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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 6 - Tales of a Third Grade Nothing

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Peter gets a taste of the executive bathroom and decides he wants to get promoted. After working hard he is given a promotion but is told he has to finish the Third Grade in order to qualify. At school he manages to alienate Omar the top student and teach bad habits to his classmates. After winning a spelling bee he passes the Third Grade but isn’t promoted because he burned down a children’s hospital when trying to impress his employers. Meanwhile Brian and Frank Sinatra Jr are attracting tiny audiences to see their act. The owner of the club wants to sell so they buy it off him and let Stewie redesign it. He turns it into a hip club called Place but it soon fails.

The Good: We get loads of flashback jokes here and several of them work out ok. John Madden’s wedding videos is a simple juxtaposition joke as is Yosemite Sam wearing skinny jeans. Other jokes don’t land quite as well but the Apollo theatre and “Schmoople” (how do you spell that) jokes at least have obvious comedy in their silliness. Cleveland’s house being destroyed is a nod to a couple of season five episodes (503, 508) which might make some fans smile.

The executive bathroom is a neat idea. Though it would be nice if the producers of Family Guy spent the effort it must have taken to design their Jurassic Park scenes on something fresh. Quagmire’s character is so simple that there is obvious humour in him running into his unknown offspring at Peter’s school. Those jokes work better on side characters whose lives we don’t have to see in such detail.

Stewie’s ultra modern club and Frank Sinatra Junior’s ignorance about it almost hints at some satire and decent humour. But only hints.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 4-5-2

The Bad:  Peter creating a robot with no emotions that won’t hurt humans is one of those head scratching moments. The robot of course then tries to kill Peter because it is angry. What’s the joke? Again the obsession with seeing people being brutally beaten feels more of a motive than an attempt to make a joke.

Peter being arrested for setting a children’s hospital on fire seems like a dig at critics who take Family Guy’s plots at all seriously. Well if seeing a children’s hospital burning was funny at all then that dig might have worked. When Homer Simpson does something there is usually a decent explanation why. Usually he is well meaning but ignorant or selfish but then remorseful. When Peter does things it is out of selfishness, ignorance and he couldn’t care less. Remorseless stupidity isn’t funny, in a way it makes you hate Peter. Or it would if the show was capable of drawing emotions from its audience. Peter destroys a children’s hospital and faces no real consequences. There is nothing funny about it.

His need for a dirty sentence at the spelling bee is typically bad shock value humour. And bringing in Andy Dick just to point out that he isn’t cool seems like a big waste of time.

Best Joke: For the second straight episode we get an Abraham Lincoln joke. This time Peter has sympathy for John Wilkes Booth. Booth sits with an obscured view because of Lincoln’s hat and then Lincoln proceeds to answer a call on his cell phone and laugh and talk through the show which of course prompts Wilkes’ actions.

The Bottom Line: Funnier than usual but otherwise the usual plotless ramblings.

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