Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

School

School of Communications and Contemporary Art

Faculty

Faculty of Education & Arts

First Advisor

Lelia Green

Second Advisor

Mardie O'Sullivan

Abstract

The animated series Family Guy (1999-2006) has been cancelled twice and resurrected twice mainly because of the efforts of viewers. It is worth asking, however; why has Family Guy attained a level of fanaticism that repeatedly rescues it from permanent cancellation? Arguably, the Family Guy audience is made up predominantly of members of generation y and as such, the way they view the program and their relationship to it will differ to that of previous generations. In short, Family Guy was cancelled due to poor ratings, however, these ratings were a result of erratic scheduling that was not conducive to the establishment of a strong audience base. This encouraged viewers to look beyond the television for information relating to Family Guy (i.e. air dates or missed episodes) and to discuss the show in general, creating an 'imagined community' online. The establishment of community whilst facilitating organized protests to have the series continued in times of cancellation does not explain why viewers have gone to this extreme. Popular culture is becoming increasingly complex, and it is possible to suggest that Family Guy is more complex than previous animated series. The way in which Family Guy is constructed may appear unusual to some, yet to members of generation y who are familiar with this style of animated series (having grown up with children's series similar to it during the 1990s) it appears to be a natural progression from previous series. As a result they identify strongly with the series and perhaps even view it as something produced for them. This level of identification and the series history of being cancelled has led to the collection of episodes and information (namely quotes) around Family Guy. The collection of knowledge is indicative of the level of importance viewers place in the series and it becomes necessary for the maintenance of friendships. Labeling downloaded episodes as a collection is problematic as they constitute a vastly different type of collectable to material items. It is suggested, that this is a result of rigid and possibly outmoded perceptions of collectables and collecting and, that the term collecting should be considered as covering different forms of collecting and different levels of involvement on the part of the collector.

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