Family Guy Season 11 Review “Brian’s Play”

In the latest episode of “Family Guy,” both Brian and Stewie got a taste of the limelight in “Brian’s Play.” First up was Brian, who composed a play that became the toast of Quahog, for what that was worth. Even Lois was impressed of Brian’s accomplishment: “It’s hard to believe it’s the same dog that barked at a pineapple for four hours.” Peter also was delighted, though it brought back not-so-happy memories of his own stage experiences as a child, when he played the plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” and had a little “accident” in the suit. Alas, only one of those happy/sad theater masked people had a good time. Oh well. Can’t please everyone, I guess.

Brian’s success inspires both Stewie and Peter to write plays themselves, though Peter’s has a bonus: “Sorry, there was a fart trapped in the play.” Stewie’s turns out to be incredibly good, and Brian tries to get rid of it in jealousy, afraid that Stewie’s accomplishment will eclipse his own. When Stewie asks him what he thought, Brian answers hilariously: “You know, Stewie, I have seen your play and it is exhilarating to me. A child’s play is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Continue to play, little one. You are our future.” Says Stewie without missing a beat: “What the f*** are you talking about?”

Finally, Brian confesses when Stewie calls him out; producing a beat-up copy of his play he found that Brian hid in the yard. He points out that Brian’s play wasn’t exactly Shakespeare itself.
Stewie: “There’s a line in there from ‘Seinfeld’!”
Brian: “I never saw that episode!”

Brian realizes the error of his ways and accompanies Stewie to New York, where he becomes the toast of the town, fawned over by the likes of David Mamet and Yasmina Reza (“I’m a playwright…I won a Pulitzer Prize!”/ Stewie: “You want to say your grade point average, too?” LOL.) Brian brings up he writes as well and much to his initial surprise, they know his work…but they think it’s terrible. Even Mamet can’t contain his foul mouth criticism (Stewie: “Oh my God! I got to hear David Mamet curse in person!”).

Poor Brian is crushed and confesses to Stewie he just wanted his day in the sun, even if that sun was just Quahog. Now he has to live with the fact that a baby is a better writer than he is. Stewie eventually rewrites the play so it will fail miserably and Brian will remain a local success, postponing his own success for a spell for his best friend. Aww. Then, in classic “Family Guy” fashion, a flying pterodactyl swoops down and eats them. (Was that a freaking “Q” reference?)
The end.

Some good stuff here and there, to be sure, but this was a strangely contemplative episode, almost as if creator Seth MacFarlane was having an inner dialogue with himself. Perhaps stress-induced self-doubt caused by his impending Oscar hosting gig? He needn’t worry- he was great on the announcement show, off-the-cuff, loose and genuinely funny. To me, that bodes well for the Oscars. We’ll see soon enough.

Other funny bits:

Random guy sitting alone next to Chris, whose mother leaves him in a seat by himself in the theater showing Brian’s play: “She’s not coming back, you know.”
Chris: “How do you know that?”
Guy: “’Cause she’s my mom, too.”

The extended bit with the woman trying to empty the last bit out of a ketchup bottle, which starts talking to her: “Listen, we’ve been at this for fifteen minutes. I don’t think anything’s coming out.”
Woman: “I’m fine. I can keep going.”
Ketchup: “I’m just tired.”
Woman: “What if I stuck my finger in your hole?”
Ketchup: “Yeah, that only works when I’m already close.” (Leave it to “FG” to make something so innocuous filthy- well played.)

Stewie, after Brian comments on his outfit: “I don’t wear anything I can’t take off with a flourish.”

Stewie, inviting Brian to an after-party: “Me and the other playwrights are going to have drinks with Woody Allen and his daughter-wife. You want to come?”

I also got a kick out of the bit with Muppets Beaker and Big Bird; Brian’s loopy description of rainbows; the repercussions of Peter being fooled by “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” when it’s replaced with actual butter (“Your husband murdered three children.”);and the hilarious play-geek joke about Stanley Kowalski (I so used to do that to my friend’s cat, Stella every time I saw her- no one had any idea what the hell I was talking about and thought I was out of my mind).

As aforementioned, this was subtle by “Family Guy” standards, but nonetheless one of the better episodes of the show this season. Sometimes it pays to take your time to tell a good story. What do you know?

What do you think of “Brian’s Play”? Was it too slow paced for your tastes or just right? Did you get the sense MacFarlane was working out some things here? Does he need to? Let me know in the comments!