SUMMARY: An intelligent dog named Steve is adopted by Larry, the only human being who can understand what he says. Unfortunately, he is also a dangerously clumsy idiot.
WHY IT’S HERE: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Family Guy’ would eventually become one of the biggest phenomena in the adult animation boom of the late 20th century. Wildly popular, ‘Family Guy’ is a sometimes very funny but largely frustrating series which relies on a barrage of pop-culture references, cutaway gags and shock humour for most of its appeal. Prior to the production of ‘Family Guy’, Seth MacFarlane made two shorts that directly relate to its development. The first, the student film ‘The Life of Larry’, follows a similar formula to ‘Family Guy’ but the second, the much more interesting ‘Larry & Steve’, recasts the premise as a high-energy, slapstick but intelligent children’s show. ‘Larry and Steve’ stars Peter Griffin prototype Larry and his dog, Brian Griffin prototype Steve. ‘Larry & Steve’ follows Steve’s adoption from the dog pound by Larry, something which ultimately proves to be more life-threatening that the impending euthanasia of the pound when a simple trip to a furniture store becomes a scene of mass destruction. ‘Larry & Steve’ is a very funny film indeed and is refreshingly free from the irritating meanderings and tired shock value of ‘Family Guy’. It’s nice to watch MacFarlane’s amusing dialogue and frantic slapstick unfold without having to worry about a vile rape joke being around the corner. Aired as part of Cartoon Network’s ‘What a Cartoon’ show, ‘Larry & Steve’ was sadly not picked up for a full series, but it did lead to the creation of ‘Family Guy’. Fans of the series may spot an early version of Quagmire and a furniture store called Stewie’s among the noteworthy precursors in ‘Larry & Steve’.