Barely Legal (Family Guy)

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"Barely Legal"
Family Guy episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 8
Directed by Zac Moncrief
Written by Kirker Butler
Production code 5ACX03
Original air date December 17, 2006
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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Family Guy (season 5)
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"Barely Legal" is the eighth episode of season five of Family Guy. The episode originally broadcast on December 17, 2006. The plot sees Meg developing an obsession with Brian after he accompanies her as her date for the Junior Prom, eventually leading to her kidnapping Brian in order to engage in sex with him. Meanwhile, Peter and his friends join the Quahog Police Department to assist Joe with his work, but find being a police officer is not always about action.[1]

The episode was written by Kirker Butler and directed by Zac Moncrief. It received mostly positive reviews from critics for its storyline and many cultural references in addition from receiving criticism from the Parents Television Council. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 8.48 million homes in its original airing. The episode featured guest performances by Drew Barrymore, Barclay DeVeau, Phil LaMarr, Kerrigan Mahan, Natasha Melnick, Garrett Morris, Tamera Mowry and Lisa Wilhoit. The episode won an Annie Award for "Writing in an Animated Television Production."

Plot[edit]

Mayor Adam West deploys the entire Quahog Police Department to Cartagena, Colombia to search for Elaine Wilder (a fictional character from the film Romancing the Stone which he was watching), leaving Joe behind (as he was not deployed due to his disability and the fact that parts of Cartagena aren't wheelchair-accessible) with the police station's skeleton crew. Peter, Cleveland and Quagmire join the department to assist Joe.

Meanwhile, Meg threatens to commit suicide because she does not have a date for her Junior Prom. Even her backup boy turned her down by shooting his little brother and having to attend his funeral. As a last resort, Brian agrees to take her to the prom. He gets drunk there, defends Meg by insulting Connie D'Amico about her inevitable future, and the two make out. After the dance, Meg begins to think Brian is her boyfriend, despite Brian saying he has no feelings for her. Meg develops an obsession with Brian, even baking him a pie and using her hair as one of the ingredients. Stewie arrives and sits next to Brian and asks if he can have some pie. He then asks for the "Cool Hwhip" (this is the first in a series of occasions where Stewie puts emphasis on the "h" sound in a word starting with "wh"). Brian soon works up the courage to tell Lois that he and Meg kissed. Lois gets angry at the news, and orders Brian to dump Meg.

Later on, Meg knocks Brian out, puts him in the trunk of his car and drives away. Chris tells Lois that he saw this, so Lois, Peter, Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire track them down at the Harrington Hotel. When they arrive, they see Meg has tied Brian up with packaging tape and is about to rape Brian. Lois tells Meg that she is not thinking right, although Meg insists that she has never been more sure of anything in her life. Lois struggles to explain and says Meg does not know what she needs, and then Quagmire says (in an erotic tone) "I know what she needs... Bring her by my house around 8:30 tonight I'll take care of her." This implies that he will try to take advantage of Meg and when she arrives at Quagmire's house, it seems even more likely; he tells her to sit down and says "Soon it'll all become clear", puts on seductive music, dims the lights, strips down to a speedo and sits down beside her; but suddenly, Quagmire (uncharacteristically) begins to have a serious heart-to-heart talk with Meg, telling her that her entire life is still ahead of her and she should not be in such a hurry to grow up before assuring her that she will find the right person one day. To help Meg, Quagmire gives her his copy of The Missing Piece to help give her a better perception of things, and sends her away feeling much better. He then walks into his bedroom, where two of his one-night stands await with an array of sex toys, and it turns out that all of Quagmire's seemingly erotic antics were actually in preparation for this tryst. One of the women asks Quagmire if he has the "hwhip" (with emphasis on the "h") and Quagmire responds with disbelief.

During the credits, Tom Tucker reports that the Quahog Police have called off the search for Elaine Wilder and are heading back to Quahog.

Production[edit]

Kirker Butler wrote the episode.

A scene shows Cleveland falling out of the bathtub and subsequently out of his house. This is the second time the show has used this gag (as indicated when Cleveland comments that "I gotta stop taking baths during Peter's shenanigans"), the first one being "Hell Comes to Quahog", where Peter blew up Cleveland's house with a tank. This gag occurred three more times in the seventh season episodes "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing" and "Family Gay", the season eight episodes "Spies Reminiscent of Us", "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", and the Cleveland Show pilot. It took several attempts to animate it correctly.[2][3] The gag of Meg's Junior Prom date killing his brother in order to escape from their planned date was included in the first draft for the episode, as made by Kirker Butler.[3]

