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How All In The Family Inspired Family Guy's Theme Song

Seth MacFarlane hit gold when he decided to leave Hanna-Barbera and spearhead his own series: "Family Guy." Debuting in early 1999, "Family Guy" was far from the juggernaut it is today. Reviews at the time were harsh, with Entertainment Weekly quick to fire shots at MacFarlane, poking fun at his previous employer. "What is laughable is the clunky animation, which makes the static, retrograde stuff pumped out by MacFarlane's old employer, Hanna-Barbera, seem state-of-the-art," wrote critic Ken Tucker in a D review describing the first season.

Such harsh feedback shouldn't be too appalling considering Fox scrapped the animation sitcom after it finished its third season. It wasn't until reruns and high DVD sales that the series was revived, with a fourth season premiering in 2005 (via The New York Times). Now? "Family Guy" is considered an animated staple, amassing a fanbase as large as "The Simpsons" and "Batman: The Animated Series."

With over 20 seasons under its belt, "Family Guy" is the perfect example of a comeback story, one that has largely penetrated popular culture. The cult-like fanbase surrounding the crude comedy only continues to grow but it's hard to imagine the series being so successful if it wasn't for what came before it. "Family Guy" is filled to the brim with pop culture references and homages but fans may not know that its opening theme is inspired by an equally iconic classic sitcom.  

Both theme songs feature similar opening shots

Seth MacFarlane has always paid tribute to his influences and inspirations in his projects. When it comes to "Family Guy," MacFarlane has discussed how "The Simpsons," in part, inspired his crass animated sitcom. There are distinctive differences between the two sitcoms, such as MacFarlane's use of cutaways, and the full display of his unique taste in music. The show's DNA is filled to the brim with references to MacFarlane's favorite visual and musical motifs, so it's not surprising that one of the most iconic parts of the series, its opening theme, is a riff on a popular series.

A "Family Guy" commentary track reveals that the animated sitcom's iconic intro is influenced by Norman Lear's "All In the Family" (via E! News). The opening of the '70s CBS sitcom sees Caroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton's characters seated at a piano, singing the "All In The Family" theme. The "Family Guy" intro starts off similarly, with Lois (voiced by Alex Borstein) at the piano singing about the perils of modern television, with Peter (voiced by MacFarlane) joining shortly after.

The "Family Guy" creator has never shied away from sharing the love he holds for "All in the Family." Writing for Vanity Fair in 2014, MacFarlane gushed about Lear's sitcom, calling it "arguably the greatest scripted program in the history of TV." With such high praise for the series, it's no wonder MacFarlane decided to pay homage to the series in "Family Guy's" opening sequence. MacFarlane has gone on to reference "All in the Family" on several occasions, especially during the show's iconic cutaways (via YouTube).