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Family Guy DVD Review

Tae Andrews | Wednesday, September 28, 2005

“Family Guy Volume 2: Season Three” is a triumphant triumvirate of cartoon mayhem, complete with bonus features such as commentaries from creator Seth McFarlane, deleted scenes and an unaired episode which was pulled from the air by Fox after it was considered too offensive, even by “Family Guy” standards.

What makes “Family Guy” such an entertaining show is its family dynamic; it features a bizarre ensemble of characters which have remarkable comedic depth and interact with each other in hilarious ways. Peter is great as a rotund man’s man, cheerfully spouting off offensive epithets with beer in hand. He is complemented perfectly by his wife Lois’ nasal delivery and periodic outbursts of violence.

Seth Green’s voicing of Chris is hysterical, as he interjects with comments that clearly illustrate that he’s not the coldest beer in the fridge. Meg is a veritable family midden – everyone dumps abuse on the poor girl. Throughout the episodes she is a lightning rod for verbal punishment from her family members. Brian also delivers some great lines as a canine Renaissance man … or would it be Renaissance man’s best friend? Baby Stewie’s diabolical plans to eliminate his own mother and consolidate his despotic rule over the world are sure to have the audience in stitches.

And then, of course, there are the neighbors: the testosterone-laced he-man rants of paraplegic Joe, Cleveland’s deadpan deliveries, and the perverted Quagmire, who McFarlane describes as “a despicable sex maniac who’s just a disgusting human being and therefore hysterically funny.”

The show’s third season features more than its fair share of memorable moments. Some highlights include:

u Brian’s brief stint as a police K-9 before developing an addiction to cocaine in “The Thin White Line.”

u An autumnal invasion of the rural Quahog community by stereotypical New Yorkers grubbing after some New England foliage. In the episode “Lethal Weapons,” Lois takes up Tae-Jitsu, which leads to a painful windowpane mishap for neighbor Quagmire, prompting an emergency phone call to the authorities. (“Hello, 911? It’s Quagmire. Yeah…yeah, yeah…it’s in a window this time.”)

u In “From Method to Madness,” Meg brings home a nudist boyfriend, only to incite a nubile response from her parents. This episode is also privy to one of Stewie Griffin’s infamous “sexy parties.”

u Will Ferrell takes a hilarious turn as the Black Knight in “Mr. Saturday Knight,” in which he voices a jealous paladin who challenges Peter to a joust after he finds Griffin flirting with his girlfriend, Madeleine.

The Bonus Features on the box set are also awesome. “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” the aforementioned rogue episode which was censored, follows Peter’s journey from the dredges of anti-Semitism to a more complete ethnic understanding. It’s easy to understand why this episode is censored, as this is probably the most offensive “Family Guy” episode made.

The featurette “Uncensored” is hilarious, as it discusses the delicate relationship Seth McFarlane has with the network executives who keep him honest. “I think I can safely say that thanks to censors, the show probably stands as the single edgiest show that’s ever been on primetime network TV and we’re pretty proud of that,” he said.

McFarlane acknowledged that, after years of pushing the envelope, he may have lost his ability to discern the comedic from the offensive.

“Working on a show with the kind of hours we did, where we were there until three or four in the morning, you’re guaranteed to lose objectivity as far as what’s tasteful and what’s not,” he said. “In that sense, it’s helpful to have the censors come in and say, ‘OK, you guys know that this isn’t funny and is just going to piss people off.”

The pilot episode is also definitely worth checking out, as it is amusing to see the production quality of the show’s original animation. Even with less-polished artwork, the same vein of humor that runs throughout other episodes permeates the pilot.

The commercial success of the “Family Guy” DVDs allowed the show to make a Lazarus-like comeback from the grave. After being cancelled, successful DVD sales of the show’s first three seasons convinced Fox network executives to bring “Family Guy” back. The Griffins are back, and they are here to stay.