March 2010

"Brian Griffin's House of Payne"

We continue with the yo-yo ride of this season, from the last episode's terrible randomness to this week's surprisingly tight pacing.  This episode had two storylines, for the most part, and it stuck to them.  Although the episode started out with a Simpsons-style digression that leads eventually to the even that kicks off the main plot.  I hate that.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this episode is that it paired an extremely intellectual and nuanced plot with a straight-up gross-out plot.  Call this the "something for everyone" episode.

"Peter-Assment"

This is probably one of the most "meh" episodes of Family Guy I've seen in years.  Let me put it to you this way: about halfway through the episode, my wandering attention spied a stack of mail nearby.  I spent the second half of the episode half watching as I sorted my mail and paid all my bills.  So there's that.

"Peter-assment" is also one of the most egregious examples of the show's "throw it to the wall and see what sticks" ethos at its worst.  The storyline is only barely coherent, and is frequently overwhelmed by the cut-away jokes, the random asides, and bizarre touches like the scene where Peter, drinking heavily in a bar, hallucinates (?) that actor Robert Mitchum is speaking to him from the bar's television.

"Go Stewie Go"

This will probably go down in history as "the Tootsie episode."  The theme of this week's episode is "inappropriate sexual contact."  Family Guy eventually offends everyone, but I have rarely found an episode as off-putting as "Go Stewie Go."

The episode has two storylines.  From a dramatic plotting perspective, the intertwined stories and dramatic progression are top notch.  (Too bad it's all so creepy!)  I didn't notice any cutaways proper, and although there are several tangential jokes, the episode as a whole kept up its forward momentum until the end.

Seth McFarlane's Priceline Ads

I have been seeing a lot of Seth McFarlane's Priceline ads on Hulu lately.  It's funny how, if you watch his shows, you don't necessarily think of his animation style as being distinct.  But the first time I laid eyes on the Priceline ad, I knew it was a Family Guy thing somehow.

I must say, the animated version of William Shatner is looking pretty good!  Shatner still voices the ads, and I don't care what anyone says, William Shatner is cool.

Seth McFarlane and Priceline have become friendly chums lately.  Priceline has taken over sponsorship of "Seth McFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," which is a series of web-based animated shorts.  (They're okay, I guess.)