Family Guy: The Tan Aquatic With Steve Zissou
It was something of the opposite of "Peter's Two Dads." Where that one excelled with the structure of the story, this one wasn't as strong. But the collection of cutaways presented with this episode was far superior. Of course, given that I only liked one of them last week, that's a pretty low bar. We'll save those for last though, and get to the meat of the episode. As is often the case, we had a Peter story balanced with a Stewie story.
I liked Peter's part of the story because they got his level of stupidity just right. Dumb enough to take life lessons from Chris' newspaper delivery nemesis, but not so dumb you're left wondering how he can even breathe. I can work with that. It's not their best work, but served as the launching pad for some good stuff. You could see Peter's ass-kicking of Kyle coming, but it still made me laugh. I thought they showed good restraint there too. That scene could have easily become one of those Family Guy moments that goes on for so long that it stops being funny and starts to be annoying.
Peter the bully had a couple good moments as well. The Joe puppet show was my favorite of the bunch, but bullying Lois was good too. That one was sold by Stewie's reaction to it. The wrap up to the whole deal gains a couple points for the surprise. Having just beat the crap out of a little kid, of course Peter wouldn't have any qualms with working over a guy with MS. Chris intervening came out of nowhere and made for a nice little moment between the two of them.
Stewie's side of the tale was classic bizarre Stewie fare. He's always a bit odd, but this was odd even for Stewie. Things like getting his first glimpse at his newly tanned skin, "I'm a young Eartha Kitt." Eartha Kitt, strange. I also really liked his whole attitude when he was gettin' his tan on and sporting the pencil mustache. "Yeah, I've been nude on camera, what of it."
Much like the Peter/Kyle fight, Stewie getting locked in the tanning bed was telegraphed. It worked out well enough with the follow up death scare. My favorite part of that was the off the wall appearance of Mr. Furley. Funny because it was so odd, but it was also a pretty good imitation of the kind of situation Jack often found himself in on Three's Company. The Ferris Bueller museum reference was solid, and the ball room dancing scene had that strange pan-sexual baby Stewie that still works for me.
As far as the cutaway bits go, not a bad group. I liked Britney Spears the horrible mother and the Gremlins bit. Both Gremlins and Fran Drescher are pretty dated, but the microwave ending sold it. Thumbs up to Martin Landau, Brokeback Mountain, and electric razor as well. Probably my favorite of the group was Dick Cheney - Walmart Greeter. I was iffy on the Muppets bit the first time around, but it paid off when they brought them back out at the end.
Cutting line in front of Italians, take on all comers Griffin, and old guy and midget all fell flat for me. That's still a pretty good ratio though. It's also worth mentioning that Quagmire had the line of the night when talking about golf and his anger management issues. "You want fun? Go home and buy a monkey!" I don't know what it means, but the absurdity of it, combined with the way it was presented was very funny. Overall, I'd chalk this up as another good episode. Not classic, not great, but good.