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Sundays with Seth: All's Fair in Love and Cross-Dressing

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 15th 2010 2:28PM
'Family Guy' - 'Go Stewie Go'With 'American Dad' off the schedule for now so FOX can bring us 'Sons of Tucson,' and 'The Cleveland Show' bumped for a 'Simpsons' rerun, 'Family Guy' flew alone as the sole representative of the Seth MacFarlane empire. Luckily, with Stewie in drag for a 'Tootsie'-inspired storyline and Meg with a *gasp* real boyfriend, the episode offered enough laughs to get us through.

Cleveland might have had to skip his own new episode so that he could make the drive to Quahog for a cameo appearance this week. "This was worth the 500 mile drive," he declared upon his arrival in one of the funnier absurdist sequences on the night.

Love was in the air this week, with Stewie joining the American production of his favorite children's show, only to find love with one of his co-stars, while Lois' growing insecurities about her age led her to cougar Meg's new boyfriend as hard as she could.

The trouble for Meg is that Lois is clearly far hotter than she is, and far more certain of herself sexually. Meg generally struggles to hold herself together as a human being, much less a girlfriend.

That's why it made perfect sense the way the family, and ultimately the entire community, reacted to Meg sitting on the couch snuggling with her boyfriend. The scene quickly slipped into something out of a National Geographic safari special, with Peter and Lois afraid to startle the loving couple, for fear that he would go away.

The cut-scene to the neighbors gawking through the window and then the house filled with people -- including Cleveland Brown -- and the doctor examining the boyfriend to see what was wrong with him was the kind of over-the-top humor that 'Family Guy' can do so well. It was like a cut-away gag without having to cut away!

Seeing Stewie in drag is certainly nothing new, but it was entertaining watching him take over some of the production ides of the show, introducing more advanced concepts and much darker material. I appreciate that MacFarlane continues to keep Stewie's sexuality more mysterious than just declaring him gay; even though he acts that way most of the time.

This week, he fell in love with a girl, though he was dressed as a girl when it happened thus enabling the homosexual subtext to continue. It did prompt Brian to question just what Stewie is as a sexual creature, but considering he's a toddler it's fully appropriate for him to not know. Besides, the 'Tootsie' parallels would have crashed and burned if he'd fallen in love with a man, so there's that to consider.

Moments of laughter came unexpectedly when the 'Seinfeld' jingle transitioned us away from 'Lois' dropping the "rape" bomb, though Peter was incredibly creepy toward Meg this week. Then you go to the awkward scene at the restaurant when Stewie, dressed as Karina, comes onto Brian; clearly taking things way, way, way too far. "Touched it"? Gross!

Yes, 'Family Guy' still goes for the shock laugh, and gets it enough times to make the show a successful comedy, but this week offered what's become more rare as the years go by as well: an emotional glimpse into the characters. This week, rather than be mean to Lois because he's Peter, he actually revealed that he was doing so out of insecurity. Meg served a purpose other than being the butt of her family's cruelty.

It turns out former regular writer Gary Janetti scripted this episode; he hasn't written one since the fourth season which offers a lot by way of explaining why this felt like some of the earlier series installments. The thing is, the throwback elements actually improved the overall product. Hopefully, there will be a strong enough response to the character depth being restored here that MacFarlane will push future episodes to feature that as well.

[You can always catch past clips and full episodes of 'Family Guy' over at SlashControl, but you knew that.]

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beanspants1

the pulling her tooth out sort of called back to "dangerous prison meg", I think.

March 15 2010 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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