Sunday, October 3, 2010

Family Guy "And Then There Were Fewer"

     FOX's Family Guy began their fall season last week with a one hour special episode, "And Then There Were Fewer".  Spoofing a number of old movies, the traditional theme song was ditched in favor of more mood appropriate music as the Griffin family traveled in their car over many miles up to an old mansion, where they had been invitied to a dinner in their honor.  Turns out, many of the neighbors received the same invitation, and so there is quite a crowd at the destination.  They soon learn they have been invited by nemesis to all, James Woods (voiced by James Woods, Shark), who has become a born-again Christian, and wants to make amends with the citizens of Quahog.  Then he (and others) are murdered, and the race is on to find the killer before everyone dies.

     This episode brought back a number of familiar faces, pitting a bunch of the beloved characters against each other in an interesting setting.  The entire Griffin family was there: father Peter (creator of the show, Seth MacFarlane), his wife Lois (Alex Borstein, MADtv), son Chris (Seth Green, Robot Chicken, Austin Powers), daughter Meg (Mila Kunis, That '70s Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), infant-evil genius Stewie (MacFarlane), and dog Brian (MacFarlane).  Quagmire (MacFarlane) brought his overweight, annoying 'girlfriend' that he had been hiding from everyone.  Brian's ex, Jillian (Drew Barrymore) brought along her new beau, Derek (John Viener).  Joe (Patrick Warburton, Seinfeld, Rules of Engagement) and Bonnie (Jennifer Tilly) came, along with newscasters Tom Tucker (MacFarlane) and Diane Simmons (Lori Alan, Southland).  Suspected ephebophile, Herbert (the title character in The Cleveland Show, Mike Henry), the Griffin's former maid, Consuela (also Henry), Dr. Hartman (MacFarlane), the pirate with four wooden limbs, Seamus (MacFarlane), Carl (H. John Benjamin, Archer) and Jewish couple Mort (John G. Brennan) and Muriel Goldman (Nicole Sullivan, $#*! My Dad Says, Rita Rocks, MADtv) were also in attendance, as was Mayor Adam West (Batman's Adam West).  It provided some zany humor, and each member of this large cast got in a few jokes.

     I always enjoy when Family Guy does something different, and this episode was no exception.  Not only was it funny, but it didn't venture too far into the crass, or do too many pop culture side-scenes, as the series is sometimes want to do.  It was intelligently written.  I, for one, did not know who the actual murderer was until the end, though I quickly guessed correctly who took down the killer.  It was an example of what FG can be when it's not trying to be everything people expect it to be.  So, a great, classic episode for MacFarlen and company.

     What I wonder is, will the developments shown in this episode by permanent?  Family Guy has allowed change before, such as when Cleveland Brown (Henry) got divorced, and then awhile later, moved away for his spinoff.  Brian dated Jillian for a large part of the season, and when she returns, they still reference that old relationship.  This episode allowed the deaths of James Woods, Muriel Goldman, and Diane Simmons, as well as a couple just-introduced characters.  Does that mean Tom Tucker will have a new co-anchor whenever they show the news clips?  Is Mort now a widower?  I hope that they do go down that path, rather than reverting to everything back to normal next week.  If Diane shows up again, without some elaborate explanation, it will definitely cheapen this hour of television for me.

     Family Guy continues it's 9th season tonight at 9pm on FOX.

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