‘Family Guy’: Roadhouse!
He finally did it. Seth MacFarlane finally took over the entire Sunday lineup on Fox. If you don’t count the 7 p.m. episode of “Brothers,” and who does? From 7:30 to 10 p.m. straight, you couldn’t escape MacFarlane’s voice, whether it be as Stan, Roger, Peter, Stewie, Brian, Tim the Bear or himself.
For this Evening of Seth, they decided to switch things around -- or flip the script as Federline Jones said.
First up, “American Dad.” Stan tries to push Steve from the youthful world of Slip 'N Slides and the Strawberry Princes into adulthood and the wonders of coffee, life insurance and insulation. When Stan stumbles into the inflatable wonderment that is the “Star Trek” Moonbounce, he realizes all the joys of childhood he missed out on. Meanwhile, Klaus yearns for his pre-fish days, when he could get a haircut, so Hayley gets him a dog wig and offers him a trim.
Next was our first “Family Guy” of the evening. Rumor has it, "Brian’s Got a Brand New Bag" was delayed in airing due to Patrick Swayze’s death. Though I doubt Mr. Swayze would have minded. Peter solving all his problems by kicking and shouting “Roadhouse” seems like a nice tribute. Who hasn’t wanted to see Lucy get what’s coming to her for constantly pulling away that football on Charlie Brown? I’m sure Patrick Swayze did.
The main story of the episode focused on Brian dating a 50-year-old woman and the complications that ensue. Strange this becomes such a big deal, since back in Season 3, Brian dated a much older woman, an elderly shut-in former opera singer. Though the retread works for me due to several strong bits, including Brian’s part in “Die Hard” and Stewie apologizing for a too-wordy joke. I am nervous about overusing the Cleveland bathtub joke. There was a nice twist on it this week, but it seems like they’ve done it at least three times this season, and we’re only five weeks in.
Then came the centerpiece of the evening: “Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show.” The special had a bit of a troubled past. Originally, it was supposed to be sponsored completely by Windows 7, but apparently Microsoft was frightened by the content of the special (did they not watch any “Family Guy” episodes before agreeing to this?). What could they possibly be offended by? The Holocaust jokes? Making fun of deaf people? References to the smell of Alex Borstein’s “Cleveland?” I guess we may never know. Luckily, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Ninja Assassin” stepped up to the sponsor plate.
The biggest thing that felt missing in the special was the "almost-live" aspect. I was hoping for something more along the lines of the " 'Family Guy': Live in Las Vegas" album. All the clips and canned laughter canceled out the live feeling for me, and I actually went to the taping. I’d be willing to forgive just about anything after the opening sequence for “Cal Johnson.” It was the third time I saw it, and I still laughed.
After Seth and Alex got all their desire to sing worked out, we got back into the regular schedule with another “Family Guy.” Just as the first episode of the night seemed to skip the history of the show, the second episode leaned heavily on history, specifically the Evil Monkey that lived in Chris’ closet. Chris and the Evil Monkey finally become friends after nine years of torment. Though any emotional scarring that Evil Monkey might have done to Chris can’t be anything like the kissing practice he and Meg apparently have tried.
While Chris and the Evil Monkey are off at the father-son BBQ in Monkeykid, Brian and Stewie sneak backstage to meet Hanna Montana, only to find out she’s an android. At least, he got to sing with her first. A song writing by Stewie (and a little better than Tim McGraw).
Closing out the night was “the Cleveland Show.” Cleveland tries to get his stepdaughter to protect her virtue by getting her to pledge her virginity to him. Every time one of the girls says she's pledging her virginity to her father, I feel a little creeped out. Not as much as by the furious tongue kissing between Bert and Ernie, but creeped out none the less.
Cleveland’s attempts inadvertently convince his son Cleveland Jr. to protect his virginity. It’s a good setup to explore the double standard about teenage boys versus girls and abstinence, but instead “the Cleveland Show” chooses to go in the direction of dirty prostitute jokes, which works too. In the end, we learn that Cleveland lost his virginity at age 9 and we get a glimpse at balloons arranged in such a way as to look like male genitalia.
I'm a big Seth MacFarlane fan, but I have to admit that after the 2 1/2-hour marathon, I was a bit worn out. Good thing I have a whole week to relax and prepare for another, all be it shorter, night of “Family Guy” humor.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photos: Fox Television