25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: FUTURAMA – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST
Billy West (Pixels)
Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy)
John DiMaggio (Adventure Time)
Tress MacNeille (the Simpsons)
Maurice Lamarche (Frozen)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
David Herman (Angel)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

XMAS STORY

GUEST CAST
John Goodman (Red State)
Conan O’Brien (The Simpsons)
While on a ski trip, Fry begins to feel nostalgic for 31th century Christmases. To cheer him up, the rest of the Planet Express staff decide to decorate for what is now called Xmas, which includes cutting down an Xmas tree (which are now palm trees, since pine trees are extinct). Fry decides to venture into the city to buy Leela a present as she has not felt happy about Xmas since she was an orphan. The others warn him to be back before sundown, or else he will be killed by a murderous robotic Santa Claus. In the year 2801, The Friendly Robot Company developed a robotic version of St. Nick himself to determine who has been naughty and who has been nice. Unfortunately, due to a programming error, the jolly robotic saint soon turned into a mad murderer when his standards were set too high. Thus, he will kill anyone who has been naughty, which, by his standards is essentially everybody. Meanwhile, Bender befriends several homeless robots and goes on a robbery spree.
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Fry buys Leela a parrot, which escapes. Leela heads out to rescue Fry before Robot Santa arrives. After pursuing the parrot to the top of a tall building, Fry is saved from plunging to his death by Leela. Unfortunately, Fry and Leela’s safety is short-lived, as sundown finally comes and the robotic Santa Claus makes his appearance and attacks the two friends.Fry and Leela take refuge in the Planet Express building after being saved by Bender and his homeless robot friends, but Santa breaks in through the chimney and claims that they “all have been very naughty” (except for Doctor Zoidberg). Thanks to some quick thinking by Doctor Zoidberg, Santa is forced back into the chimney, where an explosion sends him and his mechanical reindeer tumbling into the stratosphere. Everybody celebrates by singing “Santa Claus Is Gunning You Down”. However, Santa promises: “I’ll be back when you least expect it: NEXT XMAS!”.
A classic holiday episode with a difference having Robot Santa think everybody is naughty and hunting them down. Seeing the crew scared of him is hilarious, thou is was funny to see that Zoidberg being the only that was good (according to Robot Santa).

A TALE OF TWO SANTAS

GUEST CAST
Coolie (Daredevil)
It is Xmas again, and everyone is locking down for the arrival of Robot Santa. The Professor sends the crew to deliver children’s letters directly to Santa at his fortress on Neptune. After reading some of the letters, begging Santa not to wreak havoc on the writers, Fry decides it’s time to bring Christmas back to the way it was in the past. They land at Jolly Junction, Neptune, and enlist the aid of a pair of Neptunians in sneaking into the fortress.
The crew confronts Santa, and Leela presents him with what she believes to be a logical paradox intended to destroy him. Unfortunately, Santa proves immune to paradox, and he takes off after them with a missile launcher. The crew escapes the fortress, and is about to leave in the ship, but Santa grabs the engine and prevents the ship from taking off. The heat from the engine melts the ice under Santa’s feet, and he sinks in the ice, which refreezes around him. With Santa frozen in ice, Bender takes over, and toy-making resumes in Jolly Junction. Bender heads to New New York, where he gets a less than welcome reception from citizens expecting Santa. While taking a beer break, Bender is arrested and put on trial for Santa’s crimes against humanity. Bender is found guilty and sentenced to execution by magnetic dismemberment.
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Fry and Leela rush back to Neptune to bring in the real Santa to prove Bender’s innocence. They carve Santa out in a large block of ice, but the ice melts due to pollution from the toy factory, and Santa is freed. Fry and Leela escape in the ship, but Santa rides on the ship back to Earth. The Planet Express crew tries one last attempt to save Bender, with all of them pretending to be Santa and Zoidberg pretending to be Jesus. Their effort fails, and the execution device is activated. Moments later, the real Robot Santa bursts through the wall. He rescues Bender and the two go on a proper Xmas rampage. As the Planet Express crew huddle in fear of their lives, Fry concludes he has somewhat succeeded in bringing back the old spirit of Christmas, even if it is fear that is bringing people together instead of love. At the end of the spree of destruction, Santa tells Bender that if he tries a stunt like that again, he will kill him, and pushes Bender off the sleigh amid the burning buildings.
Another great Christmas episode, it also serves as a sequel to the first xmas episode. bender trying to be Santa made for a great episode it’s a shame they could not get John Goodman back to do the voice of Robot Santa.

