Nine seasons in, it’s getting harder to come up with something new to say about FOX’s Family Guy. That’s because it bases its success on playing the same bits over and over again, for the most part. I’m not exactly complaining; I still enjoy the show, and am usually pretty amused. That being said, this week’s episode, “Friends of Peter G.”, was not exactly brimming with new ideas.
Early in the episode, Peter (voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane) and Brian (also MacFarlane) are busted for disrupting a movie theater while drunk. A judge orders them to attend Alcoholics Anonymous for a month. They go, and are bored out of their minds, so they turn the meeting into a drunken party. Yes, the comedy is that wrong. Peter, not having learned his lesson at all, drives home drunk and hits a tree, dying. Death (returning guest star Adam Carolla) shows Peter that his life will suck if he continues drinking, and also if he never drinks at all. The message: drink in moderation. And surely Peter didn’t actually learn anything from the experience.
The opening scene was visually pretty cool, with the cartoons interacting with the live action The Sound of Music, which was the film playing. Family Guy has mixed animation with reality before, as recently as their Christmas episode last month. Still, I think it’s cool when they sometimes go with the real product instead of just making parody versions, as the show often does. This trick actually does still feel fairly new, as it is used sparingly.
While at the AA meeting / party, Joe (Patrick Warburton) shows up to bust it. I found this a little odd, as Joe seems to drink just as much as Peter, and often participates in the stupid, alcohol-infused stunts that have structured many a Peter story. Even in this episode, Joe was seen acting inebriated. Yet he scolded Peter at the movie theater, and is judgmental in this particular instance.
To stay out of trouble with Joe, Peter stages a big musical number. About the evils of booze, it was almost a third of the episode’s running time, and not exactly necessary, or at least, not necessary in the length that it was. It was kind of fun, though it did seem to run a bit too long. It also lacked the novelty that musical numbers on the show used to brim with. Honestly, it kind of felt like the AA plot that comprised the first half of the episode may have been written just for this scene.
To see what trouble Peter gets into next, watch Family Guy Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.