The 'Family Guy' 150th episode and the return of 'The Boondocks': One of them was brilliant

Family Guy‘s hour-long 150th episode began with a two-character piece that revolved around Stewie and Brian being trapped in a bank vault, then finished up with some memorable musical numbers from the show. The “regular” episode, “Brian and Stewie,” was both tedious, predictably vulgar, and, by the end, sentimental.

The big joke: Stewie had a soiled diaper, and convinced the dog to “eat my poop” to prevent stench and diaper rash. Oh, and Stewie wanted Brian to “possibly lick my fanny” clean, as well. Baby and dog also got really drunk.

As the episode wore on, the discovery that Brian owned a gun he kept in the bank safe-deposit box led to a discussion of suicide, an admission by the usually flinty Stewie that he’d miss Brian if he were gone, and concluded with the baby falling asleep on Brian’s lap as the dog read to him from David Copperfield. Awwww…

Better were the musical moments. Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is a clever musical comedy producer, and set-pieces like Peter doing the Jerry Lewis mime number from The Errand Boy, and the Guy version of The Music Man‘s “Shipoopi,” are pleasures to watch.

The Boondocks hasn’t aired a new episode since 2008, and so, in a brilliant stroke, the new season began with the ’08 election of Barack Obama, cast as a documentary being made by a German filmmaker whose voice sounded an awful lot like director Werner Herzog, voiced by — well, whattaya know — Werner Herzog.

The half-hour, titled “It’s a Black President, Huey Freeman,” written by Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, was a terrific parody of Obama-mania and a ferocious critique of all the hatred that has been directed against Obama. Warning; this clip contains strong language.

Placed in the Boondocks universe, Obama publicly condemned angry-kid realist Huey. Why? Because Huey is friends with Obama on MySpace, and Huey’s politics are far too radical for mass America, so Obama did the politically expedient thing. The episode played out with shrewd, nuanced satire. (Although will.i.am may not feel that way, after seeing the way his style was parodied.)

It’s great to have the cantankerous Boondocks back again.

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Comments (102 total) Add your comment
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  • Matt

    SOOOO glad ‘The Boondocks’ is back. Such an underwatched show, it never fails to impress and entertain me.

    • Dick Whitman

      Family Guy is a show for morons. Unfunny Simpsons ripoff.

      • Big Walt

        There was a time when it was funny but that’s been years ago now. I don’t even DVR it anymore.

      • tony pavlon

        new episodes of the simpsons is the most unfunny thing that i have ever seen, family guy shits on simpsons. and it aint a rip either, characters have fresh newly seen attributes which make it more outrageous and funny and politically incorrect than anything simpsons have ever done

  • Bob

    I have to agree, it’s great to have The Boondocks back. Their take on subjects such as black on black crime, government paranoia, and the growing white kids from suburbia thinking they’re ghetto are hilarious. Let’s hope it sticks around this time.

    • Antonio

      Their take on gay rappers was memorable as well.

  • Stef

    Ken honestly who cares about family guy. Someone on EW needs to recap tonight’s mind blowing episode of Breaking Bad.Everyone reading this post should watch it – from the beginning of course. You won’t regret it.

    • Stef

      THANK YOU KEN

    • Mal B

      Breaking Bad was amazing! The last few episodes have got me even more hooked than before!

  • Shanna

    VERY good episode! Love the new animation style too!

    • mary q contrary

      New animation style? I didn’t notice that. It might be that it’s been so long since I’ve seen an episode, though, but the animation actually reminded me of the first season, when McGruder had a much more active role in the show. Not trying to say it wasn’t a new style, though. Like I said, maybe it’s been too long.

      • Shanna

        I saw a few stark differences…mainly in the characters faces.

      • ceddy ced

        looks great in HD!

  • Cris

    Enjoyed Boondocks quite a bit. As for Family Guy, which I usually enjoy and is often good for at least a couple laugh-out-loud moments, I think “tedious” is a good word for the episode.

