‘Brian’s a Bad Father’
Family Guy often tackles some important issues, and this week the issue seems to be that of responsibility. It is Brian’s responsibility to look after and spend time with his son, and it is Peter’s responsibility to be a good friend to Joe and Quagmire. Brian and Peter abuse their positions and actually become quite bad at their respective roles.
The episode begins with Peter, Quagmire and Joe as they bond together on a hunting trip – this is followed by two of the best gags in the episode where Joe uses his skills to call out the wildlife. Everything seems to be going quite well until Peter takes things a bit too seriously. To prove a point to Quagmire, he shoots him in the arm. This causes a lot of friction in the group and it puts a lot of pressure on Joe, as Peter and Quagmire fight for his affection.
Meanwhile, Brian is working hard and trying to write a new bestseller – he ends up thinking of a basic premise for a terrible movie and then stops for the rest of the day. His leisure time is interrupted by his son, Dylan, who first appeared in The Former Life of Brian. Initially, Brian doesn’t want anything to do with Dylan, because he realises the mistakes that he has made as a father. But as soon as Brian learns that Dylan is a successful actor on a new Disney teen sitcom, he abuses his powers as Dylan’s father to try and get a job writing for the show.
Back at the Drunken Clam, Peter and Quagmire terminate their friendship, and put Joe in the middle. In the end, Joe decides to choose Quagmire, because Quagmire has always been there for him. Peter is upset by the news, and decides to commit suicide – he turns to Meg for pointers when he is unsure of how to kill himself. Peter then realises that the only way that he can save the friendship is if Quagmire shoots him in the arm. Peter thinks that the gesture will be enough, but Quagmire is still mad, and wants to go through with it. Joe tries to save the friendship by shooting Peter in the arm, but Quagmire still wants the satisfaction of getting his own back, so he shoots Peter in the head.
Over on the set of the new Disney show, Brian starts to become a nuisance – he tries to change the script and take over some of the direction. As a result, the director fires him. Brian doesn’t give up that easily, so he asks Dylan to get him back on the show. Dylan realises that Brian is just using him to further his career as a writer. Dylan effectively disowns Brian, so it is up to Stewie to step in and save the relationship. The episode ends with a heart-warming reconciliation. This image is juxtaposed with a brain damaged Peter who is now in a wheelchair and is being pushed through the park by Lois.
Brian’s a Bad Father was a disappointing episode due to the lack of decent visual gags and cutaways – I counted 4 funny jokes and only 8 cutaways in the entire episode. This is unacceptable for a show that is so popular and famous for its use of cutaways and witty gags.
Furthermore, the story felt weak because the writers have tried to pack in too much content for a 20-minute episode. Family Guy isn’t really known for its ability to deliver satisfying storylines, but the writers have persisted in trying to develop the show and give it a fresh outlook. Having said this, the ending was very pleasing, with the highlight coming from the conversation between Lois and a brain damaged Peter. However, the show needs to improve its quality of storyline and stick to what it knows best in terms of cutaways and gags.