REVIEW: FUTURAMA – VOLUME 8 (SEASON 6 – PART 2)

MAIN CAST

Billy West (Duck Dodgers)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
John DiMaggio (TMNT)
Maurice LaMarche (Freakazoid)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)

Futurama (1999)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
David Herman (Angel)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Kath Soucie (Rugrats)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers0
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)

Futurama (1999)It wasn’t the first network or cable series to be canceled too early (and it certainly won’t be the last), but the multiple demises of Matt Groening’s Futurama proved to be slow and steady. Not in quality, at first: this tale of a man frozen for a millennium only got funnier as the series progressed during its initial run, though network support dwindled during its initial four-year lifespan. As the Simpsons machine rolled on, Futurama’s timeslot was shuffled around; for a time, the series directly followed Groening’s most famous creation, but the pairing didn’t last long. Futurama was eventually cancelled for the first time in August of 2003, though subsequent DVD releases (broken into four “volumes”, due to its erratic broadcast schedule) only strengthened the show’s rabid following. New fans flocked in, albeit late to the party. Even so, Futurama was on life support and the idea of new episodes seemed more unlikely with each passing year.Futurama (1999)Eventually, strong home video sales led to a series of four direct-to-DVD movies during 2007-09 (Bender’s Big Score, The Beast With A Billion Backs, Bender’s Game and Into the Wild Green Yonder), which were subsequently broken into episode-sized chunks that aired during 2008-09 as Futurama’s de facto fifth season. Though undoubtedly of lesser overall quality than the earlier 30-minute episodes, most fans were simply tickled to have the series back in any format. Futurama lurched forward on Comedy Central from 2010-2013 with two full seasons’ worth of episodes…though, like the movies, most fans couldn’t help but notice a modest dip in quality. Nevertheless, Futurama remained popular on home video as Volumes 5-7 saw the light of day; unfortunately, this eighth volume of episodes (essentially, the second half of Season 7) will be the  last, as Comedy Central cancelled the show.Futurama (1999)So is late-period Futurama any good? Well, usually. Though I’ve no doubt that most fans have stuck with the series through thick and thin, I’ve only caught passing glimpses of Futurama during the “Comedy Central Era”. This was essentially my first run-through of a partial season since 2010’s Volume 5, which incidentally kicked off the series’ second chance at life. It’s a solid run overall: while there are several clunkers on this 13-episode collection, a number of bright spots made me remember why I fell for Futurama in the first place. The characters are lots of fun and the series has plenty of heart when it needs to, even if the sentiment or romance often feels more convenient than earned.Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Billy West in Futurama (1999)These 13 episodes aren’t consistently awesome but plenty of standouts are on board. “T: The Terrestrial” sees Fry stranded on Omicron Perseii 8 after the Planet Express crew leaves with their cargo, where he’s taken in by a boy but longs to return home. “Calculon 2.0” stars everyone’s favorite soap acting robot as he reluctantly begins life in a new body. “Assie Come Home”  finds Bender on an epic quest to locate his shiny metal posterior. “Game of Tones” follows the Planet Express crew back to 1999 in a musically-charged adventure. “Stench and Stenchibility”  is a nice little diversion starring Zoidberg as he falls in love with an anosmic flower vendor. Finally, the kinda-sorta-maybe series finale “Meanwhile” shows us the ups and downs of ten-second time travel…and Fry and Leela’s wedding, too.Futurama (1999)Volume 8 manages to build a little bit of momentum during the final few episodes, but there are a few nagging roadblocks along the way. “2-D Blacktop” is a nice little wink at Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop but doesn’t spark much interest beyond its offbeat premise. “Saturday Morning Fun Pit”, an “Anthology of Interest”-style outing that parodies a few toons from the last several decades, suffers the same fate: it feels late to the party and never quite hits the mark (and if your target audience doesn’t enjoy it, who else will?). Other episodes are decidedly hit-or-miss, but the bulk of this baker’s dozen remains watchable and, in most cases, pretty damn entertaining. All told, Volume 8 isn’t a bad send-off for the little show that could…and, depending who you ask, actually did on several occasions.Futurama (1999)Is Futurama finally gone for good? Probably not…but just the same, the majority of these “final” episodes ensure that the series’ second (or is it third?) life doesn’t end on a low note. A handful of these even manage to approach the heights of Futurama’s early years, especially gems like “The Inhuman Torch”, “Calculon 2.0”, “Game of Tones” and “Meanwhile”. Fox’s two-disc package basically maintains the high level of quality set by earlier volumes, pairing an excellent A/V presentation with a nice little collection of entertaining bonus features. Whether you’ve drifted from Futurama in recent years or stuck with it every step of the way, Volume 8 is worth a look. Firmly Recommended.

