HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – TREEHOUSE OF HORROR 21-26

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Yeardley Smith (As Good as It Gets)
Harry Shearer (Godzilla)
Hank Azaria (Mystery Men)
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GUEST CAST

Hugh Laurie (House)
Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman In Black)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXI

While carving pumpkins, Bart takes a knife and etches a smile into Homer’s pants. Homer responds by choking Bart, and Bart puts a flaming pumpkin on Homer’s head. Professor Frink then welcomes the audience and warns them of the content of the show, presenting a TiVo remote control to fast forward through the scary stuff. But after accidentally fast forwarding to the end of the special, and exposing spoilers, a shameful Frink uses the remote on himself and fast forwards his life until he is turned to a pile of dust. The Frankenstein’s Monster who was created by Frink makes a reference to The Office, and remembers his days working at “Monster Mifflin” with the Mummy, the Wolf Man, a zombie and a witch. Image result for TREEHOUSE OF HORROR xxI

War and Pieces

In a parody of Jumanji, Marge, worried about the effects of excessively violent video games, encourages Bart and Milhouse to try playing some of the classic board games in the attic. After rejecting the “lame” ones, they discover an old board game called “Satan’s Path.” Upon playing it, all the rejected games come to life turning the town into a giant game board. Lisa reads the instructions, which are in Latin, and says the two must beat all the games to finish Satan’s Path and restore everything to normal. Milhouse dies during the game of Scrabble, but Bart manages to finish it, returning everything back to normal (even bringing Milhouse back to life). Bart and Milhouse state that they will just play hangman but the game brings the hangman to life. With only one more letter remaining (WHEEL _F F_RTUNE), Milhouse guesses the number 3, which results in Bart and Milhouse being hanged.

Master and Cadaver

In a parody of Dead Calm, Homer and Marge set sail on a romantic second honeymoon. Their time together is interrupted when they rescue a castaway. Introducing himself as Roger, the castaway explains that he was a chef on a yacht called the Albatross, and was knocked out after attempting to stop a poisoning on his ship. Roger makes them a pie, but Homer becomes convinced that Roger poisoned the guests on the Albatross. He grabs the pie from Marge and throws it out the window. Marge chastises Homer, but looks out a window and sees a dead shark with the pie pan in its mouth. Homer and Marge take matters into their own hands as they seemingly kill Roger using a metal pole, and knock his body overboard. However, finding the Albatross, they realize Roger was telling the truth and that some of the passengers are still alive, as one of the people administered an antidote. Roger appears and explains that the shark they saw had died from a fuel leakage from Homer and Marge’s boat. Homer then kills Roger, the surviving Albatross crew, and a pelican, to cover their tracks. However, unable to bear the guilt, Marge eats the poisoned pie, much to Homer’s horror. The story is then revealed to be Maggie’s imagination while she is taking a bath. Homer asks Marge what Maggie thinks about while bathing, which she responds, “Just sugar plums and buttercups.” Maggie then shadily moves her eyes (revealing eyeliner over one eye), puts on a hat, and drinks milk like Alex from A Clockwork Orange as the theme from the movie briefly plays in the background.

Tweenlight

In a parody of Twilight, Lisa falls in love with a mysterious new student named Edmund. After saving Lisa from a bus, two cars, a bicycle and a Segway PT, Edmund reveals he is a vampire. Lisa is not frightened by this and the two begin a romance, much to the dismay of Milhouse, who turns into a were-poodle. Marge invites Edmund and his father, Count Dracula, to dinner. Edmund and Lisa are both embarrassed by their fathers and decide to leave. Homer and Dracula track them down to a cathedral in “Dracula-la Land”. They see Edmund climbing up a tower with Lisa, so Homer forces Dracula to carry him up. Lisa wants to become a vampire, but has second thoughts after learning that she would be eight years old forever. Edmund says that “the blood-lust is upon him” and he has to bite something. Homer stops Dracula with a cross, and is amazed to learn vampires love their kids also. Edmund and his father reconcile, and Homer saves Lisa by offering himself up in her place as the two vampires feast on him. However, they both die from the bad cholesterol in Homer’s blood as he is turned into a vampire. Transforming into a bat to fly home, Homer’s fat causes him to fall to his death. His body is carried off by were-poodle Milhouse while Lisa watches in dismay.
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The Twilight parody is the best out the three, The Jumanji part was a pretty good too.

