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Family Guy: No Meals On Wheels

by Brett Love, posted Mar 26th 2007 9:00AM
Family Guy(S05E14) The up and down season of Family Guy continues, and I thought this one was a bit of a valley, rather than a peak. It had its moments, to be sure, but as a whole, it was somewhat lacking. Peter summed up my feelings for this episode pretty well with his quote after seeing the opening to Maude, "That was an ordeal."

That bit is a good example of what was wrong with this installment. Aside from the fact that it was a reference to a show that you have to be 40 years old, or a tv nutter, to get, it just wasn't funny. And no matter how long the song went on, it was never going to be funny. I found myself in much the same situation while watching tonight. I was just sitting and watching, waiting for it to get funny.

The problem, for me, was that it got off to such a slow start. We got to the first break and the only thing I really laughed at was Quagmire's all too brief appearance. Because of the nature of his character, I saw the "Lois' carpet" joke coming long before it arrived, but it was still funny. His question about whether she wanted him to leave a strip was a nice topper to the bit, as well. Any momentum gained by the wacky next door neighbor was killed by Electric Man and his red footy pajamas.

Was it just me? None of that worked for me. In fact, at one point it even served to annoy me because the one time Peter wasn't in his footy pajamas was when he was in bed with the money. So, a third of the episode was blown on that setup that didn't work. I was hoping it would get better when they actually got to the restaurant. And it did, but what we got of that was still rather uneven.

The scene with Stewie putting the rat puke on the steak was funny, but it was also somewhat tempered by the fact that it was in countless promos over the last week. I liked the angle of Joe's handicapped friends being the saviors of the restaurant, but not measuring up to the kind of clientele that Peter envisioned. His little bit where he applied both homosexual and native American stereotypes to the handicapped was funny.

Cripple-Tron was good. That was totally unexpected, and a pretty nice bit of animation as well. I even liked the way it ended where the whole thing came down on Peter giving him a karmic bitch slap and landing him in a wheel chair. They kind of lost me again with the Elton John backed montage where Peter learned his lesson though.

The cut-aways this week were another mixed bag. MC Escher was clever and I'd give the thumbs up to Mexican Superfriends, the OJ verdict, Patrick Stewart's voice, and Stewie doing Peanuts. I also really liked Peter's M. Night commercial for the restaurant. That was mostly because it was dead on for a Vern Fonk ad. Those of you in the northwest may have seen his insurance commercials that are done in exactly that vein. America's Next Top Model, Liza Minelli, and Ben Stiller were all just, eh.

Overall, this one just didn't work for me. It's worth a look for a couple of the bits, but not an episode I'll watch when it gets repeated. That's ok though, they can't all be gems.

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Rick

Malren said: "I'm in shock that anyone found the Maude bit to be funny. That was the single worst joke every written for television. Horrible."

Malren, I applaud your decades long ability to have stayed away from dreck like My Two Dads and Punky Brewster, but I think doing so may have tainted your study. :)

Brett, that's a pretty trenchant comparison of Homer and Peter.

March 26 2007 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will

I thought it was a good show and I really liked a lot of the jokes at the beginning.

March 26 2007 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
malren

I'm in shock that anyone found the Maude bit to be funny. That was the single worst joke every written for television. Horrible.

March 26 2007 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Teddy

I have to say that the Hitler joke early in this episode pretty much ruined the whole thing for me -- I didn't much feel like laughing after that.

It wasn't so much that it was offensive, since many of the jokes on this show are intended to be. But the idea that you could scare away a Jewish man by reminding him of the time everyone like him was systematically murdered -- that's supposed to make us laugh?

It didn't help that the sole regular Jewish character on this show is a whiny caricature, or that half of the "American Dad" episode that followed was based entirely on vicious stereotypes about Jewish women.

Once again, I'm not claiming that any of this is more offensive than these shows' jokes about other groups (for instance, the "Mexican Superfriends" bit). But to me, it wasn't at all funny, just depressing.

March 26 2007 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Teddy

I have to say that the Hitler joke early in this episode pretty much ruined the whole thing for me -- I didn't much feel like laughing after that.

It wasn't so much that it was offensive, since many of the jokes on this show are intended to be. But the idea that you could scare away a Jewish man by reminding him of the time everyone like him was systematically murdered -- that's supposed to make us laugh?

It didn't help that the sole regular Jewish character on this show is a whiny caricature, or that half of the "American Dad" episode that followed was based entirely on vicious stereotypes about Jewish women.

Once again, I'm not claiming that any of this is more offensive than these shows' jokes about other groups (for instance, the "Mexican Superfriends" bit)... But it wasn't funny, it was just depressing.

March 26 2007 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Teddy

I have to say that the Hitler joke early in this episode pretty much ruined the whole thing for me -- I didn't much feel like laughing after that.

It wasn't so much that it was offensive, since many of the jokes on this show are intended to be. But the idea that you could scare away a Jewish man by reminding him of the time everyone like him was systematically murdered -- that's supposed to make us laugh?

It didn't help that the sole regular Jewish character on this show is a whiny caricature, or that half of the "American Dad" episode that followed was based entirely on vicious stereotypes about Jewish women.

Once again, I'm not claiming that any of this is more offensive than these shows' jokes about other groups... But it wasn't funny, it was just sad.

March 26 2007 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lampbane

Mexican Superfriends = badly done (came off more racist than anything) and SO NOT ORIGINAL.

March 26 2007 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BillS

Weird. I had the same overall reaction to the episode (meh), and agree totally about the Maude joke (I know the Maude theme, I just didn't think the joke was very funny), but I felt quite the opposite about most of the elements of the show.

The footy pajamas and Peter's wheelchair montage were much better to me than the whole restaurant chunk in the middle. I didn't like the Mexican Superfriends at all, but I really loved the exploding cupcakes for some reason.

http://popculturejunk.blogspot.com/

March 26 2007 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

Rick, you have it right. We're all fans of Family Guy, but different episodes work for different people. I actually preferred Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey to this, but there were plenty of people that didn't go for the Clinton gag.

As to your Homer vs Peter question... I'm only a casual Simpson's fan but I'll offer this idea. Peter's juvenile/moronic behavior is hit and miss for me. Sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it goes too far and just isn't funny.

The difference as I see it is that Homer is often an idiot, but usually while being an idiot, he means well. On the other hand, more often than not, Peter's just an asshole. Like tonight with the scare-jew and the homosexual/native american ranting. Put simply, Homer screws things up trying to do the right thing while Peter screws things up trying to do the selfish thing. One isn't better than the other as they both have their moments.

Christina, you're right about M. Night, I fixed it.

March 26 2007 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Renee

I thought the episode was funny and I loved the Maude bit. I was actually singing along until the song kept going on and on (I just showed my age) other than that I am a family guy fan and even have the seasons 1-3 on dvd. Peter and Homer Simpson do favor in some ways. Homer hardly ever goes to work at the power plant and Peter hardly goes to work at the Brewery. Yet Homer and Peter seem to have an abudance of money. One part that I thought was funny was with the helicopter and the blimp when Joe yelled at Peter and said, "WHERE DO YOU GET THE MONEY TO BUY THESE THINGS!" I thought it was so funny.

March 26 2007 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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