THE FUTURAMA HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR

GUEST CAST
Coolie (Daredevil)
Dawnn Lewis (Monsters University)
Al Gore

Xmas

Robot Santa attacks the Planet Express building on Xmas Eve, explaining in song how the holiday should be celebrated. The crew are inspired to revive the pine tree, which went extinct in the 2200s with seeds from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. However, the seeds have been contaminated by a biological weapons repository neighboring the vault, causing pine trees to grow and spread at a rapid rate until they cover the entire Earth. Though the trees seem beneficial at first, returning the planet to a lush, wildlife-filled state, their uncontrolled growth produces too much oxygen in the atmosphere, which ignites and burns Earth to a cinder when Bender lights a celebratory cigar. Robot Santa states that everyone is dead and happily tells the viewers to stay tuned for more holiday hilarity.

Robanukah

Bender criticizes the crew for not celebrating his made-up robot holiday Robanukah from “Fear of a Bot Planet” and sings a song explaining it, detailing a tradition in which fembots must wrestle in petroleum oil for six and a half weeks. He is shocked to discover that they only have enough oil for four and a half weeks of wrestling and forces the crew to drill deep into the Earth with the Planet Express ship to find more petroleum, which is virtually nonexistent on the surface. As they approach the center of the Earth, the immense pressure crushes the ship and kills everyone except Bender, who decides to take a nap. 500 million years later, Bender wakes up and discovers that the heat and pressure over the years have turned his friends’ bodies into petroleum oil. He returns to the now dilapidated Planet Express building and is surprised to find the two fembots still wrestling with the sufficient amount of oil, declaring it to be a Robanukah miracle. Bender wishes everyone a Happy Robanukah and states that there is more hilarity to come.

Kwanzaa

The crew visit Hermes and his family for Kwanzaa, learning more about the holiday through a song by Kwanzaa-bot. Hermes’ wife LaBarbara learns that she does not have the traditional beeswax candles required for Kwanzaa and sends Hermes to get some. However, the crew discover there is no beeswax in the world due to a colony collapse disorder caused by an infestation of blood-sucking mites. They decide to return to the space beehive (from “The Sting”) to retrieve the wax, discovering the space bee colony to be in disarray caused by the same mites. Hermes uses the Kwanzaa tenets to spread goodwill between the space bee drones, restoring harmony and killing the mites. However, this also returns the bees to their natural organization and they attack the crew, encasing them in beeswax “candles” for their larvae to feed on.

Finale

A curtain descends and Al Gore appears to close the segment. Al Gore reminds the viewer that the characters will return in 2011 featuring himself as a major character called Captain Lance Starman. He then reiterates the jingle for “Gunderson’s Unshelled Nuts” as Amy dances in a Gunderson’s Unshelled Nuts costume.
The final Futurama Christmas episode isn’t as entertaining as the previous two, its split in to parts to tell the story of different holidays and how the crew celebrates them. It’s a shame no more specials were made after this.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: FUTURAMA – THE HONKING

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Billy West (Sabrina: TTW)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
John DiMaggio (Adventure Time)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Maurice LaMarce (Frozen)
David Herman (Angel)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)

As part of his late uncle Vladimir’s last will, Bender has to spend a night in his family’s sinister old castle near Thermostadt, the capital of the Robo-Hungarian Empire. However, the castle’s holographic “robot ghosts” cause him to flee out into the night, where he is promptly run over by a mysterious non-hover car.

