|Family Guy episode|
|Directed by||Brian Iles|
|Written by||Wellesley Wild|
|Original air date||January 13, 2008|
"McStroke" is the tenth episode of season six of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on January 13, 2008. 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.
While Cleveland is out of town, Peter starts collects his mail ("black guy mail," as Peter calls it). After looking through one of Cleveland's magazines, Peter decides to grow a mustache. His mustache quickly becomes his most prized possession and he goes around town showing it off. He causes trouble while wearing his mustache, such as angering an Italian butcher at a deli with his mock Italian language (consisting of nothing but saying "Ba-pa-da-boopy" and "Beeboda-bapada").
Peter sees McBurgertown 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 that his mustache was torched in the fire. When Peter is back at home, the manager of McBurgertown shows up at his door to offer Peter a lifetime supply of free food as a way of thanking him 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 mustache. After eating 30 of them, Peter suffers a massive stroke that paralyzes the left 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 his eating so many burgers. Peter instantly loses the trial because the company has more lawyers than he does, and because his side presented no evidence that McBurgertown might have been at fault.
Still searching for retribution on McBurgertown, Peter, accompanied by a reluctant Brian, goes to the corporate headquarters. Peter claims that he and Brian are wealthy Asian businessmen, and asks for a tour. The company grants his request, and Peter is on the lookout for evidence of wrongdoing that he can use to take down their business. The tour guide conveniently has to take a 30-minute bathroom break in the middle of the tour, and leaves Peter and Brian alone. So Peter and Brian sneak into a room that is off-limits, only to find that it is a slaughterhouse. There they befriend a talking cow who is genetically engineered, and they make an agreement that, if they set the cow free, the cow will help them publicize the truth about McBurgertown.
Peter, Brian, and the cow get out of the building, after a madcap chase scene that parodies an episode of The Monkees, set to the group's song "Pleasant Valley Sunday". The cow's comments about McBurgertown's practices and the bad health effects of its food are covered by the media, and the company suffers a blow from which it might not recover.
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", Stewie 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, Stewie is ostracized by everyone for his "baby penis", ending his popularity. Realizing that Connie was the one who revealed this to everyone, Stewie approaches her and concedes defeat. He asks Connie for one last kiss, and she accepts. But when Connie's eyes are closed, Stewie takes off his clothes and kisses her, thereby making her look like a pedophile. She is then arrested by school security, as Stewie has his revenge for her destroying his 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 the 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 (Montalbán would one year later guest star in the episode Moon Over Isla Island from Seth's other show American Dad). 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 1960s 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 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.
Tom Eames of entertainment website Digital Spy placed the episode at number eleven on his listing of the best Family Guy episodes in order of "yukyukyuks" and noted that the show "somehow made strokes funny". He described the episode as "A farce of an episode, but in a good way." In 2014, to celebrate the show's 15th anniversary, IGN published a list of the 15 best Family Guy episodes, with "Petarded" ranked the fourth best, saying that is "easily one of the best Peter-centric episodes."
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- "Family Guy: Petarded". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 2007-01-09. 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.
- Eames, Tom (19 March 2017). "The 16 best ever Family Guy episodes in order of yukyukyuks". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "Top 15 Family Guy episodes". IGN. January 31, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2016.