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Turn back, 'Family Guy'! Emmy's comedy race is no laughing matter!

May 20, 2008 |  9:16 am

Why, oh why, don't the producers of "Family Guy" just talk to their kin down the hallway at Fox TV who produce "The Simpsons"? Is rivalry between them that tense? Right now "Family Guy's" Emmy drama is like a scene in a scary movie where the characters won't listen as you scream, "Don't go in the attic!"


Horrified over having lost the Emmy for best animated program three times (twice to "The Simpsons," once to "South Park") and not being nominated at all last year, "Family Guy" has decided to switch to the contest for best comedy series this year.

Noooooo! Don't go there! Memo to producers: Don't you recall what happened when "The Simpsons" tried that back in the 1990s?

At first "The Simpsons" wasn't permitted to go there and the uproar resulted in angry pickets marching outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium demanding that the Emmys "SET 'THE SIMPSONS' FREE!"

After winning best animated show in 1990 and 1991, "Simpsons" Executive Producer James L. Brooks said that the cartoon's creative team resented the academy's "get to the back of the bus" attitude. "The Simpsons" should be able to compete with the "grown-up" shows, he added. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening admitted, "It's just not that much of a thrill beating 'Garfield' every year."

However, having no other choice in 1992, "The Simpsons" again entered the Emmy race for best animated show and the L.A. Times warned, "If it doesn't win this Emmy again, there should be an investigation by the CIA, FBI, the NCAA, [independent presidential candidate] Ross Perot's private eyes, someone!"

Emmy watchers feared that "The Simpsons" might lose to popular new gross-out cartoon Ren & Stimpy. Instead it lost to "A Claymation Easter."

"Scandalous!" cried Yeardley Smith, who performs the voice of Lisa Simpson.

Groening vowed never to forgive voters, warning, "Hollywood thrives on hurt feelings and lingering bitterness."


Finally, in 1993, the TV academy's board of governors voted to change eligibility rules so that "Simpsons" could compete in either race. Eagerly, the show moved over to the comedy contest.

The result: "Emmys Snub Bart for Larry" proclaimed the headline in Variety when it wasn't nominated. The article noted that a low-rated competitor did make the cut. "The Larry Sanders Show" became the first cable show ever nominated for best comedy series.

In 1994, "The Simpsons" competed for best comedy series again and was snubbed entirely again.

In 1995, it moved back over to the animation slot, which it won. It has prevailed six more times since then, bringing its total tally in the category to nine victories. Meantime, "Family Guy" has never won.

(Fox TV)