Family Guy celebrates its 20th anniversary, and both Fox and creator Seth MacFarlane took time out to celebrate the landmark achievement. The animated sitcom first aired in January 1999, ultimately going on to become the little show that could. Despite a positive early reception and decent ratings, a change in time slot saw a decline. The series was subsequently canceled, only to receive a last-minute reprieve and a reduced episode order for a third season. With the show frequently moved to different days, the ratings dipped even further and the show was again canceled. Thanks to reruns on Adult Swim and high DVD sales, the show was once again resurrected by Fox. From there, Family Guy thrived on Sunday nights, as part of the "Animation Domination" TV block.
Family Guy tells the story of the highly dysfunctional Griffin family, headed by the dim-witted patriarch, Peter (MacFarlane). The rest of the familial unit includes wife Lois (Alex Borstein), sons Chris (Seth Green) and Stewie (also MacFarlane), and long-suffering daughter Meg (Mila Kunis). The core group is rounded out by their anthropomorphic dog, Brian (MacFarlane yet again). Blending biting social commentary and edgy political satire with bouts of gross-out toilet humor, the show rests firmly between The Simpsons and South Park on the controversy spectrum.
Related: 15 Times Family Guy Went WAY Too Far
Despite the fact the ratings have once again dipped in recent years, the network remains proud of what has ultimately become one of their staple offerings. As such, Fox released a video on Youtube, celebrating the last 20 years and the various misfits that populate the fictional town of Quahog. It even goes as far as making light of its own cancellation of the show. The video also serves as a preview for upcoming episodes. Everything from Modern Family to Kanye West receives a nod, as the show demonstrates there is still plenty of material left to be mined from pop culture. Check it out below:
Although MacFarlane no longer writes for the show, as creator he remains intrinsically linked with Family Guy. As such, he was one of the first to reflect on the long and storied journey the show has experienced since it first debuted. Taking to Twitter, he acknowledged both the repeated cancellations and frequent time slot changes. As well as that, he highlighted one of the many lawsuits the show has weathered over the years. The tweet does little to assuage rumors that MacFarlane wishes the show was over and done with. Fans, however, were quick to respond with various messages of appreciation for the show.
Hey so Family Guy premiered 20 years ago today on Fox. After several cancellations, multiple time slots and a lawsuit from Carol Burnett, we somehow still exist! Here’s to still existing!— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) January 31, 2019
Whether or not Family Guy will ultimately reach such lofty milestones as The Simpsons remains to be seen. Many of the cast have gone on to varying degrees of success elsewhere on both the big and small screens. MacFarlane transitioned to movies courtesy of Ted and A Million Ways To Die In The West. He is also currently heading up his own sci-fi comedy series, The Orwell. As well as starring in the Oscar-recognised Black Swan, Kunis has enjoyed box office success with the Bad Moms franchise. Borstein, meanwhile, has recently received huge acclaim and an Emmy for her role in Amazon's The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. As such, there could come a time when the cast wants to continue exploring new, live-action opportunities.
There is also the impending Disney acquisition of Fox's assets to consider. The show is definitely not in line with the kind of animation the House of Mouse is synonymous with producing. Back in August, there was talk of a big-screen outing for the Griffins, with rumors suggesting it could serve as a swan-song for the animated series. If it doesn't go into production before the deal finalizes, however, chances are it may never see the light of day. With everything up in the air, season 17 could end up being that swan-song. Whatever the case ultimately ends up being, however, 20 years is a huge achievement. And, like MacFarlane, fans can at least celebrate the show continuing to exist with still more episodes to come.
Family Guy returns with a brand-new episode on February 10, on Fox.