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXII

When Bart, Lisa and Maggie come home from trick-or-treating, Marge switches out the candy with dental hygiene products and asks Homer to deliver the candy to a drive for the troops overseas. Homer instead runs off with the bag to eat its contents in privacy at a canyon cliff. Unfortunately, Homer trips and falls to the bottom of the canyon with his arm pinned. Fueled by his need to get the out-of-reach bag of candy, and reluctant to wait twenty minutes for help, Homer is forced to chew off his arm. Though he manages it after a few tries, Homer learns that he was carrying a bag of vegetables, as Bart, Lisa and Maggie had secretly stolen back their candy, inciting an upset Homer to scream in rage.

The Diving Bell and the Butterball

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In a parody of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Homer begins to decorate the house for Halloween and is reaching for a decoration in a box. Unfortunately, there is a real Black Widow spider in the box and when Homer grabs what he thinks is a plastic spider, he is bitten by the real one. The bite leaves Homer unable to move or talk. When Lisa reads for him, she discovers that he can communicate through flatulence. The Simpson family is amazed at the result and Lisa helps Homer tell Marge how he feels about her. When he is again bitten by another spider (a radioactive one this time), he gains the ability to shoot spider webs out of his rear end and have the same abilities as Spider-Man, though he is still paralyzed.

Dial D for Diddily

In a parody of Dexter, after hearing who he thinks is God tell him to murder people, Ned Flanders becomes a serial killing vigilante, targeting characters who are Homer’s enemies. When Flanders discovers that Homer is the one who has been duping him into committing murder (by way of a Bible-shaped receiver), Homer argues that God does not exist and starts burning Ned’s bible only to be stopped and strangled to death by God Himself. Marge begs God to reverse everything that has happened, but God tells her that Satan is the one who is running the world. When Flanders thinks that this scenario cannot get any worse, it is revealed that Satan is having sex with Ned’s deceased wife, Maude.

In The Na’vi

In a parody of Avatar, taking place in the future, Krusty the Clown is still alive, but has trouble entertaining his Nazi audience. On the distant planet Rigel 7, there is a sacred extract called Hilarrium, which causes people to get in a better mood. Krusty desperately needs this sacred extract and uses military force to obtain it. The military recruits Bart and Milhouse to befriend the alien race in avatar bodies. They succeed in this and Bart ends up getting Kang’s daughter pregnant. It turns out that the extract Hilarrium, which is excreted by their queen, is primarily used by the natives to reduce the mood swings of pregnant women. After Bart and Milhouse are shown where the alien race gets the Hilarrium, Milhouse then reveals the location of the extract to the military, which then attacks the natives. In the battle, the natives are helped by all the animals of the planet, which eventually defeats the military. Kang and Kodos then admit that they would have just given the Hilarrium to the humans.
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Ending

At the end, a Christmas carol is played as all of the characters that appeared say various things about Christmas, such as Marge saying that making a sweater causes 27 people to lose their jobs. At the very end, Grampa Simpson shows up in a black tutu, asking when the Black Swan comes up, and everyone wonders when the Black Swan will come.
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Out of the three episodes the avatar parody was the classic its good to see the Simpsons version of the movie.

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXIII 

At the height of the Maya civilization, in the city of Chichen Itza, a sacrifice is about to take place to prevent the end of the world from happening at the end of the 13th Baktun. A Mayan Homer, who has been fattened up to be sacrificed, hears about it for the first time (as he did not pay attention during orientation) and attempts to back out to no avail. However, his wife, a Mayan Marge, tricks a priest, a Mayan Moe, into getting himself sacrificed instead by promising him sex. After the sacrifice, a Mayan Professor Frink confirms that the world will end after the 13th Baktun, which, accounting for the Gregorian calendar and the birth of Jesus, puts the end of days in the year 2012 (with the Mayan Mayor Quimby placing the blame on President Barack Obama).In the present, Homer encounters three Mayan stone gods, mistaking them for the trick-or-treaters. One of them crushes Homer underfoot, then the second one jumps on Flanders’ house. The stone trio wreak havoc on Springfield with one stone god throwing fireballs at City Hall and throwing Lard Lad’s donut at a UFO and then popular landmarks like the Eiffel Tower crashing to Big Ben, ripping up the Great Wall of China, and making the George Washington head kiss Abraham Lincoln’s head in Mt. Rushmore; causing rivers of lava to appear, and splitting the earth into large fissures. Once their destruction is done, they high five then fly off, leaving the Earth to explode. In its place, the bloodied title, “Treehouse of Horror XXIII” appears.

The Greatest Story Ever Holed

The citizens of Springfield gather to witness the activation of the Springfield Particle Accelerator; they originally wanted to use the money to build a new baseball stadium, but Lisa convinced them otherwise. Professor Frink activates the machine and it works, but nothing exciting happens, and everyone blames Lisa for her suggestion. When everyone is gone, two particles collide with each other and create a small black hole which floats off. Lisa finds it, and after it sucks up Ralph and Nelson, she takes it home so that it will not cause any more trouble. The Simpsons put it in the basement and Lisa warns them not to throw anything in it or otherwise it will grow bigger. Despite the warning, Homer, Bart and Marge use it as a trash disposal, and Homer even opens a business allowing people to throw their junk into it. The black hole becomes huge and consumes everything in sight. The only person who is not sucked in is Maggie, whose pacifier flies into the black hole, inexplicably stopping it. Meanwhile, all of Springfield has been warped to an alternate universe, where aliens worship their trash.

Un-Normal Activity

When strange events occur at the Simpson house, Homer sets up cameras to photograph what is haunting them. The culprit is revealed to be a Moe-like demon with whom Marge made a deal to save her sisters when they summoned the demon as part of a Satanic ritual. As part of the deal, the demon would return 30 years later to take Marge’s favorite child as payment (which turns out to be Maggie, much to Lisa’s shock). Homer manages to convince the demon to relinquish the bargain in return for Homer to reluctantly engage in three-way sex with him and another demon. After learning that the safe word is cinnamon, Homer throws his robe over the camera and the demons are heard yelling cinnamon.

Bart and Homer’s Excellent Adventure

Bart travels back to 1974 in Professor Frink’s time machine to buy a comic book for 25 cents instead of the current $200 price at the Android’s Dungeon. He then finds Homer in high school, just moments before he meets Marge for the first time (as seen in the season two episode “The Way We Was”). Before Bart returns to 2012, he tells Marge (who is already angry at teenage Homer for strangling Bart and constant demanding over her to be his prom date) to never get married to Homer. When Bart returns to 2012, he finds that Artie Ziff is now his father and the family is rich and successful, to the point where Nelson Muntz is now hired as Bart’s butler and personal punching bag. 1974 Homer, who stowed away in the trunk of the time machine, finds out about Marge and meets 2012 Homer, who wants Marge. The two summon every time incarnation of Homer (dubbed “The United Federation of Homers Throughout History”) to beat up Artie. Though the Homers lose badly despite greatly outnumbering Artie, they wind up winning over Marge, who then takes pity on the beaten Homers and lets all of them live with her.
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A Great episode all 3 parts were awesome and the episode was even nominated for an emmy.

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXIV

The episode’s couch gag, conceived by film director Guillermo del Toro, is a mash-up of horror movies and TV shows, including all of del Toro’s own films, ending with Lisa falling through the couch, dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and getting brainwashed by The Hypnotoad from Futurama, then happening upon a palace room in a send-up of the end of Pan’s Labyrinth.
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Oh, the Places You’ll D’oh!

It is Halloween night in a Dr. Seussian take on Springfield. The Simpson children are home with the mumps and unable to go trick-or-treating. Once their mother Marge (in a Catwoman costume that every other woman—and The Comic Book Guy—is wearing) leaves for a costume party, they are visited by The Fat in the Hat (Homer) who gives them vaccinations so he can take them out to get candy for them and beer for him. However, instead of helping the children get their treats, he takes them on a casual rampage of death and destruction: blowing up Mr. Burns’ mansion and feeding him to a homeless shelter; robbing Moe and skinning him; robbing Apu and forcing him to spend time with his wife and children; killing two DMV workers (Patty and Selma) and tossing car licenses to people waiting in line; blowing up town hall while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask; and committing “aggravated Flu-Fluffel-cide”. The children are alarmed at those events and manage to elude him with the aid of several animals; a Barney Gumble-esque camel, a Krusty-esque bull, and on the wings of the Mexican Bumblebee Man. However, Fat is waiting for them when they get home and gloats that he will never leave them right before baby Maggie stabs Fat in the chest with his own umbrella. Marge comes home, unaware of what happened, and the children fake their mumps by stuffing the collected candy in their mouths and have turned the Fat in the Hat into a rug.

Dead and Shoulders

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In a parody of The Thing with Two Heads, after getting decapitated during a day of flying his box kite in a fly zone near the Springfield airport, Bart is surgically attached to Lisa’s body in order to extend Bart’s life and cut Lisa’s short. Though the two eventually get along, Bart learns that he can control Lisa’s body while she is unconscious and resolves to get rid of her to have total control. Unfortunately, the attempt on the sawmill results with Bart transferred to Selma’s body (who needs a karaoke partner) while Lisa is grafted onto Krusty (who needs a comedy partner for an upcoming act).

