|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Cyndi Tang|
|Written by||Mike Henry|
|Original air date||September 28, 2008|
"Love, Blactually" is the first episode of the seventh season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on September 28, 2008. The episode features anthropomorphic dog Brian, after he meets a fellow atheist named Carolyn (Kat Foster) at a book store, and the two begin dating. Heeding advice from Stewie (also voiced by MacFarlane), Brian decides not to have sex with her. Carolyn is led to believe that Brian does not want a substantive relationship, so begins to date Cleveland (Mike Henry).
The episode was written by Henry, and directed by Cyndi Tang. It received generally positive reviews from critics for its storyline. According to Nielsen ratings, it was watched by 9.2 million viewers in its original airing. The episode featured guest performances by Foster and Meredith Baxter, along with several recurring voice actors from the series. "Love, Blactually" was released on DVD along with eight other episodes from the season on June 16, 2009. This was also the first episode where Chris is not seen or mentioned, and the second for Meg after Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air.
During a costume party, Lois suggests that Brian find a girlfriend. After going to the bookstore to buy The God Delusion, Brian meets an atheist named Carolyn, who happens to be looking for the same book. Brian becomes interested in Carolyn, and the two begin to date. When she invites him to her house, Stewie apprehends Brian and tells him that his relationships fail because he has sex with his girlfriends immediately when they meet. Brian realizes that Stewie is right and decides to listen to his advice. However, he finds out that Carolyn has begun to date Cleveland, since Brian did not want to have sex for the three weeks they have dated. A heartbroken Brian tries to deal with his loss, but keeps running into Cleveland and Carolyn having sex in various locations. Blaming Stewie for his advice that cost him a relationship with Carolyn, Brian is about ready to give up on love. Apologizing for his botched attempt to help him out, Stewie suggests that he can convince Cleveland's ex-wife, Loretta, to reconcile with him.
The two visit Loretta in her own room and find out that she feels guilty for cheating on him with Quagmire. Brian feels uncertain that he should carry out this plan, but Cleveland announces plans to elope with Carolyn in Hawaii, which makes their friendship tense. Realizing that Loretta may be his only hope to get Carolyn back, Brian asks for her help and she agrees to help him. She invites Cleveland to meet her at her hotel room, asking him to let her explain herself and if he can forgive her for her adulterous affair. Thinking Brian is up to no good, Peter recruits Quagmire to have sex with Loretta just to keep Cleveland and Carolyn together. Quagmire meets her at the hotel, but this time, Loretta resists his advances and tells him to leave. When Cleveland shows up to her hotel room, Loretta apologizes for her actions and tells her former husband that she wants to start a new life with him. Cleveland forgives her, but insists that it is time for the both of them to move on while still remaining friends. Loretta finally agrees to move on without him. When Cleveland visits Carolyn, he finds her and Quagmire having sex. Since both Brian and Cleveland have been cheated on by the same woman, Cleveland apologizes to him for stealing Carolyn and they make amends, with the former revealing himself to have received a genital wart.
"Love, Blactually" is the season premiere of the seventh season of Family Guy. It was written by one of the show's main voice actors Mike Henry, in his first episode of the season. The episode dealt a lot with the character of Cleveland Brown, which is one of the characters that Henry provides the voice for. The episode was directed by Cyndi Tang, who has been with the show since its fifth season. Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdum served as supervising directors for the episode. The episode is one of the last to concentrate on the character of Cleveland, since he would be moved to The Cleveland Show (which Henry co-created).
"Love, Blactually", along with the first eight episodes of the seventh season were released on DVD by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 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.
In addition to the regular cast, actress Kat Foster portrayed the voice of Carolyn, and actress Meredith Baxter portrayed herself. Recurring voice actors Ralph Garman, writer Danny Smith, writer Alec Sulkin, and writer John Viener also made minor appearances. Then-series writer and regular voice actress Alex Borstein portrayed the voice of Loretta Brown.
The episode begins with a costume party, where Brian and Stewie are both dressed as Snoopy from Peanuts, Quagmire dresses up as Napoleon Dynamite, Peter as Laura Bush, Lois as Michael Dutton Douglas, Joe as Mark Spitz (although people believe he is a crippled Thomas Magnum), and Cleveland as Charlie Chaplin. Woodstock, another character from Peanuts also makes a cameo appearance. The popular conversation between Stewie and Brian which draws attention to a hard "h" consonant sound is directly sourced from dialogue within the film Hot Rod. Stewie finds a book entitled Horton Hears Domestic Violence in the Next Apartment and Doesn't Call 911!, a parody of Horton Hears a Who! Cleveland's deadpan exclamation of "...and boom goes the dynamite" is a reference to the popular catchphrase which became an Internet sensation. Cleveland and Carolyn meet at a Starbucks. Peter doesn't remember the name of Cleveland's ex-wife (Loretta) and he guesses that it's Jennifer Hudson. When Brian lies and says that he thinks Loretta is beautiful and that her personality is only slightly abrasive his nose grows, which is a reference to a scene in the film Airplane!, which in turn is a reference to Pinocchio. When the family is mediating with Cleveland on whether or not to get back with Loretta, Peter accuses Brian of pushing Cleveland back with Loretta just so he himself could have Carolyn, and Peter says, "You know, Brian, sometimes I don't believe I know you," in a low and harsh tone; this is a quote from The Sound of Music, where Captain Von Trapp utters the same thing to Max Detweiler in response to his indifference to the Nazi invasion of Austria. When Quagmire runs into Cleveland at the hotel where Lorreta is, Cleveland asks why he is nude. Quagmire responds, "What?! People have been telling me that I have been wearing robes made from the most beautiful silk!" That is a reference from a book, The Emperor's New Clothes.
The episode was watched by 9.2 million viewers, compared to 9.3 million that tuned in to The Simpsons and 7 million that watched King of the Hill for their season openers on Fox. The episode received positive reviews. Ahsan Haque of IGN praised "Love, Blactually", writing that it had "many memorable scenes, quote-worthy dialogue, politically incorrect references, and great storyline". He graded the episode 8.9 out of 10. Steve Heisler of The A.V. Club wrote that the episode was "pretty funny overall" with "some great meta-commentary", and graded it B+. In contrast Robin Pierson of The TV Critic gave the episode a negative review, saying that Family Guy has become like the shows it mocked in its earlier seasons and he ended his review by stating that it has become "predictable, stale and irritating to watch" and he gave it a 29 out of a possible 100.
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