May 2012

"Internal Affairs"

That "vase break" isn't in the original video from "Africa," if you're wondering. No one seems to know!

This was the second of the two-part season finale that aired last Sunday. Except that it wasn't really a two-part season finale, it was just two regular old episodes played back-to-back. Why, I wonder? Why not just air them over two separate weeks? It feels like summer - with its long dry stretch of re-runs - comes sooner every year. Sigh.
The break-out star from this episode was clearly Toto's 1983 top hit "Africa." The song is aired twice in its entirety in the episode, and those Toto guys (and their fabulous moustaches) must be pretty stoked about it.

"Africa" is an awesome song, and I was glad to see it being pushed out to a new audience. I loved it in 1983 and I love it now. Even though most of my music is dance/electronic stuff, I bought "Africa" on iTunes years ago. I listen to it at least once a week. I'm so excited when I find myself accidentally plugged into the zeitgeist! Or maybe Seth McFarland and I have more in common than I would have thought.

"Family Guy Viewer Mail #2"

They dropped that "viewer mail" framing device quickly, though, didn't they?

Considering how much fun there is to be had with The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror" series, I would like to see more of these Viewer Mail episodes. It seems a shame that there have only been two ever produced. The whole point of a gimmick like this is that you can take the show in bizarre directions without having to worry about continuity or canon. So I suppose in a way that every cut-away is its own miniature version of that. Still, though!
In the first segment we get to see the show that Family Guy is based on: a British comedy called Chap of the Manor. This revisits some of the gags from the episode where the New England Patriots travel to England to fight the London Silly Nannies. But I was surprised at how fresh they were able to make some of the jokes feel.

Family Guy Online: Getting Started

Wait for Joe to finish pushing his wheelchair, and you should see your character with an orange "Play Now" button
First thing's first: once you sign up and get emailed your Family Guy Online invitation (a.k.a. "Keys to Quahog") you have to install the Unity player. This was my first time encountering Unity, and it seems to play best in either IE or Firefox. The game did very poorly for me in Chrome (my default browser) although it did try.
 
Your game's performance depends not just on your computer and internet connection, but on the gaming servers, too. At times when the servers are under a heavy load, your game can get bogged down and extremely glitchy. Until the traffic evens out and all of the hardware is in place, I would avoid trying to play on Friday or Saturday nights (which are traditionally peak gaming time).

Review: Family Guy Online

Tastier than Cool Hwip - and free!

Last Sunday, FOX was heavily promoting a new project: Family Guy Online, a free-to-play Family Guy browser-based sandbox/MMORPG kinda thing. Currently the game is in "open beta," which means that you can sign up to receive an invitation. The admins are allowing in new players in waves, which is smart, given the recent Diablo III debacle. Turnaround seems to be relatively good - I signed up on Monday, and received my invitation today.
 
You begin with one character, with a limited number of customization options. More options become available as you level up, or if you spend real-world money in the shop. Expect the game to direct you to the shop frequently, since that's almost* the only way the developers will be able to recoup their cost. I chose Lois as my template, then built a character I called "Crazy Eyes Jenny."

"Tea Peter"

The Tea Party of course does not want to abolish government. You're thinking of the anarchists.

Didn't we just get this storyline last season, in the form of an episode where Brian becomes a Rush Limbaugh fan? That episode at least had a funny fart joke, and some primo cynicism about the true nature of Brian's interests and passions. 
 
This episode again panders to the generally-liberal Family Guy audience by portraying the Tea Party as a group of idiots and buffoons. If you guessed that Peter is able to outlaw government in Quahog, pat yourself on the back. If you guess that subsequent to that event, Quahog experiences an outbreak of chaos and rioting which can only be put right by reinstating some government, well, give yourself a cigar. 

"Leggo My Meg-O"

I am left to conclude that I have watched more Family Guy episodes than whoever wrote this script.
I… wow. I just… sometimes words fail me, you know? Everybody has their line with this show. And for me, I guess they crossed that line when one of the show's main characters was kidnapped and sold into the sex slave industry. For laughs.
 
To be fair, if the show tried to grapple with this issue in a serious way (the way it has recently tried to grapple with the ethics of the Iraq war, or with domestic abuse) the result would have been absolutely horrific. So maybe it's better that they played it for laughs?