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August 27, 2015

Family Guy: Blue Harvest (season premiere)

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 23rd 2007 10:01PM
Family Guy: Blue Harvest(S06E01) A long time ago, but somehow in the future . . .

Who would've thunk it? When Family Guy premiered back in 1999(!) many people tossed it away as a pale imitation of The Simpsons and kind of ignored it. Who knew that eight years later, at the start of the show's 6th season, Seth MacFarlane and his crew would be able to get the approval of George Lucas himself to air a spoof of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It shows how far Family Guy has come since it returned to the prime-time airwaves.

It's also shows that they were a tad bit late when it comes to full-on Star Wars parodies. After getting his own go-ahead from Lucas, Seth Green, who voices Chris Griffin on Family Guy, aired his own Star Wars spoof on his Adult Swim program Robot Chicken three months ago. Granted, Green's homage to one of the greatest science-fiction movies ever was broader in its humor and stretched across the entire franchise (although it did concentrate quite a bit on episodes four through six). MacFarlane's spoof, on the other hand, sticks pretty closely to the plot of episode four and is almost like a tribute to the movie.

To fans of the show, this episode of Family Guy may seem a bit, um, corny. There aren't any trademarked segways segues that the animated series is known for, no images of Peter running around naked, no song-and-dance numbers by Brian and Stewie, and barely any mention of or sight of Meg at all (although, that's pretty normal). If anything, the way the episode was set up reminded me of such classic movie parodies like Spaceballs, Airplane, and Hot Shots!.

Take the beginning sequence, for example. After the opening crawl of renegade paragraphs that float through space (and a discussion about a naked Angelina Jolie in the movie Gia) we see the classic first scene of Star Wars where the Star Destroyer is chasing the Rebel Alliance starship. On the back of the Star Destroyer is a huge Bush-Cheney bumper sticker. Later, as the music swells up around Chris/Luke Skywalker while he ponders over Tatooine's two suns, he turns and introduces John Williams and the orchestra. He then asks them to play the theme to The People's Court. Still further in the episode, when the Millennium Falcon is being tractored into the Death Star, we see it being flagged in by a trio of uninterested valets.

Many of these little jokes fit well into the scope of the story. Others didn't work so well. In the scene where Herbert/Obi-Wan and the rest of the Scobby Gang split up in the Death Star the creepy old man suddenly breaks out into (I've Had)the Time of My Life from the movie Dirty Dancing. It was two minutes that slowed everything down and could have been used better.

Then, there was the scene in the garbage chute where Han/Peter and Chewy/Brian find a perfectly good couch that could be used. That was okay, but the parts about getting the couch out of the garbage chute and then onto the Falcon weren't that funny. Although ,the scene where Han is holding onto the bottom end of the couch while the Falcon escapes was amusing. These bits didn't deter too much from the episode, however. I expected that there would be some duds throughout the hour-long show. If it had all been packed into 30-minutes it probably would have killed the episode.

Character-wise, this was a Lois/Peter/Chris episode, although Cleveland/R2-D2 and Quagmire/C-3P0 had quite a bit of screentime themselves. Since they were portraying different roles some of the characteristics that we normally see weren't there in this episode. I don't believe I heard a 'Freakin' Sweet' from Peter, and Chris was less whiny. In fact, Seth Green toned down Chris quite a bit in this episode. Brian and Stewie, who seem to have a majority of screen time lately on the show, didn't really have much to say. However, I did hear Stewie blurt out a 'What the Deuce?' during the final Death Star battle scene.

There were other things that impressed me throughout the season premiere. Here are but a few of them:

  • The conference room scene between Darth and his generals. There is that .1% vulnerability on the Death Star. You know, that small hole that, if you shoot a laser into it, the station blows up
  • It seems that MacFarlane was able to use a number of scenes from the actual movie and overlay them with animation. It looked very good on-screen.
  • John Williams and his orchestra die when Luke's aunt and uncle are killed. Now they have to use Danny Elfman for the score.
  • After Lois/Leia records her message to Obi-Wan, she needs to work through R2's Windows Interface to chose the correct media player to make an mpeg file.
  • In the Cantina scene I could swear I saw one of the characters from Home Movies sitting at one of the back booths.
  • Luke: I got 'em! I got 'em!' Han: 'Great kid! Don't get penisy'
  • Red Leader asks for all of his wings to sound off, including Redd Foxx, Helen Reddy, Big Red chewing gum, Simply Red, Red Buttons and Red October.
  • National Lampoon's Star Wars Vacation. Clark Griswold wants his kids to see the plight of the Rebellion. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo provide the voices.
  • The other guest voice actors for this episode: Some of them you would be surprised about. Besides Chase and D'Angelo Rush Limbaugh and Helen Reddy also provided their own character voices.
  • Chris' little dig to Peter concerning Robot Chicken at the end of the episode. That was probably one of the funnier moments.
  • The title 'Blue Harvest'. For those of us who are not total Star Wars geeks, this was the title of the fictitious film used to ensure secrecy during the filming of Return of the Jedi.