Freaks, No Geeks

In a parody of Freaks, at a 1930s’ circus, the self-serving strongman Homer gets his lover trapeze artist Marge to marry sideshow freak Moe after learning of the emerald ring he inherited from his mother on her death bed. At their wedding reception, the other “freaks” announce that they accept Marge in spite of her being a “normal” outsider (even though Marge claims she is a freak because she has one blue eye and one pale brown eye). After finding Homer attempting to poison Moe’s wedding wine glass, Marge kicks him out of her trailer. Homer is then cornered by the freaks with weapons as they advance on him with the intention to mutilate him into a freak like them. The scene then cuts to the present, where it is revealed that the whole story was told by a “Duck Man” Homer of how he met Marge.
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Del Toro’s opening sequence was critically acclaimed, The stories were strong and entertaining.

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXV

The episode opens with Kang and Kodos hosting a TV special, in which all of the celebrity guests have been killed and displayed to spell the episode’s title.

School Is Hell

Principal Skinner has put Bart in detention. While dusting a desk, he finds an Aramaic inscription. Lisa uses an app to translate it which transports the pair to Hell, which is a school. Bart excels in the diabolical subjects and asks his parents if he can study there permanently. For his final test, he must torture Homer; despite Bart’s hesitation, Homer lets him. A disfigured Homer proudly watches Bart graduate from Hell school as valedictorian.

A Clockwork Yellow

Moe has a Clockwork Orange-style gang in London along with Lenny, Carl and Homer. Homer falls for a girl (Marge) who convinces him to quit and the gang falls apart. Years later, Moe is attacked at home in a style similar to his gang’s former ways and asks Homer to bring the gang back together; Lenny and Carl (who have become police officers) join them. They attack an Eyes Wide Shut-style masked orgy and several other of Stanley Kubrick’s films are parodied in a fight sequence. As Moe gets beaten by two party guests, he narrates that he was “Beaten, bruised” and “couldn’t score at an orgy” but was happy to be back with his old gang. Kubrick is then shown in an editing room and asks for the entire film to be re-shot.

The Others

In a parody of The Others, the Simpson family find unexplained frosty chocolate milkshakes and that their TV only shows Married… with Children. After a ghost attacks him in his sleep, Homer summons the ghosts, who are the family’s former selves from The Tracey Ullman Show. Homer is attracted to the ghost Marge who prefers him to the former grumpy Homer, so the jealous living Marge kills herself to become a ghost. The ghost Homer becomes jealous and bludgeons the living Homer to death with a toaster while he is in the bathtub. Bart fakes suicide to join the ghosts, tricking Lisa into actually killing herself, her ghost then murders Bart as revenge. Groundskeeper Willie takes the children’s corpses to make stew and it is implied that he murdered Maggie. Homer chooses his modern-day wife over the older ghost. The next morning at the breakfast table, Lisa asks if there could ever be any other incarnations of the Simpsons and a range of Simpson families based on other animations are then shown. The segment ends with the original version of Homer unsuccessfully trying to photograph a good portrait of the two families together.
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Loved  the cinematic quality of the first two segments while  the third was the poorest. I was impressed by how the Kubrick references in the second segment used originality rather than being a perfunctory checklist.

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXVI

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The episode opens with a Kricfalusi-animated couch gag where the Simpson children are trick-or-treating before being set upon by soul-hungry spirits with a monstrous Frank Grimes among them. The spirits chase after the Simpson children to their house with the Frank Grimes monster taking Homer’s soul.

Wanted: Dead, Then Alive

Sideshow Bob lures Bart to his school’s music class and finally kills him with a harpoon to the chest. Bob goes on to become a professor at Springfield University, but is disappointed by his lazy students and misses the thrill of killing Bart. He reanimates Bart with a machine in order to kill him in various ways and revive to repeat. The rest of the family find Bart in Bob’s basement, just as Bob was about to kill them legally before Homer beheads him with a lamp. Bart then puts Bob’s head on the machine with various animal parts, reanimating him into a hybrid creature. Bob still remains a full time professor, but is annoyed when one of his students asks what he is supposed to be.

Homerzilla

In a parody of Godzilla. Which is in the year 1950 at Japan, the grandfather of the Simp-san family frequently sacrifices a doughnut to a giant reptilian sea monster (played by Homer) to keep it at bay. But when the grandfather dies and no more doughnuts are sent, Homerzilla comes to shore and wrecks the city. The event is revealed to be a classic Japanese movie watched by movie producers who attempt to create a remake. But the movie fails at the box office and the producers have everything related to the film dumped at sea. Coincidentally, the dumping site happens to be where Homerzilla is sleeping.

