I still do not understand the appeal of cartoons for adults. While my friends count the days until the newest episodes of The Simpsons are scheduled to air and eagerly await the release of the sequels for movies such as Toy Story and Shrek, I always feel like I missing out on an entire genre of entertainment. I am eagerly waiting for the epiphany that will enable me to enjoy this form of adult entertainment, but unfortunately, Family Guy: Stewie’s Guide to World Domination, is simply not the book that will get me there.
This comic book, based on the successful television program Family Guy, presents the down-and-dirty tell-it-like-it-is-and-hold-nothing-back opinions of Stewie Griffin—the self-proclaimed “maniacal one-year-old baby genius.” It is appropriate that Stewie is an infant without the ability to voice a word, since even people who agree with his opinions will be unlikely to have the courage to actually voice them. In short, if you were able to gather every possible thought to enter the mind of any infant, young child, teenager, and adult, infinitesimally exaggerated each, and strung them together, then the end result would be this book.
Stewie’s thoughts cover a wide range of topics from the vantage point of a one-year-old. He shares his insight on topics ranging from teething, to the tooth fairy, to parenthood, to the surviving the modern workplace, to taxes and even alcohol.
Some of his rants do provide amusing satire. For example, in explaining why MTV is the root of all evil, he opines that its current programming includes very little music and its advertising merely convinces young people their “faces are too filled with acne, their armpits are too foul-smelling, and their tampons are not absorbent enough.” Equally as forthright are his thoughts on teen fashion, explaining that not all men are skateboarders, most need to cut their “ridiculous mop-top head of hair,” and no one needs to see their underwear. As far as female recording artists, he says they look like sluts, need to understand that no one think showing your “navel with a belly ring makes you look grown up,” and they should recognize that “not everyone can look like Lindsay Lohan (without surgery).” He also adds that child stars should “cover up those cracks.” The problem is that much of his commentary (such as his thoughts relating to breast-feeding and bodily functions) are crude just for the sake of being crude and offer little to the social commentary the book may be trying to offer.
Fans of the television program upon which this book is based will likely enjoy Stewie’s rants because they are merely an extension of it. Critics of the show are unlikely to be pleased, but I’d imagine this will not be a problem because they would not be inclined to gravitate to it in the first place. The reality is that book is intended to be a satire of the world as we know it and, in that sense, it probably does serve its intended purpose. The question is not only whether you are looking for a satire, however, but whether you would welcome its delivery through the voice of a rude and crude infant who, if he really did exist, would be every parent’s worst nightmare.