FAMILY GUY: VOLUME TEN
MOVIE: ***1/2(out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
By the time you reach the tenth volume of a popular series, you should know whether you’re going to like it or not. Arguments can be made as to whether the series has jumped the shark, but for something that’s earned an ongoing cult status, “Family Guy” is somewhat immune to that. It’s fallen into being a show for the fans, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The same could be said about “The Simpsons”… times two.
Volume Ten of “Family Guy” manages to put the quirky characters from Quahog, Rhode Island into new situations, though with some familiar stand-bys. The two big anchor episodes are the Christmas special (“Road to the North Pole,” in which Stewie and Brian discover Santa is real and must take over his job with disastrous results) and another time travel one (“The Big Bang Theory,” in which Stewie learns he created the universe and then his nemesis appears to kill his ancestors).
These episodes are the most spectacular in terms of animation and high concept. They also feature Stewie and Brian for the most part, which is always an audience favorite.
What makes the other episodes work is that Stewie and Brian are often downplayed into secondary roles to make way for Peter, Lois, Chris and Meg to take center stage. We have the same non-sequitur humor, and that’s starting to cut away for longer and longer takes. Sometimes that works – like when Peter literally flashes to the entire music video of Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s “Dancing in the Streets” music video. Other times, it falls flat – like with an otherwise funny but overdone Michael J. Fox joke about Parkinsons.
Still, “Family Guy” is fresh and offensive, just as you’ve come to expect. The characters aren’t growing, but who cares and who would want that anyway? It’s a show with inappropriate humor, and if you like that sort of thing, you’ll enjoy this new volume of shows.
If you already hate Seth MacFarlane and “Family Guy,” don’t bother. Haven’t you learned by now?
For the tenth volume of a television show, there’s still plenty of great material on this DVD set. There’s commentaries by the writers, directors, producers and cast members on select episodes. Also included from select episodes are deleted scenes and select scene animatics.
Featurettes on the three discs include “All I Really Want for Christmas: The Music of ‘Road to the North Pole,’” “Herbert & Franz: The Making of an Epic Fight Sequence” and the somewhat long-winded “Adam West Star Ceremony” celebrating the man behind the Mayor getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.