Telepaths of Glory

In a parody of Chronicle, Lisa and Milhouse get superpowers after they and Bart are exposed to nuclear waste, though Bart appears to be unaffected. Despite Lisa’s insistence to keep their powers a secret, Milhouse quickly goes mad with power before he is stopped by Maggie who also gained powers. Maggie then uses her powers to benefit the world (like turning Homerzilla into a larger Barney) before taking a nap. The segment ends with Kang and Kodos disappointed that they made a cameo at the end again.
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The Latest Treehouse of Horror was funny the Godzilla parody was the best, even taking a swipe at the 98 film.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 6-10

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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)

Lori Alan (Wall-E)
Ellen Albertini Dow (The Wedding Singer)
Alexandra Breckenridge (She’s The Man)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Phyllis Diller (A Bug’s Life)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Indigo (Weeds)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Stargate SG.1)
Samm Levine (Veronica Mars)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Robert Constanzo (Batman:TAS)
Gary Cole (One Hour Photo)
Taylor Cole (Heroes)
Lauren Conrad (The Hills)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Garrett Morris (2 Broke Girls)
Rob Lowe (Code Black)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Hugh Hefner (Citizen Toxie)
Roy Schneider (Jaws)
Gilbert Gottfried (Anger Management)
Neil Patrick Harris (The Smurfs)
Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Carolla (Road Hard)
Will Sasso (The Three Stooges)
Paula Abdul (Bruno)
Randy Jackson (American Idol)
Simon Cowell (The X Factor)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek II)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl)
Harvey Fierstein (Independence Day)
Bryan Cranston (Drive)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Elisha Cuthbert (24)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ In The Rain)
Frank Sinatra Jr. (Cool World)
Mae Whitman (Boogeyman 2)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Seth Rogen (Bad Neighbours)
Ed Helms (The Hangover)
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Denise Crosby (Trekkies)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Jonathan Frakes (Lois & Clark)
Gates McFadden (Star Trek: TNG)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Jay Leno (The Simpsons)
Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Veronica Mars)
Chevy Chase (Chuck)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Hart Bochner (urban Legends 2)
Christine Lakin (Valentine’s Day)
Brittany Snow (Prom Night)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Dwayne Johnson (Faster)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of SHIELD)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
David Lynch (The Cleveland Show)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Shelley Long (Cheers)

At this point in the series, the beginning of the fifth season, the show has settled into being a showcase for Peter’s stupidity, throwing a bone to Brian and Stewie once in a while, and occasionally Lois and family. Only four of the 13 episodes aren’t focused on the head of the family, and unsurprisingly, the two of those four that aren’t Brian and Stewie stories are two of the best in the volume, “Prick Up Your Ears” and “Barely Legal.”
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While it’s easy to see where an episode can go, one of the show’s biggest strengths is its willingness to do anything to get there, even if it won’t make it to TV, because they know that there will be a DVD release. Thus, you have jokes that would never get past standards and practices, and a reason for the show’s fans to check out the DVDs, as the episodes are expanded and uncensored. It has to be incredibly freeing to have almost no boundaries, and the writers take full advantage of it. It’s in this relatively free medium that a character like Quagmire, who has no filter and is obsessed with sex, can really shine. His behavior in “Bill and Peter’s Bogus Journey” is actually very funny simply because of how utterly obscene he can be on DVD.
As noted before, “Prick Up Your Ears” and “Barely Legal” are two of the best episodes in this collection, both of which feature the Griffins’ daughter Meg, voiced by Mila Kunis (“That ’70s Show”.) Meg’s character has grown up a bit, though she remains an awkward teen, and these two episodes focus on her explorations into love and lust. “Prick Up Your Ears” is a smart jab at the conservative Christian approach to sex education, and the effect it has on Meg, as well as Peter, is great, while “Barely Legal” show’s Meg’s crazier side, as she falls in love with Brian after they make out at her prom. A joke that’s born out of Meg’s insanity and efforts to woo Brian is among the series’ funniest, and again, one you only get on DVD. Also worth checking out is the B-story of “Mother Tucker,” in which Brian and Stewie host a morning zoo radio show. It’s a perfect parody of everything that’s wrong in radio.
The show’s guest-star list continues to be surprising in both its depth and quality, including Phyllis Diller (as Peter’s mom), Gore Vidal, Samm Levine, Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore (playing Jillian, Brian’s hot, but dumb girlfriend in several episodes), David Cross, Rob Lowe, Hugh Hefner and Roy Scheider. That the series can get a Gore Vidal to play himself getting shot in the mouth with a hot dog (it’s actually a funny scene, but not for that reason) is impressive.

This latest offering from the ‘Family Guy’ team finds the writers and producers doing their best to be more outrageous than ever before. No celebrity is too big to ridicule and absolutely no topic is considered too taboo.


