Okay. Okay. Deep breath. I can handle this. We can get through this. Okay. So, we have something bizarre to talk about today. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need to deal with this episode, that this wasn’t actually something that needed to be discussed here on Lifetime of Simpsons. Because this is actually an episode of Family Guy. A season premiere in fact. But, of course this should be talked about. Because this is a Simpsons/Family Guy crossover. Yeah, it’s written and directed by Family Guy people, was only on Family Guy, and doesn’t feel like the Simpsons in any way other than the voice actors. But, it’s still the Simpsons. So, it’s time to plug my nose, and dive into Family Guy.
So, like I said, this is an episode of Family Guy. The Simpsons crossover comes around eventually, but this extra-long episode is bookended by Family Guy bullshit. Which begins with the Griffins sitting around and commenting on an All in the Family and Modern Family crossover, assuring us that crossover are always good ideas, and never tedious messes. Because even this episode knows it’s a waste of time.
But this is quickly dropped when Peter randomly decides that he wants to become a syndicated cartoonist for the newspaper, because none of the funnies are ever funny. He then immediately accomplishes this task, and starts creating a terrible joke-a-day strip that’s basically a Far Side knockoff, but it does become very popular in their town, and Peter becomes a bit of a celebrity.
However, Peter then pulls a Milkshake Duck, and as soon as the city starts to really enjoy his comics he starts making some super misogynist comics. The internet then becomes very infuriated about this comic, and Peter of course doubles down and keeps insisting that he’s done nothing wrong. And things even get to the point where groups of women start picketing their houses, calling for Peter’s head, all while the show seems to be making the point that women get too worked up when men make misogynistic jokes. Which is a huge bummer.
Things just keep getting worse though, and since Peter has no intention of apologizing for his behavior, the family decides to just abandon their lives for a while, and get out of town. They all pile into their car, and just start aimlessly driving away from their town. And, after some amount of time, they stop at a woodland gas station, where their car is promptly stolen and driven off. The family are despondent, but they decide they need to head into the nearest town and seek help. And it just so happens that the nearest town is one very familiar to us.
Yep, the Griffins are right outside of Springfield. They head down into the city, and we see them looking at all the various Springfield landmarks and commenting on the fact that everyone seems to have hepatitis. But before mocking the town too much they find remember that they need to call the police, and head into the Kwik-E-Mart to use their phone. The Griffins meet Apu, and he’s very welcoming. Until he learns that all their money was stolen too, at which point he’s ready to just kick them out of his store.
Until another customer comes to their rescue. Good old Homer Simpson. He comes over to the Griffins and even buys them a dozen donuts as some sort of welcoming gift. And almost immediately Homer and Peter become friends, primarily due to shared gluttony. And after this is established Homer says that he’ll help the Griffins out, and brings them to the police station to talk to Chief Wiggum. But, since they don’t offer an adequate bribe, they don’t really get any help, and seem to be screwed.
Homer can’t abide this though, and he decides to do what the Simpsons are known to do, and invites these weirdos to come live in his house. Homer brings the Griffins home, and we get to see some awkward introductions. Which is really where I started to notice how off the humor in this episode was. Primarily because Bart comes strolling in and talks about how he got in trouble for gluing someone’s butt-cheeks together. Whatever, we’re dealing with a much lower standard of comedy today.
They then split all of the characters up, giving them people that they’ll be hanging out with. Homer is with Peter, Marge and Louis are together but will never be mentioned again, Bart gets stuck with Stewie, Lisa gets Meg, and Brian, Chris, and Santa’s Little Helper get paired up. Which means we have to see how these pairs will be working. Bart shows off his room to Stewie, and introduces him to the joy of prank calls, only to see Stewie immediately go to rape threats instead of just jokes. Fun. Meg and Lisa bond over the idea that they’re the misunderstood members of their family, and Meg explains that she’s not good at anything, which Lisa decides to fix. And Brian is forced to hang out with Santa’s Little Helper, which is just awkward.
