Back to the Woods

Synopsis: James Woods returns and steals Peter’s identity. Because he has all the necessary paperwork he gets Peter kicked out of his own house. Peter then assumes Woods’ identity and sets about ruining his career.

The Good: The identity theft plot is not a bad idea. As silly as it is that you could assume someone’s identity so completely, it makes for a good Family Guy story. It gives Peter Woods the chance to interact with the family and Peter the chance to pretend to be famous (See The Bad though).

Seeing the Vaudeville guys again might please long term fans and Spider-Man getting laid is a nice try.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 1-4-6

The Bad: The story isn’t good and the jokes are poor.

First off one quarter of the episode is donated to Barry Manilow, which is great if you’re a huge fan but that doesn’t help the rest of us. Then the interactions between the characters have no point or theme. James Woods doesn’t make a particularly entertaining or appropriate nemesis for Peter. His attempts at parenting for Meg and Chris are just as useless as Peter’s, so there doesn’t appear to be a point to him taking Peter’s place. Similarly Peter’s attempt to ruin Woods’ career is about as obvious as you could make it (jokes about 9\11 are offensive, shock horror). Then the end of the episode is the exact same homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark which they used in the last James Woods episode (411).

Woods’ referencing the shows “random flashbacks” is a line which might have been a big deal a long time ago. But by now the show has become so self referential that that line is more counterproductive than anything else.

Most of the humour is so obvious that there is nothing really to laugh at. Card tricks not working on blind people, GI Jose as a Mexican stereotype and Quagmire “surprisingly” being in a poetry group are all too straightforward. Peter having another family in Chicago should be funnier than it is and him swallowing Mini-Me is implausible and gross. Mentioning Jo’s “poop sack” is yet another unnecessary and mean spirited joke about handicapped people.

Best Joke: Peter says he couldn’t afford to get his haircut yesterday. Flashback to the barber cutting Peter’s hair and asking for $5. Peter says he has no money and that there is nothing the barber can do about it now. As Peter leaves he has very long hair and curses “That son of a bitch.”

The Bottom Line: Aside from 5 minutes of Manilow, the plot presents a nice opportunity for a silly story which can resolve itself easily. However the story has no real point to it and the jokes are terrible. It’s not funny or well written and is a waste of James Woods.

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