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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 3 - Chitty Chitty Death Bang

22 March 2012

Synopsis: It’s Stewie’s first birthday and Lois wants to have a big birthday party. Peter messes up her reservation and has to go to extreme lengths to reorganise. Stewie comes to believe that the doctor who attended his delivery is going to try and return him to the womb. Meg makes a new friend and wants to miss Stewie’s party to spend time with her.

The Good: The jokes are somewhat wittier this week (see Best Joke). They fit into the established formula but the good ones exhibit a bit more graft. Meg’s new friend is impressed by the Griffin house and compare Lois to Martha Stewart. Lois, seemingly touched by the compliment, smiles and says “Oh no, once you get to know me I’m really very nice.” Then you’ve got Peter declaring all he has managed to get for the party is this “big ass piñata.” Cut to an actual piñata shaped like buttocks, which Brian looks at quizzically and says “I sure hope candy comes out of that.” Peter then decides to reroute the visiting circus to his house. He picks up the “Parade Route” sign, carefully repositions it and then whacks the Parade leader over the head with it.

We get another wonderfully surreal moment when Brian chases a wagon across the living room which is a reference to “Purina's Chuckwagon dog food” commercials.

Stewie’s escape from the womb storyline is pretty entertaining. The idea of a baby seeing his life through the mindset of a fascist dictator has so many fun possibilities, the simple juxtaposition is generally fun no matter what he is doing. The way Stewie gives a pep talk to other babies, who don’t understand him, was a nice touch. It makes it clear that Stewie is one of a kind and will remain confused and angry at a world which doesn’t understand him.

The fact that Peter recognised the party was really for Lois and not Stewie was a nice “moral of the story” to round things off.

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 1-3-0

The Bad:  Having a cult and a bunch of children commit suicide is not funny here. The story doesn’t really focus on them and try and find the humour. They are just thrown into the story and in such a way as to leave me feeling uneasy. Mass suicide isn’t something that should be flippantly shown like this. The ending where Stewie kills the cult leader only adds to my sense of discomfort that this was included. It just seemed out of place and unnecessary in an otherwise very childish episode.

Peter is pure Homer Simpson here when he weaves a pathetic tale of excuses to his unimpressed wife. Of course there are obvious comparisons but this was right on the nose.

Best Joke: Stewie gets whisked away by a man at the airport who assumes he is a lost child. Stewie tries in vain to bribe the man to help him. “What are they paying you? I’ll double it. I’ll give you whatever you want: money, women…men?”

The Bottom Line: Some odd moments in an otherwise fun story.

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