With the 100th episode in their sights, Seth McFarlane and the other writers behind Family Guy must have wanted to do something “freakin’ sweet” to celebrate its centennial. Problem is, this episode, as with the recent episodes, just isn’t as funny as Family Guy used to be.
The episode title, “Stewie Kills Lois,” doesn’t leave any of the plot to the imagination; it only leaves the question of consistency in later episodes. The episode opens with the family at a dinner for Lois’s birthday where the kids give her tooth polish and Peter gives her a Lionel Richie CD. Brian breaks the gift spending cap, giving Lois two cruise tickets, which then leads to the first cutaway gag of the show – those random, unrelated jokes that Family Guy is known for.
Peter and Lois board the cruise boat. Stewie, being mad and left behind, plans to kill Lois (like he always does) after being egged on by Brian. Peter and Lois’s trip falls apart after an inappropriate dinner story at the captain’s table and Stewie motorboats out to the cruise, climbs up the side and shoots Lois over the side of the boat. The rest of the episode follows the family as Peter is blamed and put on trial for Lois’s death.
The episode retains all the classic joke standards, ones that push the envelope (stumpy handed abortionist), disgusting (Meg, hot dogs and the Knicks) and of course, the extremely random (Rupert’s head on a muscley man’s body accompanying Stewie to the fair).
On the bright side, it does include some of the random appearances of my favorite secondary characters, especially Bruce the Performance Artist and Herbert. And all-time Family Guy favorite gag, the Kool-Aid man bursting through the courtroom wall after every character has said, “oh no!” makes an appearance.
I had the same issues with the Family Guy Stars Wars episode. It was funny, but not nearly as gut-bustingly funny as the series used to be.
Maybe it’s a little unfair to compare the newer episodes to the first couple seasons. “Stewie Kills Lois” is good, but not nearly as good as “Mr. Saturday Night” from season three or “Death is a Bitch” from season two. I think part of the problem is that the gag Family Guy is known for, the cutaway gags, aren’t nearly as funny eight years later.
The episode premiers Nov. 4, and it’s certainly worth your time to watch it, but don’t expect to be rolling on the floor laughing like you did when the show was new.
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