For many of us, we cannot sit still in front of a TV. Do not ask me to go to the movies. ADHD kids like myself will need to get up and walk around at some point. What we do not struggle with is watching cartoons. Many of us grew up on the infamous “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Many of us watched “South Park” and “King of the Hill” far too young. There are many cartoons I adore, but I have a special love for this state's beloved satirical, cartoon adult comedy “Family Guy.”
The show, created by Rhode Island School of Design graduate Seth MacFarlane, centers on stereotypical New England behavior, where a simpleminded Rhode Island man and his family partake in various shenanigans. The show is extremely witty and creative with its use of cutaways, as well as dark humor. MacFarlane has been widely criticized in the past for his use of offensive humor. Over the years a total of 51 people have written episodes for this Emmy-nominated series. One of them is Rhode Island College & The Anchor alumni, Danny Smith.
A 1981 graduate of RIC who grew up in Smithfield, Smith is the only writer to contribute who is native to Rhode Island. During his time at RIC, he created his very own feature for The Anchor Newspaper. The comic called, “Joe Flynn and His Dog Spot,” was about a man and his talking dog, like Brian and Peter, main characters of “Family Guy ''. Although MacFarlane also grew up in New England, originally from Kent, CT, Smith played a crucial role in shaping the fictional town of Quahog. There is also an episode where RIC is featured, Season 10 episode 19, which aired in April of 2012. Brian the dog meets a girl at a book reading, who happens to be a student at Rhode Island College.
As an executive producer and voice actor for the show, Smith had many roles. He has often voiced recurring background character roles such as “Buzz Killington” and “The Giant Chicken.”
Other famous Rhode Islanders such as James Woods also appear on the show. Woods appears in many episodes in which he wreaks havoc and then they trap him in a box while he continues to follow a trail of Reese’s Pieces, chanting “Ooh a piece of candy!” Woods graduated from Pilgrim High School, and owns a house on Boone Lake in Exeter, RI.
Family Guy is not only hysterical but has shed light on many social issues over the years. Writers like MacFarlane and Smith possess a characteristic that many of us lose in childhood – creativity. They have found incredibly creative ways to incorporate history and social issues into satirical animation and screen-writing. Smith made his way to Hollywood by exercising his creativity and never losing it – by doing it at The Anchor newspaper. Check out the Anchor Newspaper Issue digital archives to find not only Smith’s comic, but also the Anchor’s spirited past.