Monday, September 29, 2014

A Review of The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover

Hey everyone, Dana here. Last week, I did a review of my top 10 favorite/influential albums. This one is gonna be a TV review! Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I did one; forgive me. I was originally going to do just a plain review of the Simpsons and how different they are from earlier seasons in light of the Every Simpsons Ever marathon of FXX. But since the marathon ended weeks ago, I figured I'd do this instead. Without further ado, here's my review of the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover that aired last night.

So, the episode begins with Peter publishing a cartoon in the newspaper that was considered misogynist, so every woman in Quahog is protesting outside the house with picket signs and throwing bricks through the living room window. Finding themselves in danger, the Griffins decide to get out of Quahog for a while; at least until the riot dies down. As Peter falls asleep behind the wheel and miraculously manages to stay on the road, they find themselves lost. After they stop for gas, their car gets stolen. So after a short while, they find themselves in Springfield, the home of The Simpsons! From that moment on, they have officially crossed over into the Simpsons universe. The theme song plays, the clouds clear and show a panoramic view of Springfield, just as if we were watching the beginning of a Simpsons episode. Very clever, I must say.

Since their car got stolen, they go to Springfield to report their stolen car. On the way there, they stop at the Kwik-E-Mart to get some food and subsequently meet Homer Simpson, who buys them a dozen donuts. Homer offers to help Peter file a report on their stolen car. Since Chief Wiggum and the rest of the Springfield Police Force essentially suck at their jobs, their search for their stolen car is on hold. Homer offers to let the Griffins stay at their house, and the families officially meet. Homer and Peter become friends, Marge and Lois become friends, Stewie idolizes Bart, Lisa tries to help Meg find something she's good at, and Chris and Brian take Santa's Little Helper for a walk. Alright, so far so good. A fun introduction to both families, they seem to hit it off. Not bad, Seth. Very good sense of exposition.

Bart introduces Stewie to prank phone calls. They call up Moe's Tavern and he pulls the "innuendo name" prank that he's been pulling for the past 25 years. Stewie offers to give it a try. He calls Moe and says "Hey Moe, your sister is being raped." This scene caused A LOT of controversy throughout social media. Alright, I'm gonna stop here. Now, I understand Family Guy is known for their lewd and "inappropriate" context in their episodes. That's not shocking, nor should it be since Family Guy is an ADULT animated sitcom. There's an "explicit content" warning with a "viewer discretion is advised" prompt before every episode, so there's no excuse for parents to get their panties up in a bunch if their kid watched that scene.  They've pulled plenty of controversial jokes in episodes prior to last night, so this is literally old news to me. Stewie's remark is supposed to show that rape jokes are not funny and should never be used as a prank phone call. But, let's look at this at a different angle. What if the viewer, who happens to be a Family Guy fan, was raped? Is that a good reason to get upset and offended? Yes, that person should be. Rape should never be taken as a joke or should be used in a comical fashion. It's disgusting, vile, and probably the most heinous crime a person could commit. I honestly wasn't too thrilled about that scene either. But Seth MacFarlane did not intend to make it a joke. He wanted to show that it isn't funny through Stewie's remark. It was just a misunderstanding, and was obviously not offensive enough for that scene to be cut. Let's carry on, shall we?

Stewie watches Bart get bullied by Nelson, so Stewie gets revenge by tying Nelson up and torturing him; trying to impress Bart. Meanwhile, Lisa shows Meg the saxophone, and discovers that Meg plays the saxophone better than her. Out of jealousy, she downplays her talent and no longer likes her, yet Meg looks up to Lisa and finally feels like someone understands her. However, Lisa is horrified to find that Meg cut Lisa's name into her arm. Afterwards, Lois did not enjoy her movie date with Marge, Bart gets freaked out by Stewie's insane behavior after finding Nelson tied up in the garage, while Chris and Brian try to find Santa's Little Helper after accidentally setting him free. Peter gets hit by the stolen car, and discover that it was stolen by Hans Moleman. (Haha, I love that guy!) To celebrate, Homer and Peter go to Moe's Tavern, only to argue whether Duff is the better beer or not. They discover that Pawtucket Patriot beer is actually Duff, but plagiarized. Duff's lawyer happened to be there when the discovery was unraveled, and sues Peter since he is the only one who represents the Pawtucket Patriot brewery. Now, if this lawsuit were to really happen, the actual representatives of Pawtucket Patriot would have flown or driven to Springfield to settle this case. But then again, it's a cartoon, the logic doesn't actually apply here. I feel that they could have handled this case in a better way, but I guess the writers couldn't come up with anything else, or they didn't have enough budget to have more characters appear in this episode. It's not terrible, though. I still like it so far.

