Episode 16 - Peter's Progress
30 July 2009
Synopsis: Cleveland brings his cousin Madame Claude to the Clam and she is psychic. She can tell who each of the guys were in their previous lives. It turns out that Peter was Griffin Peterson, the founder of Quahog. We see the story of how he was exiled from England by King Stewart and sent to America. The King married his bride Lady Redbush but she eventually makes it to Quahog to be with Griffin.
The Good: As with the last couple of episodes, when Family Guy has a logical story to tell, it can be a very watchable show. The story of Quahog being founded gives a nice flow to the story, allows for some running gags and some amusing rolls for all the regular characters.
The historical setting allows for the usual plethora of what-life-was-really-like jokes including Peter saying “Oh crap, a splinter, well it’s been nice knowing you guys.” And once reunited with Lois (Lady Redbush) she says “lets grow old into our thirties together.” Even the short music montage serves a purpose of showing how good life is before Stewart arrives and throws in some nice cheap jokes about Madonna, Quagmire and Seamus. Speaking of Seamus, his hilarious game of “Mumble Peg” is one of those jokes that Family Guy once specialised in. It seemingly makes no sense but is brilliant offbeat comedy if you are in the right mood.
King Stewart III or “da turd” as Jamaican Claude pronounces it is a natural roll for Stewie. He plays up his closet gay persona to typically good effect. He is also the mouthpiece for the digs at contemporary matters including mocking How I Met Your Mother, richly deserved I should add. And also the very accurate satire of the FOX graphics advertising upcoming shows including “Slowly Rotating Black Man” and “Cross Armed Opposites.” Stewie also steals Brian’s lame comedy material for a nice running joke.
Meanwhile Chris pops up with a really fun exaggerated old style British accent as Stewart’s first lieutenant. “I wouldn’t bet a corn farthing on him escaping” he gabbles and when Stewie asks him why he talks that way he gabbles some more “little wrong in the head I am from eating some bad sausages” and so on.
The historical setting also allows for Stewie and his mother Lois to discuss having sex together. While Peter and his daughter Meg actually do have sex. “We should probably open up some windows” says Peter afterwards. Only Family Guy (thankfully) would dare present these situations. Thanks to the historical context and the fact that they use these otherwise gross images to make lots of jokes, this didn’t really bother me. It was the kind of shock value that works because the context was right to do it in. But I hope the writers don’t go here again.
Quagmire as Jack the Ripper was a fun idea.
Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 0-1-1
The Bad: The end of the story felt flat because of the Revenge of the Nerds music sequence. Only if you love that movie will it have pleased you. The small penis joke doesn’t work for me. Stewie is a baby so it doesn’t make much sense and never has (see 608). It’s also a tired old joke which has been used in seemingly every show.
Best Joke: I wouldn’t say it was the biggest laugh but as satire I thought it hit its target beautifully and was a nice twist on the joke I was expecting. On arriving in Quahog Peter says:
“We’ll have equal rights for all. Except Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Gays, Women, Muslims, umm everybody whose not a white male. And I mean white white, so no Italians, no Polish, just people from Ireland, England and Scotland. But only certain parts of Scotland and Ireland. Just full blooded whites. No you know what, not even whites. Nobody gets any rights. Ah (satisfied exhale), America!”
The Bottom Line: Good fun story, good fun jokes.
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