Today I’m passing over the microphone (keyboard? PC? I’ll stop now) to my boyfriend Maxime who shares my love for Family Guy, an animated sitcom with outrageous humour. We have both watched virtually all of the episodes, but he took it a step further and chose his top 10! Enjoy.
S4E14 : Peter launches his own TV network, broadcasting controversial content and triggering a censoring war with the FCC. An ideal choice for best episode for a show which is really about TV itself, and how far one can get with offensive humour. Showcasing a sharp narrative, a killer musical number, and thigh-slapping jokes at every turn, this episode is nearly flawless from start to finish.
2. Road to Rhode Island
S2E13 : Brian and Stewie get stranded in California, and have to take a train ride home cross-country. The first and the best episode from the ‘Road to’ series, this one is a masterpiece from the pre-cancellation era, operating a definitive shift in Brian and Stewie’s characters, and turning them into the show’s most likeable couple. All in all, an incredibly entertaining joy ride, with just the right blend of humour and emotional moments.
S4E6 : Peter learns that he is mentally disabled and decides to take full advantage of the situation. Often cited as being the show’s best episode, this one showcases the archetypal mix of offensive humour and emotional awkwardness of its golden era. Even if the ending is slightly obvious, the writing is sharp and the jokes are numerous and delightful.
4. North by North Quahog
S4E1 : Peter and Lois go on a second honeymoon and end up being chased by Mel Gibson for stealing the only copy of the sequel to his Passion of the Christ. A spectacular return-to-form after the show’s two-year cancellation. This may not be the funniest one, but it is surely the most important : this cult epsiode definitely turned Family Guy from an often timid Simpsons rip-off, into one of the funniest and most experimental broadcasts of the 2000s.
5. Blue Harvest
S6E1 : The first and best part of the classic Star Wars trilogy parody, this episode is an all-killer no-filler. With an almost flawless casting choice, it takes advantage of each situation and turns it into a humorous as well as affectionate comment on the original film. The linear structure, which roughly reproduces the original movie, never feels tedious, and the show always knows when to impose itself over the original material.
6. And Then There Were Fewer
S9E1 : Most of Quahog’s main characters find themselves at the mercy of a serial killer in an isolated mansion. Arguably the show’s swan song, this double episode unfolds like a typical Agatha Christie novel, adding its emblematic cheekiness and irreverence to the source material. Even if it suffers from a few discrete plot holes, the episode remains remarkably captivating, and goes out in style with a couple of fabulous twists.
7. I Dream of Jesus
S7E2 : After finding the actual Jesus Christ in a record store, Peter convinces Him to make a second coming. A sardonic comment on the jet set world, the episode remains cult mostly for Peter’s interpretation of the Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird’, which he relentlessly sings throughout most of the running time, to the family’s exasperation. If the episode is not one of the most tightly-written, the mere sight of Peter’s renewed energy at each performance is definitely worth a place on my list.
8. Road to the Multiverse
S8E1 : Because of a malfunction in one Stewie’s inventions, him and Brian find themselves travelling through several parallel universes and unable to go back to theirs. A fan favorite and an amazingly entertaining chapter of the ‘Road to’ series, this episode makes up for its jerky structure by taking us through ever more imaginative and fun animated worlds.
S6E8 : After over-indulging in fast-food, Peter suffers a stroke and half of his body is left paralized. An archetypal Family Guy episode, quite similar to ‘Petarded’ in bluntly taking advantage of a controversial situation with sassy humour. Quite a zig-zagging narrative, if somewhat overstuffed, this one is also an uncompromising and unforgettable take on the fast-food conglomerates.
10. Da Boom
S2E3 : On New Year’s Eve 2000, a nuclear holocaust turns the world into an hellish wasteland. The Griffin family leaves Quahog and builds a town around a Twinkie factory. Sometimes referred to as the show’s first classic episode, this compelling, if non-canonical exodus, surely looked nothing like what the Simpsons ever broadcasted (except maybe the Treehouse of Horror series). Featuring the typically tightly-written structure of the show’s early days, as well as an early demonstration of the writers’ wry spirit, this one remains an early essential.