Family Guy Season 11 Review “Friends without Benefits”

This time around on “Family Guy,” it was Meg’s turn at bat as the central character in “Friends without Benefits.” This one had a somewhat oddball premise, even by “Family Guy” standards. Basically, it was the tale of unrequited love, as Meg fell prey to that age-old rite of female passage: falling for a gay guy. That in of itself wasn’t the strange part, but rather her reaction to it.

Under normal circumstances, most girls would either befriend the guy or move on, but Meg opted to take the road less traveled. She decided the better route to take would be to set the guy up with her brother, Chris! As the guy had a crush on Chris, it was an easy sell on his end, but not so much on Chris’, as he isn’t of the gay persuasion. This forced Meg to take matters into her own hands, so she did what any irrational person would do- she sought out roofies! One guess as to who she went to in order to procure such a thing…here’s a hint: Giggity!

Alas, the plan backfired, lucky for Chris. (Not so much for Stewie, who snagged a pill for himself and promptly keeled over.) Worse still, the guy in question found out what was going on and was not amused. Oh well: better luck, next time, Meg. Poor girl just can’t seem to catch a break to save her life.

Some great deadpan line readings from the lovely Mila Kunis here. My favorite was probably this following line from her journal: “Anal bleaching is better left to professionals, LOL!” Now there’s an unpleasant visual image- even if you went Mila over Meg. Second runner-up has to go to: “There he is- the reason my bedpost is so shiny!” Slightly better visual on that one, if still a bit oddball, to say the least. This is “Family Guy,” after all, so what does one expect?

Speaking of amusing visuals, I got a kick out of Peter gliding by on the slip ‘n’ slide in the background in one scene, especially the random bit with the spider cocoon. The visual of Chris with “Felicity” hair was pretty hilarious, too, though I wonder how many typical “Family Guy” viewers got that pseudo-obscure joke. Finally, the “rapey” plant bits were pretty amusing too, especially when it went for Stewie!

Speaking of which, I’m not sure why I’ve been hearing so many rape jokes as of late, but there they are, everywhere I turn. I suppose it’s one of the last taboo topics to make light of, but it still can’t help but be a little disturbing underneath the surface, even if it involves a woman making the joke, as was partially the case here with Meg. (I also saw jokes about it from comics Sarah Silverman and Bonnie MacFarlane this weekend, so it was females across the board making the jokes.) In addition to Meg’s antics, there was also Quagmire’s bit about “Don’t rape it back; rape it forward” and the term “snooze juicer,” which was defined as having gay male sex with someone who’s asleep! There’s a term for that? Yikes! (Of course, “Family Guy” writers could have just made it up as well, so there’s that…)

Still, it got me thinking. Last week, someone put me to task about a joke made at the expense of autistics in an episode of “2 Broke Girls,” which I quoted in my review. I laughed at the joke, and defended my laughing by pointing out how technically the joke was at the expense at one of the characters, not really autistic people themselves, much as “South Park” tends to poke fun at everybody in a general way, but without being really mean-spirited about it. This “Family Guy” featured an entire subplot about rape, and while certainly done tongue-in-cheek, it was a bit on the edge of good taste. I’d be interested to hear what other people think about this; as, even while I laughed at some of the jokes, it still left me with a queasy feeling, nonetheless. (Full disclosure: Two people I’m very close to were the victims of sexual assault, so it can be a touchy subject with me, just as the person who complained about “Girls” was the mother of an autistic child, so the joke there hit home for her for similar reasons.)

Anyway, not to get all preachy and/or soap-box-ish, but what do you think? Should anything be sacred when it comes to humor? Were you offended by the jokes, or did you give it a pass because it involved a female character & was played for laughs? Should it have been played for laughs? Would it have made a difference to you, if the character doing it had been, say, Chris, instead of Meg? Sound off in the comment section below and let me know!

In the meantime, it was a pretty hit-or-miss episode, even minus the questionable humor. I liked a few bits here and there, especially the “Barbarella” homage with Meg and Peter’s sassy day-job talk at the restaurant was pretty funny & I loved the slang he used: “Got a telephone pole headed to the fishing hole…spray it with sunshine!” Overall, not one of the best eps, but not one of the worst either.