There's an episode of Family Guy where Joe, Cleveland, Peter and Quagmire are all sitting in a vat of beer at the Pawtucket Patriot brewery, and the conversation drifts to people they'd strike from the face of the Earth if they were God. Joe picks Debra Messing and Cleveland picks French Stewart (incidentally, those are two excellent choices). Quagmire suggests that French Stewart is no Tim Daly and none of the guys know who Tim Daly is. The whole scene culminates in Quagmire storming off because no one likes, knows or has even heard of Wings.

Seth MacFarlane is a pop culture God. They guy could go toe to toe with anyone. He's obviously making fun of Wings as completely generic and inoffensive; the kind of stuff watched by people who don't really think too much about what it is they want to watch (which makes it all the more odd that Peter Griffin had never heard of it). Here's the thing: that's selling the show a bit short.

Is it kind of generic drek? Yeah, probably. But to be totally fair, it ran for 8 seasons, and had a lengthy run in syndication. As far as sitcoms go, it ain't half bad. There are countless shows that are far less watchable than Wings.

Tim Daly and Steven Weber played brothers that ran a Nantucket-based airline. Thomas Haden Church has been reborn in recent years, thanks to Sideways, but his initial birth was as Lowell, dimwitted handyman at the Nantucket airport. And his good-natured idiocy came off charming. Among the other characters at the airport were Fay, the ditzy ticket agent; Roy, the ornery, overweight competitor of Joe and Brian; Helen, the lunch counter girl; and Antonio Scarpacci, the immigrant cabbie played by inimitable character actor Tony Shaloub. Lots of stereotypical characters here (they should have just broke down all the barriers and had a 1940s mobster character holding a violin case and an Asian guy with a triangle hat and buck teeth), but in the context of the show, it didn't insult the intelligence of its audience too much.

So, Seth MacFarlane, if you're reading this: I'm just going to go ahead and assume that this is one of those schoolyard things where you make fun of the things you like the most. This way, you and I won't have a problem.

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The Book


The Yankee Pot Roast Book of Awesome Underappreciated Stuff
by Geoff Wolinetz,
Nick Jezarian,
and Josh Abraham

Published by
Citadel/Kensington Books.
On sale June 24, 2008.

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This page contains a single entry by published on October 1, 2008 7:41 PM.

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