October 2011

"Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q"

The most difficult episode to watch so far
There are a lot of ways to look at last night's Family Guy episode. I'm choosing to look at it as a Halloween episode of a very different sort, one with real-world frights and monsters. And in that sense, it succeeded spectacularly.
 
The first portion of the episode is chock full of call-backs to earlier episodes, including references to the time Peter sang "Rock Lobster" in its entirety, the Portuguese fishermen, and Quagmire's cat. Call-back jokes are comforting, and my theory is that front-loading the episode with these silly jokes was deliberately meant to anchor the audience. Like handing a kid a cozy blanket before you scare him half to death.

"Seahorse Seashell Party"

 

I was pretty excited to see this episode, after it was quietly scuttled last year. Fox was planning one of those nights where the same thing happens to all the shows (like "blackout night" on NBC in the 1990's). In this case, a hurricane which managed to hit Stoolbend, Quahog, and Langley Falls in that order. (I guess The Simpsons didn't want to play. I guess that makes sense; the two shows have been feuding for years now.)