By John Baggett
PSDC Pop Culture Guru
I grew up on The Simpsons. For 25 years I have watched this show and remember its glory days fondly and continue to watch simply out of nostalgia. I can pretty much say the same thing about Family Guy. Both can be listed amongst the greatest TV animated shows of all time but both are kinda past their prime. The Simpsons remains amusing and Family Guy continues to go for the shock laugh but the quality has dipped over time. (How South Park is still consistently funny is amazing to me.)
So, naturally the fanboy in me was excited about the crossover episode that opened up season 13 of Family Guy, titled “The Simpsons Guy.” The episode made headlines for first being a thing and then for making a rape joke that offended some people. Naturally the joke stayed in because it already made the rounds online and that’s the humor Family Guy goes for. And in the context of the show the joke actually works.
So, spoilers below for the episode’s plot. I took out most of the jokes because I wanted to hit just the story points.
Peter starts a career as a cartoonist but one of his strips angers women everywhere. Instead of apologizing his next strip angers them even more and the ensuing attacks on his home force the Griffins to leave town. Their car is stolen at a gas station but they find they are just outside the city limits of Springfield. They walk around town and try to get some food (donuts) at the Kwik-E-Mart but since they are broke Apu turns them away. But out of the shadows Homer appears and pays for the donuts.
Homer takes them to the police station top report their stolen car but that goes as well as it normally would. The Simpsons put up the Griffins while they are in town. Stewie becomes enamored with Bart. Bart teaches Stewie the fine art of prank calling. (This is where that rape joke we’ve heard about goes down.) Lisa bonds with Meg and teaches her to find self-confidence, until Peter tells her to shut up. Brian is forced to bond with Santa’s Little Helper and loses him while taking him out for a walk with Chris. Bart takes Stewie out skateboarding and after a run in with Nelson, Stewie takes him out with a poisoned dart for picking on Bart.
Back with Homer and Peter, they decide to go find the stolen car themselves by “thinking like a car,” which includes drinking gas. They open up a free car wash for stolen cars. The Griffins car isn’t amongst the ones that show, but decide to both simultaneously wash the cars and ruin Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” all at the same time.
Lisa continues to bond with Meg, having her try the saxophone and ends up being better than Lisa. We pick up with Stewie and Nelson, who is now tied up and Stewie forces him to eat his shorts. Chris and Brian poorly try to cover up that Santa’s Little Helper is missing. When they try to find the car using a giant magnet, Peter is run over by Hans Moleman driving the Griffins car. When Peter asks how many confused old men drive around in this town he is run over by Grandpa Simpson.
Peter and Homer celebrate finding the car and Peter gives him a Pawtucket Ale, which is revealed to just be Duff with a new label. As Griffin is a representative of Pawtucket Brewery he is sued by Duff. The Judge (Fred Flinstone) says both beers are pale imitations of Bud Rock but finds in favor of Duff. The Griffins pack up to leave (and Santa’s Little Helper shows back up). Lisa gives Meg her saxophone. And Stewie gives Bart Nelson tied up and all the other enemies of Bart, which Bart does not approve of and says they can’t be friends, breaking Stewie’s heart. Bart unties Nelson, who swiftly punches Bart in the stomach.
As he watches the Griffins pack up Homer feels bad that Peter is unemployed. He goes out to apologize but Peter says he speaks for everyone that he is “over the Simpsons” and “the Simpsons suck.” All of this leads to an epic fight between Peter and Homer, cause the chicken fight joke hasn’t been run far enough into the ground. The fight involves stealing and fighting in Otto’s bus which crashes into the Nuclear Power Plant, causing a meltdown. The two fall into nuclear waste and Hulk out on each other. The two fight all the way into outer space and crashing into the Space Mutants ship (where Roger from American Dad is visiting) and the ship crashes into Springfield Gorge where the fight continues, ending with the spaceship falling on Homer. After the fight, Peter and Homer make up. The Comic Book Guy sums it up with “Worst Chicken Fight Ever.”
The Griffins make it back home and Peter is now a town hero for sticking up for the town’s beer. Stewie acts like he is over Bart, but goes up to his room to write “I Will Not Think About Bart Anymore” on the black board and the camera pulls out of his bedroom window and credits roll.
So, that’s the episode. Overall, it was amusing. It hit every conceivable joke possible – characters switching catchphrases, Stewie dressing like Bart, numerous references to the episode being a crossover and probably a onetime thing, and of course a chicken fight between Homer and Peter. My favorite moment brought a cameo from Bob of Bob’s Burgers and a reference to the failure of The Cleveland Show.
I didn’t think the episode was anything more than amusing. I mean, it was never bad but it wasn’t amazing either. Again, both of these shows are passed their prime. I hate saying that, but it’s true. It was better than the season premiere of The Simpsons which was making headlines for killing a character that really didn’t hit me in the feels either. (In fact, how did this episode not serve as the premiere for BOTH shows? It could have worked.)
It wasn’t the worst episode ever. It wasn’t the best episode ever. Just the most recent episode ever.
Follow John on Twitter: @TrapperJohn1210