Simpsons and Family Guy cross over: can it work?

This week has already seen the announcement that Superman and Batman will join forces in a blockbuster to be released in 2015 but this wasn’t the only news that has left TV critics and audien

This week has already seen the announcement that Superman and Batman will join forces in a blockbuster to be released in 2015 but this wasn’t the only news that has left TV critics and audiences excited yet puzzled. TV giants Fox have announced that they are to broadcast a special crossover episode with two of the world’s favourite animated families—The Simpsons and Family Guy.

The episode which is to be called ‘Simpsons Guy’ will see the Griffins of Quahog take off on a road trip and end up in Springfield, bumping into The Simpsons hopefully allowing for an hour of hilarious adventures. 

Hour of hilarious adventure…hopefully

It is said that the two clans will immediately hit it off as the children and the wives become good friends while the heads of the family, Peter and Homer, begin a rivalry particularly over whose town has the better brew of beer. 

There is huge excitement on both sides of the Atlantic where both shows have massive following, but with the hype comes a lot of unanswered questions by viewers who are a little sceptical over whether the crossover can be a success. 

Firstly, while both are based around the family, the small town in which they live and its regulars there is a huge difference in the taste of shows—The Simpsons and it’s humour is very much at home with a younger audience, while Peter’s antics and remarks are more than often punching very close to the line.

The real problem however, is the age of the target audience—The Simpsons is aimed at a younger audience where the jokes are kept within the boundaries, hence the reason it tends to be broadcast at 6pm on Channel 4 unlike Family Guy which is always on after 10pm. Parents tend to allow their younger children to watch The Simpsons due to its light humour whereas Family Guy is often off limits to even teenage kids.

It’s a family matter

Family Guy in the past has been criticised for offensive jokes, an average episode of Family Guy will contain sexual innuendoes; racist and sexiest remarks while poking fun at many other things such as disability, religion and topical and culture events and while to many it’s harmless, to The Simpsons audience it may come across as something unfunny and in bad taste. The show has seen criticism angled at story lines containing 9/11, OJ Simpson and remarks about religion, while every episode does tend to contain a joke or remark that makes you grit your teeth.

Will the guy’s push the boundaries?

How will the special episode refrain from offending audiences that watch The Simpsons without removing the pushing of the boundaries that arguably makes Family Guy so successful, it’s a difficult challenge and one that the producers may well have trouble with.

Lastly, the format of both shows is different and it will be a task to see if the special episode can work around this. Family Guy often contains flash backs or side scenes to explain the gag, while The Simpsons rely on the physical humour of the characters. While it’s not impossible for the Griffins to be in episode without flashbacks or side scenes, the omission of these would suggest that the special episode would be much lighter in terms of humour than cult fans are used too, not something that would particularly please them.

Risking the family reputation

There is no doubting that this special episode will draw in the audiences but will it be a success? I don’t think so—the difference in the shows is too vast for episode to work as Family Guy’s success is down to aspects which can’t be done in an episode of The Simpsons. The humour is too different and while the foundations of both shows are very similar, that is where the similarities end, I can’t imagine the creators of The Simpsons risking the family reputation of their show to compensate for the more low brow humour of Family Guy – something Seth Macfarlane will also be reluctant to sacrifice.

Simpsons Guy’ is due to be aired in the U.S. in the autumn of 2014 and in the UK sometime after.

What do you think? Will the Family Guy-Simpsons crossover work? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.