Given that this episode of “Family Guy” focused on Chris, by far the nerdiest of the gang (although I suppose Meg is a close second, only in a different way altogether), it seemed appropriate that the episode, “Space Cadet,” would open with a Monty Python tribute. As the second of his shows in the last couple of months to feature such a tribute- the other being “The Cleveland Show”- it would seem that Seth MacFarlane was on a Python jag his own damn self. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, to adapt a phrase from another much beloved cult show.
Alas, it was not in fact, a full-blown tribute but rather more of a one-off joke, not unlike the one in the aforementioned “Cleveland.” Too bad. If they can do not one, but several “Star Wars” spoofs, why not a Python tribute? It could be fun seeing the gang speak with terrible British accents! Oh well, it was not to be, but that’s not to say the episode was terrible.
Instead, what we got was a plotline in which even Lois acknowledged that Chris wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch. Unfortunately for Chris, he overheard that conversation between his mom and dad, leading to a shame spiral that led him to want/need to attend a “special” school when he started to have issues at school. With a bevy of unpleasant choices at hand, Chris understandably went for the most fun of the bunch: Space Camp.
It was only a matter of time before chaos ensued, ultimately leading to the entire family getting launched into space in the space shuttle! Thankfully, autopilot got our beloved fam back on terra firma, but not without a few high-jinks along the way, including Meg getting “accidentally” shot into space like the alien at the end of, um, “Alien.” (Incidentally, unless I blinked and somehow missed it, it was never explained how she got back on the ship afterwards…I mean, I know it’s a cartoon and anything can happen, but it was still oddly strange how they glossed over it. Oh well, what are you gonna do?)
Some great lines here and there, but this episode was one for the visual puns, both on and off camera- probably for the best, given the mental visual I got for Peter’s- ahem- “twirling baton.”
My fave lines were as follows:
Teacher: “Nathanial Hawthorne, what are you doing?!”
Hawthorne: “Oh, just ruining 9th Grade for everyone.”
Speaking of bad English accents, Chris did indeed end up doing one in his brief guise as Russell Brand, leading to a teacher throwing piles of money at him and saying, hilariously: “You’re talking different from how I talk. Here’s a bunch of money to be on TV.” (See, “Family Guy?” Even your jokes know that there’s money in them thar Brits…I smell a “Downton Abbey” spoof!)
A Cougar, trying to sweet-talk Stewie: “Listen, just so there are no surprises…don’t be scared but my stuff looks like someone spilled an apple pie in my lap.” (That would be the other off-camera visual I got that I’m glad stayed off-screen.)
Lois, as the shuttle was careening through space: “Stewie! Hold my hand!”
Stewie: “No, thank you! I prefer to die giving you the finger.” (Which he proceeded to do, with both hands!)
Peter, as the shuttle lifts off, unexpectedly: “If this is what it takes to get out of Florida.” (Hey! I’m from there! But I still chuckled, as I did when they referred to the University of Florida as being for people with Down’s Syndrome. LOL.)
Peter, as the gang tries to figure out a way out of the mess: “Is failure an option?”
Lois: “No! It’s not!”
Peter: “Aw! That was my suggestion.”
Peter, paying off a joke set up in the first act: “You know what else is not slowing down? “Breaking Bad.” Haven’t seen anything like it since “The Wire.” (There was a great joke showing why everyone raves about those two shows: they’re all hypnotized! I found it hilarious that even the hypnotist allowed that “The Wire” was just as good, though, as if he had himself been hypnotized. They probably should have thrown in “Homeland” for good measure, but I digress…)
Brian: “Look, it says autopilot engaged!”
Peter: “Good for him. I’m glad he found someone.” (That was a straight-up “Airplane” joke if I ever heard one. Well-played, “FG.”)
As everyone around him applauded as the gang came in for a safe landing, one lone disgruntled mission control employee sulked: “I’m not cheering. I don’t even know them.” LOL.
As for the visual jokes, my favorites were the one for “Canadian Horror Story” (“Boo, eh?”); the possible “Life is Beautiful”-homage World War II joke (“Get in there, you.”); the bit where Chris was facing one way and complaining only to discover he wasn’t even facing his parents (as a former film school student, I especially got a kick out of that one, what with all the bitching about making sure your “field of vision” was accurate, meaning that your characters were facing the direction they were supposed to); the bit with Jinx the robot and how it was purposely slow (“Joke complete.”); the joke with Consuela dragging off the house when she thought the family wasn’t returning- it later showed up in the projects; and, of course, the bit with Brian inevitably hanging his head out of the space shuttle, unable to help himself to achieve the ultimate “whatever this is.”
The egg joke was also cute: “That’s an egg I hucked at you for being a nerd.” (*egg slowly deflects on Chris’ head*) And how could you not smile at Stewie’s “Fashion Police” joke: “I never got to wear it better!” Oh Stewie. You wear it better than Jessica Alba anyday.
All in all, a pretty solid episode of “Family Guy” to kick off the new year. What did you think? Would you have preferred a full-on Monty Python tribute? Did you like seeing Chris get his day of victory? Did you cringe at some of the off-screen visuals, too? Did I forget any of you fave lines? Let me know in the comments section!