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Family Guy’s 100th Episode

Mark Witte | Friday, November 2, 2007

This Sunday, Family Guy airs its 100th episode. For a show that has been canceled twice and yet resurrected, thanks to incredible DVD sales, it has been quite a ride. To celebrate hitting triple-digits, Family Guy promises closure to one of the show’s longest running plot lines: an end to a vow that Stewie Griffin has had for six seasons, the death of his mother.Since Family Guy first aired in 1999, the literal extremity of Stewie’s love-hate relationship with his mother has been a motif of the show. Stewie has spent whole episodes trying to kill Lois, and it is hard to find an episode where he forgets to curse at her very existence. His efforts, of course, have never been successful. Such recurring failure, however, makes it a bit na’ve to believe Stewie should ever be victorious in his endeavor. So then, what will happen on Sunday night? The title for the 100th episode is “Stewie Kills Lois.” The show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, told media on Oct. 7: “If you watch the 100th Episode, someone will die.” Television advertisements for the episode stand as more confirmation of Lois’ death, even showing what appears to be the murder and Stewie’s ensuing celebration. But what actually happens in this “historic” episode?Well, to be quite frank, not much.Some things we already know will happen. We know Stewie will pull the trigger. We know Lois will be shot and we know Stewie will scamper off cheering, “I did it!” before tripping, falling flat on his face and ironically crying, “Mommy!”Other things will likely happen. Lois can be expected to go missing, therefore Brian will become depressed and, as always, Peter’s big mouth will inevitably get him in more trouble than he deserves.But let me tell you something you didn’t see coming: Peter goes on a date with a stick figure, and in the awkward discussion that ensues they try to figure out just how they might go about having … well, you know what. In other words, there’s really no big secret. You know how it ends. The overall experience of episode will be hit-or-miss, but probably more of a miss. Diehard fans will enjoy many of the jokes, especially the ones surrounding Meg and her birth, and there is a bit about Rosie O’Donnell sure to be sidesplitting. Unfortunately, after viewing an advance copy, the episode as whole does not seem to flow as well as it should. Where Family Guy has gotten by in the past using “cutaway gags” (parodied in South Park as jokes created at random by manatees) often as transitions to keep the show from dragging, Sunday’s episode misses that fluid feel. Until the episode’s tagline, about halfway through, everything runs smoothly. Soon after that, however, the episode gets stuck on a sort of lukewarm cruise control, moping along disjointedly toward an end you would have to be brain-dead, or Stewie Griffin, not to expect.If you have nothing else to do at 9 p.m. on Sunday you might as well find a television and let yourself be so innocent as to believe Lois has it coming, but you will probably regret it by 9:30 p.m. In fact, if you are going to watch anything at all on Sunday night, you would do better to catch the Family Guy retrospective that airs at 8:30 p.m.; it is sure to be less misleading.