The seemingly impossible has happened: The cast of Family Guy has invaded the world of The Simpsons! After years and years of each show taking shots at the other (the best being the Treehouse of Horror where Homer clones were taking over Springfield…including a befuddled looking Peter Griffin), both shows creators dropped their respective weaponry and collaborated on an historic event. Fans have been waiting for a meeting of the two animation stalwarts for years now…I’m not quite sure they got what they wanted.
The story that gets the two cartoon families together is a fairly thin one. Then again, this is a Family Guy episode which the Simpsons appear in, so that is kind of expected. Peter becomes a newspaper comic strip writer on a whim and has to get the Griffins out of town due to a masochistic depiction of women (ha?). While travelling, the family car gets stolen and the Griffins seek sanctuary and help in a foreign town called Springfield. When the two complete families eventually meet, they hit it off quite well…at first. Peter and Homer are the best of friends as they search for the stolen car. Stewie falls in love with Bart and how cool he is. Hell, even Lisa helps Meg to find some sort of relevance in her roughshod life. Things fall apart, however, when Peter and Homer disagree on which beer is better, Pawtucket Ale or Duff, when it is discovered that the former just pastes its label over the latter. This shuts down the plant where Peter works and causes a ten minute brawl between he and Homer a la the Family Guy “Chicken fights”. Bart also sees how much of a sociopath Stewie is and bails on him. The families eventually go their separate ways but in an amicable way.
There were some big problems during the course of this episode. First, it was an hour long…an hour! Several of the story elements could have been cut and have actually been to the benefit of the entire show. Did we really need Stewie to capture and torture Nelson in order for Bart to see how crazy he is? Probably not. Another issue comes from the awkwardness that comes along with mixing shows together. The whole courting process between Stewie and Bart felt very forced. Also, even though there was not really time for them anyway, there was a startling lack of Marge, Lois, Maggie and Chris. It was weird. The worst part of the show, to me at least, was the Homer/Peter fight. It was very Family Guy and seemed so forced it was rarely funny. The original Chicken Fight was so clever and original, it hit on all the levels. This was just the opposite. It was tired and unoriginal. I would have been okay with something more original while setting up a fight that never happens. Regardless, it was what I was looking forward to the most and I felt let down.
The previous statements do not express how funny this episode was. There were so many jokes that hit, especially towards the middle of the show, that had me laughing pretty hard. The in jokes for both shows hit on most of the attempts. I am a bigger Simpsons fan than Family Guy so when the Griffins entered Springfield and the angelic choir started playing I chortled. The juxtaposition between Brian (didn’t he die??) and Santa’s Little Helper was quite funny. The part where Homer says that he and Peter will be a great team and Peter forces in a dream sequence was hilarious! Also, the court scene had the writers’ tongues firmly planted in their cheeks as the took shots at both shows; it was brazen and fantastic. The best part, by far, was when Homer and Peter give free car washes to people who have stolen cars. They get scantily clad and do a sexy car wash to Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me”…it was amazing!
I know that this was a one shot thing. In other words, you’re not going to see The Simpsons invading Quahog any time soon (and they say as much during the course of the show). The show had overall pacing issues, but still delivered on several jokes. Fans of both shows should have walked away both satisfied and a little disappointed. I will be interested to see how this effected Family Guy‘s ratings as they have a worse overall ranking than their Springfield counterpart…even though both shows need the boost. I think that the Griffins trek to the land of The Simpsons was a welcome one, even though it probably won’t live forever in the pantheon of TV crossovers. Then again, I am currently thinking of popping open a Duff, getting my car washed and having a few laughs. Here’s to animation!