That night while everyone is having dinner the two family’s start to get to know each other, and Homer is very impressed by the idea that Peter works in a brewery. And, seemingly just because of that, Homer decides that he’ll help Peter find the car, just the two of them. Which is when Peter starts trying to teach Homer about cut-away gags, which he’s terrible at. But we do get to see Homer, Peter, and Bob from Bob’s Burgers fly a World War I plane for absolutely no reason. That’s neat.
But before we get to that idea, we need to start rapidly hopping between characters, seeing what they’re up to. It begins with Brian and Chris, who are tasked with taking Santa’s Little Helper for a walk. Brian is horrified that they treat Santa’s Little Helper like a dog, and he decides to let him off his leash, hoping he’ll evolve. Instead Santa’s Little Helper runs away, and Brian and Chris have to chase after him. They get in a crazy chase all around Springfield, running through the hospital and seeing Dr. Nick, before getting into Krusty Burger where Santa’s Little Helper accidentally frees all the other greyhounds that they’re using for burger meat. The dogs then all escape, and Chris and Brian realize they’re screwed.
Bart and Stewie have been paired together for no apparent reason, and Bart decides to take Stewie out to park to teach him how to skateboard. Stewie thinks Bart’s the coolest person in the world, and starts to emulate everything Bart does. Until Nelson walks up and starts picking on Bart. And because Nelson has dared to mess with his new hero, Stewie decides to do the rational thing and abduct Nelson, lock him up in the garage, and torture him while forcing Nelson to eat his own shorts.
Lisa has gotten stuck with Meg, whose whole character seems to be that she sucks and everyone in the show hates her. And because of that she has no talents, and has nothing to make herself feel better. So Lisa starts trying to find something for Meg to be good at, and they strike out with everything. Until Meg randomly picks up Lisa’s saxophone, and is great at it. So, great that Lisa becomes defensive, and tells Meg that she was actually bad at it.
But none of that’s going to matter anymore. Because now it’s time to focus on Homer and Peter’s missing car plot. They begin the process by drinking gasoline together, so that they can think like a car. But when that proves to just make them horribly sick, they change things up and come up with a much worse idea. They’re going to hold a free car wash for stolen cars. Unfortunately, the particular stolen car they want doesn’t show up, and instead it just leads to Homer and Peter having an extended sexy carwash scene, which goes on for approximately five years, and is mind-numbingly unfunny.
When that fails they decide to get even goofier though, and come up with a plan involving a giant magnet. They can’t find a plug for the magnet though, and that idea crashes and burns. But as they’re complaining about it, the stolen car randomly shows up, and Hans Moleman pops out. He didn’t mean to steal their car, and he just got lost. So the car is back! The Griffin’s whole reason for being here is done! Episode over?
No. Because now Peter and Homer decide to go to Moe’s to celebrate, and to thank Homer for everything he did, Peter gives him some of the beer from his brewery. And Homer’s not impressed. Mainly because it tastes exactly like Duff. And this is where the episode starts to become insufferable. Because the rest of this episode revolves around the idea that Pawtucket Ale is a ripoff of Duff, but that’s okay because Pawtucket is better than Duff. And, as you may notice, this is a just a metaphor for the fact that Family Guy is a ripoff of the Simpsons, and the episode tries again and again to explain that Family Guy is better than the Simpsons.
Homer and Peter get really heated about this conversation, but as their argument gets louder and louder the Blue Haired Lawyer shows up. He says that he represents Duff Brewery, and they’re going to be suing Pawtucket Brewery for intellectual property theft. Which for some reason takes the form of the Griffin’s personally getting sued. Makes no sense, but whatever. And, because the Brewery is the primary employer of the Griffin’s town, the whole damn city shows up for the court case, while sitting next to the Springfield character that they’re all ripoffs of.
