The latest "Family Guy," "All in the Nielsen Family," was a funny, loving tribute to the wonderful world of television. Not even a buffoon like Peter Griffin can dampen the special bond between shows and devoted fans, and tonight's episode was a pop-culture dream.
Peter Griffin -- TV programming genius
When the Griffins receive a letter that they have been selected as a Nielsen TV Family, simple-minded Peter can't quite grasp the inner workings, so he asks the Nielsen rep to describe the process using "colorful puppets."
The Griffins are excited to have an impact in quality programming; however, when a guy from the Channel 5 news team asks how he can win their Nielsen votes, Peter goes a bit overboard. He asks the man to shave his mustache, wear a funny hat, and incorporate a chain saw. Later on, the news reporter is seen donning a court jester's headpiece, sans 'stash, and firing up a dangerous power tool during a broadcast.
A newly empowered Peter is thrilled to control the boob tube, so he steals 100 more Nielsen boxes. He then becomes a "TV God," and calls Jon Hamm at the "Mad Men" studios to suggest adding lightsabers and Ace Frehley playing the "Star Wars" theme song, he tells "Breaking Bad" to film on roller skates, asks David Letterman to read children's bedtime stories on the air, and makes "Cops" chase down bad guys, using only a banana for a weapon.
And the neighbors go wild!
"Now it's just a big, old silly mess!" screams a neighbor, while another complains that Peter "put a real cougar on "Cougar Town," and Courtney Cox clawed him to death!" Even Quagmire turned his back on his buddy, declaring "TV a vast wasteland," and moaning he actually had to read a book. Oh, the horrors!
When the mayor shows up at the Griffin home with a shot gun, yelling, "Thanks for adding one more tree to "One Tree Hill," he shoots up all the Nielsen boxes, destroying Peter's dream of small screen domination. However, Mr. G gets a (rare) brilliant idea, and decides to personally confront TV producers and executives.
Take that, Simpson!
In a self-deprecating moment, when Peter arrives at the production offices to declare he is there to alter television, Homer Simpson pops in the door, saying the exact same thing, but Peter dismisses him: "Sorry, looks like this is one we beat you to," which is a clever reference to past criticisms of Seth MacFarlane and "Family Guy" writers, who have been accused of ripping off "The Simpsons."
Fan fantasy scenario
There were voice cameos from Mark Burnett, J.J. Abrams, and Jon Hamm, who were all taught a lesson in how to run a network and show, Peter Griffin style. "All in the Nielsen Family" was a lot of fun, creating a fantasy scenario that many viewers long for, a chance to turn the telly into an even more uniquely personal, goofy, and entertaining experience.