Road to Rhode Island
|"Road to Rhode Island"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Dan Povenmire|
|Written by||Gary Janetti|
|Original air date||May 30, 2000|
"Road to Rhode Island" is the 13th episode of the second season and the first episode of the 'Road To...' series of the American animated television series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on May 30, 2000. In the episode, Brian volunteers to bring Stewie home from his grandparents' house in California, but the two miss their plane and must travel on foot for a cross-country journey back home. Meanwhile, Peter becomes addicted to watching a collection of marriage counseling videos hosted by a pornstar.
The episode was directed by Dan Povenmire and was written by Gary Janetti. It guest starred Victoria Principal as Dr. Amanda Rebecca, Danny Smith and Wally Wingert as various characters. Series creator Seth MacFarlane conceived the idea for this episode, and was inspired by the 1940s Road to... series of comedy films which starred Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. The episode received largely positive reviews from television critics. It was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less than One Hour), but lost to The Simpsons episode "Behind the Laughter".
The episode begins with a flashback set seven years ago, where it is revealed that Brian was born in a puppy mill and taken from his mother. Back in the present, