Judgement Day

This blog sets out to answer the question is “F is for Family” a successful television show?  “F is for Family” has just come on the scene. This show currently only has 6 episodes released on Netflix, the streaming based media source our generation has come to love.  Success cannot be determined by its ratings or how long it’s been running on television because of how new the show is.  “F is for Family” wanted to storm the animated sit com genre. They succeeded this by putting the genre on its head with the raunchy satirical dialogue but, sticking to a traditional 1970’s family’s everyday struggle.  The program is so entertaining I watched all 6 of the episodes in one sitting.  It keeps there split demographical audience coming back for more and more. Production wise the sound and the animation are in such detail that it adds quality to the show separating it from other raunchy animated shows.  The characters and the narrative make it easy for anyone to relate to. “F is for Family” could be close to the realities that are family life and then strive to find the American Dream while being an animated production.  “F if for Family” is successful because this show attracts a large audience, represents 1970’s reality, and has a deep intricate plot.

When it comes to the audience “F is for Family” has the context to attract the older generation with the idiotic raunchy humor that people my age enjoy.  I have compared this show to many successful shows in the past like “Family Guy” and “Malcom in the Middle”. I will admit the vulgarity of “F is for Family” doesn’t compare but, if “Family Guy” and “Malcom in the Middle” had a baby, this wonderful show would be the offspring.  This show attracts a split demographic. This split comes from the younger males watching adult cartoons about a show that captures a parents possible time period of nostalgia.My parents grew up in the 70’s that why I assume this. Through the use of intertextuality the audience is rewarded every time one of these moments is picked up on.  Kevin Murphy the son of the main character Frank is a stoner. In one of the episode he and his friend are under a bride smoking doobies. One of his buddies asks “If you could bang a first lady who would it be?”  and then says, “it can’t be Jackie Kennedy”. This is a great example of intertextuality that, I had picked up on right away.  I thought of first ladies from the 70’s I would get busy with and Jackie Kennedy was the first one I thought of.  The clip below should put the use of intertextuality into perspective and show how it attributes to the program’s success.


“F is for Family” can also attribute more success to their portrayal of 1970’s reality, as well as they could with animation. The representation of reality and the simple, but deep plot add even more success to the show. The animated locations and props all scream 1970’s as well as the stereotypical issues and people in the show.  If the narrative and the characters weren’t there, we could still pick up on the fact that this show takes place in the 70’s. The show’s feel is one similar to the very popular “That 70’s show”. Below is a photograph of the living room in the “That 70’s Show”.

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Now here is “F is for Family” main living room.

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As you can see there are many similarities when it comes to color and design.  “F is for Family” captures the 70’s feel just with their animated locations and props. We can see the similarities in the furniture, cabinetry and woodworking. Now, I have never been in a 1970’s home because, well I was born in 1995. I base all my knowledge of 1970’s reality from “That’s 70’s Show” because my parents have told that this show was pretty close to what it was like in the 70’s.

 Bill Burr the creator of this show hit it out of the park. “F is for Family” has a character portrayed in the show that every audience member can relate to. The proper term for this relation is consubstantiality. Kenneth Burke the literary theorist would argue every message is trying to persuade the receiver by identification. In other words these characters are designed to be relateable with the audience so they will keep watching.  My dad might relate to Frank and issued of being a parent while supporting a taxing job at an airport. Ironically my dad has a similar job as Frank the main character. I can relate with Kevin the son and struggles of balancing school with a wild social life.  The issues the family goes through maybe more relevant to the context of the show is set in. No matter, they are still applicable to many life issues that I have been through. The issues the characters have to overcome are more relevant to my parents and that why the show attracts a split demographic. The show has main problems that the characters solve through out the season. There are also micro problems each character faces in each episode. These issues are solved and gives the audience happiness because it is usually one that can be related to. The main issues like whether bill the nerd overcomes his bullies or if Frank the father can solve a strike at his work.  It’s awesome to laugh at problems that seem so trivial and normal. Sometimes shows unlike “F is for Family” can’t really express reality because the truth hurts. “F is for Family” takes issues and portrays them how they would really go down. The angers of raising children can be expressed through one clip. Its a little vulgar and NSFW. Check it out below.

In conclusion “F is for Family” in my eyes is a successful show because it captures a very nostalgic time period that is still relevant to our society. The intertextual references from the 1970’s give the show the ability to attract an older viewer that wouldn’t watch the show otherwise. It also keeps the older audience watching when other shows would be written off. The identification with characters gives audience members a possible flashback to their own live experiences. The satirical raunchy comedy keeps the younger audience coming back for more because this outrageous style of animation is hot. The 1970’s was a crazy era that I only understand because of other media within the context. I learned a lot about the era from my parents, grandparents, and older family members. They can be seen as a primary source of some sort. If the viewer was around in the 70’s or had parents alive at the time he or she will be intrigued. This show will be back and has accomplished so much with a 6 episode season. The sky is the limit if Bill Burr and Netflix keep producing quality content.

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