You'd have to be freakin' crazy to miss out on the superb seventh volume of Family Guy! Loaded with laughs, these 13 hilarious episodes continue the outrageous adventures of Peter, Lois, Chris, Brian, baby Stewie and what's her name. Victory is yours!
Like John Waters' shock-value comedies of yore, Family Guy keeps moving the taste-be-damned line. "You laughed at that?" these episodes spanning seasons six and seven challenge viewers. "Okay, then laugh at this!" AIDS, cancer, incest, September 11, and the films of Matthew McConaughey are all grist for the mill. Though it has taken its lumps from the South Park contingent, Family Guy merrily stays true to its absurdist, arbitrary muse. The stories are ludicrous: James Woods steals Peter Griffin's identity; Brian discovers he has a son; Stewie, Brian, and nebbish pharmacist Mort time travel back in time to Hitler's Germany; and Peter discovers Jesus Christ working at a used record store. You got a problem with that? "Go on the Internet and complain," Brian suggests. The pop-culture references are as ever arcane. "That's more of a letdown than Fruit Stripe gum," Peter remarks at one point. And the politically incorrect jokes can be jaw-droppingly wrong, as witness the game show Are You Smarter Than a Hispanic Maid, the flamboyant gay stereotypes flaunted in the episode "Family Gay," and a bit in which hearing-impaired actress Marlee Matlin tries unsuccessfully to connect with Moviefone. And how does a series on Fox get away with the moment when Stewie finds a McCain/Palin campaign button on a Nazi uniform? From Dane Cook to Jay Leno, Family Guy is always up for celebrity bashing, but some are in on the joke. In "Family Gay," Meredith Baxter spoofs her signature women-in-crisis Lifetime movies, and Seth Rogen good-naturedly supplies his own voice when Peter is injected with the Seth Rogen gene that "gives you the appearance of being funny even though you haven't actually done anything funny." And kudos to Andy Dick for his room-clearing cameo in "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing."
Each episode can be viewed as originally televised or uncensored with F-bombs and other crudities unbleeped. Curiously missing in action from "Ocean's Three and a Half" is one of Family Guy's most inspired bits in which Peter's voice is mixed in to the now-infamous Christian Bale rant tape (you can find it on YouTube). Loyal Family Guy viewers are also rewarded with deleted scenes, lively episode commentaries, an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the episode "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing," featuring Frank Sinatra Jr., and the Family Guy 2008 Comic-Con panel discussion. Family Guy, observes Mr. Sinatra, "is not comedy. It's satire." What it is, still, is way more often than not flat-out funny. --Donald Liebenson