This episode had so much promise in the first act, but then it kind of fizzled. With such a strong start, coupled with the Bob's Burgers joke, I wonder if Family Guy isn't slipping in the ratings in its place right after Bob's Burgers. The time slot right after a strong show is often a terrible one; I have heard it called "the dog walking time slot." You watch a great show, then you go walk the dog during the next show, and come back for the one after that.
How many "jokes about raping children" is too many?
(Bob's Burgers is, like, so freakin' amazing, though. If anything has the potential to overturn Animation Domination's long-time standings, it's Bob's Burgers! I love that show so much.)
I bash on Family Guy when it gets lazy like a parent chiding a kid for not living up to their potential in school. When Family Guy is on its game, it can't be beat. The first act of this episode included a fake Monty Python intro, Chris reading out an essay about what his teacher does after school, and Peter being hypnotized by Breaking Bad. (The later call-back to this scene was the cherry on top.)
I have felt for a long time that Chris has a lot more potential as a character, particularly considering how much time Meg has been getting lately. Chris had that first season episode where he wanted to draw instead of go camping, but beyond that, he mainly serves as a foil for the neighborhood pedophile's attention.
When Chris overhears his parents talking about how dumb he is, he resolves to prove them wrong. So many ways this could have gone. (So many BETTER ways.) Of all the ways for a teenage boy to prove to his parents that he's a secret genius, "signing up for Space Camp" would not have been my first choice. But okay, I was willing to roll with it.
But then I lost the plot when we got a string of three over-the-top cutaways in a row. A joke where Peter gleefully admits to raping children, a painfully racist Japanese/Chinese joke, and (why not?) a Holocaust joke. It's like the show doesn't WANT me to like it, and at a certain point I have to agree.
This season it feels like Family Guy is acting like that one dude who is constantly testing the boundaries of your friendship by seeing how badly he can behave and you'll still hang out with him, because when he's NOT drunk he's a pretty good friend. How much bad behavior are you willing to tolerate from someone before you decide not to be their friend? How funny does a show have to be, in order to convince you to overlook all the jokes about child rape?