Has ‘Family Guy’ Gotten Less Funny? The Head Writer Sure Thinks So

“There is kind of a burnout factor.”


As South Park and The Simpsons soldier on, Family Guy has seen its relevance dip in recent years. Season 14 faced uncharacteristically low ratings and several middling reviews to boot. 

The adult animated series is now in its 15th season, but is the effort worth it? Is Family Guy just not as funny as it used to be?

The current showrunner, Alec Sulkin, sure thinks so. In a candid interview with Split Sider, he admitted the show has suffered from a “burnout factor.”

“I still think the show is good overall, but I acknowledge that the show has had challenges trying to keep things fresh,” Sulkin said. “There is kind of a burnout factor. Steve Callaghan was the showrunner before me, and I think he did a good job, but there is a clock on the show, and it can be difficult to get excited and stay focused.”

About the show’s greatest flaw, its plotting, he said, “I think in the earlier years, the plots were more grounded, and probably more simple. We know who these characters are at this point, so it can be hard to give them new insight, but it is something we work on.” 

“Regarding the plots, a lot of times the first act is disconnected from the rest of the show. We call that the first-act mislead,” Sulkin added. “We’ve been doing it for a long time, but I think in episodes that aren’t as strong, it feels like a more glaring issue.”

Lastly, he admits the absence of creator Seth MacFarlane (busy hosting the Oscars and whatnot) has played a role.

“When Seth was in the writer’s room, he was the best writer there. He made the show better just by being there,” Sulkin said. “He was certainly stretched a little thin by all the projects he was working on, and while we have a lot of other talented writers, it was bound to effect the quality of the show.”

It is rare for a showrunner to admit his series is faltering. Is that the first stage of a Family Guy comeback?