It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One
|"It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Zac Moncrief|
|Written by||Alex Borstein|
|Original air date||May 13, 2007|
"It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One" is the 17th episode of the fifth season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on May 13, 2007. The episode features Lois after she runs for Mayor of Quahog against incumbent Mayor Adam West, once she notices how polluted the local lake has become. Lois is elected as mayor and successfully cleans the lake, but quickly succumbs when the toxic-dump owner pressures her to let him resume dumping toxins into the lake.
The episode was written by Alex Borstein and directed by Zac Moncrief. It received mixed reviews from critics for its storyline and many cultural references. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 7.21 million homes in its original airing. The episode featured guest performances by Jeff Bergman, Gary Cole, Jackson Douglas, Keith Ferguson, Carrie Fisher, Masam Holden, Don Most, Gary Newman, Keith Olbermann, and Fred Tatasciore, along with several of the series' recurring guest-voice actors.
The Griffin family decides to take a vacation at Quagmire's cabin at Lake Quahog. When they go swimming in the lake, they discover that an oil refinery is dumping toxic waste into it; as they flee the lake their hair falls out, forcing them to wear powdered wigs until it grows back. Lois complains to Mayor Adam West, who admits that he sanctioned the dumping in exchange for free hair oil. Outraged, Lois decides to run against West in the upcoming mayoral election. Peter and his friends become strong supporters of Lois's campaign, realizing that they'd be able to get away with almost everything should she become mayor. But Lois's campaign soon falters as Mayor West proves more politically savvy. While Lois bores voters with detailed plans to improve the city, Mayor West uses glittering generalities and statements completely unrelated to the questions posed to him. Following Brian's advice to give short, simple answers, Lois resorts to similar tactics, dropping controversial terms such as "Jesus" and "9/11" in meaningless ways. She eventually gains the populace's support and wins the election.
After taking office, Lois begins to use fear tactics to raise funds to clean up the lake. Her efforts are successful and life returns to the clean lake. She even has leftover cash afterwards, so she embezzles $600 to purchase a purse, much to Brian's disappointment. Peter has also succumbed to the perks of being the mayor's husband: he has rerouted the town's electrical system and caused rolling blackouts to bring late comedian Jim Varney back from the dead (he does nothing but talk, playing his character Ernest, and repeatedly refer to "Vern".) He then remembers he actually wanted John Belushi and takes Varney outside to shoot him, only for Varney to end up taking the gun from him and Peter running away from him warning Brian. Later, Lois is tempted to buy a $4,300 fur coat, and Bob Grossbeard, president of the local oil company, offers to buy it for her if she will allow him to dump his oil runoff in the lake. Lois reluctantly accepts his offer, but as the opening of the new runoff pipe begins, Lois realizes the error of her ways and closes the valve to the pipe and resigns her position as mayor, stating that she was consumed by money and power, which led her to become the very same things she set out to destroy. Lois then allows West to have his job as mayor back, but a random bystander points out that a neither Lois nor Mayor West has any jurisdiction to do so, and that the city has to have a whole new election to decide who gets to be the mayor of Quahog. This prompts West to pull out a gun and shoot him, as well as two others whom he believes objected.
The episode was written by Alex Borstein, under the pen name of "a.bo", and directed by Zac Moncrief. The story is based on a one-woman show Borstein worked on, entitled Women and Jews: Why We'll Never Be President. The storyline came out when she felt that a woman "will never be president," stating, "I had these fantasies about a woman president that would be fair and there'd be no corruption. That's a bunch of bullshit fantasy." Borstein called the episode "kind of my homage to Hillary Clinton." The staff enjoyed the episode's storyline so much, that Borstein and fellow writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong wrote a novelization of the episode. Borstein called the book a "companion piece poking fun" at Clinton's book It Takes a Village.
Gary Newman, President of 20th Century Fox, voiced a man in the audience when Lois held a press conference. Newman is responsible for Family Guy being renewed after its cancellation, and he had wanted to do a line on the show.  In addition to Newman and the regular cast, voice actor Jeff Bergman, actor Gary Cole, actor Jackson Douglas, voice actor Keith Ferguson, actress Carrie Fisher, actor Masam Holden, actor Don Most, news anchor and political commentator Keith Olbermann, and voice actor Fred Tatasciore. Recurring voice actors Lori Alan, Johnny Brennan, Alex Breckenridge, writer Mark Hentemann, writer Danny Smith, writer Alec Sulkin and writer John Viener made minor appearances.
