So far, Family Guy season 12 has been very disappointing. The jokes haven’t been as spontaneous and the show has become predictable and formulaic. However, this week’s episodes, Boopa-dee Bappa-dee and Life of Brian, feel like episodes of a completely different show.
Boopa-dee Bappa-dee opens with a Channel 5 news reel in which resident news anchor Tom Tucker is reporting on some breaking news. This is followed by a gag that sees Joe get on T.V to say hello to his mother. Lois is excited by the news of cheap airline flights and wants to take advantage of the low prices by taking the family on holiday. Peter on the other hand is reluctant to travel because he feels that Quahog is a town that is full of culture, so there is no need to leave. Lois goes behind Peter’s back, and the Griffins travel to Italy.
Peter starts to embrace the local culture, and is so happy that he decides to stay in Italy. The rest of the family are forced to go along with this idea, as Peter burns all of their passports and declares Italian citizenship on “Shut-up-a-your-Facebook.” The novelty of their new life in Italy starts to wear off, so they try to get back into the country. Due to the strict immigration policy of the United States of America, the Griffins cannot afford to pay to gain access to the country, so they sneak in.
Despite the fact that the narrative was fairly ordinary, the episode had a sense of originality to it and for the first time in the series, there was only one main storyline. The gags were also great – they were spontaneous, hilarious and reminiscent of Family Guy season 4. This season marked the end of the old world domination Stewie, and made way for impulsive visual gags and cutaways, as well as new relationships between characters.
Life of Brian is perhaps the most controversial episode of Family Guy to date. In the episode, Brian is killed in a tragic car accident.
After giving guns to 17th century Native Americans and altering the past, Stewie must go back in time to stop the Native Americans from taking over the world. Due to the chaotic shenanigans that the time machine has caused, Stewie destroys it and takes it to the junkyard. While there, Brian finds a street hockey net and decides to take it home so that they can get more exercise. Brian and Stewie take the net into the road, but Stewie has to go back inside for his kneepads. Brian is left alone in the road, and is hit by a speeding car.
The Griffins take Brian to the vet, but there is nothing that can be done to save him. They go in to say their goodbyes and Brian wakes up saying “you’ve given me a wonderful life. I love you all.” To get over Brian’s death, the Griffins look for a new dog. They find Vinny (voiced by Tony Sirico) at a pet store and the family start to forget about Brian. Stewie doesn’t forget and he seems to resent Vinny, who explains that he too lost a loved one in an accident. They become friends and later that night, Vinny sleeps beside Stewie’s bed.
What Life of Brian lacked in terms of cutaways and visual gags, it more than made up for with its poignant and moving narrative. This is rare for Family Guy, as the show is famous for making fun of a serious situation. Brian’s death sparked outrage amongst fans and a petition was even started to get Brian back on the show. Fortunately, the writers listened to the fans and Brian will make his return to the show in one of next week’s episodes.
Boopa-dee Bappa-dee and Life of Brian were two successful episodes with just the right amount of humour and poignancy that fans and viewers of the show will certainly appreciate.
Boopa-dee Bappa-dee – ★★★
Life of Brian – ★★★★