Family Guy: Meet The Quagmires
(S05E18) And so ends a short, inconsistent, Family Guy season. I don't know if we should chalk it up to Seth MacFarlane being spread too thin with American Dad and The Winner to watch over, or just the show coming up on 100 episodes. Something just wasn't quite right at Family Guy HQ this season though.
That being said, they did go out with a solid episode. Peter is very much a 'grass is always greener' kind of guy, so his desire to live the single life again is right on target. Bringing back Death to transport Peter and Brian back to 1984 was a nice touch. That is one of the recurring characters that has been used very well. And the Family Guy version of 1984 was a very fun world.
There were so many dropped names and site gags that it would be hard to list them all. A few of my favorites: Cleveland decked out in full "Beat It" era Michael Jackson regalia, St. Elmo's Clam, deciding between Zapped and Krull (I think Zapped still holds up), Molly Ringwald trolling for random bar guys, and Brian's reaction to the eighteen year old Lois. "Could I Wham my Oingo Boingo into your Velvet Underground." We even got another reason for what could have started all of those fights with the chicken.
My favorite part of the '84 scenes though were the Back To The Future references. The time line, the fading picture, and especially the Rick Astley bit. Brian's performance of the song was one of my favorite musical numbers the show has done. Rick's cousin Marvin calling him up with that sound he was looking for was just right. Fun stuff.
The goings on in alternate Quahog were fun too, assuming you don't mind a few spoonfuls of political commentary with your Family Guy yuks. Death showed up because Dick Cheney had shot Antonin Scalia, and the bullet kept right on going, killing Karl Rove and Tucker Carlson as well. And President Gore killed Osama Bin Laden, who had been hiding out in the cast of Mad TV, the perfect hiding place. Of course President Gore also brought with him universal health care, working gun control, well funded education, and flying cars that run on vegetable oil. They take it a little far some times.
Quagmire and Lois as a couple were fun to watch. The gag with Meg, Chris, and Stewie and their giant chins was blown in all the promos, but I did like their synchronized gigidy. Having Roger, from American Dad, walk out at the end as the sign that not everything is back to normal was a nice touch.
The bigger story made for a smaller group of cut-aways than usual. They were hit and miss. I thought the new Jetson's opening was well done, even if a little grim in the end, with George tossing Jane out of the flying car. Death keeping watch over Mike Wallace was funny. The Joe Piscopo and Tom Cruise bits were ok. As a Hellraiser fan, I liked seeing Pinhead, but it wasn't that great of a joke. Peter on the mechanical bull felt like something we have seen before.
For whatever reason, it was an up and down season. The show has lost a little of the luster that it once had, but that's no reason to count them out. There were enough bright spots to give hope for a return to that old form when season six comes around in the fall. I'm giving the big finale a 5, out of 7.