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"Into Fat Air"


This premiere directly followed the deflated Simpsons premiere, and what a dismaying experience that was for the viewer. I'm not asking for realism from a show that frequently features lengthy, nonsensical fight sequences with a giant humanoid chicken. But I do ask for some kind of reality check when the Griffin family decides to climb Mount Everest just to try and top a family of show-offs.

That is not the kind of thing that ever happens. Ever. I don't know about your family, but my family has never done anything just to win a petty competition with some snooty family. Certainly not climb Mount Everest without a lick of training or forethought.
In fact, this plot is so nonsensical that it could literally have been used by any other show. It would work just as well as an episode of Cheers or Roseanne or Modern Family as it would Family Guy. Which is to say: not at all. Ever. 

With such a bone-headed plot, the execution would have to be pretty great in order to make this episode watchable. And it just wasn't. There was one joke that would have made me chuckle (the pukesicle that Peter tosses to Brian) except that it had already been flogged to death in the ads over the last week leading up to the episode. I laughed the first time I saw it, a week ago. 
I also had to question whether this episode marks the first time in television history that a show has ripped off its own spin-off. This episode is essentially cobbled together from three separate episodes of American Dad, each of which is miles better than this one. It must have been confusing to take big chunks of three really good episodes, only to discover that when you put them together, you get crap. Sort of like when you're mixing fingerpaint as a kid, and you mix red (which is awesome) and green (which is awesome) and yellow (which is awesome) but all you end up with is sewage brown.
When American Dad competed with another family, it was both hilarious and realistic. They competed by staying up late and going "free running" with a younger couple. When American Dad went mountain climbing, it was hilarious. And when the Smiths ate another person (thanks to the vacation goo) it was both integral to the plot and had grave, long-lasting emotional consequences for the characters, as well as funny.
Mash all those things together into a Family Guy episode and you have a big steaming pile of… this.