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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 2 - Movin' Out (Brian's Song)

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Peter encourages Brian not to lead Jillian on and get serious with her. Brian doesn’t want to be seen as a bad guy and so he moves in with her. He can’t afford the rent though and so Stewie moves in and pays it for him. When Jillian finds out that he didn’t really want to move in she breaks up with him. Meanwhile Meg gets a job at the store and encourages Chris to work there too. But Chris gets on better with the manager (Carl) than Meg and he ends up firing her.

The Good: I do complain that Family Guy doesn’t concentrate on plausible stories anymore. So I should congratulate them on two straightforward stories which make points about the characters and therefore don’t annoy you with their illogic.

The jokes are sparse throughout. Meg working on a phone sex line is predictable but it is fun because you are waiting to see who exactly she is talking to (Peter). Stewie’s camp silliness will amuse some and the old pirates “turn of the century business jokes” are at least something different. Celebrity digs are hit or miss depending on whether or not you agree with their tone but Stewie’s critique of Vince Vaughn movies resonates with me.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 1-2-2

The Bad: This is a strange episode. Strange in that it is remarkably restrained for Family Guy and presents plots which are as dull and simple as an old fashioned cartoon might present. There are only five “flashback jokes”, one of which almost doesn’t count as one. Family Guy seems to credit a different writer for practically each episode of season six. I imagine that they work as team with one writer taking the larger responsibility for their episode. Without pretending to know how the process really works, could that wide distribution of writing responsibilities be responsible for how inconsistent the show has become?

Chris and Carl’s conversations might be entertaining if you have watched every movie they reference. Or if you are a huge fan of that style of self indulgent Clerks style male banter. But for a wider audience it is largely humourless chit chat. The story does nothing for Chris and Meg’s relationship either as there is no wider point made. For those who know The Simpsons well, it is possible to do stories about family relationships which are touching and funny.

Brian’s story is also strange. His break-up with Jillian doesn’t really mean much because he always treated her like she was beneath him. But the Brian character is treated oddly. He has no job and so can’t pay the rent, but he makes no attempt to get a job. Instead he spends his time working on his novel which Lois and the family ridicule. Brian has always been portrayed as the member of the family with a real conscience and perhaps talent. This episode makes him seem like a sad loser. And yet I don’t think that was the intention. I suspect he will remain in his role as voice of reason despite this.

The lack of jokes is perhaps the biggest surprise. Those that are present are pretty obvious: a tame dig at the Gyllenhaal's, a Benjamin Franklin Jew joke and a baseball player with no arms.

Best Joke: Peter excitedly rushes off to put on his Donald Duck costume. He returns in the white and blue sailor suit which Donald wore, complete with no pants or shoes. It’s a really funny moment because it literally is what Donald wore even though you assume he would have an actual bird costume instead.

The Bottom Line: Family Guy has become a bizarre show. I don’t know whether the producers meant this to be a character based episode with two touching stories or if they just have no idea what they are doing. What they do produce is a dull twenty minutes of television with barely a joke and certainly no emotional resonance.

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Comments

  • I think family guy is a fun TV show they have really made some good fun characters I mean they have all got a good story to tell it was a bit strange on channel7 last night when the dog and stewy was kept in the bank i thought it was not like the other epidsodes but it was ok

    Posted by daniel, 24/12/2010 1:16pm (8 years ago)

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