The Season 11 premiere episode of "Family Guy" showed early signs of goofiness, took a dark turn, and attempted a redemptive comeback in the final scene. Overall, "Into Fat Air" was fairly dull, offering no real moments of comedic brilliance.
Salad a la Peter
When Lois' former flame, Ross Fishman, invites the Griffins over to dinner with his successful, prim-and-proper family, one would expect great things to happen. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case tonight. The show started off strong with Peter making a fool of himself (naturally!) by ripping off his shirt to challenge Ross in a pec-off, greasing up his body with salad dressing, and then covering himself with lettuce and tomatoes.
Another classic was Peter's line comparing him to the fab Mr. Fishman: "I'll always be Scottie Pippen to his Michael Jordan," which lead to shots of the cartoon Chicago Bulls greats on the basketball court.
Go up, stupid!
When the Fishmans dare the athletically challenged Griffins to climb Mt. Everest, Lois is intrigued, mostly because she is tired of her kids being seen as second best, to which Stewie mouths back, "then don't buy us shoes at the car wash!"
As the two families arrive at Mt. Everest, Peter chooses a sunglasses-wearing donkey and a sassy GPMS device, "Go up! What do you think? Go up!"
Stewie's warm place
Along the journey, following a creepy "Rat Pack" moment, Brian tells a freezing, exhausted Stewie to "go to a warm place." With the Earth, Wind & Fire song "September" playing in the background, there are clips of the tyke in a casino, winning big moolah, surrounded by a bevy of beauties, followed by a broke, lonely Stewie boarding an empty bus, where the driver asks if he should turn the heat on. See, a "warm place" perfectly executed, "Family Guy" style! It's clever writing like this that fans expect and appreciate.
Once the Griffins climb their way to the top of the mountain, which could only happen in a cartoon, they discover the Fishmans beat them there by about an hour. What happened afterward was disturbing, and not in a funny way.
When they find the frozen body of the Fishman son, Peter and crew decide that the only way to survive is to make the young man their lunch. Thankfully, viewers were spared the gruesome feast.
The last half of the program limped along with desperate bits of writing trying to convince us of its epic greatness. There was something unsatisfying about taking the entire Griffin crew out of their usual environment. While Stewie and Brian enjoyed a couple hilarious road trips, this one seemed to suffer from boredom. Even during the last scene, where Peter saves the lives of Ross and his wife, felt forced.
"Family Guy" is one of the funniest shows on television with sharp writing and a controversial approach to comedy. When they are "on," it's a joy to behold, but when it falls flat, it's downright painful.
- Arts & Entertainment