After returning to New New York, Bender begins to experience nightmares and blackouts, and starts to believe that the car has followed him home. In the city, mysterious tire tracks are discovered at places where Bender has been. Worried, he seeks “professional help” from a coin-operated Gypsy Bot machine. It informs him that he was run over by a “werecar”, the robotic equivalent of a werewolf, and has thus become one himself. He is cursed to keep running people over and eventually kill his best friend, Fry. The only thing that can lift the curse is to destroy the original werecar. That night, Bender indeed turns into a sedan that resembles the 1971 Lincoln from the movie The Car and goes after Leela. This angers Fry, who takes this as a sign that Bender does not consider him to be his best friend after all.hqdefaultAfter narrowly surviving Bender’s nocturnal rampage, the crew returns to the village near Uncle Vladimir’s castle. From there, they follow a trail of various bizarre werecars, until they ultimately find the original werecar: Project Satan, a demonic car built a thousand years earlier from parts of the “most evil cars in history” (such as Hitler’s Mercedes and the Manson Family’s Volkswagen transporter).
In the final act, Bender once again transforms, and this time goes after Fry, to the latter’s immense joy. A climactic fight ensues between Leela, Fry, Bender-car, and Project Satan. Project Satan accidentally drives into a large furnace, destroying himself and lifting the curse. The episode ends with Bender violently strangling Fry for taking his last beer, signaling their friendship has returned to normal—or what passes for it between them.futurama301thehonkingwn4.7379The Honking is a Bender-centric episode, but it’s one in which he’s actually not responsible for any of the action. For once, he’s a passive victim of any and all wrong-doing; it’s technically possible that he murdered his Uncle Vladimir (an idea that Vladimir mentions in his will), but since the robot died in his bed of apparent old age, and since the idea of Bender being the murderer is only mentioned as throwaway joke, I’d say his hands are clean. This is unusual, but makes for an entertaining episode

REVIEW: DISENCHANTMENT – PART 2

Disenchantment (2018)

MAIN CAST

Abbi Jacobson (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Nat Faxon (Life of The Paerty)
Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Billy West (Futurama)
Maurice LaMarche (Team America)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
David Herman (Angel)
Matt Berry (Christopher Robin)
Jeny Batten (Discount Fitness)
Rich Fulcher (The Mighty Boosh)
Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh)
Lucy Montgomery (Badly Dubbed Porn)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)

MV5BMTc0MzY1ODc2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTkxMzY2._V1_When a show follows in the footsteps of not only The Simpsons, one of the greatest (and longest-running) shows of all time, and the very funny Futurama, chances are expectations can run a little high. That’s certainly the case with Matt Groening’s latest animated offering, Disenchantment, which made its streaming debut on Netflix in the fall of 2018. The series, a familiarly irreverent take on fairytale and fantasy tropes, told primarily through the lens of a very unconventional princess named Bean (Abbi Jacobson), as she discovers her place in the world isn’t to wait for Prince Charming — or whatever pig (literally) her father has arranged for her to marry — but to carve a path on her own… or at least carve a path with her friends Elfo (Nat Faxon) and the demonic Luci (Eric André).1babdae0-bf05-11e9-a4b9-7fc396b153ea_800_420Season 1 (or Part 1) was largely concerned with fleshing out the world Bean and the other characters inhabited, particularly the kingdom of Dreamland, which she would one day rule, so long as her father, King Zøg (John DiMaggio) didn’t completely destroy it beforehand. But it was also preoccupied with the opportunity to toy with common fairytale constructs, usually turning them on their ear or poking fun at them as a demonstration of the show’s self-awareness. It worked, to an extent. Disenchantment was often capable of producing a chuckle and its three core characters — Bean, Elfo, and Luci — were an interesting enough combo, but still, something was missing.disenchantment-part-2-netflixLike most TV comedies, Disenchantment’s writers needed time to figure out what sort of comedy it was, and to get a better feel of their characters and setting before the show could truly come into its own. While there’s still some room to grow, Disenchantment Part 2 takes a considerable step forward in terms of storytelling, plotting, character development, and, above all, being laugh-out-loud funny. Sure, most viewers’ mileage may vary, but from the start, Part 2 just feels more confident in its presentation, practically from the top down. That confidence began building late in Part 1, when the story took on a more serialized nature, building on Bean’s past, her connection to her absent mother, and the fateful decision she made that not only brought Queen Dagmar (Sharon Horgan) back, but resulted in Elfo’s death and caused the population of Dreamland (minus King Zøg) to be turned to stone. Though that kind of forward momentum late in the game made the series’s early episodes look too much like unnecessary preamble, it nevertheless afforded the writers a perfect jumping off point for Part 2.disenchantment-part-2-netflixThe effect is essentially twofold: Bean is tasked not only with finding a way to bring Elfo back to the land of the living, but to also learn of her mother’s nefarious true intentions, by means of Bean’s creepy aunt and uncle in what plays a bit like a low-key spoof on Dany’s misadventures in Meereen in Game of Thrones. The circumstances are simple enough — at least for an animated comedy about a fantasy world — but they do something far more important than simply offering a sense of progression and conflict: they get Bean out of Dreamland and plop her in a series of situations where she’s no longer lamenting her life as a princess in a patriarchal society, but actively setting the course of the story and impacting the lives of her companions.FEWFWEFWith the newfound energy and sense of direction, everything in Disenchantment seems to fall into place — or, at least get closer to doing so. The series’ many jokes, pop culture references, and snarky asides are a more believable product of the character’s conversation at hand, making them feel less forced or Family Guy-like. The humor, then, becomes less a distraction and a more integral part of what makes the show work. As such, the writers are able to layer more jokes and references on top of one another without stopping to point them out. It’s still nowhere near the level of what The Simpsons was able to accomplish in its heyday, but for those in the market for a close approximation, Disenchantment will do in a pinch.UntitledAnother upside is that Disenchantment is much more bingeable in Part 2, as the easy progression and rhythms of the series’ storytelling are much more in synch with the Netflix all-at-once streaming model. It’s not just Bean who benefits either, as Elfo, Luci, and Zøg all get more significant storylines that not only rounds out their characters a bit more, but help push the overarching story along in a more satisfying way. In other words, Disenchantment Part 2 is an impressive improvement built upon the somewhat shaky foundation of Part 1, and it puts the descendent of The Simpsons and Futurama in league with some of the best adult animation available on Netflix right now.