But the acid test is this: when being profane and attacking and offending every minority group in existence, is it actually funny? The short answer is `yes’. This is not merely funny, it is very funny indeed. Rosie O’Donnell features in one particularly insulting sequence, and when Joe has a leg transplant and becomes his old active self, the guys decide the only way to fix things is to `re-cripple him again’. This is quite literally the most non-PC programme ever put on your TV screen, but it contains more invention and (frequently hilarious) jokes per minute than practically any sitcom. Highlights are two numerous to mention, but I particularly enjoyed the sofa at Quagmire’s shack and Peter’s stripper-cop routine at his daughter Meg’s hen night. Shocking stuff!

Only downside is the first two episodes were put out separately as the `Star Wars’ spoof `Blue Harvest’, so this pack is a little light at only 13 episodes.

another great Family Guy set Some of the best episodes include the one where Stewie helps Frank Sinatra Jr turn his fortune around with a club; the one where Peter meets Jesus; the one where Quagmire, Joe and Peter do Jackass style stunts, and the one where Mort ends up transporting himself to 1940’s Poland.


Even though everyone hates the episode, the one with Surfing Bird is a great episode, especially the parody with Stewie and Brian doing a scene from Office Space. Some people say it’s not Seth’s best moment, but it’s memorable like the chicken fight in series 6 and Brian being ribbed about his book by Stewie (“has it got a beginning, and end and a narrative?”

Highlights of this latest season to name a few include Brian committing murder, Quagmire becoming a Father, the truth behind Hannah Montana, Major West being ‘activated’ and the genius “Road to The Multiverse” which in my opinion is one of the greatest episodes within the last few seasons if not the entire collection.

Many of the episodes are extended when compared to their TV counterparts (blame the censors) along with dozens of deleted scenes which will keep even the most devoted or demanding Family Guy fan happy. Other special features worth noting are the Multi-verse featurette which was pretty interesting along with commentaries from cast and crew alike.

Despite being cancelled twice the show is still going strong and still offers brilliant humor, dialogue and cutback scenes after all this time. The characters continue to amuse and develop as the seasons progress (Stewie on Steroids stroke of brilliance) and there is plenty of scope for the future. The vast majority of the episodes are gold. I’ve already mentioned Multi-verse but also up there is “Dog Gone”.

If further proof is needed as to the series’ ability to succeed without its usual crutches, it can be found in “And Then There Were Fewer…” a mystery in Family Guy clothing. Series semi-regular James Woods gathers the town people for dinner, hoping to atone for his past wrongs, but someone starts bumping them off, leaving the group to figure out who the killer is and escape with their lives. Though the cutaways are present, they are worked into a genuine storyline, that’s both well-crafted and funny, feeling like a quality parody of the Agatha Christie school of mysteries. It may be close to blasphemy to say so, but there’s definitely a touch of Clue to the proceedings. The quality story is matched step-by-step by the animation (in the series’ first widescreen episode) and music, both of which may be the best the show’s ever produced (which is no feint praise.) The series may find itself in a rut at times, going to the same comedy well again and again, but when inspiration strikes, they take the show to another level.
As is often the case with this series, there’s always an attempt to push the envelope, including episodes focusing on suicide and sex changes, but “Extra Large Medium” is one of the show’s most controversial to reach airwaves, and it’s mainly due to a throwaway joke. Following a life-changing event, Chris (Seth Green) decides to finally ask out a girl he likes, and it so happens that she has Down’s syndrome. This leads to one of the finest songs the show’s produced to date in “Down’s Syndrome Girl,” as well as a line where the girl notes that he mom was the former governor of Alaska. It’s hard to figure out what the joke really is (it’s not really making fun of anyone, be it Palin or people with Down’s) but it pissed off a lot of people. Fortunately, the rest of the episode, especially that song, makes the headaches worth it, as Chris struggles with his feelings for his special gal and Brian’s attempts to break Lois of her belief in psychics accidentally convinces Peter he actually is psychic.
Though the series proudly sees the world from a liberal point-of-view, savaging republicans and conservatives at every chance, “Excellence in Broadcasting” stands as an unusual team-up, with Rush Limbaugh giving voice to himself, as he visits Quahog and gets what could be considered a friendly reception (at least by Family Guy standards.) Yes, there are jokes about the Republicans and Limbaugh himself, but he doesn’t get it too rough, and if anyone comes off badly, it’s Brian, who is easily swayed by Limbaugh into selling out his own convictions. It’s rather odd to see, and makes one wonder what went on behind the scenes to make it happen, as MacFarlane doesn’t seem the type to play nice, and the idea of Limbaugh working in tandem with an atheist pot advocate is mind-bending.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 1-5

