February 2010

"Extra-Large Medium"

I liked this episode more than I've liked an episode of Family Guy in a very long time.  It combines two of my favorite things: pointing out that psychics and mediums are full of crap, and pointing out that developmentally disabled people are just like everyone else.  Add in a musical number (something we haven't seen in a while) and what's not to like?

Best of all, the cut-aways were kept to a minimum of randomness, which I always appreciate.  And fortunately the most random cut-away was memorably bizarre: Peter's version of "Starlight Express," which entails Peter roller skating around in a circle on stage yelling "Starlight Express!" while wearing a Tron outfit.

"Brian's Got A Brand New Bag"

Once again we have the silly Simpsons style construction, where the events in Act 1 randomly kick off the main plot.  This is such a convention of animated shows that it never strikes the audience as odd, even though it really is.  From the perspective of dramatic narrative, you're supposed to start with, you know, the story.  Not a throwaway little pre-story that ends when it nudges the actual story into action, and is never referenced again.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, there's a sale at the DVD store, "because DVDs are outdated, just like white track stars."  (I'm not actually sure what DVDs are being replaced in favor of, although maybe that's a silly question, given that I watched this episode on Hulu.)  Every DVD is only a dollar!  

"Dial Meg for Murder"

If "Business Guy" was one of the season's least random episodes, then "Dial Meg for Murder" has to be its most random so far.  The show even opens up with a throwaway gag, a montage of the news show's chopper pilot "Drunk Billy" on his drunk helicopter escapades.  Has Family Guy ever opened an episode with the news casters?  I don't think so.  And having seen "Dial Meg for Murder," I can see why.

"Dial Meg for Murder" also follows the classic Simpsons story arc, where the events of the first act randomly kick off the second and third acts, but are never mentioned again.  In this case, Peter decides to become a rodeo star.