REVIEW: DISENCHANTMENT – PART 1

Disenchantment (2018)

MAIN CAST

Abbi Jacobson (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Nat Faxon (Life of The Paerty)
Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls)

Nat Faxon, Eric André, and Abbi Jacobson in Disenchantment (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Billy West (Futurama)
Maurice LaMarche (Team America)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
David Herman (Angel)
Matt Berry (Christopher Robin)
Jeny Batten (Discount Fitness)
Rich Fulcher (The Mighty Boosh)
Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh)
Lucy Montgomery (Badly Dubbed Porn)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)

In the canon of shows created by Matt Groening, Netflix’s Disenchantment is markedly closer to Futurama than The Simpsons. Developed by Groening and golden age Simpsons showrunner Josh Weinstein, this foray into a medieval fantasy world starts small on a big canvas, then starts to paint outwards. Although it quickly develops into an ensemble sitcom, this approach starts with a more straightforward protagonist. As the first daughter of the financially embattled kingdom of Dreamland, Princess Bean (voiced by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson) is a single young woman who longs for some individual freedom outside of her landed status.But like Homer Simpson and Bender B. Rodriguez before her, she’s more interested in having a drink and a good time than singing to animals like other fantasy princesses. Much to the chagrin of her dad, King Zøg (John DiMaggio at his most John DiMag-nificent), Bean spends her days tooling around the kingdom and getting into misadventures with her elf friend Elfo (Nat Faxon) and her personal demon Luci (Eric Andre).4E7C158100000578-0-image-a-7_1532261217715The first season of ten episodes landed on Netflix. Unlike Groening’s previous shows, Disenchantment is lightly serialised, with more plot elements recurring across episodes than his usual network sitcom mode of restoring the status quo at the end of the half-hour. The extra-long first episode, A Princess, An Elf And A Demon Walk Into A Bar, ends on a cliffhanger that’s picked up in the following episode, but it appears as if the continuing story elements wax and wane throughout the run.disenchantment-netflix-escape-from-dreamland-excl-globalFunnily enough, the show is immediately better when it hews closer to the running time of a Netflix show. If this were going out on a traditional network, it could be even tighter, but the marked uptick in comedy from the first episode to the second is in part due to it being ten minutes shorter. Creative freedom is great and all, but like BoJack Horseman and Kimmy Schmidt before it, this shows why a quicker running time is generally a better thing for TV comedy. The other issue that Disenchantment has to overcome early on is finding a unique selling point. From Monty Python to Shrek, plenty of other creators have ploughed the fantasy-comedy trough before now, so it takes a couple of episodes for the show to find its groove.Disenchantment-photo-screenshot-600x361This is positioned as “Simpsons meets Game Of Thrones” and you can definitely see the influence of the latter show. In the first seven episodes alone, there are marriages, incestuous ruling couples, bloody coups, murderous plots, and more. Dreamland’s castle even has a handy Moon Door like the one at the Eyrie, which plays in much the same way as the trapdoor in Mr Burns’ office. Groening and Weinstein also push past their network constraints with some more violent slapstick than we’re used to seeing from their shows, even in the bloodiest Itchy & Scratchy shorts. We get a taste of this in the very first episode when Elfo leaves his happy woodland realm for the first time and learns about war by crossing the battlefield of an epic clash between gnomes and ogres, and over the following episodes, there are a number of laugh-out-loud climactic sight gags to enjoy.disenchantmentWhile the show sometimes leans a little hard on this, its most endearing quality is that it never gets overpowered by any of the weaker stuff, because it always has so much going on per episode. In the strongest, best-plotted episode of this run, Bean starts out attempting to find a job and contribute to society but winds up in the Dreamland equivalent of a slasher movie riff, which also crosses into the territory of Get Out, Indiana Jones, and a well-known Grimm fairy tale. Theshow is certainly more polished than Groenings other shows were at their outset, but it’s doomed to suffer from being compared directly to either of them. It’s not as consistently funny all the time, but it hits the ground running and its characters and style are more than entertaining enough to get us interested in further adventures.

REVIEW: DUDE. WHERE’S MY CAR ?

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and A Half Men)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Jennifer Garner (Alais)
Marla Sokoloff (Sugar & Spice)
Kristy Swanson (Big Daddy)
David Herman (Futurama)
Hal Sparks (Spider-Man 2)
Charlie O’Connell (The New Guy)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Justin Nimmo (Power Rangers In Space)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Andy Dick (Zoolander 2)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)

Bob Clendenin (Birds of Prey)

Jesse and Chester awaken with hangovers and no memory of the previous night. The television is on, showing an Animal Planet program about how animals use twigs and rocks as tools to get food. Their refrigerator is filled with containers of chocolate pudding, and the answering machine contains an angry message from their twin girlfriends Wilma and Wanda as to their whereabouts. They emerge from their home to find Jesse’s car missing, and with it their girlfriends’ one-year anniversary presents. This prompts Jesse to ask the film’s titular question: “Dude, where’s my car?”

Because the girls have promised them a “special treat”, which Jesse and Chester take to mean sex, the men are desperate to retrieve their car. The duo begins retracing their steps in an attempt to discover where they left the car. Along the way, they encounter a transgender stripper, a belligerent speaker box operator at a Chinese restaurants drive-through, discover two appropriately-worded tattoos on each other’s backs, run into UFO cultists led by Zoltan, a Cantonese-speaking Chinese tailor, the Zen-minded Nelson and his cannabis-loving dog, the aggressive jock Tommy and his friends, a couple of hard-nosed police detectives, and a reclusive French ostrich farmer. They also meet two groups of aliens, one group being five gorgeous women, the other being two Norwegian men, searching for the “Continuum Transfunctioner”; a mysterious and powerful device, capable of destroying the universe, that the boys accidentally picked up last night.

In an arcade, they discover that the Continuum Transfunctioner was a Rubik’s Cube that Chester has been working hard to solve, and eventually does (thus activating it). They are warned that once the five lights stop flashing, the universe will be destroyed. Jesse and Chester must determine which of two sets of aliens is entitled to the device. One of the groups is there to protect the universe, the other is there to destroy it. Both claim to be the protectors of the universe, stating that they were with Jesse and Chester the previous night (which Jesse and Chester still cannot remember) and ask for the Transfunctioner. The two correctly choose the men, because when the men were asked what they did the night before, they correctly respond that they got a hole in one at the 18th hole at a miniature golf park, and won a life time supply of pudding. At the last second, they deactivate the Transfunctioner, saving the universe.

