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September 4, 2015

Family Guy: Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey

by Brett Love, posted Mar 12th 2007 8:00AM
peter griffin and bill clinton from family guy(S05E13) Ya know, no matter what part political affiliation you claim, I think we can all agree that Bill Clinton lends himself well to comedy. There's just enough hillbilly in his character to make him easy to laugh at. Family Guy certainly isn't the first show to take a run at Clinton, and they've now featured the former president four or five times, but there's plenty of room at that party.

That's getting ahead of the game though. Before we could get to the Peter and Bill hijinks, there was the loosely relevant opening at the Quahog Marine Center. While it was a long way to go to get to the main plot, there were a lot of funny bits in that opening. Herbert at the fondle tank, Stewie's stripper line, and Seamus saving Peter from the octopus were all good bits. I especially liked the Wacky Wall Walker finish to that.

That got us to the strange new friendship between Peter and Bill. I liked just about everything about that story. It was one of the better written episodes this season. From start to finish the jokes were pretty spot on. A lot of the Clinton jokes were plays on things we've all heard a lot of times before. Bill is a womanizing hillbilly, he likes fat chicks, the cigar, etc. But they worked well here.

There were so many good details that really made the episode work so well. Bill doesn't just have a pierced nipple, he got it from Madeline Albright. He does his DDR routine at Chuck E. Cheese to Aqua's "Barbie Girl." When he breaks out the saxophone he plays the theme song to Night Court. Even Bill is repulsed by Meg. They prank call Linda Tripp. It was just chock full of good stuff. For whatever reason, the line that really cracked me up was a stoned Bill to Peter, "Dude, come on. We could totally eat that pig."

Lois sleeping with Bill actually rang true. She's always been a little bit slutty. Her suggestion that Peter should sleep with another woman surprised me, and so did his choice of Barbara. Once she suggested it I was expecting Peter to rattle off a strange list of celebrities that included Oprah and Rosie O'Donnel, or some such. There really would be a lot of mileage to be had in a Peter/Rosie sex scene. I apologize if that brought thoughts of her Nip/Tuck turn to mind. I liked how it all played out though. Barbara immediately accepting and going on her rant about Carter was funny. And Peter's last minute change of heart actually led to a nice moment with Lois. As nice a moment as you find in Family Guy anyway.

I wasn't sold on the Stewie and Brian subplot at first. For one thing, I'm almost positive we've seen Brian flush the toilet, or be around the toilet while it flushed, something like that. So the crazy fear of things seemed a little off. We also had the family dealing with Brian peeing everywhere in "Brian In Love." Then again, this is Family Guy and not Babylon 5. The expectations for continuity are much different given the venue, so I went with it. Stewie asking the diaper wearing Brian if he had popped his butt cherry was pretty funny. And you have to give Roy Scheider credit for playing himself in such an odd cameo. It reminded me of a series of safety in the workplace videos I saw years ago that were hosted by William Shatner. In the end, it was worth it for the payoff with Mayor West. "You can't plant sausage seeds they said..."

There was a smaller collection of cutaways this week, and it was something of a mixed bag. My favorites of the bunch were the elephant man on match.com, Peter and Lois laughing at Stewie's artwork, Lorena Bobbit and The Thing, and Uma Thurman's eye wrangler. The racist sunflower and Brian giving dead animals as gifts kind of fell flat. The two Conway Twitty spots were just so odd and unexpected that I had to laugh at them. I thought the very Hee Haw lead in with the farmer telling the bad joke about his wife was a nice touch. There have been plenty of cutaway collections that were better than this one, but it didn't really matter. The rest of the episode was so good it more than made up for anything that was lacking there. Overall, this was a very good episode.

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I'm afraid I've got to side with naysayers on this episode. It picked up a little at the end, but it's still a candidate for worst episode ever.

The Clinton jokes were mostly really weak. And I don't say that because I (grudgingly) voted for the guy; Clinton is a bottomless well of comedic possibilities. But FG's previous jabs at him (mostly in cutaway scenes) were much stronger. And the Stewie/Brian subplot was pontless and unfunny.

Whatever. They can't all be gems. Frankly, I'm more pissed at Seth McFarlane and Co. for stinking up the airwaves twice every Sunday with "The Winner," which is utterly unwatchable. WTF are they thinking?

But that's another forum.

March 13 2007 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
josh smith

Just because FG has references which are too obscure for peabrained yokals to understand doesnt make that a flaw in the show, its a flaw in the viewers...I found the episode to be far funnier than any SP ive watched since early SouthPark Season 8...This show is still the funniest animated show on tv...

anyone who thought south park was funnier last week than family guy is a child, mentally if not physically...Using the n word over and over again is not even remotely creative, nor is it funny, and neither is making fun of midgets...SP has become the lamest show on TV...Its takes about 2 brain cells to see how lazy SP's Stone and Parker are...Sadly, it appears most of modern youth only has one brain cell to begin with...

Also, SP writers are so lazy that they only make 14 episodes per season, which is about as short as it gets considering their plots arent funny anymore than their jokes are...ManBearPig, for example, was and is one of the lamest things ever on TV that wasnt on TGIF...

March 13 2007 at 5:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oops! I meant, the Peter/Clinton plotline.

March 12 2007 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was shocked at how bad this episode was. Wow: Bill Clinton jokes--that's really cutting-edge. The entire A-plot seemed to be about 7 years past its sell-by date.

I did like the Brian-Stewie subplot, but it wasn't enough to redeem the flatness of the Brian/Clinton plotline.

March 12 2007 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really like it when they have Brian do 'dog things', so I found it really funny when he ran away from the toilet on all four legs. That said, they already made the joke about Brian bringing back dead animals to the house (and they did it much funnier last time - "That was a gift, you bastard! That was a gift for the family!")

March 12 2007 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't get a lot of the cut aways; one was the Uma Thurman one...but seeing anyone's eyes move like that would be funny to me though, and the other was the Conway Twitty ones, I am surprised those people that make up this this stuff even know who he is.

March 12 2007 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally disagree with the review here. I thaught it was really lame and puzzled togetheter, nevertheless I liked the toilet subplot

March 12 2007 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Uma Thurman joke was mean. I loved it!

March 12 2007 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric Matisoff

I disagree - I thought the episode was great! Too bad my stupid Comcast DVR decided not to tape the last 7 minutes...

March 12 2007 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Dude, it would take, like, a minute. Then we could go do other stuff!"

Unfortunately my DVR cut off the last 8 mintues of the episode because the earlier show ran long (face it, man... we don't want to watch "The Winner"), but there was definitely a good amount of funny in it. I think, though, that the Simpsons already did the "lift with your back" gag in a funnier, subtler way.

March 12 2007 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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