Episode 20 - Something, Something, Dark Side
27 May 2010
Synopsis: During a blackout Peter tells the family the story of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. All the characters of Family Guy reprise their roles in the Star Wars universe and are joined by Carl (Yoda) from the video shop, Joe (as a probe droid), Carter (The Emperor), Mort (Lando Calrissian) and the Chicken (Boba Fett). An hour long episode.
The Good: Once more the Family Guy writers geek out and parody a Star Wars movie. It's difficult to see why a Star Wars fan wouldn't enjoy most of this episode as so many details from the movie are painstakingly given a new spin. The attention to detail is far greater than the Family Guy writers pay to their normal episodes and the use of the original music adds a great deal.
Again there are three kinds of jokes. Those mocking the original movies, those making Family Guy jokes within the story and finally the typical pop culture references thrown in for good measure. With such a rich mix and an hour of them to enjoy you are bound to find something funny. Of course this will vary according to your taste and your memories.
As my memory of the movies is not great I like the silly modern attitudes inserted into the Star Wars universe more than most (see Best Joke). As the rebels come under attack on Hoth a wounded man is carried past Peter and he inebriatedly says "I love you guys, we had a great summer!" We also have an overweight pilot introducing himself as such and an order to fire the "giant boob nipple gun." Later on you get Luke talking about the force and being told to "Keep it in church man." Then once his new robotic arm is finished he is warned to "practise on a hot dog first or you might rip your dick off." The juxtaposition of modern ideas and making fun of the little moments works for me. There are also more obvious gags such as the mocking of Harrison Ford's slow acting on a couple of occasions or the strange incident where Lando is wearing Han's clothes for some reason.
The Family Guy portion of the jokes continue as usual with Darth Stewie's closeted homosexuality on display in most scenes. Sometimes it works out pretty well like the scene where a storm trooper is wearing a vest top and claims he is going out dancing after work. The big Chicken playing Boba Fett is a clever bit of "casting" as Peter's rarely talking nemesis. We also get a familiar jab at Joe's paralysis as he is cast as a probe droid with dysfunctional looking legs. Even Herbert gets in his signature characteristic by calling out "Luke, Luke, pull your pants down."
Before the parody begins there is a pretty dead on mocking of Aaron Sorkin's implausibly slick walking character dialogue.
Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 1-0-0
The Bad: There was less to complain about than in Blue Harvest because the irrelevant jokes were kept to a minimum. Though the writers manage to recreate a Juicy Fruit commercial for no particular reason and show clips from Rocky and parody Back to the Future which both seem unnecessary. With so much of one movie to parody were these really needed?
Stewie suggesting he and Chris run the galaxy in a gay way seemed bizarre as well. It seemed like the writers allowing the Family Guy "truth" of Stewie's homosexuality to override the fact that Luke was his son in the story. That should have been left out as it was more confusing than amusing.
Best Joke: On Cloud City Lois says she doesn't want to come to dinner with Lando and Han because she is on her period. In one of those ridiculously contemporary ideas Peter turns to her and says under his breath "Please come in, I have nothing to say to Lando."
The Bottom Line: I thought this was better than Blue Harvest which had more needless jokes and less laughs per minute from my point of view. There should be plenty for you to enjoy throughout.
Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.