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'Family Guy': Bathroom humor

October 12, 2009 |  7:49 am

With three shows all spawned from Seth MacFarlane playing on the same night, you know you’re going to get some similarities: art style, sense of humor, use of the bathroom. I’m not talking about potty humor. I mean literally all three shows had pivotal scenes in the bathroom this week. Almost makes you wonder if it was a conscious choice.

Cleveland_TheOneAboutFriends_0339F Cleveland spends the night trying to find a friend for his son. After several failed attempts with a tree-licker, a basketball forfeiter, and a lonely guy at a bus stop that misunderstands what he means by playing with Cleveland Jr., Cleveland manages to pair the poor boy up with Ernie, the son of their redneck neighbor Lester. Though no good deed goes unpunished, and Cleveland’s offer for Ernie to come over whenever he wants quickly changes into Ernie coming to live with the Browns along with all his dohickies, watchmathings and his pet opossum (not possum, that’s the Australian version, apparently).

That leads to the first big bathroom scene of the evening, as Cleveland tries to join his new wife in the shower and instead ends up in an all-out brawl with the marsupial (not a rodent, carries it’s babies in a pouch). The scared animal latches onto a… well, an unfortunate location on Cleveland’s body, and he flails around the room trying to punch, pound and burn it off. It’s the final straw before Cleveland calls child services on Ernie and ends up getting him placed in a foster home. I wouldn’t recommend anyone making critical decisions while having a flaming opossum hanging from your genitals. Always count to 10 first.

FGuy_SpieReminiscentofUs_703-1F “Family Guy” starts out with its bathroom scenes. Peter and Lois battle it out to use the loo first thing in the morning, and seeing as Lois made reservations, Peter is stuck running around the block looking for a bathroom to use. Luckily, Cleveland’s old house is still unlocked and becomes Peter’s own personal bathroom until Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase move in to make the place their spy headquarters. Apparently Ronald Reagan’s favorite movie was “Spies Like Us,” so he decided to make Dan and Chevy real secret agents.

While Brain and Stewie joined Aykroyd and Chase in rehashing the plot of John Landis' 1985 classic, Peter, Joe and Quagmire decided to prove themselves funnier than the two "SNL" alums in the way people have set out to prove themselves funnier than comedy professionals for centuries: they started an improv group. As a man who’s been in nearly a dozen improv groups in his time, I can say that the end results had me laughing, sad and going bananas.

AmericanDad_HomeAdrone_0086F “American Dad” had a more subdued bathroom scene. Apparently Steve chooses to leave the door open when he uses the facilities. That’s kind of weird, but it did give Stan the coolest entrance, hanging in a robe and pushing the door closed. The location also allowed for Stan to use the trusty porcelain lie detector to find out Steve had played with the drone aircraft controls Stan had in his office. Probably the most bang for your buck in any of the bathroom scenes, but I’ll let you decide which one was your favorite.

All in all, I’d say this week’s episodes were a bit of a lull against what we’ve gotten so far this season. That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of good laughs. A few of the highlights were a lonely trapeze artist with Alzheimer’s, the redneck getting his clothes shot off and then an unexpected bullet through the throat, hunters chasing Chris and his exchange family, the Spy vs. Spy guys making amends, and Barry seeing the drone aircraft and screaming, “We’re gonna get off the island!” But my favorite moment of the night had to be Stewie after the fight sequence with Adam West, unable to set up his own cut away.

Through line – Even though he’s moved from Rhode Island to Virginia, Cleveland still cannot take a bath in peace. He’s been disrupted by a tank, a giraffe, and a hot-air balloon. Tonight the fuselage from the Russian missile Stewie, Brian, Aykroyd and Chase diverted fell all the way into the 8:30 time slot to hit Cleveland’s new house right when he was trying to get clean. Surprised he hasn’t switched to showers.

Plus, the ball in the cup game made its appearance in “American Dad” now. High-stakes version. I’m willing to bet we won’t make it through the first season of “The Cleveland Show” without it popping up there too.

Obscurest reference – I’m tempted to give this to all the references Stewie made of Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd movies, but that would involve me admitting that I didn’t recognize any of them. If anyone wants to tell me where they’re from, leave me a comment. Instead I’m going with Meg revealed as another KGB sleeper agent. It gave Mila Kunis, who does the voice of Meg, the chance to speak in her native language. Her family moved from the Ukraine to L.A. when she was 7. Fun little bit of trivia for you there.

Most possibly offensive moment – Wow. After last week’s offense-o-rama episode “Family Goy,” tonight seemed completely tame. The closest moments we had were Ernie referring to “Me casa es su casa” as “janitor language,” Joe’s second toilet “for blood,” and the true story behind Mike Brady’s first marriage. Come on, boys and girls, you can offend me better than that.

-- Andrew Hanson

Photos credit: Fox Television