Seth MacFarlane has a fetish.
The creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show REALLY digs it when he has a non-human character interact with human characters by speaking the English language. Do you get it? It's funny because dogs, aliens and bears aren't supposed to be talking. They're not supposed to be drinking martinis or offering pop culture quips or talking about their emotions -- they're not people! LOL!
He has perfected (beaten to death) this concept in nearly all of his creative projects. The only next logical step would be to take his fetishism for this tired gimmick to the next level. Particularly, have a studio give him $65 million to spend and unleash his hilarious unholy alliance between man and species that doesn't talk on the big screen.
Earlier this week, the NSFW red-band trailer for Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut, Ted was released. It stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis and wait for it... a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking CGI teddy bear who talks! Teddy bears aren't supposed to talk. They aren't supposed to have jobs as cashiers. They are inanimate objects. That's why it's funny.
People on my Facebook were gushing with enthusiasm. I think The Dark Knight Rises is the only film I've seen rival the ferocity in which this trailer was posted. Ted was trending worldwide on Twitter. The consensus was pretty much unanimous: Hells yeah, the movie looks hilarious and hells yeah, everyone is going to see it. A teddy bear taking massive bong hits? Gnarly! High-five, bro!
But all condescension aside, why have the showbiz gods blighted us with this dude for over a decade now? I had MacFarlane fatigue in the mid-aughts and with Ted probably going to be a hit; he's not going away anytime soon. He hasn't even reached his peak. That's a disturbing thought. Allowing him to take his schtick to film, where he gets to curse and probably shows a bear with an erection, will only give him more leeway to snowball upon his rehashed crap straight from the bowels of the hellish comedy underworld. Maybe there will be a Ted sequel. Maybe he'll venture into more obscure territory and make an indie about a meth-addicted talking lampshade. But having a gimmick works, right? I mean, Carrot Top has been doing mindblowing things with props for years and dude has his own show in Vegas.
Isn't there someone close to MacFarlane who stands up to his recycled mediocrity? Is he only surrounded by yes men who think that a concept that was cool in 1999 and repeated in every subsequent project is still fresh? I'm sure he confronts any criticism by saying "Nonsense! Is $100 million in my pocket considered mediocre? Now play my show-tune! Two, three, four!"
Speaking of show tunes, aside from an inter-species friendship, MacFarlane employs one of his other familiar laugh-tactics in Ted; a song! But in the same vein as poet laureate "Weird" Al Yankovick, it's not just a song -- it's a FUNNY song with FUNNY lyrics about thunder. MacFarlane likes songs. In all of his shows, there are numerous song and special episodes specifically devoted to songs. He likes songs so much, that he made a big band album that garnered him a Grammy nomination. He's taking the adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to an insanely self-righteous level.
MacFarlane is adapting a new version of The Flintstones for FOX and I will bet my entire checking account ($17) that Dino, the lovable dinosaur, talks and sings. I bet he interacts with Fred and Wilma and makes hilarious poignant references to some Stone Age version of Khloe Kardashian.
Because that's all MacFarlane is; an unfortunate genius who has built an empire by employing exhuastive pop culture references, funny songs and an idolatry fetish and fascination of things that shouldn't talk that talk. This is not a broad generalization -- this is fact with consistent evidence to back-up this claim. It continues with Ted and will not stop until we all agree that this novelty has overstayed its welcome.
It's been so, so long since you've done something new, Seth. I implore you to embark on a project, where, I know this may be scary, an animal doesn't in fact talk.
Follow Chris Krapek on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChrisKrapek