I Dream of Jesus
|"I Dream of Jesus"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Directed by||Mike Kim|
|Written by||Brian Scully|
"Surfin' Bird" |
by The Trashmen
|Original air date||October 5, 2008|
"I Dream of Jesus" is the second episode in the seventh season of the American animated television series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on October 5, 2008. In the episode, Peter finds Jesus Christ (voiced by Alec Sulkin) working at a record shop, and convinces Jesus to make his second coming.
Directed by Mike Kim and written by Brian Scully, the title of the episode refers to the television series I Dream of Jeannie. The episode makes a prominent use of the song "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen. The episode guest starred Chris Cox, Ike Barinholtz, Amanda MacDonald, Niecy Nash, Sulkin and Paris and Perez Hilton. The episode received mixed reviews from critics, with the more negative reviews going to the portrayal of Jesus, while the positive reviews went to the "Surfin' Bird" plot. According to Nielsen Media Research, "I Dream of Jesus" was Fox's most-watched program the evening it first aired, with 8.4 million views. Seth MacFarlane was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and the Annie Award for his role as Peter Griffin in this episode. This was one of three episodes (along with "Road to Germany" and "Family Gay") submitted the year Family Guy was nominated for the "Outstanding Comedy Series".
The family goes to Nifty Fifties Diner, a 1950s-themed restaurant, and they see waiters dressed up as celebrities from the 1950s, including James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Peter hears his favourite song The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" on the jukebox. He obtains a record of it from the restaurant. Peter repeats the song over and over on the way home in bed and even when waking up Lois in order to annoy his family. He asks Brian for the news paper and reads it and says that he thought that it will be big news. Afterward, he sings the song again and falls to the ground. However, the final straw of the family's hatred of Surfin' Bird is when Peter foolishly spends over six thousand dollars of the family fortune to buy himself a two-minute clip on TV saying that "I dream of an America where everybody knows that the bird is the word" and singing the song again.
Stewie and Brian steal the record while Peter is asleep one night and destroy it. In a fit of rage, Peter accuses the others, saying they had a motive as he changed his will and left everything to the record. Oblivious to the fact that Lois, Chris and Meg have evidence to prove they did not take it he accuses them of conspiring to destroy his record, and suspects his kids for possible motives. He then furiously goes to the town's only record shop the next morning to buy another copy, but it turns out the stores had already been visited by "a dog" and "a baby" (Brian and Stewie) who bought all the copies. Peter is frustrated, but gets distracted as he recognizes the record sales clerk to be Jesus Christ.
Christ reveals He goes to Earth every 100 years or so to check on the world, and since His Father had become highly irritable after giving up smoking, He needed some time away. He and Peter become friends, and Peter invites Him to dinner, along with Brian. Brian asks for proof that Jesus is who He claims to be, so He turns everyone's dinner into sundaes and, on Peter's request, makes Lois' breasts enlarge to massive proportions. Peter convinces Him to make his second coming public. Christ walks on water to retrieve a dollar bill that blew out of Peter's hand. Consequently, He becomes famous and makes celebrity appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the MTV Movie Awards, and His growing popularity leads Him to neglect His friendship with Peter.
The next day, Peter watches the news, where Tom Tucker reports that Jesus was found in Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment that morning face down and unconscious. Tucker reports that police have revived and arrested the disoriented Jesus, who quoted "Jews are responsible for all the world's wars". Jesus is arrested for His illegal prank and sent to jail. Jesus asks Peter to bail Him out, but now in disrepute, Jesus decides that maybe He was not mature enough to return to the world yet and bids farewell to the family. Before He leaves , Jesus gives Peter a gift, another record of "Surfin' Bird", and Peter once again annoys his family with the song.
"Surfin' Bird" then plays as the credits roll.
The episode was written by one of this season's co-executive producers Brian Scully, on his first writing job for the show. It was directed by Mike Kim, who had been with the show since its fifth season when he directed the episode "Stewie Loves Lois". Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdum served as supervising directors for the episode. The episode's music was composed by Walter Murphy. Actors Chris Cox, Ike Barinholtz, Amanda MacDonald, Niecy Nash, Paris Hilton and Perez Hilton guest starred. Recurring voice actors for the show, including Patrick Warburton, Adam West, Johnny Brennan, writer Alec Sulkin, writer John Viener, writer Kirker Butler, co-executive producer Steve Callaghan, co-executive producer Mark Hentemann and executive producer Danny Smith also made minor appearances.
"I Dream of Jesus", along with the first eight episodes of the seventh season were released on DVD by 20th Century Fox in the United States and Canada on June 16, 2009, one month after it had completed broadcast on television. The "Volume 7" DVD release features bonus material including deleted scenes, animatics, and commentaries for every episode.
The episode's name is a play of the title of the NBC sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie. The scene in which Stewie and Brian destroy the record is nearly identical to a scene in the movie Office Space in which the characters destroy a printer, including use of the same song. Peter makes Jesus admit that he is the messiah by threatening to urinate over albums of Christian artist Amy Grant. Peter attempts to top Jesus' story about his crucifixion during a dinner conversation with a story about how he and his friends "got wrecked on Southern Comfort" before going to see The Chronicles of Riddick. George W. Bush explains to the American people that going to war was correct because he answers to Jesus Christ, then Peter and Jesus interrupt him to disagree with him, similar to a scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall. Jesus is invited to the Tonight Show, hosted by Jay Leno.
Jesus assists the MTV Movie Awards, which is being hosted by Dane Cook, to present an award alongside The Pussycat Dolls. Jesus is found in Mary-Kate Olsen's apartment. While at the MTV Movie Awards, Jesus says "I used to hang around with only one whore". When Jesus is arrested, he rants saying that "Jews are responsible for all the world's wars", a reference to a similar outburst during Mel Gibson's DUI arrest. Lindsay Lohan is lampooned in the episode. In the record store Peter meets Jesus, some of the posters featured on the wall include the cover artwork for Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, Nirvana's In Utero and R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People.
According to Nielsen ratings, "I Dream of Jesus" was the most-watched program on Fox the night it originally aired. It was watched by 8.4 million viewers, and earned a 4.3/10 ratings share in the 18–49 demographic. Richard Keller of TV Squad praised the "Surfing Bird" and Office Space parody segments. Ahsan Haque of IGN rated the episode a 7/10, claiming the episode had entertaining moments, but was not one of the show's strongest efforts. Haque wrote, "Jesus on Family Guy should have been a big deal and featured far more laughs than it did."  Steve Heisler of The A.V. Club praised the "Surfin Bird" plot, but stated that the Jesus story was abrupt, adding, "There was a lot of ground Family Guy didn't tread that they wanted to". L. Brent Bozell III of the Parents Television Council, a common critic of the show, took offense at this episode's portrayal of Jesus. Bozell said "this lying, slacker Jesus is even dumber than Peter, the greatest idiot on animated television today." Tom Eames of entertainment website Digital Spy placed the episode at number nine on his listing of the best Family Guy episodes in order of "yukyukyuks" due its use of the 'Sufin Bird' song and quipped that "you never know when it might strike again."
Seth MacFarlane was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for his role as Peter Griffin in this episode, MacFarlane was also nominated for the Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form for his work in I Dream of Jesus, but lost to Ahmed Best for his role as Jar Jar Binks in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II. According to Seth MacFarlane, "I Dream of Jesus" was one of three episodes (along with "Road to Germany" and "Family Gay") submitted for consideration for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009. He explained, "We picked three of our edgier shows as a choice. We figured if we are going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." The series was ultimately nominated for the award, the first time an animated series was nominated for the same category since the ABC sitcom The Flintstones in 1961.
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