In the episode's opening scene, of the episode, the Griffins are traveling to Quagmire's cabin in the woods; Peter notes that it will be a better vacation than when they appeared in the American game show The Price Is Right pricing game Cliff Hangers. Cleveland is also shown playing the pricing game Plinko. As Stewie and Brian decide to go berry-picking in the forest, actor Don Most slowly rises from the fog nearby as a chorus sings about his role as Ralph on the ABC sitcom Happy Days to the melody of the title song from Brigadoon.
Having lost their hair from the lake's pollution, the Griffins are at home wearing powdered wigs, an effect that compels Stewie to play several classical compositions, including those by Joseph Haydn and Georg Friedrich Handel, with Peter appearing as Antonio Salieri. The scene is a reference to the 1984 film Amadeus.
Preparing for Quahog's upcoming mayoral election, both Lois and incumbent Mayor Adam West participate in a debate hosted by Quahog 5 News. As Lois begins her second response, after first running out of time, she uses the September 11 attacks and Jesus, to form her answers. The crowd reacts positively to her answers, with a live-action clip of "The Crying Girl" from season six of the American reality show American Idol also appearing on screen. Once Lois is elected, Brian mentions Lois's ability to connect with the citizens of Quahog, just as Disney is able to connect with their audience, with the 2004 film Home on the Range being shown. Going on to propose a "modest tax increase" to pay for the cleanup of the local lake, Lois resorts to fear tactics, by stating that Adolf Hitler and the Legion of Doom are planning to assassinate Jesus, using the lake as their base.
Abusing his wife's power as mayor, Peter begins by rerouting the city's electricity, causing rolling blackouts. When Brian questions Peter's actions, Peter reveals that he's been using the power to reanimate actor Jim Varney's corpse (he'd actually wanted to bring back actor and Saturday Night Live alumnus John Belushi).
Horror-movie legend Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movie series appeared twice in this episode, carrying his trademark blood-drenched machete. First, Quahog news reporter Tricia Takanawa is interviewing him by the lake, during which he kills 2 bathing-suit-clad women. The scene references Camp Crystal Lake, Jason's traditional haunt. Later he appears as the boss of the store where Lois tries to buy her expensive coat; he threatens to kill his employee if she "screws up."
In its original broadcast in the United States, the episode was watched by 7.21 million households and achieved a 3.5 rating and 9% share in the 18–49 demographic, according to Nielsen ratings. It ultimately finished third in its timeslot, after Desperate Housewives on ABC and a two-hour season finale of Survivor: Fiji on CBS. The episode attracted 740,000 fewer viewers than the previous episode, but made Family Guy the highest rated show in the Animation Domination block, ahead of King of the Hill, The Simpsons and American Dad!.
Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from critics. Brett Love of TV Squad noted that the story was very similar to the season two episode "Running Mates", but thought it was "pretty solid" with "some great moments." Ahsan Haque of IGN stated the episode had "quite a few funny jokes," but the storyline was "predictably unoriginal," and felt the "political statement [...] was stretched too thin," giving the episode a 6.8 out of 10.
- Epstein, Daniel Robert (2007-01-01). "Interviews – Alex Borstein". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- Scherzer, Kym. "Alex Borstein – Guy's Gal". Men's Fitness. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
- MacFarlane, Seth (2008-10-21). Family Guy Volume Six Audio Commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Family Guy – It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One – Cast and crew". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
- Haque, Ahsan (2007-05-14). "Family Guy: "It Takes a Village Idiot and I Married One" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Love, Brett (2007-05-14). "Family Guy: "It Takes a Village Idiot and I Married One"". TV Squad. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Smith, Danny (2008-10-21). Family Guy Volume Six Audio Commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Calabria, Rosario T. (2007-05-14). "Broadcasting TV ratings for Sunday May 13, 2007". Your Entertainment Now. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
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