Family Guy (Season 8) (2009)

It’s kind of shame that Seth MacFarlane’s occasionally hysterical sitcom has a regrettable habit of viciously attacking a variety of public figures (from actors to singers to politicians, of any era, at any time). For starters, the show’s jokes are so well-written and hilarious and its characters are so well-developed at this point, that it’s always a distraction when MacFarlane shows his teeth. In addition, the targeted jokes always seem to be more vicious than actually funny, and have a tendency to bring any episode’s momentum to a screeching halt in order to draw attention to the latest target of MacFarlane’s ire rather than advancing the episode’s plot. It makes for a regrettable percentage of groans versus laughs that keep “Family Guy” from greatness, even as the show continues to generate superior episodes once in a while. So, watch for the one-off jokes and stay for the characters, just come prepared for surprisingly callous bits that don’t fit in.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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