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"Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy" Crap

by on May 18, 2009

Ever wanted to know what sex with Gilbert Gottfried would be like? How about how AIDS got started? (It somehow involves a Canadian flight attendant.) What about who shot the sheriff, but who did not shoot the deputy? Seth MacFarlane has looked into the depths of animated quandaries and decided to feature them in this hour-long DVD of shorts that originally premiered on YouTube.

I’m beginning to see why many people hate Seth MacFarlane. I mean, I enjoy my fair share of his work; I own the Stewie Griffin boxset of the first 100 or so episodes of Family Guy. If American Dad is purely plot-driven comedy, and Family Guy is the middle-of-the-road, plot + references comedy, then Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy is the straight-out references comedy. It’s nothing but 50-odd minute-long sketches, seemingly ripped straight out of Family Guy‘s “it’s just like that time that I…” trope

Some of the sketches are genuinely funny. Mario, getting turned down for a kiss from Princess Peach, gets laughs with an excellent rant about how hard it was. (“Occasionally I got a Star, and that would help … and I’d feel good for a little bit … but you were captured by mushrooms! You were captured by something that grows on trees!”) “Sex with Optimus Prime” is likewise humorous. On the other hand, a sketch with cats in a business meeting drags on, and Fred Flintstone using the toilet is the epitome of “how long can we drag on one frame of animation.”

At the end of the day, you have less than a hour of cutaway gags. Sure, it comes with a five-minute “Red Carpet Premiere”, which is a bunch of celebrities and others watching this at a party, and three character design galleries, which only emphasize how repetitive and generic MacFarlane’s stock frames can get. But you can still blow through it in only a little over an hour.

Watching this disc and its extras, I think Seth MacFarlane can be considered the new John K. (And John K., yes, you’re old and out of date.) The two are creative and talented, but they’re also just a little too cocky for their britches. While John K. apparently feels that animation has to be his way or the highway, Seth MacFarlane feels that anything he throws out there will be humorous. Animated animal penis? Sure, let’s laugh. Mountain climber crapping on a wedding? Sure. Family Guy excels at social commentary, but it fails when it becomes nothing more than the political mouthpiece of its creator. Somewhere in the middle are sketches like this, that rely too much on reminiscing about other events or situations. I’m not going to say I’ve never laughed at a cutaway gag, but watching them for an hour straight brings out the major flaws in the concept: they are straight-out hit or miss, and rely either primarily on childhood memories or one-note jokes.

This disc feels like it should be part of a Family Guy box set in the deleted scenes section. Unless you really like clips that you can watch for free on YouTube, don’t waste your money. I’m sure it’ll show up in some other box set at some point.

Note: Images are from the DVD version of the release.

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