I mused about this over in the TED thread, but I have incredibly mixed feelings about Seth MacFarlane and his animated FOX shows. On the one hand:
-MacFarlane doesn't have the widest vocal range, but he's a pretty good actor WITHIN that range. Brian, Stewie, Roger and Stan Smith are probably his best four performances. He was also unexpectedly delightful as Johann Krauss in Hellboy II.
-He's an *excellent* singer; go pick up his "Music Is Better Than Words" album if you haven't already.
-On a related note, I share his deep, abiding love of old musicals.
-American Dad has its problems, but is actually pretty damn good and funny a good chunk of the time. It has a much more interesting cast on both the writing and performing level than Family Guy or Cleveland (though admittedly they don't always know what to do with Hayley), the humor doesn't rely nearly as much on Family Guy's crutches (easy pop culture references, casual misogyny, "hilarious" stereotypes that actually ARE racist or offensive, gags that test your patience with how long they run), and it actually bothers to tell real stories, no matter how absurd they might be.
Does it just have a different crew of writers or something?
On the other hand:
-His character design style, whether it's actually him or just dictating to the design artists, is painfully bland and generic. On top of that, his shows are easily the least interesting from a directorial and storyboarding standpoint in regards to televised comedy animation. My main pet peeve is that all too often, the "camera" will just sit in one place for an entire scene, minutes on end. It's boring, and even American Dad runs into this, although usually I do tend to find that show a little more interesting because it goes to some really weird places visually sometimes. "Rapture's Delight", anybody?
-God, Family Guy sucks. I can't even enjoy the older episodes for the most part anymore because rewatching reveals that the problems were already there. The ultra-boring visuals, the lazy writing, etc. And Peter Griffin is easily the least interesting horrible protagonist in any of these shows. MacFarlane's performance for him is easily my least favorite; it starts to become grating pretty fast. I'm not really fond of Alex Borstein or Mila Kunis on the show either, though to be fair it's not like the writers give them much help. The supporting cast is actually solid from an acting perspective, though that's because you have folks like Patrick Warburton, Jennifer Tilly, Phil LaMarr, Lori Alan and Adam West rounding it out.
-I tried watching one episode of The Cleveland Show, just to be fair. Aside from Kevin Michael Richardson's inspired high-pitched work as Cleveland, Jr., and the sheer weirdness of David Lynch as the local bartender, everything else was dulllllll. It felt exactly like Family Guy, except with the skin tones and locale changed.
Am I alone in these ambivalent feelings, or do most of y'all just hate the guy?