Brian Sings and Swings
|"Brian Sings and Swings"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Chuck Klein
|Written by||Michael Rowe|
|Original air date||January 8, 2006|
"Brian Sings and Swings" is the 19th episode of the fourth season of Family Guy. The episode was first broadcast on January 8, 2006. Brian meets Frank Sinatra, Jr. and begins to perform on stage with him, and they are shortly joined by Stewie. Meanwhile, Meg pretends to be a lesbian after being offered a chance to join the Lesbian Alliance Club at her school.
The episode was written by Michael Rowe and directed by Chuck Klein and Zac Moncrief. It received mostly positive reviews from critics for its storyline and many cultural references. The episode featured guest performances by Mark Borchardt, James Burkholder, Don LaFontaine, Mike Schank, Stacey Scowley, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Nicole Sullivan, Fred Tatasciore, Audrey Wasilewski, along with several recurring guest voice actors for the series.
As Peter prepares to leave for work, he backs his car out of the driveway, hitting Brian, who needs treatment at a hospital. Upon Brian's return, Peter makes too much of an effort to welcome him back into the family. Meanwhile, Meg makes friends with Sarah at her school, unaware that she is about to be offered a place in the Lesbian Alliance Club (LAC). After speaking with Neil Goldman, Meg realizes that she is now considered a lesbian by the group and prepares to drop out; however, when she realizes the effect being a member may have on her social status (finding herself more popular as a lesbian), she pretends to be gay.
Meanwhile, Brian becomes depressed after the accident, but after speaking with Frank Sinatra, Jr., he begins to perform with him, changing his outlook on life to that of positivity. After being told of Brian's new lifestyle, the family is impressed and encourage him to continue. However, when he is invited by Sinatra to perform with him again, their duo is interrupted by Stewie, who joins the performance. Meanwhile, Meg tells the family that she is now a lesbian, but is mocked by Lois, knowing that she is not being honest. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie continue their performances across Quahog with Sinatra. In a drunken condition following a performance, Brian loses Stewie, which results in Stewie's ear being bitten off by a deer. Displeased at Brian's behavior, Peter scolds him that he will stop performing with Sinatra and threatens to telephone Mia Farrow (whom he believes to be Sinatra's mother) to tell her that "her" son is a bad influence on Brian. Angry at Peter's bossiness about his life, Brian bites his arm, which leaves Peter afraid of him; the next day, Brian tries to reconcile with Peter, but Peter, still scared, only pelts him with furniture, dishes and Stewie, angering Brian who storms off in a rage.
Brian, regretful of biting Peter, quits performing with Stewie and Sinatra, resorting to drinking wine from a gutter. However, Brian regains his confidence when Stewie finds him, where he tells Brian that there are things in life which are beyond his control, telling him that even though they aren't in his control, they do matter, contrary to Brian's common beliefs. Meanwhile, Meg prepares to tell Sarah that she is not a lesbian and that she only pretended to be in order to make friends; however, Sarah is in her underwear, believing Meg has come to her house to have sex with her. They are both interrupted by Quagmire and his production team filming their antics. The episode ends with Stewie, Brian and Frank Sinatra, Jr. singing once more at a club until Mia Farrow (called in by Peter) intervenes, reprimanding Frank for "hanging out 'till all hours with a baby and a dog", and proceeding to spank him in front of the audience, much to his chagrin.
Scripts and other production materials were altered and modified extensively. The rhythm and pacing of the show required frequent rewrites due to the inclusion of musical performances. MacFarlane comments that "having Frank Sinatra, Jr. on board was a pleasure to the team." The scene where Meg sees Chris in the bathroom parodies the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader has his helmet placed on his head. The producers acknowledged that John Williams had forbidden re-recordings of his music so the actual recording of "The Imperial March" was used with permission by Williams and Lucasfilm.
The synopsis for this episode partially focuses on Meg becoming a lesbian, this was because Seth MacFarlane believed the United States loved lesbians, which he describes as "the best kind of love". As Brian and Stewie move back and forth on the stage when performing with Frank Sinatra, Jr., the scene originally appeared wrong, as the characters did not match the movement of the background. Brian makes a comment about Stewie's weird laugh when he finds something really funny. This is the only time on Family Guy when MacFarlane has not voiced Stewie; instead, the laughing was performed by Ricky Blitt, a former writer of Family Guy.
As Brian and Sinatra, Jr. are performing on stage, the song they are singing was originally composed for the 1960 film, High Time; however after the film, the song became so popular it was used in a new movie in 1973. Another musical performance performed by Brian and Sinatra was based on a musical composition used in the film Scared Stiff. When Brian is in the hospital after being hit by Peter's car, Stewie says that he will have to hang out with The Rock again. The cutaway shows a trailer with Stewie and the Rock. The narrator (Don LaFontaine) speculates about the Rock’s race and then that of actress Jessica Alba. When Meg says that she is a super mega-lesbian, Sarah tells her that she will fit in with the other super-mega-lesbians, who sing "Elvira" by the Oak Ridge Boys, much to Meg's excitement. In a cutaway mentioned by Stewie, Thomas Edison hoards electricity, as he fights with Alexander Graham Bell. Edison talks about how much more fortunate he is than Bell, since he has hoarded electricity. He says that he watches The Office, and plays Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix. When Brian says "you gotta live life and live it hard", Stewie responds by calling it "the Chris Farley method", a reference to the late comedian.
Family Guy and this episode are highly regarded in the music community of Los Angeles, due to the show featuring many music-inspired scenes and for the use of its own orchestra. Ryan J. Budke of TV Squad gave the episode a positive review, writing that it was not the show's "greatest episode this year, but it was still funny".
- "Brian Sings and Swings". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Brian Sings and Swings". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- Plot synopsis information for the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2005.
- Smith, Shannon (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- MacFarlane, Seth (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Moncrief, Zac (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Sinatra, Jr., Frank (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Budke, Ryan J. (January 9, 2006). "Family Guy: Brian Sings and Swings". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
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