"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Family Guy: Back to the Woods

With guest appearances by James Woods and Barry Manilow, and the long absence due to the writers' strike, I thought I would be treated to a triumphant return for Family Guy. Unfortunately, "Back to the Woods" fails to deliver, and could have benefited from some significant reworking before being rushed to broadcast.

James Woods was previously seen on Family Guy in the fourth season episode titled "Peter's Got Woods." It was somewhat funny the first time, but felt downright lazy this time. That's not to say that this second visit by James Wood to the Griffin household was a complete failure. There were a few entertaining moments as he assumed Peter's identity. The father-daughter moment with Meg and his bulimic advice was somewhat entertaining, as well as his tying up Brian to a pole and putting him in the yard as an outside dog worked pretty well.

Peter's attempts to reclaim his identity by assuming James Woods' identity results in an appearance on the David Letterman Show, where he promotes a highly inappropriate comedy centered around 9/11. This ends up incurring the wrath of all Americans and results in the ruining of James Woods' reputation, which ultimately allows Peter to return home.

The Barry Manilow concert moments feature the singer bringing Quagmire on stage and singing to him. The running joke is about how the drinking buddies are all devoted closet Manilow fans.

Not all of the random jokes failed either. Some of the better ones included a hilarious reference to what happens to Spider-Man when he gets laid, and there's a sight gag about Peter performing magic tricks for blind people that was also awkwardly funny.

While it might seem like a wasted opportunity to bring back James Woods to the show and the fact that this episode doesn't quite live up to the other outings seen prior to the writers' strike, there were a few entertaining moments to keep "Back to the Woods" from becoming a total disaster. Hopefully now that the writers are back on board, I'll be treated to superior episodes in the coming weeks.

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