Why Family Guy Hasn’t Won an Emmy

Cameron Lee Cowan
8 min readSep 27, 2021

It’s mostly to do with the fact that family guy is derivative.

Seth McFarland’s Family Guy has been on the air for 19 years. It had a rough start, was briefly canceled and then brought back thanks to its popularity by younger viewers. Family Guy has never had great ratings, but it has earned a loyal following. It has never had the cultural sway of its rival The Simpsons and has never won an Emmy (as compared to The Simpson’s 21). The reason this is the case is fairly obvious, but I thought I would point a few reasons why Family Guy hasn’t won and probably will never win an Emmy.

It’s a Family Guy

The first problem with Family Guy is the level of humor. It’s not as smart or as clever as the Simpson’s. It appeals to a broad audience and doesn’t cater to elitism. Likewise, it features musical numbers, fart jokes, and overt violence. This is not how to win an Emmy. People who have the power to grant awards don’t find that kind of humor funny unless it’s very clever. The Simpsons talks about society and makes a greater point while also being crass. This is what Emmy voters love.

The Family Guy also suffers from being second. When The Simpsons first aired in 1989, it was a new thing. Adult animation, now a massive genre, didn’t exist. Animation was for children. It was the tool of creating immersive worlds, but only for children. Disney was a master of the genre and as the Simpsons went to air for the first time, Disney was at the beginning of its second golden age of the late 1980s and early 1990s when they produced hits like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Family Guy wasn’t the first and doing much of anything. It’s fundamentally derivative.

Family Guy has done things different from the Simpsons, but that has mostly to do with character and plot. Also, the addition of music and musical numbers have definitely helped define the show as different from other shows (including other shows created by Seth McFarland) but at its core, Family Guy never offers us a different picture of the world.


The premise of both shows is the same: fat, stupid husband, attractive wife, and 3 children with various issues. At least Lisa gets to be smart, Meg is known for being told to shut up. If Meg…



Cameron Lee Cowan

Creative Director of The Cameron Journal. Culture, political commentary, and much more!