|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Brian Iles|
|Written by||Wellesley Wild|
|Original air date||January 13, 2008|
"McStroke" is the eighth episode of season six of the Fox animated comedy series Family Guy. The episode follows Peter as he saves the life of the owner of a fast-food restaurant and the owner gives him a lifetime supply of free burgers. After eating 30 burgers in a row Peter suffers a massive stroke and tries to take revenge on the restaurant.
The episode was written by Wellesley Wild and it was directed by Brian Iles. This is one of the episodes that did not have show creator Seth MacFarlane's work in post-production because he was participating in the Writers Guild of America strike. The episode guest starred Max Burkholder, Denis Martel and Ricardo Montalbán. Recurring voice actors Alex Breckenridge, Phil LaMarr, Ralph Garman, Mark Hentemann, Danny Smith, Alec Sulkin, Lisa Wilhoit and John Viener also made appearances. It received mixed reviews from critics.
Peter Griffin starts collecting Cleveland Brown's mail while he is away ("black guy mail," as Peter calls it). After looking through one of Cleveland's magazines, Peter decides to grow a mustache. After Peter's vanity with his new mustache. he notices McBurgertown is on fire, to which he says "With great mustache comes great responsibility." Peter runs inside of the burning fast food joint and rescues the owner/manager from the fire, but Peter is devastated to find out his mustache was torched in the fire. While back at home, the manager of McBurgertown shows up at their door to offer Peter a life-time supply of free food as a way of thanks for saving his life. While at the grand re-opening of McBurgertown with Peter ingesting his free burgers to take his mind off losing his moustache, Peter has a stroke that paralyzes a vertical half of his body. Peter is unhappy about the pace of his recovery, so he walks inside of a stem cell research center; he is cured of his stroke in only five minutes. Peter then tries to sue McBurgertown because of his stroke (although Brian points out that it was Peter's own fault due to eating so many burgers), but instantly loses the trial because they have more lawyers than he does, as well as a lack of evidence. As a result, Peter--dragging Brian against his will--go to the McBurgertown industries and take a tour so that Peter can find the required evidence to take down their business. The tour guide conveniently had to take a thirty minute bathroom break in the middle of the tour, so Peter and Brian sneak into a room and find out that it is a slaughterhouse. They befriend a talking cow and they make an agreement that if they set the cow free, the cow will help them protest against McBurgertown. While sneaking out of the building with the cow, security starts chasing them, but they get away. After the cow's protest in regards to their practices (as well as implications of fast food's shady health effects in general throughout the episode), Peter successfully takes down the business.
Meanwhile, Stewie and Brian wager that Stewie can disguise himself as a high-schooler and become the most popular kid in less than a week. Taking on the name "Zac Sawyer", he starts hanging out with Connie D'Amico and her friends and easily wins them over, thus winning his bet with Brian. Connie and Zac drive to Anal Point to have sex, but when Zac takes off his pants, Connie laughs at the size of his penis and drives off. The next day at school, he is ostracized by the popular kids for his "baby penis", ending his reign of popularity. Realizing that Connie was the one who revealed this to everyone, Zac asks Connie for one last kiss. Connie accepts, but when Connie's eyes are closed, Stewie angrily takes off his clothes and kisses her, making her look like a pedophile, thus having Connie arrested by school security in revenge for ending his reign of popularity.
The episode was written by Wellesley Wild, who has been with the show since its fourth season. It was directed by Brian Iles, who would direct the episode "Back to the Woods" later this season. Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdun acted as supervising directors for the episode.
This is one of the episodes of Family Guy that was released after the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, joined Writers Guild of America strike. MacFarlane participated in the writing process and did record the voices of the characters he normally plays for the episode but he did not approve or participate in any post-production done to the episode.
In addition to the regular cast, actors Camille Guaty, Denis Martel, Ted McGinley and Ricardo Montalbán guest starred in the episode. Recurring voice actors Alex Breckenridge, Phil LaMarr, Ralph Garman, writer Mark Hentemann, writer Danny Smith, writer Alec Sulkin, Lisa Wilhoit and writer John Viener made minor appearances in the episode.
The episode featured various references to the popular culture. In a scene we are shown the Monopoly man, from the board game Monopoly, in a prison that is reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption. Brian and Stewie are shown watching the television drama, One Tree Hill. Singer and actor Will Smith is shown rapping positive and kid-friendly lyrics. When Peter has his mustache he enters an Italian deli and assumes he can speak Italian because of his mustache. Peter sings R.E.M.'s song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)". Peter's paralysis is cured by stem cell experiments. Peter tries to find good comedy material for Robin Williams. The slaughterhouse is referred to as "Dacow" which is a reference to the Dachau concentration camp. Bob Dylan's song "Hurricane" is played in the episode. There is a musical chase sequence through multiple doors and a hallway, inspired by late 1960's Saturday morning cartoons like The Archies and Scooby Doo, backed by the 1967 song Pleasant Valley Sunday by The Monkees. J. Wellington Wimpy, generally referred to as Wimpy (from the comic strip Popeye), made a cameo appearance (as an in-gag to both his facial features; in the context of beef related heart disease and affinity for hamburgers) in the episode. The original animatic for the episode included a scene with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone having anal sex, which was intended as a comeback against "Cartoon Wars Part II," but the joke was cut because MacFarlane felt that it was weak.
The episode received mixed reviews. Ahsan Haque of IGN praised the episode, saying that it "turns out to be much more entertaining than one would expect" and grading it 8.8 out of 10. Robert Pierson from the TV Critic gave the episode a mixed review, he stated that "the jokes are pretty good and although the stories are badly written they are not overly annoying", he ended his review by giving the episode a 46 out of 100.
In contrast, Brad Trechak of TV Squad wrote that there were "hints of really good ideas in the episode but those were superseded by some hack writing and poorly executed material" and blamed the WGA strike for the episode's perceived poor quality. Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club called the episode "very haphazard" and wrote that there were only "a couple of solid gags sprinkled throughout". She graded "McStroke" C-.
The Parents Television Council, a frequent critic of the show, condemned it as the "Worst TV Show of the Week" for January 25, 2008, their central point of criticism concerned the subplot involving Stewie and Connie D'Amico.
- "Family Guy: McStroke". Yahoo!. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- "Family Guy: Petarded". Yahoo!. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- "Family Guy: Back to the Woods". Yahoo!. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- Trechak, Brad (January 14, 2008). "Family Guy: McStroke". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- "Family Guy Episode: "McStroke"". TV Guide. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Haque, Ahsan (January 14, 2008). "Family Guy: "McStroke" Review". IGN. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Pierson, Robin. "Episode 8 - McStroke". The TV Critic. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Koski, Genevieve (January 13, 2008). "McStroke" / "Tearjerker". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Shuler, Adam (2008-01-25). ""Family Guy" on Fox". Worst TV Show of the Week. Parents Television Council. Retrieved September 29, 2012.