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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-???


Episode 7 - Peter's Daughter

29 March 2012

Synopsis: When Meg nearly dies Peter vows to be a better father. He is true to his word and becomes overprotective when she starts dating Michael, an intern from the hospital. When she becomes pregnant he forces them to get married. But the test was false and when he finds out Michael runs away. Meanwhile Stewie and Brian buy an old house with the aim of fixing it up and selling it on. But once they start work they find it is more than they can handle.

The Good: The Peter and Meg story is straightforward and logical, at least by the standards of Family Guy. With Stewie and Brian’s harmless story as well this turns out to be a surprisingly enjoyable episode.

Logic does make a big difference to Family Guy. First off there are no extraneous side plots taking time from the story. We go straight into Meg drowning during a flood and the story ends at her wedding. The next pleasing development is Peter’s behaviour. In order to make him an overprotective father for the episode the writers need to address the fact that he is usually mean to Meg and ignores her problems. By having her drown he has the perfect excuse to suddenly care about her life.

The fact that we know why he is being overprotective makes all the ensuing jokes about his behaviour that much funnier. As you would expect with Peter there are some fun surreal moments such as him dressed as a Chinese man at the restaurant and then his amusingly toned goodbye to Meg’s bachelorette party. His reappearance as their stripper is somewhat disturbing but again it fits his behaviour for the episode ideally, as he wouldn’t want a real stripper turning up.

Stewie and Brian are one of those comic duos who should always make you smile a couple of times. Stewie’s use of “over” on the walkie-talkies is an old joke but delivered well enough and his typically camp behaviour work pretty well too (“Here’s your stud finder…beep beep beep…oh oh well it’s working!”). Once they have blown up their new house and potentially killed a man Stewie says that Brian will be off to Doggie hell which cuts to a simple and fun flashback of the devil pushing a vacuum cleaner back and forth at a pack of whimpering dogs.

The flashbacks are, in general, better than the average collection for this season. The Doggie hell and 72 virgins (see Best Joke) are joined by Abraham and Isaac walking down a hill (after God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac) with Isaac asking “what the hell was that?” There are the usual celebrity digs which are hit or miss depending on your opinion of the celebrity. Then there is a joke about Fred and Wilma Flintstone in marriage counselling. It starts out really well with him complaining about being left outside the house (from the Flintstones famous credit sequence) but it soon degenerates into a silly argument.

Even out of flashback there are some passable jokes which could make you laugh depending on your mood. These include the cyclist who keeps saying “it’s a great way to stay in shape”, Peter pooping in the flood and the sound of Mickie Mouse having sex in the walls of the run down house.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 3-5-3

The Bad: Obviously their will be misses for some with the flashbacks. The worst ones are the mindlessly violent ones. One has Peter shooting Meg in the face and the other him pulverising her classmate Connie. Neither has any basis in reality and so they are there for shock value. However anyone who has seen a couple of episodes of Family Guy should be immune to their relentless violence.

And their relentless time wasting. Why exactly do we need twenty different shots of Stewie and Brian’s house blowing up? And do we have to finish with Conway Twitty? It wasn’t funny the first time (513).

Best Joke: Meg accepts Michael’s proposal and Peter comments that it is a more beautiful site than 72 virgins waiting in heaven for a suicide bomber. We cut to the cloudy gates of heaven where an Arabic suicide bomber walks forward arms open and says “Here I am!” Looking around he can see 72 geeky guys playing on their lap tops. “We’re playing Magic: The Gathering, wanna join?” The suicide bomber raises his fists in the air and angrily screams “Osama!”

The Bottom Line: Write a plausible story for your family of characters and let the jokes flow from that plot. It doesn’t sound too difficult does it? And yet most weeks Family Guy presents illogical, ridiculous and offensive material. This week they don’t and all credit to them for this enjoyable effort.



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