Despite some stinging accusations, Seth MacFarlane boasts a bow with an enviable number of strings. He's a comedic creator, a genius writer who takes great pleasure in wrapping up dick jokes in social and political allegory, and he has the voice of a honey-drenched angel. You'll know that, because he takes every bloody opportunity to show it off he can.
If this was his monologue, he'd probably have sung by now.
As well as basically cornering the market at the adult end of the cartoon spectrum for a long time, MacFarlane cut his teeth writing for the kind of comedy shows that still enjoy longevity in spirit: Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo and Cow And Chicken. Looking back at those shows, you can see why the extreme extrapolation of them would end up with Peter Griffin and Ted and Stan Smith. And also what drew the writer to seek a medium with slightly less conventional taste boundaries.
From there he survived being cancelled multiple times (and continues to defy similar expectations with the same stubbornness as The Simpsons) and while his film career hasn't exactly flourished yet, you get the sense that he enjoys playing up to every cheeky expectation of him. How else could you possibly explain the torrent of penis jokes that meshed together to form Ted 2?
Never knowingly predictable, MacFarlane's creations guarantee laughs - it's just a matter of picking out which ones deliver the best...
7. A Million Ways To Die In The West
It seems the urge to reinvent the Western genre for cinema comes around on a cycle as deliberately as the need to find the next Harry Potter. There have been some successes that suggest revisionism is the way forward, but it's been a long time since anyone thought the genre could be anything other than glum and grim (a safe spectrum where grit is a remarkably successful currency).
When you look at almost everything that sought a more "mainstream" appeal in the wake of Blazin' Saddles, it's like an embarrassing roll call of misfits and monsters. Wild Wild West was an abomination, but even if it hadn't been a paint-by-numbers turkey it probably wouldn't have worked, because audiences simply aren't in the right mind-step for western frolics.
Perhaps that's why A Milion Ways To Die In The West sought to be a little more modern, blending MacFarlane's irreverent humour with an old Western spirit. Except it failed on both accounts. The comedy is puerile and oddly sterile, while there's absolutely nothing authentic about the setting (which was precisely what worked for Blazin' Saddles).
Everyone seems game enough, but this is one that sits alongside Cutthroat Island on the pile marked Expensive Failed Genre Experiment.