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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 2 - I Never Met The Dead Man

22 March 2012

Synopsis: Peter takes a break from watching TV to teach Meg how to drive. Unfortunately his useless teaching doesn’t help her and on the way home from her test he crashes into Quahog’s cable TV transmitter. Meg agrees to take the blame while Peter realises he is addicted to TV and goes through withdrawal. Meanwhile Stewie tries to change the weather in order to destroy all broccoli. When Stewie creates a great storm, Meg accidentally crashes into Peter and William Shatner. While convalescing Peter is forced to watch nothing but TV.

The Good: The Family Guy formula follows on consistently from the pilot and works out pretty nicely. Peter gets into some sort of scrap and Stewie’s evil schemes unwittingly bring about a restoration of the status quo. In the meantime we get joke-a-minute action including parodies of every TV show imaginable.

Family Guy is certainly turning into a TV show for TV lovers. After the pilots relentless parodies we get more here with CHiPs, NYPD Blue, Scooby Doo, Road Runner, The Wizard of Oz, The Wonder Years and The Creature from the Black Lagoon all referenced. As ever some parodies work better than others and will depend on the viewers own affection for those shows. This is not to mention Star Trek of course which gets numerous references, mainly about William Shatner’s idiosyncratic acting style. As fun as these gags can be, a simpler lampooning comes from a clip of “Ensign Ricky” saying “Oh crap” after being named as the only ensign on an away mission (meaning he is likely to die as was a running gag about Star Trek).

The show’s litany of jokes once more provides plenty of giggles outside of parodies. Nice visual surprises come as Big Foot refuses to be dragged into Peter’s mess and Peter gets flattened by a bull after setting down a red picnic blanket a little too slowly. The Bavarian food festival allows us a hilarious World War Two joke as the German Bratwurst vendor attacks his neighbours who are selling Polish Sausage and Czech Wieners respectively.

The plots too allows us some fun jokes. Stewie’s war on broccoli is a really nice idea. Taking a child’s dislike of vegetables and applying it to the mind of the young super villain is easy to understand and packs plenty of humour. Similarly the TV transmitter going out allows Quahog’s local newsreaders to let their hair down. “I’m the Lord Jesus Christ! I think I’ll go get drunk and beat up some midgets” Tom Tucker announces before being informed that the station is still live in Boston. Even the otherwise quiet Chris gets in on the action when he comments on his father’s addiction to TV – “I’ve never knew anyone who went crazy before, except for my invisible friend Colonel Schwartz.” It’s surreal moments like that that stick in the mind and will make discerning viewers tune back in for more gems.

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

The Bad:  Nothing much. Obviously some jokes will mean little to viewers who didn’t watch American TV shows in the 1970s and 80s.

Best Joke: Peter is excited by a new reality show on FOX called “Fast Animals, Slow Children.” We cut to footage of a speeding tiger, salivating at the sight of a fresh meal. Then we cut to an overweight school child trudging alone through the jungle. We jump back to the tiger, then back to the child who has now spilt honey all over his legs.

The Bottom Line: A really fun twenty two minutes of television. There are so many jokes to enjoy and they are more focussed than the pilot.

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