Family Guy has been on the air since 1999 and has somehow found its way to being a cornerstone of pop culture to every living generation: From an adult animated cartoon on late-night cable to a copyright lesson on YouTube to, now, overstimulation TikToks.
The show’s creator Seth MacFarlane is now becoming the face of a new TikTok reaction meme, after users discovered he is very good at singing.
The juxtaposition between the goofy humor in Family Guy, the cast of characters MacFarlane voices and MacFarlane’s sincerely good vocals on the latest Logic song is evolving into a genuine fanbase on TikTok.
Why is Family Guy so important to Gen Z?
According to Know Your Meme’s reporting, everything began in 2016. YouTubers somehow figured out that posting “clips” of Family Guy and titling the uploads as such would avoid copyright claims. So many, many accounts were making “Family Guy compilations” that were actually just entire episodes of the show, framed and edited in a way that would avoid them being taken down.
This was an integral part of Gen Z’s introduction to the internet. As platforms like YouTube and TikTok evolved and advanced ways to detect copyright infringement, the videos got weirder.
By the 2020s, users were adding random and unnecessary edits to the clips, as well as making videos that appeared to be over two hours long, just by playing the same episode multiple times in a row. As long as unrelated clips popped up throughout the episode, it was considered “fair use.”
As YouTube started targeting these videos, knowing full well what was happening, TikTok became a whole new playing field. A split-screen option in 2022 allowed users to show a Family Guy episode at the top of the video and a completely different video at the bottom.
This evolved into overstimulation TikToks.
What are overstimulation TikToks?
Essentially, TikTok users wanted to parody the split-screen tactic used to get Family Guy clips and episodes circulating, so they just started adding more clips to the video.
The more meta, absurd and confusing the overstimulation TikTok, the better. Watching these videos is like the opposite of ASMR — even though, ironically, a lot of ASMR videos are included in these video collages — and many, many people do not get it at all.
But others were taking it very, very seriously.
Why does Gen Z care that Seth MacFarlane can sing?
The absurdity of what Family Guy stands for and is recognized for within internet circles has now led people to discover creator MacFarlane has eight studio albums and was trained by Frank Sinatra’s singing coach.
It’s not exactly a secret. The Los Angeles Times covered his singing talent back in 2011. In 2020, MacFarlane and Meghan Trainor collaborated on a Christmas cover that was No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart.
On Feb. 24, Logic released the song “Self Medication,” which features MacFarlane and the singers Redman and Statik Selektah.
Now TikTok users are reacting to the news — stunned that the same voice behind Brian, a talking British cartoon dog, also sings uncannily like Frank Sinatra.
“Singing in character voices is actually a hell of a lot easier than singing straight, because it’s almost like there’s a shield around it,” MacFarlane told NPR in 2011. “We assume Peter Griffin probably shouldn’t be able to sing all that well, so you can keep it loose and you don’t have to think too much about it. It’s much more work to sing straight.”
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