Overall, this was a fun episode to watch. I thought that MacFarlane kept to the story pretty well, and there were enough corny jokes to make it amusing. I don't know if the Family Guy purists would have enjoyed the show, but hopefully they gave it a try. Now, it's your turn to tell me what you thought of the episode.

Did you enjoy Family Guy's spoof of Star Wars?
No, I thought it pretty much sucked102 (4.5%)
It was okay. There were some good moments185 (8.1%)
Pretty decent. I got a couple of laughs out of it397 (17.4%)
An excellent job by Seth MacFarlane and his team1598 (70.0%)

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Good episode, sometimes family needs to be like this. The dumb humor is funny but sometimes I need something thats not so shockingly funny. This was a breather, though i appreciate the shock-factor in usual family guy episodes. Sometimes you need a break. Anyway robot chicken has a pretty decent fanbase peter griffin...

October 25 2007 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A++ loved it. Specialy all the little jokes that made fun of the movie itself (the .01% death star joke, the band in the cantina playing the same song over and over,Han Solo swerving slightly to the left to dodge lazers) I think Seth and his team watched the original movie with notepads and took notes on every little thing they could make fun of.
The only problem I guess is that any one who was not a star wars fan as a kid might not apreciate a lot of the jokes... But I agree with earlier comments: this episode is definitely a tribute to one of the greatest movies of all time and, I think, a work of passion from Seth and the team.
Oh and by the way, I don't know if this was mentioned, but the alien from American Dad also appears in the Canteen scene!

October 02 2007 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can anyone tell me where I can watch the whole thing? i'm having trouble finding it! please someone email me! m_r_m1086@yahoo.com

October 02 2007 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For starters, I really am a fan of the show. But the only part that made me make an audible laugh was when the golf announcers were talking about the golfers wife, and the GIA thing being mentioned in the flying text. Too many jokes were like uh...... okay, or slightly awkward and not just stupid like they usually do which does make me laugh. I think they did a very good job relating it to the actual movie and found it amusing that meg was the alien and thats all we saw of her, but it didn't feel like good old family guy. The singing part, why does Chris act interested in the old man, seemed kinda gay, we already have Stewie confused in that area. They just shouldn't have had the part and the couch part got old when he was trying to get it through the door, and than the spaceship. Over all I kinda wanted to give up on it half-way through. And I'm not one of those people that thinks the only good ones were the first three seasons, cause i have seen plenty of good recent ones. I watched it with four other people no one ever really laughed out loud, and the bad jokes were just weird, they needed a like a studio audience to fill in the bad ones. (which was most of the jokes) - okay and the real estate part with stewie was decent too.

September 25 2007 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hilarious episode.

September 25 2007 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've only seen a few episodes of Family Guy, but I made a point to record the Star Wars tribute. What a letdown.

The funniest part -- to me -- was the blur effect under the landspeeder. There were a few other laughs (like the Red references), but on the whole, I thought it was pretty weak. A stoner R2-D2 and a pedophile Obi Wan? No thanks.

Grover (Post No. 29): Was that Leslie Nielsen? I thought it was Peter Graves. But that would have been even less funny.

September 24 2007 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
King Zilch

*POP* :)

I was hoping they'd go that extra geek-step and include Red Tornado as one of the pilots.

And did anyone else hear the "Wilhelm Scream" when Porkins got blown up?


September 24 2007 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not the biggest Star Wars person (pretty much all I know about it is from other things referencing it), but I loved this. My favorite bit was the warp speed thing with the Doctor Who footage. Loved the cameo of Couch McGuirk (with the evil monkey, no less) and Roger from American Dad. I think that, towards the beginning, when Chris/Luke is in the desert looking through his viewfinder thingy at the ships, right before Opie shows up, there's an alien standing next to the ships that I swear is Zoidburg. You can't see it very well, but I totally thought it was him.

September 24 2007 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

During a scene on Tatooine with the Jawas, we got a fleeting glimpse of a spider-looking droid with Jake Tucker's (upside-down) head in the middle. Does anyone have a picture of the droid from the original movie?

Jake Tucker cracks me the hell up, partly because I know a guy who's so ugly that we call him Jake Tucker.

September 24 2007 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved how they pointed out that the Death Star was 99.9% indestructable and the Robot Chicken fight. The rest was funny but not the best I've seen. Also Herbert "the child pervert" was creepy but not funny creepy, it just made me unconfortable not laugh as usual.

September 24 2007 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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