Balked, the five alien women merge to become a giantess (Jodi Ann Paterson) who swallows Tommy alive. The giantess then crawls out of the amusement centre and chases Jesse and Chester. The cultists tell them to activate the Photon Accelerator Annihilation Beam on the Transfunctioner. However, the button that activates it is too far in to reach. At the last second, Chester remembers the nature show with the tool-using chimps and uses a straw to push the recessed button, thus destroying the alien. The protectors erase everyone’s minds concerning the events and time is reversed to the beginning of the film. The duo recover the car, a Renault Le Car, which turned out to be behind a Mail Truck the whole time, and salvage their relationships and discover the special treat from the girls turns out to be matching knitted caps and scarves. The protectors leave a gift for their girlfriends (and, for the two men): Breast Enhancement Necklaces.

The movie is hilarious all the way through, there aren’t any scenes that won’t cause the watcher to stop laughing. If anyone wants to watch a real comedy movie, which does it’s job of providing comedic entertainment, then “Dude, where’s my car?” is the movie to watch.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Christina Milian (Bring it On 5)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Dana Gould (Mob City)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Christine Lakin (Valetnine’s Day)
Bill Maher (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Adam Carolla (Two Guys and a Girl)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cheryl Tiegs (The Brown Bunny)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris O’ Dowd (St. Vincent)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher TV)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Marlee Matlin (My Name Is Earl)
Sara Fletcher (Icrime)
David Herman (Futurama)
Ellen Page (Super)
Ricky Gevais (Ghost Town)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Martin Spanjers (8 Simple Rules)
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Jessica Biel (New Girl)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Tony Sirico (Goodfellas)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Lauran Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Keke Palmer (Scream Queens)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
David Thewlis (Harry Potter)
Hank Azaria (The SMurfs)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Julie Kavner (Rhoda)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It Gets)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Maya Rudlph (Bridesmaids)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Ana Gasteyer (What A Woman Wants)
Glenn Howerton (That 80s Show)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Harvey Fierstein (Mulan)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)

Season 11 is really the reamaing of episodes of season 9 but by now you get use to the dvd season. great epsiodes and more greats jokes and anyones fair game, be it the spiritual, who get assaulted in “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” as the dog writes a quickie self-help guide, but can’t defend it against Bill Maher’s questions, pretty much any minority and Meg, the family’s socially-awkward daughter, who not only tries to weasel her way into wheelchair-bound Joe’s life, but hooks up with her brother. Nazis, a standard part of the show after so many years, get their moment to shine as well, as the neighborhood pedophile Herbert recognizes Chris’ new friend as a war criminal, setting up an epic old-man fight, and perhaps one of the few times in history where you might find yourself rooting for a kid-toucher.
One of strangest jokes is where Peter is reminiscing about 1985, and notes that it gave us the gayest music video ever, before showing nearly half of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets.” As it plays, you start wondering when we’ll get back to the show, before beginning to question if we’re ever going back. And then you start questioning how the video ever came into existence. Then you ask, how did they get the rights to use it in the show this way? Then you kind of forget you’re watching Family Guy. Then you kind of wish you were watching the video again, but that was the point of the episode doing it to mind screw you.

 This season is a pretty strong one. It has the mean-spirited episode is Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q and it’s not only the strangest episode on the season but one of the strangest of the entire series. Basically Glenn’s sister gets into an abusive relationship and he, Peter and Joe decide to take care of the problem. The episode gets increasingly darker as it plays out and the ending, which is presented straight and without any obvious irony or attempt at humor, is pretty grim. The crew should get credit for tackling a serious social issue with at least some semblance of seriousness but is this really the right format to raise an issue like this? Opinions will vary, obviously, but this episode is twisted.

Aside from that, it’s more or less business as usual. There are some fun celebrity cameos here, the most obvious one being Ricky Gervais who provides the voice of a dolphin who helps Peter out and then demands a ridiculous amount of favors in return. The Lottery Fever series opener is a fun one which shows not only how Peter behaves after winning the lottery but how those around him will leach off of him when he does. We get to see Brian take mushrooms before a hurricane hits the town and then watch him trip out and see some seriously bizarre hallucinations. The Back To The Pilot episode also stands out as we see Stewie travel back with Brian in tow to January 31, 1999 (which was the broadcast date of the series’ first episode). This shows how the series has changed over the years and also how in just as many ways it has stayed the same.

