Monday, March 19, 2007

Carol Burnett Sues "Family Guy"

I don't watch "Family Guy" -- I find its pop culture references slapdash and uninteresting, though the baby looking to take over the world is always amusing. The most interesting thing about the show to me is the animosity other writers and animators feel for the show. They just HATE it and don't mind saying so repeatedly and on the record. Now Carol Burnett isn't too thrilled either. Americablog trumped me on a pop culture story (the shame) by pointing me to this story about Burnett suing "Family Guy" for including a parody of her janitor character, claiming Burnett was sweeping up floors in a porn shop. I don't know who her lawyers are, but I can't imagine this even coming to trial -- surely it's clearly parody? But a line at the bottom of the story caught my eye: ""The Carol Burnett Show," combining comedy sketches and musical performances, aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and was one of the most popular shows on U.S. television in that era." Hey, I loved the show and watched it every Saturday night with my mom through the 70s. It's certainly one of the most "beloved" shows of that era (a nebulous term), but was it one of the most popular? Hardly. During the show's 11 seasons, it was usually in the Top 30 and no better. (The last two seasons, it didn't even hit the Top 30. Once, in 1969, it hit #13, the show's peak, thanks to the strong lead-ins "Mayberry RFD" (#4 for that year) and "The Doris Day Show" (#10). And that's it. Mostly the show was ranked #27, #25, #23 and so on. The most popular shows of its era were Top 10 hits like "Gunsmoke" and "All in the Family" and "Happy Days" and "MASH" and "Little House On The Prairie" and "The Waltons." More popular variety shows included "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In" and "The Flip Wilson Show." "The carol Burnett Show" was one of my favorites and sadly out of circulation because the music rights are so prohibitive it doesn't get syndicated and doesn't get put out on DVD. But don't confuse beloved with ratings success. It had a great run, but the show was never a ratings smash.


Hotel @nyware said...

Since her fan base are all senile in Nursing homes now, in the words of Stewie Griffen, she should be DAMN GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!!! for the 18 seconds of honorable mention.

Michael in New York said...

I agree with you. It was clearly parody and clearly didn't infringe on any rights she may have to that character. bad lawyers, I'd say, who just tell their clients what they want to hear.

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