After an off week with a tired arson story and way too many Mort jokes, “Family Guy” rebounded a bit with “Killer Queen.” It was no “Back to the Pilot,” but it was fun enough.
Family Guy episodes usually follow this type of structure: A plot thread is introduced in the opening minutes that has nothing to do with the episode’s main plot; the first plot runs its course throughout the first act or so, eventually connecting to the main plot; and then, the rest of the episode is focused on the main plot before resetting everything back to the status quo at the very end. This is usually accompanied by a side plot that might end up linking to the main plot but most of the time doesn’t. Episodes are usually a bunch of ideas thrown together, and this episode was the same way, more so than usual. The side plot in this episode ended up wrapping up a little sooner than usual, I think, aside from the connection at the end, and that was also a little strange.
First, Peter wants Chris to enter a hot dog-eating contest against undefeated champion Charles Yamamoto, but because this is an animated sitcom, he has to find a way to come up with the $50 entry fee. While he browses his old possessions in the attic with Brian and Chris, they stumble upon a crate of records, including a copy of Queen’s 1977 album News Of The World—the one with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” on it. The album cover, with artwork from sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas, depicts a giant robot holding the dead and bloodied members of the band, and the image deeply disturbs Stewie, who can’t even stand to glance at the thing. Brian promptly ponies up the money for the entry fee, having found his entertainment for the week.
Both the A and B plots had some really standout moments, though considering the plot with Stewie and Brian was mostly just a series of gags it’s no surprise that it was full of funny moments. Since it really didn’t take up too much screen time, I’m going to go ahead and get my thought on the B plot out to the way. I loved everything about it (though Stewie resorting to suicide was a little disturbing to see). This reminded me a lot of the recent B plot where Peter was constantly falling down the new stairs. It had that same feel to it with it essentially using the same joke over and over again and escalating it with each use. Stewie’s reactions were priceless, and his dialogue when vocalizing his fear was terrific. “I’ll tell you what the news of the world is! We’re in a lot of goddamn(?) trouble!”
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Family Guy S10E16: Killer Queen
Meanwhile, Chris wins the eating contest, but Lois so dislikes the whole ordeal that she decides to send Chris to fat camp. Once there, Chris complains that Peter should be there with him. After all, Peter is fatter than Chris, so why the hell not? Although the opening shot of the camp features kids squashing horses to the ground and a kid using a tire swing to jump into a lake and dragging the connected tree along with him, the episode doesn’t descend into a montage of typical camp hijinks. Instead, a murder plot interrupts it when Peter and Chris stumble upon a dead camper. Since it’s a fat kid, Peter suspects Lois’ brother Patrick, who strangled fat guys and ended up in a mental asylum.
I was surprised by just how tense it got during that fight with Chris and Charles Yamamoto, but loved how it was Stewie who came to the rescue at the end, using the album cover to give Charles a heart attack. Do I even need to comment on the awesomeness of having the Queen robot showing up in that scene? I’m going to assume there’s a plan to have Patrick show up again, since I can’t really think of another reason to have him escape at the end like that, and maybe next time we’ll get a better focus on him. The cutaways for this one were all pretty solid with some of my favorites being Peter’s patter singing, Peter fighting The Riddler, and the scary teenager who just wanted to be loved.
The cutaways had some laughs, especially the two patter song sequences with Peter mumbling his way through musical numbers, but for the most part this was an average half-hour. That’s better than the norm for late-period Family Guy, which too often forgets things like plot and intertwining stories in favor of cutaways intended to offend. I liked the simplicity of tonight’s half-hour, laughed a few times, and never really groaned at any horrible material. Faint praise to be sure, but it makes the show bearable.
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