Quahog news anchor Tom Tucker gets the spotlight in Tom Tucker: The Man And His Dream in which we learn about his acting career. It seems he played Michael Myers in Halloween IV and once Peter learns that, he and James Woods get involved in resurrecting his thesping profession. In Killer Queen Peter and Chris wind up at fat camp where a serial killer is at work, while back in Quahog, Stewie is terrified by the artwork of Queen’s New Of The World album cover. H. Jon Benjamin from Bob’s Burgers and a bunch of other great credits does a guest voice here. Stewie falls for a girl named Penelope, voiced by Kate Blanchett, in Mr. And Mrs. Stewie but of course that can’t end well even if she shares his love of weapons and math. Tea Party is another stand out. When Peter tries to open his own business and gets shut down, he becomes an advocate for small government and takes hardcore conservative Tea Party ideas to ridiculous extremes with predictably funny results.

All in all, this is a pretty great season. It’s also fairly daring, not that the show has ever really shied away from controversy but they definitely push things on a visual level here. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re accepting of the fact that as offensive as the series can be, it’s an equal opportunity offender and it provides a great opportunity to laugh at the absurdity that is all around us on a daily basis.

So how does this season hold up? In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same, but at the same time, by being more of the same there’s a certain expectation of unpredictability that this collection consistently meets and occasionally exceeds. You get to a point in the show where you expect the unexpected, and there’s a whole lot of unexpected to appreciate this time around. The season starts off strong with Into Fat Air where Lois runs into an ex-boyfriend who boasts about his family’s accomplishments. This gets Lois feeling competitive and before you know it, the Griffins are climbing Mount Everest. Shades of Alive run deep in this particularly perverse episode. The show takes on the Nielson Ratings in Ratings Guy. When the Griffins are selected to a Nielson family, Peter goes for a blatant abuse of his power to shape TV to his liking but is then tasked with trying to set things right. It’s actually a pretty amusing take at the fickle viewing habits of the general public. The health care industry and its corporate ties are taken on in The Big C when Peter finds out that his father in law has been keeping the cure for cancer his corporation has discovered secret in the name of making more profits off of treatment. As irreverent as this series gets, this episode will at least get you thinking.Family Guy (1998)The seemingly obligatory time travel episode in this season is Yug Ylimaf and once again Stewie and Brian cruise back in time and goof off. It’s old hat at this point but there’s comfort in familiarity. We get to learn more about Joe’s disability when the man who shot him and confined him to a live in a wheelchair goes on the lam and Peter, Joe and Quaigmire hunt him down to get revenge. The Jesus, Mary and Joseph! episode lets Peter tell us his own version of the Nativity Story in what is essentially a Christmas episode gone awry. Nothing is sacred, fans know that by now. Quagmire is the focus of The Giggity Wife, an episode that shows what happens when Glenn marries a skaggy old hooker on a trip with Peter and Joe. He realizes quickly that this was a horrible idea but she won’t grant him a divorce. Glenn tries to convince her that he’s actually gay, with Peter’s help. In Chris Cross the elder Griffin son swipes some money from his parents to go out and buy some cool new sneakers. When Meg finds out, she blackmails him but Chris quickly has his fill and decides to go live down the street with everyone’s favorite pedophile, his old friend Herbert. Meanwhile, Stewie convinces Brian to help him track down Canadian songstress Anne Murray. In Call Girl Lois uses her voice to make some extra money as a phone sex operator and in Turban Cowboy Peter befriends a Muslim and then converts to Islam. Phone sex might not be so topical these days, but the Islam episodes pushes some buttons in some clever ways.

As the season comes to a close, in the Bigfat episode we find out what happens when Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a trip to Canada. Peter goes missing for months and when they finally find him, he’s lost the ability to communicate like a ‘normal person.’ Total Recall is another ‘Rupert’ inspired episode where Stewie and Brian try to get the teddy bear back after a recall is done. Peter and friends try to save their favorite bar in Save The Clam while Peter takes up farming in Farmer Guy, but soon gives that up in favor of dealing meth. Road To Vegas sees Brian and Stewie clone themselves and head to Vegas where they have completely opposite experiences from one another and last but not least, No Country Club For Old Men gets the Griffin’s into a posh country club when Christ strikes up a romance with a girl who comes from the wealthiest family around. This doesn’t sit well with Carter, who winds up getting the boot.

