Chitty Chitty Death Bang
|"Chitty Chitty Death Bang"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Dominic Polcino|
|Written by||Danny Smith|
|Original air date||April 18, 1999|
"Chitty Chitty Death Bang" is the third episode of the first season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. The episode follows Peter after he tries to make amends for his son, Stewie's, first birthday party when he loses their reservation at a popular kids' restaurant known as Cheesie Charlie's. Meanwhile, Meg becomes friends with an excitable girl named Jennifer, who leads her to join a death cult, in an attempt to fit in.
The episode was written by Danny Smith and directed by Dominic Polcino, both firsts in the Family Guy series. It was rated TV-14. The episode featured guest performances by Butch Hartman, Waylon Jennings, Rachael MacFarlane and John O'Hurley, along with several recurring voice actors for the series. Much of the episode features a cutaway style of humor that is typically used in Family Guy, many of which feature cultural references including the Incredible Hulk, The Dukes of Hazzard, Three Little Pigs, and Couplehood. The title "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" was derived from 1930s and 1940s radio programs, particularly the radio thriller anthology Suspense, which featured several elements pertaining to death and murder.
The episode has received praise from television critic Ahsan Haque for its storyline and use of cultural references.
Lois has booked Cheesie Charlie's for Stewie's upcoming first birthday party and sends Peter along with Chris to drop off the deposit check at the restaurant. However, once they arrive, Peter sports an attitude that causes the manager to give their reservation to someone else - a move Peter later realizes will infuriate Lois. Meanwhile, Stewie misinterprets the meaning of his birthday and assumes that the same mysterious "Man in White" who delivered him as an infant will be returning to force Stewie back into Lois' womb from which he escaped just one year ago. Meg cries all the way home to Peter from cheerleading practice, and has been having trouble fitting in at school. Later, she discovers a new friend named Jennifer. Peter covers his mistake up by telling Lois that they don't need to have Stewie's party at Cheesie Charlie's because they are Nazis who torture, kill and kidnap people. He pretends that he's already planned an extravagant party at home. Meanwhile, Stewie makes it all the way to the airport before deciding that he should face "The Man in White" after all. Peter tries desperately, but ultimately unsuccessfully, to put together a party in time for Stewie's birthday. He finally reroutes a circus into the Griffins' backyard, saving the day - that is, until he reveals to Lois that he gave Meg permission to go to a party at her friend's house. Lois, who wanted the whole family together for Stewie's party, is upset with Peter for letting Meg go. What Peter and Lois don't realize is that Meg's "party" is actually a cult meeting where all the members are about to commit group suicide.
Peter goes to retrieve Meg from her "party", oblivious to the fact that he is sparing her life in the process. The Cult Leader chases after them while wearing his ceremonial white robe and is mistaken by Stewie as "The Man in White". Stewie does away with him and, feeling victorious, joins the others to enjoy his party.
"Chitty Chitty Death Bang" was written by Danny Smith and directed by Dominic Polcino, both their first episodes in the Family Guy series. Staff writers included voice actor Mike Henry and Andrew Gormley, while Ricky Blitt, Chris Sheridan as executive story editors, and Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan acted as the story editors. To help Polcino direct the episode were supervising directors Peter Shin and Roy Allen Smith.
In addition to the regular cast, guest stars included actor and comedian Patrick Bristow, animator, executive producer, animation director, storyboard artist and producer Butch Hartman (who played Mr. Weed, Peter's boss, and various other characters), writer Gary Janetti who played the Demon and Riff), actor John O'Hurley (who played the Cult Leader), and Waylon Jennings (who played himself). Recurring cast members included Mike Henry who played Cleveland Brown and Lori Alan who played Dianne Simons. This is the first episode Seth MacFarlane's sister, Rachael MacFarlane guest starred in the episode as the voice of Jennifer. In future episodes she would become a recurring voice actor for the series. Rachel has noted that she was asked by Seth to lend her voice for the show, but she did have to audition for the role.
As with the remaining first four episodes of the season, the title of the episode, "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", was derived from 1930s and 1940s radio programs, particularly the radio thriller anthology "Suspense", which featured several elements pertaining to death and murder. This convention was later dropped following the fourth episode of the season, "A Hero Sits Next Door". due to individual episodes becoming difficult to identify and distinguish.
When Peter explains to Lois why he canceled the party at Cheesie Charlie's, he said he had been kidnapped by them and that they are Nazis. He explains to Lois that he escaped by turning into the Incredible Hulk. The place where Lois had planned Stewie's birthday party is called Cheesie Charlie's, which is a reference to the food chain Chuck E. Cheese's. When Stewie recalls how he was conceived he tells the story of which he was in a sperm ships and gets in to a fight with other sperm ships is a reference to fights in the Star Wars trilogy.
Peter loses his Dukes of Hazard watch. When Peter is looking for pigs for a petting zoo he takes down a house of straw and a house made of sticks, this is a reference to the fairy tale Three Little Pigs. Peter is also struck in the head by a paintcan on a string, a reference to the film Home Alone. Items added to the suicide cult punch mix by Jennifer include cyanide, arsenic, rat poison, and the book Couplehood by Paul Reiser.
A 2008 review of the episode written by Ahsan Haque of IGN was generally positive; Haque stated that while it he did not believe "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" was an "instant classic," it has "plenty of memorable moments" and "a nicely crafted storyline." Haque went on to praise Peter's attempt to "convince [Lois] that the people are Cheesie Charlie's are Nazi devils who kidnapped him and that he only manages to escape because he was able to turn into the Incredible Hulk," as well as Stewie's role in the episode, calling it "extremely clever." Haque concluded his review by rating the episode an 8.4/10. David Williams from the DVD Movie Guide, "said that" this episode saying that the episodes of the first season did a marvelous job of introducing the characters of the series to the viewers.
In his review of "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" the TV Critic called the writing in the episode wittier than in previous ones. He found the Stewie storyline very enjoyable, and also commented positively on the moral of the story. He criticized the Meg storyline as he did not find mass suicide funny; he also commented that Peter felt a lot like Homer from The Simpsons. In his final comments he said it had some odd moments but it was a fun story.
- "Family Guy: Chitty Chitty Death Bang". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
- Callaghan, Steve (2005). Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide Seasons 1–3. New York: Harper Collins. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-06-083305-3.
- Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy Flashback: "A Hero Sits Next Door" Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- Goldman, Eric (2006-03-16). "William S. Paley TV Fest: Family Guy". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- Callaghan, p. 32
- Haque, Ahsan (2008-06-03). "Family Guy Flashback: "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
- Callaghan, Steve (2005). Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide Seasons 1–3. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 22–25: "Chitty Chitty Death Bang".
- Williams, David. "Family Guy: Volume 1 - Season 1 & 2 (1999)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
- Pierson, Robin (2009-09-07). "Episode 3 – Chitty Chitty Death Bang". The TV Critic. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
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