If you thought Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane was crude, wait until you read his book.
A Million Ways To Die In The West is the 40-year-old animator’s first novel and contains a lot of his trademark bawdy humour.
Some of it will make you cringe – such as shoe repairer Edward Phelps’ devotion to his prostitute girlfriend Ruth – but for the most part it’s an innovative send-up of the traditional western.
Since it’s a book based on a film, and not the other way around, its plot devices tend to rely on assumed knowledge.
The parodies will feel a little flat if you’ve never seen a Western or period films.
And while you might need to read between the lines to understand some of the jokes, others are in your face.
MacFarlane’s story isn’t about the hard-done-by John Waynes of the American frontier.
He prefers the anti-heroes who have previously never been given a second thought.
“In the West, brave men got killed. Cowards stayed alive”, writes MacFarlane on the first page.
And that’s the reasoning behind sheep farmer Albert Stark’s every choice and his frustration with life in Arizona.
Although it’s set in 1882, the dialogue is modern and vulgar.
But who’s to say heartbroken ranchmen don’t get “f***ed up” in the saloon after they’ve been dumped by their girlfriend?
“The American west is a dirty, depressing, horrible, sh**** place,” opines a forlorn Stark.
“Everything out here that’s not you wants to kill you,” he goes on, before listing the outlaws, Indians, angry drunks and scorned hookers of prairies past.
If there are indeed a million ways to bite the dust in the Wild West, this is the first time someone has taken the time to crack jokes about each one of them.
* A Million Ways To Die In The West, by Seth MacFarlane, is published by Allen & Unwin on March 26 (RRP $24.99).