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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 1 - Love Blacktually

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Brian falls for a girl he meets, Carolyn. Stewie advises him not to rush things physically. But he leaves it too long and she leaves him for Cleveland. Stewie suggests that they bring Loretta back to try and break up Cleveland and Carolyn.

The Good: There is nothing really good here. If a joke makes you laugh then great, but story and character-wise this is a dead end.

I am a sucker for silly sex jokes. So I laughed at Cleveland climaxing by saying “Boom goes the dynamite” and Quagmire announcing from his bedroom that “I’ve got a hand free, what’s up?”

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 0-2-3

The Bad: Let’s assume that you don’t think characters and stories are important in Family Guy. Let’s say you just watch it for the silly jokes. Well even based on that limited criteria this is still a terrible episode.

We get the all too familiar and unpleasant mocking of Joe for being handicapped and the racist humour (anti-Semitic Cyrano, Hispanic woman “step”). Even if you don’t find them offensive, we have seen them so often in the show that they have no shock value at all. We have more lame repetition with Brian’s romance montage (which is very similar to one last season, see 610) and Stewie’s mispronunciation of “ruined” (a repetition of an original joke in 508).

Ok, so back to the story and characterisation. First off Cleveland behaves totally out of character. He has always been gentle and polite to a fault. When Loretta left him (405) he couldn’t even get angry at her for cheating on him. Yet here he mocks Brian in a mean way and then calls him “bitch” later on. Imagine if Mr Burns suddenly started being kind or Ned Flanders acted mean for no particular reason. Would that make any sense?

Similarly we don’t really know who Stewie is supposed to be anymore. Is he trying to sabotage Brian? It’s not clear whether he is or why he would. He doesn’t revel in Brian’s misery which might indicate he is still meant to be evil in some way. Instead he behaves like a baby (wanting to go to a restaurant with pictures of the food), a frustrated closet gay (sucking his finger after touching Brian) and finally guy trying to be “street” (“oh you’re crazy bitch, I didn’t say that bitch”). The writers clearly don’t know or care anymore. They even have him debate with Brian whether or not Loretta can understand him because they have been so lazy at imposing rules on this show.

Finally what is the point of this story? Sympathy for Brian? Sympathy for Loretta? Sympathy for Cleveland? With the planned Cleveland spin off show it seems like they are trying to clear his past out of the way. But there are better ways to do that.

Best Joke: Loretta tears off her clothes in anticipation of a loving reunion with Cleveland. But he has to let her down gently. She stands in her underwear as he talks:
C: “Loretta, I came over here wanting to believe there was still a chance for us. But on the way I passed a lake, skipped a few rocks and had some black guy thinking time. Loretta, we leave certain parts of our lives in the past for a reason, what you and I, you-can-go-ahead-and-put-your-clothes-back-on.”
It’s one of those rare moments which reminds you of why Family Guy was once a good show. Cleveland is acknowledging the obvious in an amusing way. Pointing out something which might be said in real life which doesn’t get said on TV shows. That is what set Family Guy apart. Now it has become just like the TV shows it mocked. It is predictable, stale and irritating to watch.

The Bottom Line: See Best Joke. It pretty much sums it up.



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