The creators of Family Guy adore their devoted fans — so, ahead of the irreverent series’ 10th season (premiering Sept. 25), they decided to allow die-hards a sneak peek at the premiere in special midnight screenings across the country. The fans’ reception? As Peter Griffin himself would say, they found the episode freakin’ sweet!
At the AMC Village 7 theater in downtown New York City, a line of fans stretched down the block for two hours(!) before the start of The Something, Something, Something Anniversary, which marks 10 seasons — not years (Aww-kward!) — of the show. Inside the theater, the near-capacity crowd clambered over each other to win prizes in a pre-show trivia game. As the lights dimmed, one attendee tried – unsuccessfully – to rouse the crowd into a chorus of “Surfin’ Bird” by screaming, “Have you Heard?” Apparently, even fans who wait hours in the cold in the cold (on a weeknight… to see a 22-minute cartoon) have their limits.
To be fair, we got more than just the premiere episode. First, we saw the “History of the World” special, a smattering of Family Guy clips that shows the passing of time from the Big (flatulent) Bang to the erection of the Barack Obama Monument in D.C. (Hint: it’s a lot like the Washington Monument, only bigger, and black.) The special was a fun little bonus that only helped set the mood for the premiere. By the time Peter and the gang sang their trademark theme song marking the start of the episode, the audience was in the palm of Family Guy‘s hand.
As for the season 10 premiere itself, it had everything you would expect from a Family Guy episode: crude and sexual humor, musical numbers, and satirical antisemitic jabs. And that was exactly the problem with the episode: It offered nothing new. With nine full seasons of the series behind us, we’ve already seen the best and the worst of the Griffin family hijinks — it’s difficult for a new episode to stand out among the crowd of inappropriate existing episodes. It opens with a bizarre live action Star Trek joke that doesn’t stick the landing and coasts along until the family finally wins the lottery after combing through thousands of tickets in a not-so-funny musical montage. From that point, though, the pace speeds up and stays relatively low on the crude-o-meter for a show known for leaving no offensive stone unturned. It’s a very Peter-centric storyline — Seth Green fans may be sad that his character, Chris, hardly shows up at all.
But it appeared as though I was alone in my tepid reaction to the episode. The crowd liked what they saw and weren’t shy about letting out a good loud laugh, especially during the episode’s final gag involving Quagmire, male enhancement drugs, and a very, very literal depiction of a common jocular expression. There’s a reason that joke style has become Family Guy‘s M.O.: Scenes that cram together a series of sharp one-off quips with no regard to actual plot are the ones that resonate most with audiences. Here’s betting victory is Family Guy‘s during its 10th landmark season.
Excited for the premiere, PopWatchers? Did anyone else check out the midnight screenings?