Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History

Dey St: HarperCollins. May 2019. 256p. illus. ISBN 9780062112521. $34.99. TV
This lavishly illustrated guide describes the long-running animated sitcom’s production and legacy. Differentiating itself from The Simpsons, Family Guy, which began in 1999, is an edgier take on the American family, with surreal interludes and boundary-crossing humor. An entire chapter documents protests, lawsuits, and clashes with the network’s Department of Standards and Practices. Still airing and with more than 300 episodes under its belt, the show had a rocky start, and Moore (former Associated Press television critic) recounts how DVD sales and the popularity of reruns on Cartoon Network convinced Fox to bring the series back from its quasi-cancellation. Seth MacFarlane is lauded as the prodigy behind the series, although the cast and crew are highlighted in extensive interviews. The strongest section of this art-focused coffee-table book is a breakdown of the 62-week process of getting a single episode from the writers room to the screen. Finished animation cels are accompanied by behind-the-scenes photographs, heavily annotated storyboards, and style guides (Brian’s snout is always straight).
VERDICT Moore is a die-hard fan, and it shows in this lovingly crafted book. Alert readers will notice the lack of textual criticism; however, Family Guy’s fanbase will find this freakin’ sweet.

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