Family Guy Season 11 Review “Total Recall”

Love was in the air on “Family Guy” this week, but this being the show that it is, not without some unusual kinks involved, in the latest episode, entitled “Total Recall.” Alas, despite that title, it was not an extended homage to the film of the same name, a la their takes on “Star Wars.”

Instead, we started off with a weird opening bit that eschewed the usual theme song bit for a series of photographs of the various characters. I’m going to assume that it’s a pop culture reference I don’t get because it’s from the 70’s or something, although the show has eased off that sort of thing as of late. (If you know, feel free to chime in below.)

Anywhoozle, we started with a sick Peter speaking in a throaty tone that got Lois’ juices flowing, and before you know it, things were really getting going, boiling and blistering.

Lois: “Oh my God, that was amazing. I’m gonna have to crawl to the bathroom.
Peter: “Yeah, that was incredible. That was the first time I has an orgasm out the front and back.”

Um, eew. But funny. As was the “deep voice-off” Peter had with Joe, which had another bit of dialogue that I suspect was a reference to something pop-culture-y. Either way, I laughed, and the show was off to a good start, including one I did get, a sit-down with Carly Simon (Voicing herself) in which she revealed that the real source of inspiration for her classic You’re so Vain was, in fact, Don Knotts. Loved it.

The bulk of the episode revolved around Peter trying to stay sick by whatever means possible, including licking Lindsay Lohan’s fork, which caused his ears and nose to bleed and him to demand cocaine before keeling over. He showed up back home, barfing his guts out and complaining to a revolted Lois: “What the hell, Lois? Yesterday, you were all over me, and then, for a confusing period, inside of me.”

This time around, Peter’s illness landed him in the hospital, and Lois took his place with the guys, fitting in surprisingly well with “Swanny” and “Quags.” This led to another pop culture touchstone being skewered, Kristen Stewart, who Lois felt was flat-chested, took baths when she should really take a shower (“Yeah, she looks dirty,” Joe agreed), and on whom “someone should write ‘wash me’ in the dust on that flat ass.” Ouch! Someone must have snubbed MacFarlane at the Oscars!

Eventually, Peter got better and Lois had to bow out not-so-gracefully, with the exit line to the guys about how she was “planning on having my period really hard later and I want to be in the tub when it happens.” You might want to make that a shower, sweetie.

Meanwhile, we had an oddball subplot with Stewie roping in Brian to track down his beloved Rupert the teddy bear, who Lois sent back to the toy factory when his eyes were declared a choking hazard for kids, which led to a borderline joke that would have been funnier if, I don’t know, a baby wasn’t saying it! (Settle down, I’m not going to call the cops or anything.)

Brian: “She was afraid he was going to choke you.”
Stewie: “That was a game we played. Believe me, I was in control the whole time.”

Once they arrived at the toy factory, they took a tour, keeping an eye out for Rupert along the way. One tourist spotted an armed gunman installed upon a catwalk overlooking the freshly minted toys, and asked what that was about. The tour guide informed him that: “Every once in a while one of our toys becomes real and we have to make sure it doesn’t get out.”

Cue an elephant getting his stuffing blown out of his head by the sniper in question. Later on, a group of animated-but-disfigured-by gunshot toys tried to make their out of the factory. Disney was never like this, although I halfway expected to see Ted make an appearance.

Eventually, Stewie manages to save Rupert from the fiery pit that discontinued toys were burnt in, almost ending up in the pit himself. It really was like “Toy Story”-meets-Child’s Play,” now that I think about it. The heartwarming episode ended with Stewie, after all the sacrifices and lengths he went to in order to rescue his beloved stuffed animal, you guessed it, choking to death on Rupert’s dislodged eyeball. Or maybe you didn’t guess that- it was pretty disturbing, actually.

So, clearly the show fully re-embraced its love of pop culture past and present, with plenty more of those sort of jokes scattered throughout the episode. I guess my favorite not already mentioned was Peter’s clueless take on the movie Mask: “Take off the mask. That’s your problem.” LOL, at least if you got it. I suspect I didn’t get all of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I did.

Given some people’s complaints that the show was losing touch with what made them like it in the first place, this one should have hit the target for the most part, playing like a classic episode of the show. Though I appreciated the attempt to steer things away from that sort of thing in favor of more original jokes, I have to admit, I laughed more at this episode than I have in some time. For that matter, I just plain enjoyed it more, storyline-wise.

What did you think of “Family Guy” this week? Get any jokes I missed? Any favorites I didn’t mention? Did you appreciate the multitude of in-jokes? Let me know in the comments!