Sunday, February 06, 2005

Those good old-fashioned values, on which we used to rely

As with anything sport-related, I couldn't care less about the Super Bowl itself, but I do appreciate that it's become enough of a media event to tie series premieres to the post-game schedule. That said, tonight's new show, American Dad, seems to promise as much horror as I expected: How vulgar is "American Dad"? Let me enumerate a few of the ways. There's Klaus, the goldfish with an East German skier's brain, that sits in a cereal bowl and scoots around the floor so he can look up the dress of Francine, matriarch of the show's Smith clan. There's Francine assuring prepubescent son Steve that he'll feel better when his "big-boy hair" finally comes in. There's Stan, the title character, a trigger-happy CIA agent, recalling that his nickname in college was "penis." There's the intimation that one of the teachers at Steve's high school has a sexual relationship with a frog. There's Roger, a light-bulb-headed extraterrestrial who lives with the Smiths. He gorges himself on junk food and occasionally, without warning, expels a gooey brown substance from half a dozen orifices. There's more, but Newsday policy precludes even euphemistic descriptions. If "American Dad's" mindset sounds familiar, that's probably because it's a work of self-plagiarism by Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy," an animated sitcom that premiered on Fox in 1999. Canceled because of low ratings, it has since risen from the dead, thanks to encouraging DVD sales. The two MacFarlane shows, which are set to join Fox's prime-time lineup as a tandem May 1, share an animation style, some voice talent and a crude, heavy-handed notion of humor. Oy. I'll watch. I have to watch; I have that duty to at least know for myself what any particular primetime animated series deserves, be it cancellation or high praise. But I'll be surprised (albeit pleasantly) if the pilot delivers more than one or two genuine laughs. (Via TV Tattle.)

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