While in the Springfield Court room, we see various Simpsons and Family Guy characters with their respect counter parts next to each other. Kent Brockman and Tom Tucker, Carl and Cleveland, Krusty and Mort Goldman, and Mayor Quimby next to Adam West. Instead of Judge Roy Snyder (due to Harry Shearer's absence from this episode), the judge who is looking over this case is Fred Flintstone. He rules in favor of Duff, and Peter subsequently loses his job. I thought the idea of having Fred Flintstone as the judge of this case was pretty stupid, but because Harry Shearer had scheduling conflicts, his characters did not have any speaking roles, or they didn't appear at all. They had no choice but to use an outside character to play the role. The only other judge Springfield could have used was Judge Constance Harm, played by Jane Kaczmarek, but she probably had scheduling conflicts too. But I keep forgetting that this is a Family Guy episode with The Simpsons guest starring, and Family Guy has outside characters making appearances in almost every episode.

The Griffins prepare to leave in dismay as Homer feels remorse for costing Peter his job. He attempts to make amends, but Peter fights with Homer in a chicken-fight fashion and nearly destroys Springfield. So, like every chicken-fight, it goes on for roughly ten minutes. They destroy buildings, crash cars, yada yada yada. They end up airborne across the Springfield Gorge, paying homage to the Simpsons eighth episode of the second season, "Bart The Daredevil" with Peter and Homer falling painfully to the bottom.They finally stop fighting, and realize that despite their differences, they admire and respect each other; and agree to keep their shows "a half hour apart with a pile of garbage between." From afar, Comic Book Guy comments that it was the "worst cross-over ever." Nah, I've seen worse. I smiled throughout a good portion of the episode.

Upon the return to Quahog, the Griffins settle in as Stewie pretends that he's over Bart's friend rejection. But he mimics the chalkboard gag in the beginning of every Simpsons episode to cope with his failed friendship and weeps as the camera zooms out.

Despite not really liking Family Guy since the first cancellation in 2003, this crossover was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. From beginning to end, this episode was very well written. I was very impressed that even though the controversial Stewie prank phone call pissed off a lot of people, he wrote the reaction into the beginning of the episode with Peter's comic. There was an equal amount of references to both shows, and even paying homage to other TV shows really made it creative and clever. People tend to compare The Simpsons and Family Guy with each other, and always wondered if the two shows would ever collide. Well, it happened and seemed to have critical acclaim despite the controversy. If I truly had to choose between the two shows, I'm a Simpsons girl. Family Guy has it's moments for me, but I'd choose The Simpsons over Family Guy any day. But at the same time, I feel the humor of The Simpsons has declined since maybe Season 14 or 15, so I kind of stopped watching the newer seasons. But The Simpsons will forever have a place in my heart, and I wouldn't hesitate to watch mini marathons of earlier episodes on FXX.

Thank you so much for reading this review, and I will be posting again soon. Enjoy the rest of your week!


  1. I think having fred flintstone as the judge was to make fun of the fact that the simpsons are a dysfunctional family but the flintstones was the first cartoon to have this theme.

  2. Just watched the episode, then immediately read this. I actually loved the bit in the very beginning when Chris is talking about crossovers, and I also liked when Peter said that he was tired because he usually only did this for a half hour, and I cracked up at the Kool Aid bit. As for the controversial scene, I couldn't have said it better! I agree that rape shouldn't be joked about, and I get why that scene would upset people. But I didn't see it as a rape joke; I saw it as a "Stewie went too far" joke. Bart's reaction made that clear to me.

    Based on what some of my FB friends had said, I was expecting to be underwhelmed by the episode, but I enjoyed it a lot. I love both shows and got a kick out of seeing them together. (Although I guess Seth MacFarlane forgot that he killed the Simpson family off in an earlier Family Guy episode. Haha!) As always, I loved reading your thoughts, and I look forward to your next post!

    1. Yeah, there was a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor thrown in there as well!
      Thank you very much for reading, commenting, and putting your two cents into what I wrote as well. =]

    2. Always!! Also, I think Comic Book guy actually said, "Worst chicken fight ever" instead of, "Worst crossover ever." Still, this was definitely NOT the worst crossover ever. But it may have been the worst chicken fight ever, simply because there weren't any chickens.

  3. I just finished the episode and finished reading this review and I absolutely loved what you wrote!!! I mean the episode in its self was great in my opinion. Except the last 10 minutes with the whole fighting scene. I mean nothing is happening except for like you said a bunch of destruction and punching and blood and blah blah blah. So yeah from the moment where Peter said the Simpsons sucked to the point where they I guess technically made up and would basically tolerate each other as long as the 30 minute distance was put between them with the garbage I disliked it. After that though it got good again. So that being said this episode definitely got 4 out of 5 stars from me. :D Great job as always Dana!

  4. OH and to mention Stewie's comment. I totally died during that. I mean what he said wasn't that great but the way he said it was hilarious especially after Bart said his joke. He just said it so nonchalantly with a bit of anger mixed into it so that's what made it so funny. If he laughed and said that then it wouldn't have sit as well with me. So that was a funny moment to me.