“The Simpsons” set the gold standard for adult animation. While kids could certainly partake in the family’s misadventures in Springfield, there were jokes that really only adults could catch. It’s led to one of the longest-running dynasties in pop culture, as the sitcom is currently on its 34th season with no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The success of “The Simpsons” has spawned numerous imitators, most notably with “South Park,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and “Family Guy.” While one can certainly see similarities between “The Simpsons” and the likes of “South Park,” it’s clear that they both do their own thing with “South Park” forging its own path. The same can’t necessarily be said of “Family Guy,” and for years now, people have said that it’s essentially a note-for-note rip-off of “The Simpsons.”
The shows themselves have even commented on the similarities. For instance, in “The Simpsons” Season 17 episode, “The Italian Bob,” Italian police officers flip through a book of criminals, and underneath a picture of Peter Griffin is the word “Plagiarismo.” But what does “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening think of the alleged theft?
Matt Groening says he has a friendly rivalry with Seth MacFarlane
Of course, “Family Guy” hasn’t been afraid to throw shade right back at “The Simpsons.” In the episode “The Juice is Loose,” Peter Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) befriends O.J. Simpson (Mike Henry), and at one point in the story, Mayor West (Adam West) says, “We don’t want you in our town, Simpson. We don’t love you like we did in 1993.” The scene then cuts to Homer Simpson, who gives his trademarked “D’oh!” While it would seem there’s some bad blood between the two productions, Matt Groening and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane enjoy the friendly rivalry they’ve established.
In a 2006 interview with The A.V. Club, Groening was asked about those “Family Guy” ripoff rumors, to which he responded, “The rivalry is very affectionate. Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is a good guy and he does great work, and I certainly have no problem with the perceived competition. If anything, we have the same kind of competition that Pugsley Addams and Eddie Munster had in the old days. They duked it out a few times, and so did Seth and I, but that’s probably before your time.”
This interview took place before the infamous “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” crossover, where the two shows brought their grievances with one another to the forefront. The episode ended with a massive fistfight between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson, but it sounds like things are much more cordial behind the scenes.