REVIEW: FUTURAMA: INTO THE WILD GREEN YONDER

MAIN CAST

Billy West (Duck Dodgers)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
John DiMaggio (TMNT)
Maurice LaMarche (Freakazoid)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
David Herman (Angel)
Dawnn Lewis (Dreamgirls)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie 5)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Penn & Teller (Sabrina: TTW)

Phil LaMarr and Billy West in Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)The Planet Express crew visits Amy’s parents, Leo and Inez, who are destroying the “old” Mars Vegas and constructing a more extravagant one. A group of eco-feminists (calling themselves “eco-feministas”) led by Frida Waterfall protest the destruction of the environment, leading to an accident that leaves Frida’s necklace lodged inside Fry’s brain. The destruction upsets Leela, but Leo has bribed Professor Farnsworth to rubber stamp the project as environmentally friendly.Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Billy West in Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)Leela saves a Martian muck leech, the last of its species, from the site.In New Mars Vegas, Fry starts to go mad when he cannot stop hearing the thoughts of everyone around him. He meets Hutch, a transient who advises Fry to wear a tin foil hat to keep others’ thoughts out of his head. Hutch warns Fry never to reveal his powers and to beware the “Dark Ones”. While golfing with the crew, Leo reveals plans to build the universe’s largest miniature golf course, destroying 12% of the Milky Way in the process. Farnsworth and the crew survey the site and discover an asteroid in a violet dwarf star system teeming with primordial life. Despite this, Farnsworth approves Leo’s project. Disgusted, Leela joins the eco-feminists, who begin sabotaging the project.Hutch introduces Fry to the “Legion of Mad Fellows”, a secret society of tin-foil-hat-wearing telepaths led by the Number 9 man.Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, and Billy West in Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)No. 9 tells Fry a story of two species that worked together to survive, until one broke the cycle and caused an “evolutionary arms race”, both species evolving to defeat the other. One became the extinct “Encyclopods” who evolved to preserve the DNA of endangered species so they could be restored should they become extinct. The other became the “Dark Ones”, who want to destroy all life. Fry learns that the violet dwarf is the only surviving egg of the Encyclopods. Due to a resurgence in the life-giving force “Chi”, the Encyclopod will soon be reborn. As Fry is immune to the Dark Ones’ psionic powers he alone can save it from Leo Wong’s plans to turn it into a golf course, and from the Dark Ones, who have evolved to the point that no one knows what they look like. To end the sabotage, Leo enlists Zapp Brannigan and Kif Kroker, who in turn hire Bender to track down the eco-feministas.Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)Fry infiltrates Leo’s empire as a security guard. Amy is angered by her father’s sexist jokes and joins Leela, while Bender bugs Fry’s phone in case he communicates with Leela. Fry runs into Frida and has her take a message of support to Leela, but an unseen Dark One murders Frida. Farnsworth prepares to close Planet Express; with their delivery team missing they cannot continue. Leo Wong hires them to put up a fence around the construction site. Farnsworth cancels the closing and goes with Zoidberg and Hermes to do the job. They are captured by the eco-feminists, who commandeer the Planet Express ship. When the eco-feministas suspect Fry of murdering Frida, Fry and Leela arrange a rendezvous. They are ambushed by the Nimbus, which was tipped off by Bender. The eco-feministas are sent to prison.Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Billy West in Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)At a Legion meeting, No. 9 explains that Fry must stop the implosion of the violet dwarf and thwart the Dark One who is sure to be present. Though no one knows the Dark One’s form, its mind cannot be read, allowing Fry to identify it. No. 9 gives Fry the Omega Device, which can temporarily disable the Dark One at close range. Bender frees the eco-feministas from prison in order to uphold his record for most crimes committed at once. Hermes, Zoidberg, Scruffy, and a repentant Farnsworth rescue them. At the ceremony, Fry cannot locate an unreadable mind; he concludes that he himself (having an unreadable mind) must be the Dark One. The eco-feministas disrupt the ceremony, but Fry convinces Leela to let him proceed.Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)Fry activates the Omega Device, which creates a small dome around the two that appears to have no effect. Leela’s leech falls to the ground and reveals itself as the final Dark One. The violet dwarf system forms a giant sperm and flies into the star, creating an Encyclopod embryo which quickly matures, taking the form of a giant manta ray-like creature. The Dark One kills Hutch, whose dying act is to pull Frida’s necklace out of Fry’s forehead, causing Fry to lose his telepathy. The Encyclopod kills the Dark One. No. 9 convinces the Encyclopod to preserve the Dark One’s DNA, but Zoidberg eats the remains before it can. The Encyclopod preserves Hutch’s DNA before leaving.Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)Zapp attempts to apprehend the escaped prisoners, but the crew of the Planet Express ship and the Eco-feminists escape along with Kif. Fry and Leela profess their love for each other as the Nimbus chases the Planet Express ship toward a wormhole, which the Professor warns could take them trillions of light years away. Everyone agrees to go for it. Fry and Leela kiss as the ship enters the wormhole.Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009)Futurama fans will love this film very much. Into the Wild Green Yonder is a brilliant animation film, which may not be at the same level of the series, but which deserves a very enthusiastic recommendation.

