November 2011

"Amish Guy"

I actually really really hate the Amish.

 

This episode relied much more heavily on storytelling than usual, and it turned out pretty well. But first let me say that I am not a fan of the Amish, and I was hoping that Family Guy would be a little bit more biting on the topic. 
 
The Amish are portrayed as the embodiment of peaceful, pastoral idealism, like a Thomas Kinkade painting come to life. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Amish treat their animals notoriously badly. They are the primary source of puppy mills in the United States. They insist that their girls get less education than the boys. Sexual abuse, rape, and incest are all common - but reporting it to the police is forbidden.
 
And imagine a religion so strict that if you decide to drop out of the church, none of your friends, family members, or extended community will ever speak to you again.

Be Thankful for Continuity?

After watching Family Guy’s 2011 Thanksgiving episode, I found myself feeling very thankful for continuity.  I am always praising Family Guy for the random references, musical numbers, and about a million other things; however, continuity is the real reason I love Family Guy.  So imagine my surprise when the “dead” son of Joe and Bonnie turns up for Thanksgiving dinner.

"Thanksgiving"

Oh boy: moralizing about the Iraq War.
I'm glad that The Simpsons and Family Guy both had outstanding episodes last Sunday, because this episode of Family Guy was DOA. I'm not opposed to the show tackling difficult issues per se. It's just that they do it so very badly.
 
It started out with middling promise. The Griffins are, for reasons unknown, hosting a massive dinner party with over a dozen guests. There's the five core Griffins, plus Lois' mother and father, Quagmire, Joe and Bonnie and their daughter Susie, Mayor Adam West and Lois' sister.  At first, this set-up offers a lot of fun interactions between secondary characters who wouldn't ordinarily cross paths. But then Joe and Bonnie show up, and things take a turn for the Serious.

He Who Laughs First: Family Guy Poking Fun at Itself Yet Again

"Long-time fans of the series probably caught most of the references and jokes about previous events in the series."

After watching the preview for the fifth episode in Family Guy’s tenth season, I was pretty skeptical.  The “road to” episodes are usually (in my opinion) hit or miss and I was afraid Back to the Pilot would be a bit “miss”.  I love the dialogue between Brian and Stewie, but some of the jokes and scenes in a few have been obvious filler.  Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by Back to the Pilot.

The plot of the episode was Stewie and Brian traveling back in time…  Again…  The journey was prompted by a missing tennis ball, and I was prepared to be disappointed.  Previous Brian and Stewie adventures started with missing items, so I began waiting for the same old gags as previous episodes.  However, Family Guy was able to salvage the episode by making fun of itself and the show’s habit of beating a dead horse to death.

"Back to the Pilot"

Did I just laugh at an aspect ratio joke?
I was completely blown away by this episode. For the last few years, I have come to expect any given episode of Family Guy to be tepid, with the occasional wrong note, and a few giggles. But this episode was SO GREAT, it unfortunately has raised the bar and made everything else look crappy by comparison. At one point, I laughed so hard that I had a choking fit and had to look away from the screen. It was so good, it makes you wonder why all the other episodes were so lackluster. It's not like it costs more to write a funnier script. 
 
Family Guy writing staff: this episode is your new standard. Live up to it!!!

"Stewie Goes for a Drive"

The show has done it before, and if you're not going to up the ante, why bother?

 

My appreciation of this episode might have been somewhat tempered by never having seen Ryan Reynolds in anything. Which is surprising, if you look at the list of all the stuff he has been in, because it's a long and extensive filmography. But it's true: I am the one person in the whole entire world who has never seen either "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle" or "Definitely, Maybe."
 
Reynolds might seem like kind of a random choice to star in a Family Guy episode, but the show frequently lassoes in random stars and structures entire episodes around them. Rush Limbaugh, Luke Perry, and Lauren Conrad come to mind. (Not to mention  the recurring character of Adam West, played by none other than Adam West.)