    • hugo-panzer

      Na, EW is against Family Guy. The show hurts their feelings, me thinks. Plus, it was so predictable that whoever reviewed it would bash it. Remember when they had Peter wipe his @ss with an EW magazine? Now that was funny.

      • Jon

        1. That was about 3 years ago.
        2. Maybe this episode just sucked (which it did)

      • KRG

        The episode of family Guy was a huge Change of Pace. It was revealing and a bit dirty diaper, but not laugh out loud funny. I hope they show Boondocks again since I missed it.

      • Will

        Um, seems to me like it was EW that hurt Family Guy’s feelings when they gave it an “F” in their review.

      • t3hdow

        To Will:
        That wasn’t Family Guy. That was American Dad. And Family Guy lost its edgy luster shortly after its return to TV in 2005.

      • Will

        You’re right. EW gave Family Guy a D when it premiered in 1999:
        “What is laughable is the clunky animation, which makes the static, retrograde stuff pumped out by MacFarlane’s old employer, Hanna-Barbera, seem state-of-the-art. Combine all of the above, and the acclaim for writer-artist-actor MacFarlane (who does three regular voices on the show) is shaping up to be the hollowest hype of the year.”
        And Ken Tucker wrote it!

  • Jenny

    I love Boondocks that show is amazing!

  • Will

    “and set-pieces like Peter doing the Jerry Lewis mime number from The Errand Boy, and the Guy version of The Music Man‘s “Shipoopi,” are pleasures to watch.”

    I always wonder what percentage of Family Guy’s target audience knows that these scenes are recreations and not original material. It almost seems disingenuous– like the show is deliberately buying the rights to (relatively) obscure musical numbers and trying to pass them off as their own creations (Shipoopi? it just *sounds* like something Family Guy would come up with).. especially since they occasionally do write their own songs. And these scenes drag on and on– like they didn’t have enough new material to fill the whole half hour.

    • Will

      ..that also goes for things like the scene from Anchors Aweigh where they drew Stewie over Jerry the mouse dancing with Gene Kelly.. where was the originality in that? and what was the point?

      • mary q contrary

        Haha. I think the point is that Seth McFarlane gets to sit at home and laugh at all the teenage boys and average Family Guy fans, who wouldn’t touch musical theater with a ten-foot-pole, enjoy a number from famous Musicals. I think it’s pretty hilarious, anyway.

      • kasxyz

        I think Stewie dancing with Gene Kelly is great…I also remember when Jerry did it!

      • vince

        Ever heard of the word homage? They pay homage, they’re not so arrogant as to “copy” or pass things on. It happens in a lot of entertainment..eg. sampling and covering music. Family Guy is very well written and sure they have some throw away moments where they fill time but that’s the shtick. Simpsons did it and Fam Guy pays homage to them all the time. In fact, Fam Guy breaks boundaries Simpsons didn’t dare to cross.

    • Dave

      Oh, I’m sure the youngest viewers may not know the origin of these set-pieces themselves. That’s one of the reasons why parents are so handy to have around! McFarlane is not claiming he originated these pieces in any way, but he is getting them in front of an audience that might otherwise have never heard of them. Who knows, some of them might even end up seeking out the originals! Ridiculous argument, Will.

      • Will

        You’re assuming that the younger viewers are aware these set pieces have origins beyond Family Guy to begin with, which I don’t think the show always makes apparent (with the exception of, say, the Star Wars episode). They do it with jokes, too.. they’ll recite a joke word for word from another source (a movie from the 70s or 80s, usually), and if you know where it’s from, it’s an “homage,” but if you don’t, you just assume Family Guy wrote it. They don’t add their own spin, there’s no satire or parody, it’s just a recitation. So what exactly did the writer do to earn a paycheck??