REVIEW: LOGAN LUCKY

Starring

Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Adam Driver (This Is Where I Leave You)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Katie Holmes (Jack & Jill)
Farrah Mackenzie (Please Stand By)
Katherine Waterston (Alien: Covenant)
Dwight Yoakam (Crank)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)
Brian Gleeson (Mother!)
Jack Quaid (The Boys)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
LeAnn Rimes (Coyote Ugly)

Riley Keough and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Jimmy Logan is laid off from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. While visiting his ex-wife Bobbie Jo to pick up their daughter Sadie for a beauty pageant rehearsal, he learns that Bobbie Jo and her new husband are moving to Lynchburg, making it even harder for Jimmy to visit.Channing Tatum in Logan Lucky (2017)Jimmy goes to a bar, run by his brother Clyde, an Iraq War veteran who lost his hand during the war. Max Chilblain, a pretentious British businessman and NASCAR-team owner, arrives with his friends and insults Clyde, leading to a fight with Jimmy. Meanwhile, Clyde sets fire to Max’s car with a Molotov cocktail. On his way out, Jimmy yells “cauliflower,” which Clyde recognizes as a codeword they used when they committed crimes as young boys. Next day, Jimmy reveals his plan to rob the Speedway, exploiting his knowledge of their pneumatic tube system for moving money.Channing Tatum and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Clyde agrees to the plan, and he and Jimmy recruit their sister Mellie, a convicted safe-cracker named Joe Bang, and Joe’s dimwitted brothers Sam and Fish. They plan to break Joe out of prison and return him after the heist is complete, before anyone notices. Clyde intentionally gets himself sent to prison on a minor charge. Mellie, Sam, and Fish infest the Speedway’s pneumatic tubes with cockroaches that Mellie had painted different colors, helping them determine which set of tubes to use. While gathering supplies, Jimmy meets former schoolmate Sylvia, who runs a mobile clinic in need of donations; Sylvia provides Jimmy with a tetanus shot, and the two strike up a conversation. Later, Jimmy learns that construction at the speedway is being completed ahead of schedule, forcing them to reschedule the heist for a week earlier, during the much busier Coca-Cola 600 race on Memorial Day weekend.Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Joe and Clyde arrange for the prison’s inmates to stage a riot, resulting in a lockdown to hide their absence. They escape by hiding under a delivery truck. Mellie meets them in a Ford Shelby GT350, stolen from Bobbie Jo’s husband. At the speedway, Sam and Fish destroy a generator with an explosive, forcing all vendors to accept cash only. Joe improvises an explosive from bleach, gummy bears, and a dietary salt substitute, which detonates within the pneumatic tube system, allowing the crew to begin collecting all of the vendors’ cash. The staff notice smoke coming out of the tubes, and security guards investigate, but a diversion set up by Jimmy and Earl, one of Clyde’s bar patrons, prevents them from discovering the heist. The airflow in the tube delivering the money is reversed, causing Clyde’s prosthetic arm to be lost. Making their way back to the prison, Clyde and Joe are recognized by Chilblain and his sponsored NASCAR driver Dayton White. The job is a success, and Jimmy makes it to his daughter’s pageant in time to hear her perform his favorite song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Jimmy then abandons the money and anonymously alerts the police so they can retrieve it.Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)FBI agent Sarah Grayson investigates the heist. Due to the unwillingness of the prison authorities to disclose the extent of the riot, the refuting of Chilblain’s eyewitness account by White (disgruntled because he crashed during the race because he drank some of Chilblain’s energy drink as part of the sponsorship deal), and the speedway administration’s satisfaction with their insurance settlement, the case is closed after six months. Joe is released from prison and returns to his old home to find a bag of money buried by a tree in his yard. Sylvia receives an envelope of money anonymously in the mail, as does one of the now released jail inmates who helped with the riot. It is then revealed that during the heist, Jimmy purposely separated several bags of money from the rest, and sent them to the local dump with the regular trash. The rest he returned, to discourage any potential investigations. Jimmy also retrieved Clyde’s prosthetic hand from the vacuum tube. Now working in a hardware store and having bought a house near his daughter and ex-wife’s home, Jimmy happily reunites with his family at Clyde’s bar, where they and the rest of the gang share drinks. Sylvia also arrives and shares a kiss with Jimmy. Clyde does not recognize one of the patrons, who turns out to be Grayson.Channing Tatum and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky (2017)Overall, as the first feature to draw Soderbergh out of semi-retirement, Logan Lucky is clearly something he wanted to make and his passion comes through in the final product. Produced entirely on his own and without studio interference, Logan Lucky inverts the glamour and opulence of the Ocean’s trilogy without loosing the series’ trademark quirks and high entertainment value. If Logan Lucky is intended to act as sort of push-back of the Hollywood system and studio meddling, then Soderbergh has succeeded at both proving a point and making you laugh while doing it.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – IT’S A TRAP

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)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Marty Hart (Love Affair)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Adam West (60s Batman)

 The Griffin family experience another power outage, forcing them to reluctantly go through Return of the Jedi.Rather than setting up the plot, the opening crawl states that Fox insisted Seth MacFarlane complete the trilogy. It makes reference to his then-upcoming film Ted in the sentence, “But Fox suddenly had dollar signs in their eyes, and they said, ‘Seth, if you don’t do Jedi, we’re not gonna let you leave to go direct your movie.”Darth Vader (Stewie) arrives on the new, partially constructed Death Star, where Imperial Moff Jerjerrod (Roger from American Dad!) informs him that the new battle station no longer has the design flaws of its predecessor, except for a hole that could destroy the station if fired upon. Vader warns Moff Jerjerrod that they should fix that problem before the Emperor (Carter) arrives.On Tatooine, R2-D2 (Cleveland) and C-3PO (Quagmire) find Jabba the Hutt (Joe)’s palace in order to initiate a plan to save Han Solo (Peter), still frozen in carbonite for posterity. Leia (Lois) unfreezes Han, who releases a long fart. Their reunion is cut short when Jabba captures her and she is outfitted provocatively, and shackled by Jabba’s side. Han, meanwhile, is thrown into a prison cell with Chewbacca (Brian), who got caught eating out of Jabba’s garbage.Luke (Chris) arrives at the palace and attempts to bargain for the release of his friends. Jabba opens a trap door and Luke falls into a pit where he battles and kills the Rancor (Rush Limbaugh). Afterwards, Jabba orders Luke and his friends to be eaten by the Sarlaac (Meg). During the execution ceremony, Luke gives Jabba one last chance to release him and his friends. When Jabba refuses, Luke initiates an assault on Jabba’s crew with the help of Lando Calrissian (Mort), disguised as one of Jabba’s henchmen. Many of Jabba’s men are knocked into the Sarlaac including Boba Fett (Ernie the Giant Chicken) (according to a dying guard, Boba just fell off). Distracted by the carnage, Leia chokes Jabba using her slave chains while her fellow rebels commandeer a transport ship. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando, R2-D2, and C-3PO all fly to safety.Luke and R2-D2 fly to Dagobah so Luke can finish his training with Yoda (Carl) while the others rejoin the rebel fleet. On Dagobah, Yoda explains the final part of training is to face Vader. In his dying words, Yoda reveals that Luke has a sibling. The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert) appears to Luke and further explains that his sibling is Princess Leia, “the only damn woman in the galaxy.” The rebels begin planning an assault on the new Death Star. Admiral Ackbar (Klaus from American Dad!) explains that the plan will be the same as the last time they destroyed the Death Star, except now they must first destroy a shield generator located on the forest moon of Endor.In order to land on the forest moon of Endor, Han uses a stolen Imperial ship and old access code to sneak past the Empire’s blockade. Vader allows them passage on to the moon, knowing Luke is aboard the ship. When they reach the moon’s surface, the rebels are spotted by Imperial soldiers. The soldiers attempt to retreat to warn others of the rebel attack, but Luke and Leia stop them in an elaborate bicycle chase sequence. Separated from the others, Leia is befriended by Wicket the Ewok (Tim from The Cleveland Show). Luke, Han, Chewie and the droids fall into an Ewok trap while searching for Leia. They are captured and brought to the village where Leia is being housed. The Ewoks believe C-3PO is a god and begin to worship him. Luke tells Princess Leia they are siblings, but Leia claims to have already known that. She then introduces a Conway Twitty cutaway.Following Yoda’s advice, Luke surrenders to Vader in order to confront him. Vader tries to convince Luke to turn to the dark side. Luke refuses, but is delighted to find out that it is taco night. The two meet with the Emperor, who reveals that Luke’s friends are walking into a trap on the forest moon. When this revelation fails to anger Luke, the Emperor begins to mock actor Seth Green (who voices Chris). Luke defends Green saying that he’s been in successful projects, only to have The Emperor saying the negative side of Green’s roles. Luke becomes enraged and begins dueling with Vader. Back on the forest moon, Han leads the rebels to the shield generator. Complaining about a lack of dark plot content, he forces the three technicians inside to dig their own graves with their helmets, then ordering one of them to stab his companion to death and wear his face. Before they can carry out Han’s disturbing orders, however, the company is ambushed. The Ewoks help the rebels escape from the Imperial troops and destroy the shield generator, while Lando and Nien Nunb (Rallo from The Cleveland Show) lead the attack on the Death Star.Luke finally subdues Vader after Seth Green is further mocked, but he refuses to execute him and join the dark side at the Emperor’s request. The Emperor then incapacitates Luke with his powerful Force lightning. Because Luke asks Vader politely for help, Vader gathers his remaining strength and kills the distracted Emperor by throwing him into the reactor core. Vader and Luke manage to flee the Death Star before Lando and his crew blow it up. Unfortunately, when Vader asks Luke to help him remove his mask (to “look on you with my own eyes”), Luke accidentally twists and breaks Vader’s neck. Everyone rendezvous back at the Ewok village to celebrate the rebels victory over the Empire. While the Ewoks kill the wounded Imperials, the spirits of Obi-Wan and Yoda appear to Luke, alongside the spirit of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker (Stewie), who angrily accuses Luke of murdering him and starts swearing at him.The Griffins’ power returns just as Peter concludes the story, Meg then asks Peter “What about the prequel trilogy?” with Peter suggesting that The Cleveland Show might do the prequels (though that show’s subsequent cancellation has made such parodies impossible). After that, Chris asks Peter another question about how come he says in the story that Seth Green is a douche. Peter answers saying that in his opinion that Green has done a lot of unsuccessful projects and that Green sucks. Chris retaliates with saying that he thinks Seth MacFarlane is a douche. Peter, Stewie and Brian (all voiced by MacFarlane) defend MacFarlane as a talented young man with fresh ideas and good humor. Chris tells the three in anger that he got the whole idea of Family Guy off The Simpsons, with Meg and Lois supporting Chris that MacFarlane “only brings ten new episodes of the show a year” and “we get it, he watched a lot of television in the ’80s” (a reference to the show’s many cutaway gags referencing 1980s television). The argument ends with Peter claiming that people will just remember the laughter, before the family looks awkwardly at each other.

Anyone who has enjoyed the previous chapters of this separate feature series will find more of the same here, and if you’re like me, you will only find that a good thing. Although I must say, it also helps to refresh your memory by watching the original Star Wars film before trying this to pick up the more subtle references!!

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – SOMETHING, SOMETHING, SOMETHING DARKSIDE

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)
James Caan (Las Vegas)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)

As the Griffin family is watching television, the power suddenly goes out, leading Peter to retell the story of The Empire Strikes Back.
After the “opening crawl” an Imperial Star Destroyer deploys a series of probe droids in search of the Rebel Alliance. One of the probe droids (Joe) lands on the ice planet Hoth, where the Rebels have set up a base. Rebel commander Luke Skywalker (Chris) is patrolling when he is attacked by a large wampa (Cookie Monster) and taken back to its lair. At the base, Han Solo (Peter) announces his intention to leave the Rebellion to Princess Leia (Lois) and Carlist Rieekan (Dr. Hartman), with Leia objecting to his decision, however she denies it when confronted, saying she would rather kiss George Takei. When he finds out that Luke has not yet returned, Han sets out on his “Dondon” to find him. Luke escapes the wampa lair and has a vision of his late mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert), who tells him to go to the Dagobah system to learn the ways of the Force from Jedi Master Yoda, after offering him a bowl of Zima soup. Han quickly locates Luke, and the two are rescued soon after.
Soon after, the Empire discovers the Rebel base, and Darth Vader (Stewie) orders an attack. The Imperial fleet exits hyperspace too early, giving the Rebels time to evacuate the base while Luke leads his squadron of snowspeeders to hold off the Empire’s battalion of Imperial Walkers. Imperial stormtroopers break into the base, forcing Han to escape in the Millennium Falcon with Leia, C-3PO (Quagmire) and Chewbacca (Brian), while Luke escapes in his X-wing with R2-D2 (Cleveland), stopping to see R2’s niece’s violin recital. The Millennium Falcon enters an asteroid field and Han decides to dock inside a cave to repair the ship. They flee when they discover they have actually landed in the belly of a space slug (Meg). Meanwhile, Luke crash-lands in the swamps of Dagobah and finds Yoda (Carl) amid the foggy landscape. Yoda trains Luke, guiding him through a series of training exercises, including watching “sweet-ass DVD releases”, and a training montage that parodies Rocky IV.
family-guy-something-something-something-dark-side-20091223095413048-000Darth Vader is ordered by the Emperor (Carter) to capture Luke and turn him to the dark side of the Force. Vader recruits bounty hunters to track down and capture Luke’s friends, intending to use them as bait to trap Luke, including Raggedy Andy, whom he orders to leave. With the Millennium Falcon‍ ’s hyperdrive broken, Han and company escape by hiding amongst a field of disposed trash, but are tracked by Boba Fett (Ernie the Giant Chicken), after hitting a “space bum” collecting some of the garbage. Luke has a premonition that his friends are in danger and leaves Dagobah to save them, although he has not finished his Jedi training. Yoda initially doesn’t want him to go, but encourages it after Luke suggests Yoda fight Vader himself.
Han and the others go to Cloud City on the planet Bespin to obtain help from Han’s friend Lando Calrissian (Mort), “the only black guy in the galaxy”, only to be turned over to Darth Vader. Han willingly reveals the location of Luke and the Rebel base but is tortured by being forced to listen to Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”, as punishment for clogging a toilet on the 16th floor of Cloud City, which forced Vader to use the “little pig people’s” bathroom. Han is used to test a carbon freezing chamber Vader intends to use on Luke to take him to the Emperor. Leia professes her love to Han, but Han tells her to fuck off and is then frozen in carbonite for posterity. Lando later double-crosses the Empire, freeing Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO, motivating the guards with a pizza party. Despite R2-D2 having sex with the combination lock, and subsequently being discovered by her husband, to get the door open, they are too late to stop Boba Fett from flying off with Han. Luke arrives at Cloud City and, after being briefly interrupted by Ryan Seacrest on American Idol, engages Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader cuts off Luke’s right hand. With Luke cornered and defenseless, Vader goads Luke to join the dark side, revealing that he is his father. Luke casts himself into an air shaft and, after discovering that a worker has shoved his severed hand down his pants, ends up hanging on an antenna beneath the city, calling out to Ben, Leia, and Tom Selleck. Leia senses Luke’s call from within the Millennium Falcon and has him rescued. On board a Nebulon-B frigate, Luke is fitted with an artificial hand, but told to practice masturbating with a hot dog first, while Lando, dressed in Han’s clothes, sets off with Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon to rescue Han. Before the story ends, Luke is angry because of the way the story ends. Then he receives a letter from Doc Brown, a reference to the ending of Back to the Future Part II.
In the Griffins’ home, the power returns as Peter finishes his story, only to get into another argument with Chris over Robot Chicken. Chris vows to not let Peter get his goat this time, but eventually storms off when Peter brings up Without a Paddle.
The empire strikes back has never been spoofed to such a high degree in my opinion. If you know the family guy characters and have seen the Star Wars movies, you will love this.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – BLUE HARVEST

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)
Chevy Chase (Chuck)
Beverly D’Angelo (The Simpsons)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club)

While the Griffins are watching television, the power goes out and they are left with no other form of entertainment. While they wait for the power to return, Peter decides to retell the story of Star Wars beginning with “Part IV.”
A Rebel ship is captured by a Star Destroyer. On the ship are the droids C-3PO (Quagmire), R2-D2 (Cleveland) and the rebel leader Princess Leia (Lois). While the ship is boarded by stormtroopers, Leia tries to send an MPEG to Obi-Wan Kenobi through R2, but encounters so many complications that R2 offers to deliver the message himself. Leia is captured by Darth Vader (Stewie) while R2 and 3PO flee to Tatooine in an escape pod, where they are captured by Jawas.
The droids are sold to a family of moisture farmers, whose nephew Luke Skywalker (Chris) wishes to join the Rebellion and fight the Empire. While cleaning the droids, Luke stumbles upon Leia’s message inside R2, who later decides to leave the farm. Luke and C-3PO pursue him but are attacked by Sand People. Luke is knocked out by one of them (Opie) and is found by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert), who takes them to his hut. Leia’s message explains that R2 contains the plans to the Death Star, which must be sent to her father on her home planet of Alderaan and asks Obi-Wan to help. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must learn the ways of The Force and accompany him to Alderaan, and gives him his own lightsaber. Realizing that the Empire must be looking for the droids, Luke returns home to discover that his home has been destroyed and his aunt and uncle killed.
Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids travel to Mos Eisley to find a pilot to take them to Alderaan. At a local cantina they hire smuggler Han Solo (Peter) and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (Brian), who agree to take them with their ship, the Millennium Falcon. The group is soon spotted by stormtroopers and they flee into space, evading the pursuing Star Destroyers before jumping into hyperspace. Leia is imprisoned on the Death Star, where commanding officer Grand Moff Tarkin (Adam West) has Alderaan destroyed. The Millennium Falcon exits hyperspace and is captured by the Death Star’s tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay. Disguising themselves as stormtroopers, Han and Luke along with Chewbacca set off to rescue the captive Princess while Obi-Wan goes to shut off the tractor beam and R2 and C3PO stay behind. Han, Luke and Chewie rescue Leia, and the four dive into a garbage chute to escape stormtroopers and find a couch. As they flee the Death Star, Obi-Wan turns off the tractor beam before being confronted by Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader strikes Obi-Wan down as the others board the Falcon, taking the couch with them.
The Falcon journeys to the Rebel base at Yavin IV, where the Rebels analyze the Death Star plans and find a weakness. Luke joins the assault team while Han collects his reward for the rescue and prepares to leave. The Rebel fighters attack the Death Star but suffer heavy losses during the assault. During his run, Luke hears Obi-Wan’s voice telling him to use the Force, and he turns off his targeting computer. Vader appears with his own group of fighters, and is about to fire at Luke’s ship when Han arrives in the Falcon and attacks Vader and his men, sending Vader’s ship off into space. Guided by the Force, Luke fires into the port, destroying the Death Star, and he returns to the Rebel base with his friends to celebrate their victory. Back at the Griffins’ home, Peter wraps up the story as the power comes back on. Everyone thanks Peter for keeping them entertained, although Chris points out that Robot Chicken already told that story.
Anyone who is a fan of Star Wars and Family Guy are going to love this special! I think the episode is a real return to top form. Extras like interviews with Seth McFarlane & George Lucas, episode commentary and a sneak preview of a reported sequel special (something, something, something dark side based on empire strikes back) I think it is worth getting.

REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)

Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)

Scott Grimes (American Dad)

Peter Macon (Shameless)

Halston Sage (Goosebumps)

J. Lee (Family Guy)

Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)
Jessica Szohr (Piranha 3D)

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Will Sasso (Mom)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kerry O’Malley (Annabelle: Creation)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Kevin Daniels (Atypical)
Wren T. Brown (Whoopi)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Sarah Scott (The Artist)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)

Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)It would be profoundly unfair at this point to keep comparing The Orville to Star Trek: The Next Generation. But the parallels are pretty obvious. The titular Orville has the same ‘Giant Conference Hotel’ in space look that the old Star Trek show did; the Union has a similar aesthetic as The Federation, and so on. But all of this is shorthand; we know Star Trek, so all the visual clues are really just there to quickly get the viewer up to speed.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)Season 1 of The Orville worked pretty hard to establish its own world. This was an optimistic yet militaristic future in which people still behaved like people. They got drunk, they made dirty jokes, they had affairs, they got divorced. The central relationship of the show is that the First Officer is the Captain’s ex-wife, after all. Season 1 had a lot of missteps and frequently fell flat. Season 2 addresses these issues by simply being more straight forward and blunt.Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)For a start, it’s more obvious that the various prominent alien races in the show represent various social issues. Stories that feature the ‘All-Male’ Moclus tend to focus on sex, identity, and gender. It helps a lot that Peter Macon plays the role of Bortus brilliantly. He can switch from sombre and serious to physical comedy extremely well and is perhaps one of the most under-rated characters in the show. The war-like Krill allow the show to reflect on religious intolerance and the mechanical Kaylon serve a general cypher for the human experience. None of these ‘issue’ stories are subtle, but they are fun and filled with humour.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The show’s twists and turns are also pretty significant, and from the outset there are plenty of them. The Orville isn’t afraid to use story arcs, and the ‘reset’ button is rarely used here. Mistakes and tragedies are permanent. Certainly the last few episodes of the series feel like a promise. The past is another country and that even the slightest thing can have ruinous consequences.Penny Johnson Jerald and Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The special effects budget has also gotten a significant bump. Though there are plenty of ‘people standing around talking’-type scenes, when the action gets underway it really does go for it, reminding the viewer that this show is versatile enough to do both action and drama very well.Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)Despite the short second season, it seems that Fox is very fond of its very marketable sci-fi show. Season 2 is occasionally a bumpy ride for its changes in story and pacing, but it’s well worth the journey.

REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Peter Macon (Shameless)
Halston Sage (Goosebumps)
J. Lee (Family Guy)
Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Chad Coleman (Arrow)
Norm Macdonald (Jack & Jill)
Larry Joe Campbell (Hall Pass)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Joel Swetow (Alice In Wonderland)
Jeffrey Tambor (Hellbnoy)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Deobia Oparei (Santa Clarita Diet)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Casey Sander (The Ranch)
Lamont Thompson (Evan Almighty)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Liam Neeson (Chloe)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Charlize Theron (The Road)
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
James Horan (Transformers Prime)
Giorgia Whigham (The Punisher)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Rob Lowe (Wayne’s World)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: DS9)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Erica Tazel (The Good Fight)

Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)When we first heard the news that Seth Macfarlane (Family Guy, Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West) was making a comedy homage to Star Trek we thought hell yeah. It didn’t take long however before we started thinking it would just be another Family Guy-styled series with cheesy “adult” jokes, something that many people thought would be the case. Now that we’ve seen the first season, I can happily say that this is one of his finest works. It’s hilarious and pays tribute to the classic sci-fi series perfectly.Adrianne Palicki and Jasper McPherson in The Orville (2017)Seth Macfarlane plays Ed Mercer, an up and coming officer in the Planetary Union who has recently separated from his wife after finding her in bed with a blue alien. Shortly after these events, he is given a chance to prove himself after being given the Captain’s chair of The Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel.Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The other members of the crew include Penny Johnson Jerald (24, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Castle) as Dr Claire Finn, Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers, Critters) as Lieutenant Gordon Molloy, Peter Macon (Shameless, Dexter, Supernatural) as Lieutenant Commander Bortus and Halston Sage (How to Rock, Crisis, Paper Towns) as Lieutenant Alara Kitan.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)The crew is missing a first officer and the Officers of the Planetary Union chose to place Adrianne Palicki (John Wick, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Red Dawn) who plays First Officer Kelly Grayson in the role. The only problem is that she’s Captain Mercer’s ex-wife.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)Whilst this sounds like your typical cheesy sit-com scenario, and it is, this is one of those rare occasions where it just works. The casting in this series is brilliant and the characters play off each other so well that every now and again you forget that this is a homage and actually start to believe that this is a new Star Trek series. The interactions between Mercer and Grayson are first class and the comedy stoic nature of Bortus is inspired. There are also several brilliant interactions between Dr Finn and her long-time admirer, a gelatinous blob named Yaphit, as he tries to seduce her at every opportunity.Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The Orville tackles some fantastic issues, worthy of any Next Generation episode. From discovering a massive ship floating In space that houses a holographic world that the inhabitants don’t realise isn’t real to getting trapped on a planet ruled by social media where everyday justice is dished out in popularity points which are displayed live on peoples clothing. The latter is probably the best episode of the series and tackles some very real subject matter involving the current state of social media, public opinion and controlled media based on distraction and frivolity and proves The Orville can be both both funny and intelligent at the same time.MV5BMWEyM2ZkYmQtOTQyMS00NjRmLTk5NzItMzYwMmU2NDUzZDg3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc5Mjg0NjU@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_I can’t recommend this series enough so you should probably go now and watch it immediately. Oh, and as an added bonus it has been renewed for a second season so it won’t just be a flash in the pan one-off either, which is great news. Essentially if you love comedy and you love Sci-Fi then you can’t go wrong with The Orville!

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASON 19

MAIN CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Alex Borstein (Catwoman)
Seth Green (Without a Paddle)
Mila Kunis (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Lori Alan (Inside Out)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Jennifer Tilly (Cult of Chucky)

Family Guy (1999)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ralph Garman (Ted)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Gary Cole (Fam)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Kimberly Brooks (Steven Universe)
Scott Grimes (The Orville)
H. Jon Benjamin (Wet Hot American Summer)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Mandy Moore (Saved!)
Phil LaMarr (Supergirl)
Chris Parnell (Anchorman)
Sarah Paulson (Glass)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Sam Elliott (The Ranch)
Martha MacIsaac (Superbad)
Christina Milian (Pulse)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Tara Lipinski (Kidding)
Ross Marquand (Avengers Infinity War)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)

Family Guy (1999)

This season is really season 17. The episodes this season are as follows.

Family Guy (1999)

MARRIED WITH CANCER

Brian falls in love with a woman named Jess Schlotz (Casey Wilson), who reveals she has cancer. He decides to take her hand in marriage and quickly comes to regret his choice when they find out her cancer has regressed after this discovery was made by Dr. Gravitas.

Family Guy (1999)

DEAD DOG WALKING

Brian’s marriage to Jess doesn’t go as planned, so at Peter’s suggestion, he lets himself go, leading Jess to make a surprising decision.
Family Guy (1999)

PAL STEWIE

Stewie befriends a boy his age; Peter and Lois attend a seminar on self-empowerment.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE QUAHOG

Stewie invents a shrinking machine that shrinks him and Brian down to microscopic size.
Family Guy (1999)

REGARDING CARTER

Carter gives Lois a surprising birthday present that leads to an unfortunate accident, leaving him dependent on the Griffins’ care.

STAND BY MEG

Stewie vows to make Meg’s life better after she saves him from choking; Chris is sent to a vocational school.

Family Guy (1999)

THE GRIFFIN WINTER GAMES

Meg takes the family by surprise when she makes the US Winter Olympics team.
Family Guy (1999)

CON HEIRESS

Stewie and Brian compete for the inheritance of a wealthy, older heiress; Peter and Chris battle for Mr. Herbert’s affection.
Family Guy (1999)

PAWTUCKET PETE

When the Pawtucket Brewery’s new bosses want to change the company’s mascot, Peter and Brian go head-to-head to become the new face.
Family Guy (1999)

HEFTY SHADES OF GREY

Tom Tucker teaches Peter how to report fake news; Brian and Stewie help Chris improve his love life.
Family Guy (1999)

TRUMP GUY

The Griffins move to the White House where Peter is hired as the new Press Secretary.

Family Guy (1999)

BRI, ROBOT

Brian worries about his legacy, so Stewie makes him a robot duplicate as a living biography; Peter starts working at a massage parlor.
Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Warburton in Family Guy (1999)

TRANS-FAT

Peter learns an important lesson when he’s mistakenly identified as transgender.
Family Guy (1999)

FAMILY GUY LITE

Peter goes on a health kick; When Lois starts writing a romantic fantasy novel, Brian and Stewie investigate who she might have a crush on.
Seth MacFarlane and Mandy Moore in Family Guy (1999)

NO GIGGITY, NO DOUBT

Quagmire discovers a long-lost daughter and makes a serious effort to embrace parenting.
Seth Green, Alex Borstein, and Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE BOOTH

The Griffins provide DVD commentary on a recent episode and reveal never-before-told drama between Peter and Lois.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

ISLAND ADVENTURE

Stewie and Brian travel to Garbage Island to retrieve his tricycle after Peter throws it out; Lois tries to help Quagmire court a middle-aged woman.
Family Guy (1999)

THROW IT AWAY

Lois challenges the other Griffins to throw out anything that no longer gives them joy, only to take the decluttering to a surprising extreme.
Family Guy (1999)

GIRL, INTERNETTED

Meg becomes famous on the internet for her unhealthy eating; Brian and Stewie enjoy a new ride while Brian’s car gets fixed.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

ADAM WEST HIGH

Brian runs for Mayor after successfully renaming James Woods High after the late Adam West, only for Quagmire to campaign against him.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)
Celebrate laughter, lunacy and all that jazz with this outrageous collection of 20 Family Guy episodes. It’s a freakin’ hilarious complete season,

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 4

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CAST (voices)

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Critters)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Son of Batman)

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SANTA, SCHAMNTA

GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Batman)

Santa,_SchmantaFollowing the events of “Ninety North, Zero West”, Santa falls from Humbaba and breaks his neck, killing himself. With the family able to relax now that Santa is dead, Roger can’t get any of the family to pay attention to him and his dance because they are celebrating Christmas. He goes over to Snot’s house and learns about Hanukkah, deciding to become Jewish so he can spend the time with Snot. While spending time at the mall together, he starts insulting the mall’s Santa, pointing out that the real one is dead and fetches the body to prove it. While trying on the Santa suit, he finds he has gained Santa’s magic powers and declares Hanukkah to be the new official main holiday of the season.maxresdefault_liveIn his effort to force the family to bend to his will, he destroys their Christmas decorations. He further moves his workshop and castle to Miami and hires hot college students to serve as his reindeer to pull his Lamborghini sleigh. But while throwing a blast at his castle, Snot finds that he really isn’t into celebrating Hanukkah properly and conspires with the Smiths to try to reanimate Santa’s corpse, with only partial success. They decide that they need his suit and note that he responds when they discuss the suit. They confront Roger in his castle, but in his fight with Santa, he burns the place down with oil and tries to flee with the family in his Lamborghini, but zombie Santa pulls himself on board and causes them to crash, allowing the suit to return to its rightful owner. Stan tries to reason with Santa to forget the past but he refuses, so the family is forced to run him over in their escape. Back home, Roger is pleased to simply have the family paying attention to him again as Snot and his mom go out for their usual Chinese dinner.MV5BNzQ1OWM1NmEtYmM5Ni00MDY2LTg1YTAtM2U3MGJiNTg1YWRiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODUxNTkwMzE@._V1_A great follow to last years Christmas story, and another great episode in The Smith’s Christmas saga.