Fox // 2009 // 301 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Josh Rode (Retired) // December 26th, 2011
Lucky there's a man who positively can do all the things that make us laugh and cry.
Watching Family Guy: Volume Nine is somewhat akin to watching a tennis match between crack addicts. The jokes fly relentlessly, with little regard for accuracy. Instead of crafting a real script, each episode plays as if the writers simply threw in every joke they could think of, knowing everyone would find at least some of them funny. No phrase can go by without a cut to a scene where the allegory is played out literally ("I'll be quiet as a church mouse," says Peter, and the scene switches to a couple of mice talking in church). While these asides are often the funniest parts of the show, they also break up the continuity, giving it an uneven rhythm.
Family Guy is set up much like The Simpsons, complete with a below-average-intelligence father who continually comes up with wacky schemes; an enabling wife who can't stand up to her husband when he goes too far; and children of varying temperaments and intellects. There is also Brian, the well-spoken family dog. Where Family Guy falls short of its older cousin is in the shared screen time. The episodes are much too Peter-centric; he gets the vast majority of central storylines and is the dominant secondary figure in most of the exceptions. Of the other characters, only Brian and Stewie get more than token character arcs. After all these years, the show still has no clear idea what to do with Meg and Chris. They each get a story in this set, but in both cases, Peter gets a portion of the plot.
* "Business Guy" -- Lois' father falls into a coma. The stipulation in his will is that she should run the family, in such an occurrence. Reluctant to do so, Peter takes the job, and Lois shows her lack of internal fortitude by failing to step in when he inevitably goes too far.
* "Big Man on Hippocampus" -- Peter gets amnesia and forsakes the family. Lois again fails to stand up for herself, when she takes the kids and leaves instead of kicking Peter's ass to the curb when he starts cheating on her. This episode contains the hilarious Peter and Lois sex scene, as portrayed by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson using Peter and Lois action figures.
* "Dial Meg for Murder" -- Meg's secret boyfriend is an escaped convict, and harboring him sends her to jail too. When she gets out, she's an entirely different Meg; one they should have kept, since she finally has a somewhat developed personality. Meanwhile, Peter gears up for a rodeo.
* "Extra Large Medium" -- Chris gets thrown a narrative bone, as he dates a girl with Down Syndrome. In the meantime, Peter claims to have psychic powers.
* "Go, Stewie, Go" -- It's an ode to Tootsie, as Stewie dresses as a girl to get a part in his favorite TV show. Also, Peter's continual insensitive remarks make Lois feel old, so she starts fantasizing about Meg's newest boyfriend.
Extras: A handful of deleted scenes, and a bonus episode of The Cleveland Show.
* "Peter-Assment" -- Peter is sexually harassed by his boss, but when he confides in Lois, she tells him to allow it.
* "Brian Griffin's House of Payne" -- Brian's script gets turned into a television pilot, but the story gets subverted by the compromises he's forced to accept. Also, Stewie gets knocked down a flight of stairs by Chris and Meg, and they try to cover it up with a series of hats. The episode begins with a well done space battle sequence, plus a playful dichotomy between Stewie's over-aged personality and his baby instincts.
* "April in Quahog" -- The news reports a giant black hole will destroy the world in the next 24 hours, which is great for Peter because it gets him out of jury duty. Unfortunately, he also lets slip he doesn't particularly care for his kids.
* "Brian and Stewie" -- In the series 150th episode, Brian and Stewie get trapped in a vault over the weekend, leading to...well, all sorts of things. I'm still a little queasy from parts of it.
* "Quagmire's Dad" -- Quagmire's war hero dad gets a sex change, while Brian meets a woman at the local Marriot who he really likes.
* "The Splendid Source" -- Peter, Quagmire, and Joe seek the source of all dirty jokes. Unfortunately, this includes the cast of The Cleveland Show.
Extras: Deleted scenes and Storyboard comparisons.
* "And Then There Were Fewer" -- Family Guy gets the Clue treatment, in a double episode. Since they didn't have time for a constant barrage of side jokes, this is the most cohesive episode of the set.
* "Excellence in Broadcasting" -- Brian gains a new outlook on the world after reading Rush Limbaugh's book, but his new conservative approach rubs Lois the wrong way.
* "Welcome Back, Carter" -- Peter catches Lois' father having an affair, and his friends talk him into using this knowledge for blackmail.
Extras: History of the world Family Guy style, which is quite funny; Making of "And Then There Were Fewer"; Comic-Con 2010; and more Deleted scenes.
Family Guy: Volume Nine is presented primarily in 1.33:1 standard definition full frame, though three episodes receive the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen treatment. Colors are bright on this simple animation, with minimal texture and detail, save for the CGI sequences (such as the mansion in "And Then There Were Fewer" and the space battle in "Brian Griffin's House of Payne"). Audio is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround, though neither the surrounds nor the subwoofer get much of a workout.
Parts of Family Guy: Volume Nine are hysterical, while others fall flat. If you were to chart the loud guffaws versus the crickets chirping, it would resemble a Geiger counter during an earthquake: sharp peaks and valleys, with nothing in between. If you're a fan of the show, this set will not disappoint. If you're not a fan...well, there are still funny moments, but everything you dislike is here too. If you've never seen the show and want to check it out, this is as good a place to start as any.
Take it up with my butt, he's the only one that gives a crap.
Review content copyright © 2011 Josh Rode; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 301 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Storyboard Comparisons
* Bonus Episodes
* Official Site