      • Dave

        I wasn’t aware that TV shows were expected to footnote every reference to some other show, book, or whatever. Like I said, that’s what parents, older siblings, friends, and such as for. And it’s not just Family Guy, Will. I’ve explained the source of many references in many shows to people who weren’t aware of the original, young and old. If FG isn’t your thing, that’s fine, but your argument is still total BS!

  • shar

    i loved the Family Guy episode so much. i don’t know if i’m the target audience, but don’t insult my intelligence, if i don’t get every hidden reference i get enough of them to make me want to watch it

    • Desmo

      If you like it then you are probably a part of their target audience.

    • J.Norman

      So your idea of humor is eating dog crap, lapping up vomit, and cleaing a babys assh*le with thier tongue>
      Yes, you certainly are a true class individual. .. and a true avid Family Guy fan.
      Lots of watch the show, but most get tired of the intentional grossout for the sake of grossout and all the cheap shots the show makes. But to mentalities like you, this is funny humor.

      • Dave

        So j.norman, FAMILY GUY seems so beneath you. Then what the hell are you doing in this talkback? Here to educate the lowbrow masses? Douche!

      • Hannah

        I like Family Guy, and I graduated from a four year liberal arts college with honors. But I’m not beyond calling you a douche either.

      • Candi

        Wow … does it make you feel better to frequent pop culture forums and be a real a-hole? Your ‘real life’ must be very, very sad. Waiting on your review of ‘Masterpiece Theater.’

      • Katie

        Geez, it’s what someone else finds funny you asshole. You seriously don’t need to or should bash somebody’s PERSONAL opinion, unless it’s an offending one like someone who is racist.
        I personally don’t find the grossouts funny. I still watch the show because the creative plots and the fact that Seth is actually a talented author; yeah, he tries to add humor but he usually has this dramtic plots to most episodes. Like the sucide that was discussed in this episode. It was sort of touching *cough* Stewie was nice >.>

  • Sienna

    Okay, I had no idea “The Boondocks” was back. Awesome! I thought it had been canceled. Gotta go set my DVR now…

  • Joe G

    It’s called homage.

    That said, it was a bad episode. If they were going to do a musical episode they should’ve gone for broke nad done original material instead of reusing old songs. I thought Herbert the pedo’s “All I Need is the Girl” was fun, but they should’ve done the tap sequence too. That would’ve been hilarious.

    • Will

      I don’t know, to me it always seems like less of a homage and more of a lazy cut and paste job. And why would a show think its key demographic of young men would appreciate an homage to 1961’s The Errand Boy, or a musical like The Music Man? They never make it fully apparent that that’s what they’re doing– and so now a generation of viewers are potentially crediting Family Guy with other people’s work.

      • Joe G

        I think they do it for themselves. Family Guy doesn’t really write about their generation, half the jokes on the show are about obscure television shows from the 70s. People tune in for the random, it’s the show’s shtick. I don’t think Family Guy has a moral responsibility to teach the cavemen about anything cultural.

        Sometimes it’s clever (I thought Shipoopi was clever) and sometimes it’s dumb. What can you do.

  • Jaydog

    So glad The Boondocks is back.

    I was stunned with the Family Guy episode; it seemed to take the form of a short play. I’m not sure if most people will appreciate it, but had a lot more substance than most of the stuff on TV today. Gotta hand it to Seth.

    • Joe G

      Ehh, I appreciated the format but the jokes were awful. It was just… gross.

  • Victoria

    Wait wait wait… The Boondocks is back? Like, really back? Like regular new episodes back? That pretty epic! I’m excited!

  • ld

    The episode of Family Guy was so bad that my boyfriend and I changed it over to the Xbox 360 the moment we realized what Stewie wanted Brian to do. The series is beyond stale.

    Boondocks, on the other hand, rules.

  • boigenius07

    The Family Guy episode was…eh
    And The Boondocks episode was degrading. I posted a review on my blog.

  • boigenius07

    boigeniusinc.com

    • Desmo

      There is no way I am going to go to your website to read your review based simply on your comment telling me to. Find better advertising.

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