Family Guy: Postmodernism

Have you ever watch Family Guy before? What do you see from the cartoon? Let me guess. First things that you see is that they are American. Second, they have a family. Third, they are human mix with fantasy creature. Last, they are funny.

Family Guy is an American adult animated sitcom released in 1999 on Fox channel. It is about the life of Griffins family include Parent: Peter and Lois, Their children: Meg, Chris, Stewie and their pet: Brian.


When you watch it, what do you think is the selling point of this cartoon? Entertaining, Solve the problem of the society, or the hidden meaning of the story, What is the things that make the cartoon from 1999 catch the huge amount of an audience until today. Entertaining is the things that cartoon should have, Solve a problem maybe is not on the point, Hidden meaning? What had been hidden? Because every character talks openly and their result or ending of the episode are mostly predictable then what can be hidden?

The things in this cartoon is not just only the things that you saw, it involves with interpretation, understanding, culture, political and many things which can be defined by using by the time that it was released, 1999 is the year that the world is changing from the idea of modernism to postmodernism and it is influence everything such as media to be in a different style and serve people desire more unique and more choices.

Postmodern describes a movement that has reacted against modernism. Modernism, dating from around the start of the 20th century, represented a sharp break from 19th-century styles. But in the 1970s architects began to be dissatisfied with the stark simplicity of most modern architecture and began including in their mostly modern designs such traditional elements as columns, arches, and keystones and sometimes startling color contrasts such as might have come from advertising and pop culture. 

To be clear, postmodern is like a change from your grandmother generation to your generation then if your grandma said that South Park or The Simpson are those offensive cartoons which not appropriate for children don’t be so surprised! Because you see the age, mind, idea, understanding gaps which came from the change of ideological thing.


Imagine that your grandmother born with Mickey mouse and you born with Family Guy but you can love like Mickey mouse too, it is acceptable.  Postmodern judge the things by individual taste, not a social value or norm then it okay to love a cartoon from 1928 but your grandmother won’t be easy to accept the Family guy as a cartoon. Family Guy has an alcoholic dog, crazy dad, and bad ass baby how can it be a cartoon for them, your grandmother never see Mickey mouse drink too much beer and talk about sex or offensive things before but that why it is a cartoon from postmodern.


In art and literature, as in architecture, postmodernism often seems to be making fun of tradition, especially by denying that there’s any real distinction between serious and popular art or writing. Wherever it has shown up, postmodernism has been greeted with a mixture of approval, disapproval, and sometimes amusement.

As you see from the definition that I give you, media nowadays is change to be more creative and entertaining in a new way. The idea of postmodern leads us to accept more about others and differences of thought.

Comparing with the first paragraph, do you see that Family Guy is different for your first thought now? It is not really a normal one. This cartoon they also do like a parody because they make fun about news, famous people, or current issue and some episode they add some real life characters in the scene, for example, Pope, Bill Clinton, and Miley Cyrus, which is make it more interesting because it is a cartoon series with the mix of real life situation and people.


‘Bill Clinton on Family Guy’

It is a cartoon with the combination of sarcastic, joke, parody, and more about reality things like family, political system, and a real person that I have mentioned earlier. It is beyond the type of normal cartoon which should watch for entertaining only as same as the past but now they entertain you in a different way.


Postmodern will be the merging of reality and imagination together like in the past the joke of Mickey mouse will be about how clumsy he is but in Family Guy you will see that they make fun about the thing that you see in daily, for example, President, Celebrity, or Culture, which we usually did it in normal. Another example is media nowadays produce an entertainment that we thought it is an imagines but it can be real like a survival television program which uses real human and no computer graphic or in Family Guy the baby name ‘Stewie’ can do many violence things such as smoking weed or holding a gun. Now you curious, how it can be interesting, it does! Because we never did it or see in normal life that why it is entertaining. This merging influence media to makes the reality be in an imagination and make imagination more reality.

However, the merging creates the confusing too, for instance, if cartoon are more involve with reality and somehow they reflect the society or real life situation, how can we draw the line between reality and imagination. Thinking about a scene of The Simpson in 2000 that the president meet the people and it is really similar to the situation that Donald Trump meet the people. You can’t judge is it a black magic, man-made, or by chance but the imagination happen in the reality and some group of people gone wild for a while.


Is it prove that our reality is not reality anymore? Postmodern didn’t give an answer for that it is just an idea about merging but they say that I will be judged individually then it has no right or wrong.

This cartoon series is really going along with the postmodern idea and even if it reflects the reality of us and some people think that it is somehow rude but some say that it is the human fact ‘we have bright side and dark side’ and the sarcastic joke is the thing that increases the number of an audience.

Family Guy is a good example of the cartoon in a postmodern world from all that I have mentioned. It does not reflect the media or American only but it reflects ideological and culture. If you have a different point or somethings to add besides my opinion feel free to comment. I hope that my blog can drive you into the deep hidden meaning of the cartoon. I’m looking forward to see you again sooner or later and keep in your mind that

‘The things that entertain you can educate you too.’

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3 responses to “Family Guy: Postmodernism

    • Thanks 🙂
      that was a really cool idea! but I think that it may be difficult to analyze it in 2 or 3 hours since I do this blog for 2 day long -> it like take my brain off my head.


  1. I do think that besides reflecting the society, it also gives the idea to society a little bit. I mean if back then mickey mouse was a human and an alcoholic who hits minnie mouse then the society at the time would be okay with that since the cartoon is basically a presenting a social norm. So if one thing leads to another that would have been fine. It feeds off the idea. Let’s say the next episode mickey kills minnie, people wouldn’t be surprised. Does that make sense? Anyways love the blog, love the input on is reality really reality. That made me think, and I don’t do a lot of thinking,so good job.


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