The court scene doesn’t really last long though, other than the montage of which Family Guy characters are ripoff of Simpsons ones. Because it turns out the judge of the case is Fred Flintstone, who explains that they’re both ripoffs of him. But he still finds in favor of Duff, and the Pawtucket Brewery is shut down, devastating the Griffin’s hometown.
The Griffin’s then prepare to leave Springfield, and we wrap up all of the dangling plots. Santa’s Little Helper randomly comes back, Bart learns about the abduction of Nelson, and Lisa finally tells Meg that she has talent. But none of that matters. What does matter is that Homer feels bad for how things shook out, and he goes up to apologize to Peter. But, Peter has no interest in an apology, and just starts talking about how much the Simpsons suck.
And, of course, this argument leads to a fight. And, because it’s Family Guy, that means it’s one of their interminably long and violent fights that Peter usually has with a chicken, but now it’s Homer. This scene goes on forever, so I’ll just toss out some of the major beats.
The fight drags the two men all around Springfield, and begins with Homer using the school bus to drag Peter around. They eventually reach the Nuclear Power Plant, and just drive the bus into the building, running through the halls until they get to Homer’s office. Homer hucks Emmy’s at Peter, before accidentally triggering a meltdown. They then absorb all of the radiation, and turn into magical Hulks who begin beating each other up and devastating Springfield.
Eventually they even punch each other up into space where they crash into Kang and Kodos’ spaceship, while they’re hanging out with Roger from American Dad. They end up destroying the spaceship though, right as their powers fade, and they crash back into Springfield, and fall down Springfield Gorge. They then get into the Gorge and just start violently beating each other, until Homer tries to bite Peter’s crotch, resulting in the spaceship falling and crushing Homer.
But he’s fine. Homer finally drags himself out from under the spaceship, and finds that Peter is just sitting there waiting for him, because they aren’t mad any more. They just chat for a bit, and apologize for the fight. They manage to find some common ground, and decide that they have some respect for each other. And, with that done, the Griffins finally leave Springfield, go back to their own town, and since this is an episode of Family Guy we get to see them continue to rag on the Simpsons for a while, ensuring the viewers that they’re the better show. There. Done!
Hey, so, umm….fuck this episode. I’ve never been someone who Family Guy clicked for. It’s just a pale imitation of a much better show that relies on a weird ADD style of humor that seems tailor made to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s a show that thinks references are the same as jokes. It’s a show that I find to be rarely funny, and that never even attempts to mine any emotional content. This isn’t a deep joke, it’s just a nonstop slew of easy jokes. And to take that show, and spend forty-some minutes just endlessly mocking what I personally see as a superior show, even at its worst, is just a bummer. I find it funny that this episode was just on Family Guy. The Simpsons had their own season premiere on the same night, which I’ll get to tomorrow. They didn’t want any part in this. This was just an episode of Family Guy that happened to have the voice-cast of the Simpsons held and gunpoint to read their terrible script. You can practically feel these actors saying “the check cleared, right?” before each of their lines. If this was an episode of the Simpsons, it would be the worst episode of the entire series. Unless you’re also in a Sisyphean curse to watch every episode of the Simpsons, I wouldn’t recommend ever checking this out.
Take Away: Family Guy is not a good show.
“Simpsons Guy” was written by Patrick Meighan and directed by Peter Shin, 2014.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
Family Guy has had some good episodes over the years, but it’s gotten worse and worse for the most part. And even some of those early eps, which I thought were so edgy and funny back in the day, haven’t aged well at all. This episode, as folk have mentioned elsewhere, is very much similar to the surreal, bizarre 2014 youtube video “The Family Simp” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Rk_DC3B9c). It’s ultimately just lazy.
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Actually, all that said, I did kinda like the “concept” of Stewie idolizing Bart. Prefer it to the South Park version. Even if the execution is meh.
I actually haven’t seen that YouTube video before. That’s ridiculous.