A scene featuring Peter, Cleveland, Mort and Quagmire drinking coffee in the booth, waiting for one of them to act irrationally due to Joe adding a substance into their drink, was cut from the broadcast for timing purposes.[4] A deleted scene had been made for the episode, which showed one of the characters present in the booth after Joe added a substance into their drink, turning into a lizard-like creature from Jurassic Park, but the gag was never used.[5] American actor and comedian Garrett Morris guest-starred on the episode, portraying the headmaster of the "New York School for the Hard-of-Hearing", which was once a regular Weekend Update piece on the 1970s episodes of Saturday Night Live.[4] When Peter and everybody else discover Meg attempting to seduce Brian in the hotel, Peter uses the term "Chinaman"; this was changed for the television broadcast to "oriental guy", as "Chinaman" is deemed to be an offensive word.[4]

In addition to the regular cast, actress Drew Barrymore, voice actor Barclay DeVeau, voice actor Phil LaMarr, voice actor Kerrigan Mahan, actress Natasha Melnick, comedian and actor Garrett Morris, actress Tamera Mowry and actress Lisa Wilhoit guest starred in the episode. Recurring guest voice actors Lori Alan, actress Alex Breckenridge, voice actor John G. Brennan, writer Chris Sheridan, writer Alec Sulkin and writer John Viener made minor appearances. Recurring guest voice actors Patrick Warburton and Adam West made appearances as well.

Cultural references[edit]

The movie Mayor West is watching on the television is Romancing the Stone.[4] The music played in the background during the black people's parade is taken almost verbatim from the film adaptation of the 1975 musical The Wiz where the black people sing "Brand New Day" when it came to the absence of most of the Quahog Police Department. The two songs playing in the background at the junior prom are Hold On to the Nights by Richard Marx and Why by Annie Lennox. [4][5] The music used in the background and the academy's logo when Peter, Quagmire and Cleveland are entering the police training grounds is a reference to that used in the Police Academy.[4] The scene where Meg plays Madame Butterfly while turning the lamp on and off and the line "I will not be ignored, Brian" is a reference to 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction.[4] The entire scene in the hotel where Meg is discovered attempting to seduce Brian is a reference to The King of Comedy, which MacFarlane notes as one of his favorite movies.[4] When Peter Griffin steals a giraffe from the zoo, he names the giraffe Allison Janney. Garrett Morris reprises his role as Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing from the first season of Saturday Night Live.

Reception[edit]

In a significant decrease from the previous week, the episode was viewed in 8.48 million homes in its original airing, according to Nielsen ratings. The episode also acquired a 3.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic, slightly being edged out by The Simpsons, while still winning over American Dad!.[6]

This episode was written Kirker Butler, who was nominated at the 34th Annie Awards under the category of "Writing in an Animated Television Production", and Mila Kunis, who voices Meg, was also nominated for her work on this episode under the category of "Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production".[7] In his review of the episode, Dan Iverson of IGN wrote: "After a couple more episodes like the one that Family Guy had on Sunday night, we could officially and unequivocally call the show the best animated program to air on the weekend", adding "we are completely willing to raise the once hit-or-miss comedy of Family Guy to the level of most consistently funny comedy on FOX Sunday nights — and that is thanks to great stories and hilarious comedy like that of this week's episode "Barely Legal."[8] In a review of Family Guy, Volume five, Nancy Basile regarded "Airport '07", "Prick Up Your Ears", and "Barely Legal" as "gem episodes".[9] Brett Love of TV Squad commented: "It seemed like more of a cohesive story than we have seen in a while as the whole family was tied in to the same storyline", later adding "I liked the story of Meg's infatuation with Brian", concluding with "overall, I'd call this one a really good episode."[10]

However, the Parents Television Council, a media watchdog group and frequent critic, named "Barely Legal" the "Worst TV Show of the Week" ending the week of December 28, 2006. PTC member and writer Joey Bozell commented, "It's becoming more and more obvious that these writers' missions is to provide the most offensive content they can imagine and in turn proves they don't have an ounce of respect for the families watching at home."[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Barely Legal". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  2. ^ Butler, Kirker (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Barely Legal" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  3. ^ a b Moncrief, Zac (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Barely Legal" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h MacFarlane, Seth (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Barely Legal" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b Smith, Danny (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Barely Legal" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  7. ^ Soares, Andre (December 4, 2006). "34th Annie Awards – 2006". Altfg.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  8. ^ Iverson, Dan (December 18, 2006). "Family Guy: "Barely Legal" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  9. ^ Basile, Nancy. "Family Guy Volume five DVD". About.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  10. ^ Love, Brett. "Family Guy: Barely Legal". TV Squad. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  11. ^ Bozell, Joey (2006-12-28). "Family Guy on Fox". Worst TV Show of the Week. Parents Television Council. Archived from the original on 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 

External links[edit]