It’s all pretty much non-stop insanity but hey, it wouldn’t be Family Guy if there weren’t a lot of guest voices, right? Right! Popping up throughout this collection are such luminaries as Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, Sofía Vergara, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Will Sasso, Emma Roberts, J.J. Abrams, Sandra Bernhard, Cheryl Tiegs, Anne Murray, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne and quite a few others. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mighty Robert Loggia shows up here too. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this set so long as you go in with an open mind and remember that pretty much every one from every walk of life is fair game.  This marks the second time a full season of the show has been released in one set (season 13 12 had the full season 11 on it). In prior years Fox, in its infinite wisdom, would release sets that had half of one season and half of another on it. It has really been a minor point because in terms of following the show, it is not like it ever has season long story arcs that need to be followed. You just have to have seen a prior episode to get a reference if they call back to something. But for those of us who do get the DVDs it has often meant paying the same price for a set with a partial season on it. So it is nice that they have come around to doing what they should have in the first place. It also makes for a pretty funny joke this season in one of the episodes.

As far as the show itself goes, it is pretty standard with what it has been doing the past few years. It can get repetitive with some of the gags (they do like vomit), but I do think they are still entertaining on a consistent enough basis to keep fans of the show entertained. This season has the controversial story line in the middle involving Brian (chances are everyone knows what it is and the cover of the DVD set basically gives it away) that definitely shook the show (and the fans) up. It also sees the return of Cleveland after the Cleveland Show’s cancellation. Like the show always has, it makes fun of pretty much any topic, and because the DVD is uncensored it replaces some of the tamer jokes from the broadcast version with harder edged versions. It is also worth noting that nothing gets bleeped out on the DVDs, so expect all the swearing to be in every episode.

 


For those who get the DVD set, as far as extras go, there are deleted scenes from every episode, a couple episodes showing the full animatics with the dialogue, and a short feature on the Brian storyline with show runners and Seth Green talking about the fan reaction. Pretty standard for what has been included before

This is really season 13, its the season featuring the Simpson/ Family Guy Crossover. The hour in Springfield started off in poignant, self-referential fashion, with Seth MacFarlane and co. recognizing that this was probably a “one time shot.” Cue the slew of Easter eggs and references for fans of The Simpsons, and the fan-service is appreciated for the most part. There are guest appearances from Apu (once in his natural habitat, and once as Stewie’s prisoner), and hilarious scenes with the likes of Cleveland and Quagmire meeting their Simpson counterparts.

The entire premise of this episode (an attempt to put the rumors of any Family Guy vs The Simpsons feud to rest) hinges on each show taking some low blows and wearing it’s respective heart on it’s sleeve. Whether it’s The Simpsons (or Duff Brewery’s) longevity, which invites criticism about it’s consistency, or Family Guy’s (and Pawtucket Brewery’s) questionable originality and knack for what may seem like “pale imitation,” this episode takes stabs at both parties involved. The argument begins in a bar at the start of the third act, and spirals out of control into an absurd, and probably overlong, classic chicken fight.Comic-Con-Family-Guy-The-SImpsons-Crossover-SG-21

Other highlights in the set include,

The 2000 Year Old Virgin where Jesus shocks peter by saying that he has never had sex. Determined to change this, Peter enlists the help of Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire so Jesus can lose his virginity for his 2000th birthday.

Stewie, Chris, & Brian’s Excellent Adventure where Stewie and Brian invite Chris on a journey through time to help him pass a test that is his only hope of finishing ninth grade, and the three end up stuck in 1912 aboard the Titanic.

and of course the Fight Irish episode where Peter claims that he could beat Liam Neeson in a fight, but his skills are put to the test when Neeson himself actually shows up. Meanwhile, Stewie is annoyed with Lois when she becomes a class mom and starts paying more attention to other children.

Another classic season with great jokes and great guest stars, The Simpson Guy being the biggest highlight now we can own it on dvd