The family home becomes a wreck without her. "Family Guy" didn't premiere until 1999, and in one episode since then, the mother of the family gets addicted to shoplifting, gets caught and gets sent to women's prison while the home becomes a wreck without her.

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And then there are the characters. The star of "The Simpsons" is Homer Simpson, a dumb, loveable, overweight middle-class husband and father of three, while the patriarch of "Family Guy" is Peter Griffin, the dumb, loveable do I have to repeat myself? It's the same thing. The mother in both shows is a patient, practical, hardworking housewife; however, both of them have pursued other zany careers in the course of the shows. Both families have a child who is a genius, and a at least one who is a dolt, though the genders and ages vary, and both families have a baby.

I'm not alone in noticing these similarities. If you look up "Simpsons, Family Guy" on popular video sharing site YouTube, you'll find a host of clips people have put together to compare these eerie 'coincidences' that may have simply occurred from a lack of originality on "Family Guy's" part.

The other main flaw I see in "Family Guy" is its tastelessness. While the kind of show that throws itself into mocking disabilities, abuse, religion, addictions, race and sexual orientation might be immensely appealing to some, one too often sees issues they feel strongly about as the butt of the episode's latest joke. I'm no prude, but come on - it's not funny to be offended

On the other hand, a good number of "Simpsons" episodes are so mild that a grade-schooler could watch them and not pick up any language - or hatred. And seeing Homer strangling his son in a very fake, cartoon-y way (not to mention the kid not suffering any repercussion) pales when compared to Peter slapping his daughter across the face with a shocking reality.

All in all, I feel like if I'm going to watch a TV show, I should be watching something original, and something that hasn't made itself original by preying on sensitive topics. That's why I'm so loyal to "The Simpsons." For nearly 20 years, it's proven itself to be a friendly, witty, funny show.

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