It’s hard to quit a tv show you’ve been watching for almost twenty years, and once were really fond of. Partially as it’s a habit and feels like something which is an ongoing element of your life, but also because there’s always the hope that it’ll return to form, that like The Simpsons some episodes will still be great and make up for the slightly rubbish ones. But after the last time I reviewed Family Guy I found myself no longer wishing to bother with it, it was so tedious, so tiresome, so tacky, and so devoid in laughs that there didn’t seem any point in watching it again. But I thought I’d give it one last chance, spend one final twenty minutes viewing it in the hope it’d renew my fondness for the show.
For anyone who can’t be bothered to scroll down to find out if it did or not, the short answer is no, and it didn’t even come close. The main plot revolved around Brian being depressed on his birthday as he’s one year closer to death and hasn’t left his mark on the world, and so Stewie offered to help him write his autobiography. Instead he made a robotic clone of Brian who was exactly like him, supposedly so that after his demise Brian would live on and still be remembered. Meanwhile Peter decided to become a professional masseuse, because that’s one of the few plot lines they haven’t done yet.
If you guessed that the storyline with Brian would end up with him fucking his robotic twin, then well done, you could now be a Family Guy writer, but please, don’t let that make you feel suicidal, the same happened to me as it was such an obvious conclusion. The whole thing was predictable though, and even Brian acting like a normal dog isn’t funny anymore and that used to be a joke that just kept on giving. Peter’s subplot was somehow even more monotonous, with humour about Peter not realising that the Asian Massage Parlour he worked at offered sexual services so weakly handled that it felt like the writers really didn’t give a toss and were just coming up with any old crap to pass the time.
The cutaways often save a weak episode but even these weren’t funny this week, there was a gag about Harvey Weinstein being the new villain in a Minions movie which was just dull, sure it mocks the man and that’s no bad thing but rather than it being a vicious attack it was instead a bland take on the idea that it would be funny to see a minion reacting to sexual assault. It wasn’t though, oh no. There was also a recurring joke about Allison Janney being tall which they ran in to the ground by repeating several times despite it being a hackneyed observation in the first place, and supposed satire of The Social Network, a film released nine years ago and which surely everyone’s bored senseless of people taking the piss out of at this point.
Pop culture gags are another mainstay of the series but once again they were miserably rubbish here. There was a poor joke about Rami Malek looking tired in Mr Robot, and an appallingly out of date gag concerning that time everyone had a U2 album forced upon them for free, given that it happened five years ago it’s embarrassing that they’re only now getting round to mocking the event though I guess given The Social Network parody we should be happy that it’s something that’s taken place relatively recently at least. Oh yeah, and there’s a reference to Anton Yelchin which was cheap and unpleasant and completely unneeded, but then Family Guy has traded in such humour for a while now so it shouldn’t come as a shock.
In the end Brian discovered he hated the robotic Brian, and thus himself, which it turns out was what Stewie planned all along, supposedly because if Brian had written his autobiography no one would have wanted to read it. Stewie insults Brian with the words “Your best is middling and your worst is intolerable” and yes, it’s lazy for a critic to quote something from a show and then throw it back at them, but like Family Guy I’m lazy too! And it really does sum up the show perfectly, and I’m out, it wasn’t a hateful episode like the Trump two parter, or the Herbert fancies Peter episode, but it’s just so pointless and I can’t subject myself to this shit any more.
It’s not something I’m happy about though, don’t think that for a second. I wanted to laugh, I always do, I’m a laughter junkie and always crave my next fix, and Family Guy has made me laugh an enormous amount over the years. For a long long time it was a real pleasure to watch the ridiculously daft antics of Peter and co, and perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that now it’s twenty years old it’s run out of steam. It’s just a shame it’s become so awful, and tarnished the memories I had, when I look back upon it now I’ll remember a show which started off beautifully but ended somewhat terribly.