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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)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Lori Alan (Wall-E)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Billy West (Futurama)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Victoria Principal (Blind Witness)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Sam Waterson (Law & Order)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Norm MacDonald (Billy Madison)
Candice Bergman (Gandhi)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Faith Ford (Hope & Faith)
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Gary Cole (One Hour Photo)
Luke Perry (The Fifth Element)
Adam Carolla (Wreck-It Ralph)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
June Foray (Mulan)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacet)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Valerie Bertinelli (Hot In Cleveland)
Tony Danza (Who’s The Boss?)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peter Riegert (The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Judd Hirsch (The Big Bang Theory)
Indigo (Weeds)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Cloris Leachman (The Iron Giant)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Jessica Biel (Stealth)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Sherman Hemsley (Lois & Clark)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Carol Channing (The Love Boat)
Jay Leno (The Simpsons)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Kate Jackson (Charlies Angels)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)

Out of the small animation boom that happened several years ago came “Family Guy”, one of the most hilarious and controversial shows that Fox has aired

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of “Mad TV”) is the calm leader, Meg (Mila Kunis of “That 70’s Show” and Lacey Chabert for the earlier episodes) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.The first two volumes of the show on DVD offers both the first season and half of the second seasons of the show and gives viewers who missed it another chance to witness some of “Family Guy”‘s most brilliant moments. “E. Peterbus Unum” has Peter breaking off from Quahog to form his own country when he finds out that his house is a blank spot on the map. When confronted after breaking the law, he gets out of it due to diplomatic immunity (“like that guy in ‘Lethal Weapon 2′”, says Peter). “The Son Also Draws” has Peter and Chris going on a Vision Quest when they lose their car at an Indian casino. When the trees start chatting with Peter, he asks, “If one of you falls, and no one’s around, does it make a noise?” The tree responds, “Are you kidding? Scott fell last week, and he hasn’t shut up about it since.” In “Death Is a Bitch”, Death (voiced by Norm MacDonald) comes after Peter after he fakes death to get out of paying his hospital bill. When Death sprains his ankle, Peter has to take over. “Da Boom” has the family searching for food (they dismiss a potential house after they find out Randy Newman is there, singing about everything he sees) after information hears about the world nearly coming to an end after Y2K turns out to be true.

“Family Guy” remained remarkably politically incorrect throughout its original run, but most of the jokes were rolling-on-the-floor funny because they were throwaway, including one exchange between Peter and Brian: “Brian, there’s a message in my Alpha Bits. It says “OOOOOO”!”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.” Every episode of the show was packed with such minor gags, most of which were successful and unexpected. The show’s voice talent, especially MacFarlane, Kunis and Green, handled the material with perfect comedic timing.

This second DVD volume of the series includes second half of season two and all of third season of the series, along with the controversial episode, “Wish Upon a Weinstein”, where Peter tries to get Chris to become Jewish because he believes he’ll be successful if he does. The plots of season three still get laughs fairly often, although I don’t think they reach the inspired heights of earlier episodes, such as the one where Peter’s house became its own country or lead his family towards a twinkie factory after the apocalypse.

Still, there are certainly some highlights throughout many of the episodes. In “Peter Griffin: Husband, Father…Brother?” Peter takes Chris to an Irish Heritage Museum to learn more about his heritage, where both find out that, before alcohol, Ireland was a futuristic utopia. “Mr. Saturday Knight” has Peter working at Quahog’s Renaissance Faire as a jouster when his boss accidentally dies at dinner. His competition is the Black Knight, brilliantly voiced by Will Farrell. “Thin White Line” and “Brian Does Hollywood” have Brian overdoing his new job as drug sniffing police dog, then running off to Hollywood and ending up with a job directing porn (at the adult awards in the episode, John Williams is one of the composers nominated for Best Original Score). In “Lethal Weapons”, Peter uses Lois’s newfound fighting skills to drive out New Yorkers who come up to Rhode Island just to stare at the leaves changing color.

Rude, crude and often hilarious, “Family Guy” saw fit to offend just about every group, but did so in a way that was sharp, funny and wonderfully absurd.Often brilliant, extremely witty and darkly hilarious, “Family Guy” was unfortunately cancelled after season three Fox bumped it around six or seven different time slots. Although this third season wasn’t as consistent as the first two, it’s still hilarious and fans of the show should definitely pick up this terrific set. thankfully a few years later the show would return for a fourth and become a constant.

Back on the air after an unprecedented un-cancellation, “Family Guy” had a slight bit of leeway in its return. Fans were rabid for some new episodes, while the network that had cancelled it once wasn’t likely to do so again and risk being considered foolish twice-over. As a result, there was a chance to experiment and try something new, and expand the horizons of the show. Or, they could choose to keep doing the same thing they did before, which is exactly the choice they made.

