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Family Guy

Family Guy is an animated comedy about the dysfunctional Griffin family. Head of the house is lazy drunk Peter, married to Lois, with dim son Chris, unattractive daughter Meg, evil genius baby Stewie and talking dog Brian. FOX 1999-???

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Episode 1 - Blue Harvest

29 March 2012

Synopsis: During a blackout Peter tells the family the story of Star Wars: Episode Four. Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, Stewie is Darth Vader, Brian is Chewbacca and Chris is Luke Skywalker. While Cleveland and Quagmire are R2-D2 and C-3PO, while Herbert (the paedophile) is Obi-Wan Kenobi. A double length episode.

The Good: I am far from a Star Wars aficionado but enjoyed this episode for the most part. There is a curious blend of many different elements which go into this episode.

First there is the straightforward parody of the film itself. To fans of the movie this will be the strongest part of the show. Stewie (Vader) questioning why the ship is only 99.9% secure is funny as is the mocking of Han’s “manoeuvres” when he “starts listing lazily to the left.” Similarly the two men standing near the death star lazer talking about asking for a railing is both a good parody and a classic Family Guy attention to detail joke. I like a cheap laugh and smirked at “Why do they call it Hoth. They should call it Coldth.”

The leads into the second aspect of the episode which is the synthesis of Family Guy characters and jokes into the Star Wars universe. Obvious jokes tend to be ok like Chris being fat, Meg popping in for the briefest cameo and Peter moving the couch. Similarly Stewie is an easy choice for Darth Vader and the gay guy playing Greedo is an amusing choice.

The final aspect which is thrown in for good measure are topical pop culture references thrown in to the Star Wars universe to get a laugh. Those that work quite well are the Thai fighters, the Bush\Cheney logo on the Imperial Battle Cruiser and the reference to “Tatooine, Wind and Fire.” The best of all though is when we catch a snippet of Tatooine All Talk Radio complete with a rant at the Liberal Galactic Media and affirmative action getting Lando Calrissian his job.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): N\A

The Bad: Broadly speaking the Star Wars based jokes work fine. It is the Family Guy and pop culture references which let this down.

First and foremost is the writers’ insistence on keeping Herbert the paedophile as such a prominent character. There is nothing more to him than being old and liking young men. So the longer he is around the more we here the same tone of joke over and over. Even if you aren’t disturbed by him, I fail to imagine he remains funny for anyone who has been watching Family Guy for a while. His Dirty Dancing routine is a particularly un-amusing waste of time.

Then there are jokes about the map of a mall, Latino valets on the Death Star and Peter strangely becoming a radio DJ out of the blue. We also get an unnecessary cameo from Darth Harrington’s Star Wars themed emporium.

Some of the topical jokes also fall flat such as the Magic Johnson training film which doesn’t have much of a punchline and the strange inclusion of two references to the movie Airplane. Why those jokes were included is beyond me. It’s not that they are bad, but are the writers so bereft of ideas that they need to steal jokes from another movie?

Best Joke: Your own personal interest and affections for the Star Wars movies will strongly affect your opinion on this one. But I will go for the Cantina Band asking for requests and then “subtly” asking to play the same song again.

The Bottom Line: This is a double length episode and so there are more than enough jokes to keep you laughing. Chances are the more you like Star Wars, the more you will enjoy this. For those of us who know Family Guy better than Star Wars, there is plenty of bad material here to remind us that nothing much has changed.

('DiggThis)

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