Family Guy/American Dad – “Seahorse Seashell Party”/”Hurricane!”

So Seth MacFarlane decided to indulge in a gimmick wherein a hurricane hits the East Coast and affects the characters of all three of his shows, currently airing on Fox: The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad! I don’t watch The Cleveland Show. I was going to make an exception this week, but forgot to record it on the DVR (and it won’t be on Hulu until next week?) so just the usual two shows for me… These were supposed to air last season but were postponed due to sensitivity to some storms that killed a bunch of people or something.

Family Guy – “Seahorse Seashell Party

The Griffins face no real danger from Hurricane Flozell, it seems. They just need to stay in the house. So it’s a bottle episode. It seems comparatively light on cut-aways to your average Family Guy episode. I counted four (G.I. Jose, Brian seeing Lady Gaga naked, a National geographic documentary on an Italian guy and a black woman fighting, and broccoli and a Brussels sprout getting in an Irish bar fight). The show uses this format to try to go for something heavier (like it did last year when Brian and Stewie were stuck in a bank vault). This involves two plots. The first involves Brian taking some mushrooms and Stewie trying to care for him after he cuts his ear off “to prevent World War II.” The animation on Brian’s acid trip is actually quite disturbing and even more troubling, not particularly funny. The other plot involves Meg exploding at her family over the mistreatment she’s suffered at their hands over the years. It attempts to lend actual dramatic weight to what has always been an absurd gag on the show. In the end, Meg decides to just be a martyr as belittling her “keeps the family together” or some stupid shit like that. While all this goes on, there are next to no laughs. If the show ever achieved any actual dramatic resonance then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s still a show which features a talking dog on a hallucinogen trip so it doesn’t. This may be the single worst episode of Family Guy I have ever seen. It’s a show which varies wildly in quality but in even in its most poorly constructed episodes there are usually laughs. Not so much here.

American Dad! – “Hurricane!

For a while I’ve been suspecting that American Dad! is a much better show than Family Guy. It ventures boldly into the bizarre without relying on total non-sequiturs to get laughs. It also can do the occasional genre-pastiche like tonight’s episode. Brought to you in conjunction with the “Gay/Jewish Media Conspiracy” tonight’s episode, “Hurricane!,” parodies the disaster films of Irwin Allen. I am big fan of Allen’s The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure so I’m always happy to see an affectionate parody. The Smiths have a decidedly more eventful evening than the Griffins. Stan’s crisis decision make everything worse as Langley Falls flood, the house floats away, the house turns upside down (in case the Poseidon homage wasn’t clear enough at this point), and a shark and a bear work in tandem to eat the Smiths. I must say, as many times I have seen Deep Blue Sea (oh and it’s a lot) I did NOT see the shark jumping through the window to bite Hayley coming. Kristen Schaal has kind of a nothing role as a one night stand of Roger’s (I am still very unclear as to his sexual orientation… then again, maybe he is too) who exists solely so the show can kill someone off. In the end we are left with devastation that will be totally ignored next week (much like Stan and Francine’s deaths last week). The episode closes with the inevitable crossover between Stan Smith, Cleveland Brown, and Peter Griffin. It goes nowhere and just shows how the big “event” was nothing but a promotional gimmick. But we got one good show out of it, so it’s not a total loss…

One Response to “Family Guy/American Dad – “Seahorse Seashell Party”/”Hurricane!””
  1. KLK says:

    I was pretty disappointing in the Family Guy episode this week too. Rarely funny, not a lot of signature cut-away gags, and the whole Meg-thing was way too drawn out and not funny. I have started to enjoy American Dad! much more than Family guy, as I feel that it is much more creative and subtle with its humor. Stan is the perfect character. I feel like Peter is another version of Homer Simpson (fat, incompetent American husband) and they easily could have gone with another similar character in American Dad! but Stan is somewhat fit, classically extremely Republican, and probably would be considered intelligent (generally.) I just hope this isn’t a trend, I enjoy both shows a lot but see Family Guy declining and American Dad! getting better and better. Maybe Seth spends more time on American Dad?

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