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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Family Guy in Springfield: Did it work?

This article contains spoilers for a Family Guy which is expected on BBC Three later in the year.


By now, if you wanted to know what people made of the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover you will have typed 'Family Guy Simpsons crossover' into a search engine of your choice and read the streams of reviews that it blurts out for you. Firstly, it's important to remember this was a Family Guy episode. It was written by the Family Guy team whilst the residents of Springfield appear as themselves in a very 'Griffin' skewed world. There were digs taken at the decline of The Simpsons over the years and that 'Moe your sister's being raped' joke that had been complained about ahead of broadcast.


The first act that saw the Griffins forced to leave Quahog after Peter offended the women of the town with a sexist comic strip was ultimately forgettable, but served as an excuse for the Griffins to end up in Springfield. 'This Springfield place is nice we should visit again" quips Louis as the family stroll through the iconic cartoon town.  What the the 42 minute episode did well was the interactions between the two families. I enjoyed seeing Brian spending time with Santa's Little Helper and Homer & Peter bonding over their love of beer. What did less well was the female characters. Blink and you will have missed any time with Louis and Marge and the scenes between Lisa and Meg only served to be predictable and dull.




There wasn't a moment where it didn't feel odd seeing our favourite cartoon families mingling together, and whilst the story itself was a little lacklustre and disappointing, the fact it was happening at all was exciting.  The interactions between the Griffins and other Springfield residents like Apu and Chief Wiggum worked well, and because this was a Family Guy episode it had that Family Guy edge we've come to expect. Stewie tying up bully Nelson in the Simpson garage isn't something that the more family friendly Simpsons would even consider doing. The crossover pointed out quite how sedate The Simpsons is. The scene that saw Homer and Peter seductively wash  cars to the backing of Def Leppard's 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' didn't sit right and it felt out of place in family friendly Springfield.


I'm not sure I believed the unlikely 'bromance' between Stewie and Bart, but Homer and Peter complimented one another well enough to give the episode some believability. The 'chicken' fight which had been seen in the previously released trailer went on far too long and part of me drifted off. Even by Family Guy standards this was a brutal exchange. Seeing Homer with his eye hanging out of its yellow socket just didn't feel right. By the time we'd reached the expected fight it seemed as if the not so cleverly disguised digs at each series had reached its peak.

Other reviewers have been cynical and harsh but in reality I'm not overly sure what they expected. A crossover episode is never going to satisfy the appetites of fans of both shows but surely the fact it happened at all is reason to smile.

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