Monday, May 3, 2010

Family Guy reaches milestone, and reaches past the line

    Last night's 150th episode of Family Guy was set apart from others in the series by a number of factors.  One, it only had two characters in it: Brian and Stewie (both voiced by series creator Seth McFarlane).  Perhaps not coincidentally, "Brian and Stewie" was the name of the episode.  There were no cut scenes or any of those odd references that are a hallmark of the series.  Instead, they went for a thirty-five minute episode that was more dramatic than funny, with the two characters trapped together for nearly two days in a bank vault.  While the trapped-in-an-enclosed-space-together scenario is far from new to television watchers, it is unusual to see it on an animated comedy such as this one.

     For the most part, it succeeded.  I have zero complaints about the dramatic or emotional content of this episode.  It was interesting, well written, and explored Stewie and Brian's relationship in a way that has only been touched upon before.  Those two, more than any other characters in the show, share a unique bond and understanding.  I give Family Guy kudos for the experiment, and for allowing depth in two cartoons.

     However, the episode also went far grosser than any previous Family Guy ever dared to.  The very long opening conversation was mainly Stewie attempting to get Brian to eat his poop out of his diaper.  The fact that Brian eventually gave in and did the deed turned my stomach, as did the follow up with puke.  Surely, because one of the two was an animal, and because, thankfully, sexual deviance was left out of the equation, it was allowed on the air.  They were working an incredibly thin line for network tv.  It makes me wonder if McFarlane was just seeing what he could get away with, because the entire thing was just too much for my taste.

     Also incredibly inappropriate was Stewie getting drunk.  I assume it was allowed because the character acts more intelligent than most adults, and the drink was offered by a dog, not a person, but keep in mind, this was a baby!  That was very offensive and disturbing as well.  I love Family Guy, and laugh plenty while watching, even at politically incorrect humor.  However, babies drinking alcohol, and everything in the last paragraph, made sure the episode would not rank among my favorites, despite the unique drama that played out.

    Following the episode, there was twenty-five minutes of musical numbers, mainly featuring Peter.  They were enjoyable, for the most part, but it wasn't very nice that they talked about that final scene, and then never aired it.

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