In a way, it was the smart choice. Why mess with a good thing, when you could keep making the kind of show the fans fell in love with and bought rapidly on DVD. The un-PC content is still in place, along with the pop-culture references, cut-aways and nonsensical characters. Call-backs to old favorites, like Herbert the old molester and the evil monkey were good, but the shows tended to settle into ruts. A love of musicals is appreciated, but is it funny every time a character breaks into song, as in “Jungle Love”

This set has some very good episodes in this set, starting with “Petarded,” which sees Peter declared mentally retarded. The ways he takes advantage of this status is classic “Family Guy” material, while the musical montage here, involving phone calls all over town, is actually quite funny. Plus, the appearance of the Greased-Up Deaf Guy gave hope that the creators still had that sense of the bizarre in them.

But if any moment stands out among this run, it’s the supermarket scene in “Breaking Out is Hard to Do.” When Chris is pulled into the “Take On Me” video by A-Ha, it’s a perfect blend of what this show does best, combining nonsense, the ’80s and some neat animation. The lead-in, the punchline and the execution of the whole scene is handled so well that it might be one of the show’s most memorable ever.If there’s a real reason for fans of the show to own this set, it’s provided in the extras. According to the commentaries, there are scenes included that were produced for the show that the creators knew would be cut, but did them with the intent of including them on DVD. I’m not certain what scenes were added, but there are several lines that would have been questionable for network TV. Also included are uncensored audio tracks that were bleeped on TV. It’s certainly a welcome change having the series presented as they were intended, instead of chopped up as so many shows are on DVD.

Among the 14 episodes in this set is a number of funny moments, normally involving either Lois or Chris, though neither enjoys a spotlight episode. Instead, Peter powers a couple of inspired shows, starting with “PTV,” a sharp rebuttal of the FCC’s assault on broadcast standards. As a fan of entertainment for adults, the crippling of language by the government certainly needs to be skewered. Peter’s revolutionary instincts crop up again in “The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz.” It delivers an entertaining parody of religion, as Peter forms a faith based around Henry Winkler’s “Happy Days” character, with about as valid a basis as most religions.
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comedy. There’s some good stuff in here, culled from the 14 episodes, including some subplots that were cut. They are joined by three featurettes that look behind the scenes of the show. The first is a simple one, as supervising director Peter Shin shows how to draw Stewie. Straightforward, but a bit interesting. “A Director’s Life: Debunking the Myth” spends almost 15 minutes looking at the job of the directors on the show, explaining in detail what they do to make the series go. It’s rather good and shows how much goes into making animation.
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I enjoy sitting down with a set of “Family Guy” episodes, thanks to the voices and rather lush animation, another great set thou some fans might be confused with the season box sets not watching the actual seasons but once you figure out the numbering its

REVIEW: HOP

CAST

Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek)
James Marsden (X-Men)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Tiffany Espensen (Repo Men)
David Hasselhoff (Click)
Chelsea Handler (Fun Size)
Dustin Ybarra (Gotham)
Hugh Hefner (Citizen Toxie)

MV5BODg2NzE5NDY1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTMzNTY3NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1317,1000_AL_The character of E.B., who is the son of the Easter Bunny is the main animated character in the film. I felt the animation for him was really good, he was a realistic looking bunny, wearing normal clothes, and certainly appeals to the films younger viewers.He’s voiced by Russell Brand his voice suited the character and I felt he really brought E.B. to life. E.B. himself is fun, loves life and wants to be a drummer, something you don’t expect of a rabbit and this is why he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. But I enjoyed the change in the character when he realises his father is in danger, and it sends a good message to the movies younger viewers.Film Title: HopJames Marsden is the human character in the film, Fred O’Hare. Fred is a grown up who has no idea what he wants to do with his life, so ends up house-sitting for his sister’s rich boss. He meets E.B. by chance, and the pair strike up an unklikely friendship. Considering he is having to act to something that isn’t actually in front of him, Marsden does a fantastic job interacting with the character of E.B., and at no point do you think he’s acting to nothing, he does a great job, he’s very animated and the friendship between Fred and E.B. is really genuine and sweet. I also have to mention the hilarious chick called Carlos who is determined to become the first Easter Chick against the odds, Hank Azaria voices him wonderfully and he’s simply hilarious to listen to and watch!The story itself isn’t anything amazing – Easter Bunny wants his son to follow in his footsteps, son doesn’t want to but when he realises his dad is in danger tries to save the day. There is a quite a bit of comedy throughout the film, mainly courtesy of Carlos, but Marsden does his best with the script too. I did like the 2 Pink Berets, action bunnies sent out to hunt down E.B.The animation was lovely, the story a bit ridiculous with some adult references in there the kids won’t get (the Playboy mansion!) but overall a watchable children’s movie. It isn’t the best by means, but it’s a nice way to pass the time!