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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Family Guy: McStroke

As with so many other episodes, Peter comes up some ridiculously crazy idea that always seems to have slight undertones of social commentary, and then takes it to illogical extremes, making sure to present the audience with as many oddball movie and cultural references along the way. Standouts included snippets which poked fun at One Tree Hill and The Shawshank Redemption.

The absurd but seemingly disjoint storylines flow brilliantly in this episode. From Peter's decision to grow a mustache, to his heroic efforts as a fireman rescuing the manager of the McBurgerTown, to his reward of free burgers for life, to getting a stroke after consuming 30 hamburgers, to living at home with his paralysis, to his miraculous stem cell recovery, followed by his subsequent vendetta to bring McBurgerTown to justice, which involved visiting their manufacturing facility, where he uncovers a cruel slaughterhouse inhabited by a talking genetically enhanced cow, aptly named Mr. Cow and voiced by none other than Ricardo Montalban. In between I'm treated to musical numbers featuring R.E.M., The Monkees and Bob Dylan, and are even subjected to a lecture by Mr. Cow congratulating the efforts of salad-eating homosexuals.

The use of so many licensed tunes might be an indication of the lack of written content available to complete the episode, but it actually works quite well in this case. In particular, the imagery of a half-paralyzed Peter driving with his paralyzed arm stuck out the door and incoherently singing R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" was absolutely hilarious.

The secondary plot thread in this episode consisted of a bet between Brian and Stewie about whether or not Stewie can succeed in becoming the most popular kid in high school. This involved Stewie's seduction of Connie D'Amico, and culminated in an all-too-detailed revelation about Stewie's homosexual tendencies. In a seemingly innocent conversation about scoring at the aptly named "Anal Point," Stewie admits that he'd rather be a parking spot than the car trying to park in it. Brian's reaction to this is absolutely priceless, and the episode is probably worth watching for this moment alone. To top things off, Stewie decided to get revenge on Connie after his date goes sour by stripping down and kissing her, and then having her arrested for kissing a baby.

Fortunately, there's so much here that one simply can't go wrong with. Peter's mustache and subsequent stroke, Mr. Cow, and Stewie pretending to be a cool high school kid are all concepts that are bound to entertain, and they do in this case – brilliantly so.

No comments: