Family Guy Season 10 Premiere Review: Who's Kyle?

Family Guy Season 10 Premiere Review: Who's Kyle?

A Chapter by Keaton S. Ziem
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My review of Family Guy season 10 premiere.

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What do pregnant dancing girls, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, goats, sushi restaurants, dog grooming, the lottery, four piece suits, white BMW’s, Bob Hope’s USO shows, U.S. track & field athlete Bruce Jenner, burlesque dancing, Jewish men leering at large stacks of money, Scrooge McDuck, revenge defecation, penis enlargement pills, The Trolololo guy (Eduard Khil), True Blood, Anna Paquin & Alan Balls, the “Makin Whoopee” song and dance routine by Eddie Cantor, sniffing glue, blood diamonds, scrimshaw, and giving helicopter rides to lobsters ALL have in common?

Yes, Family Guy. (Not that you didn’t already know). And believe it or not, in the show’s 10th season premiere, there was actually a story somewhere in all of that nonsense.


Since its debut in 1999, Seth MacFarlane has had little competition for the height (or depths) in which his non-sequitur, anecdotal humor could reach. Though perhaps not as chaotically random as other television shows are capable of being (I’m looking at you, Aqua Teen Hunger Force… and you too, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), Family Guy has a particular Godsend talent for cramming in more jokes about seemingly nonrelated material into 20 minutes than that time I challenged The Power Rangers to a Mad-Libs tournament hosted by Stephen King.


…Which is actually how I came up with that analogy. Thanks, Family Guy.


The anarchy begins when Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) is prompted (by seemingly nothing whatsoever) to issue forth an unsolicited declaration that he needs $28,000.00 to open up a sushi restaurant in order to fulfill his suppressed desire to yell at strangers (sometimes the line that separates Peter Griffin and Seth MacFarlane is a blurry one). Peter’s wife Lois (Alex Borstein), who could be the first animated character to be nominated for sainthood at this year’s Emmy’s, explains that the family is already on too tight of a budget. That’s when Peter reaches the only irrational conclusion that could possibly propel a Family Guy episode:


He decides to win the lottery.


And because it’s television, and it’s Family Guy, he can and does.


Which means everything else in the story is allowed to happen, now that the bare minimum amount of plot has been given.


Aside from the barrage of sheer absurdity, the story plays out to its rational conclusion: we are treated to a rags-to-riches-(to-rags-to-riches-again)-to-middle-class tale charting the Griffins’ irresponsible journey to blow their money on a myriad of luxury items, including (though not limited to) a tuxedo built entirely out of gold, a giant outdoor toddler’s mobile, and replacement friends made from stacks of money; y’know, since Peter’s old friends kind of got sick of his antics after he became an overnight millionaire, giving him permission to depart from normalcy for good.

Needless to say, Peter isn’t cut out for a life of riches and fortune. His millions are not-so-slowly squandered until the family is seen destitute and presumably living on the streets, eventually making the acquaintance of someone named ‘Kyle,’ though we’re never introduced to him, so try figuring that one out. Anyway, it isn’t Kyle who comes to the rescue, but Peter’s old friends who are kind enough to overlook the man’s tendency to alienate whoever’s closest to him. Quagmire gives Peter a share of the money he made investing in penis enlargement pills (that Peter lent to Quagmire in the first place), which brings everything back to…


…well, ’normal’ I guess.


I don’t mean to be hateful; Family Guy just isn’t my proverbial cup of tea. To be fair, it’s a television show that exists and thrives from off-the-cuff puns and quips that transcend chronology and rationality. When added together, these bits�"perhaps roughly two to three dozen for any one episode (and I’m basing that figure off no scientific analysis whatsoever; my patience can only stretch so far)�"resulting what I’m guessing is meant to be a kaleidoscope of humor. A zoetrope of satire played out in an ongoing stream of 20 second anecdotes back to back to back to back…


I remember being 16 and watching an entire season of Family Guy on DVD in a single sitting; genuinely enjoying myself. I understand what’s appealing about Family Guy, though that appeal is no longer accessible to me. Like how white blood cells attack viruses and bacteria to stave off infection or disease, my sense of humor recoils from such unbridled, non-sequitur satire; urging my humor-immune system to fight back against all that satire with cynicism. I understand that the jokes aren’t supposed to be relatable to the plot in any way, shape or form…


…but that doesn’t mean I can help myself from trying to see why they couldn’t be.

Family Guy is the only show I can watch and feel bad for not laughing. How isthat okay? Humor shouldn’t be the root of an existential catharsis.


Well, for the characters maybe; but not for me, d****t. And maybe that’s what I find so unbelievable about the show. No one in the show stands back to bask in the glow of perfect nonsense; none of the characters ever remark on it as something out of the ordinary. I mean, if I walked around all day stringing together random bits of pop culture references into unexpected combinations out loud, I’d either be incarcerated, or given a 9:00 time slot on a major syndicated network.


...Tempting as it may be.



© 2011 Keaton S. Ziem


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Author

Keaton S. Ziem
Keaton S. Ziem

Los Angeles, CA



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I was raised in a cabin in one of the largest Ponderosa Pine forests in the continental United States. I had nothing to do with the amount of trees that grew there. I am an only child with two brot.. more..

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