A massive announcement made at the 2014 International Comic-Con in San Diego, California, over shadowed almost the entire four day event. It was finally happening, a first glimpse at The Simpsons and The Griffins sharing the same screen together for the first time. This news, however, is not so exciting for everyone. Never before has there been such a mixed reception from viewers and fans alike about a piece of TV animation news since Scooby Doo miserably hit the big screen back in 2002. To really understand the split fan-base, an understanding of the fans themselves is needed.
We’ll start with the older of the two animated sitcoms: The Simpsons. Before we talk about each show’s dedicated fans we should talk about the history of The Simpsons. This show has a big past over the many years it has blessed our screens. When it first started back in 89′ it was solely a realism driven show (essentially a straight up sitcom that happened to be animated.) The animation was something you forgot about after the titles; it just drew you in much the same as a live action did. But in recent times this has changed; the makers have followed a modern type of route much like the more abstract shows. Some may say they have taken advantage of their freedom as an animated show. Others say they have lost their touch. But it does seem that for the fans they have lost they have accumulated more (younger people that are just discovering it). But with a daily decreasing of TV audiences, this show is perhaps getting to a smaller audience now overall. And maybe they are doing more daring things because of this, a whole LEGO based episode to commemorate the 550th episode as an example.
Now as a fan base, this show has had a devoted one, that spans to almost 25 years and 25 seasons (not including the fraction of the audience that has been lost over the years). There is some adult humour but it is often subtle, so this means it can be enjoyed by the whole family. Family Guy however is filled with direct adult humour and only came onto our screens at the turn of the 21st century. During this time TV was changing and show creators could be a lot more daring with what they put out their, particularly in the animation field (which is probably down to shows like Beavis and Butt-head and South Park setting the runway alight for that to happen). There are now many shows which take this route, The King of the Hill, Bob’s Burgers and The Cleveland Show to name a few. There are though some fans of both these shows, and both styles. It’s not so much the people in this group that seem to have much of a problem with this cross-over. It’s mainly the devoted fans on either side. Most people thought this cross over would never happen as in the past both shows have been known to belittle and poke fun at the other, with Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy doing most of the prodding. And Seth has been criticised in the past for stealing or copying ideas straight from Homer’s lap. And with this new episode being a Family Guy episode as opposed to a Simpsons one, there are people that are thinking Seth is catching some views from the Simpsons back once more. After all if this goes terribly wrong, the Simpsons have more to lose (the bigger you are, the harder you fall), as Family Guy will almost definitely have it’s cult fan base in full form long after the shows demise.
Now right off this crazy old bat you’re probably thinking “Why are they doing this? This poses to be a disaster.” Well you wouldn’t be alone in thinking that. Many people are calling out the makers of both Family Guy and The Simpsons and accusing them of doing this ‘publicity stunt’ to scramble back viewers for both of their shows in this modern world of ever shrinking TV audiences. While this certainly could have been on their minds when they decided this, it is most unlikely. As both show makers are just their to create the best comedy they possibly can. And this crossover definitely buries the hatchet for all those hits at each other.
There is one key thing to this crossover that we mustn’t forget. It will be the premier episode of the new season of Family Guy. It will not be an episode in the new season of The Simpsons. And this would only have worked in this way. It certainly would not have worked as an episode in the new Simpsons season. You can’t really have Stewie Griffin making lewd taboo jokes at 6 in the evening can you?
This, I think, is the reason this episode will be a hit. Fair enough it might not be suitable for the younger fans of the Simpsons but it should bring the rest of us some joy. And for the Simpson fans who are not big Family Guy fans, either don’t watch it or give it a 5 minute chance because you never know.
So lets not make a meal of this situation and watch the episode with open minds and do what comedies were created; have a bloomin’ good laugh.
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