By: Michael Nisiak

Family Guy recently had an episode that crossed over with The Simpsons, resulting in a witty commentary on creativity and artistic influences, and more than a few crude jokes.

At the start of the episode, the Griffins are watching a Modern Family and All in the Family crossover and Chris says, “a crossover always brings out the best in each show. It certainly doesn’t smack of desperation. The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing.”

This is sneaky. How can one complain about the crossover episode if the show itself already made fun of the idea?

But my intention isn’t to bash the idea of a crossover episode. I took the episode as an opportunity to see what happens when the characters from two different worlds come together.

The first point of interest is the relationship between Stewie and Bart, which most highlights the differences between the shows. At one point, Bart shows Stewie how to prank call and Stewie “pranks” Moe with an inappropriate rape joke. It is interesting to see how Bart will respond to this kind of joke that he isn’t typically exposed to in his world. His silence was an appropriate response as it showed that he was just as shocked as the viewers.

The episode also poked fun at each of the shows, most notably being a legal battle in which the beer in Family Guy, Pawtucket Patriot Ale, is accused of being a rip-off of the beer in Simpsons, Duff. This legal battle echoes the accusations that Family Guy is a rip-off of Simpsons, and even emphasizes the similarities by having each Family Guy character sitting with their Simpsons counterpart during the court hearing. Quagmire sat with Lenny, Cleveland sat with Karl, Mayor Quimby sat with Mayor Adam West, etc.

In the end, the verdict came from Fred Flintstone, who commented that both beers were a rip-off of his favourite beer, Bud Rock. In other words, sure, Family Guy might be a rip-off of Simpsons, but Simpsons is a rip-off of another show, which is a rip-off of another show. The way the episode comments on how the two shows interact with each other is by far the most intriguing aspect of the crossover.

Unfortunately, if one were to watch the episode for the story, they’d likely be met with disappointment. The plot was paper-thin, with no direction or purpose. It seemed to mainly be used as a device for bringing the characters together and forcing them to interact. As for the jokes in the episode, let’s just say that for my taste, they’re a bit too Family Guy-ish.

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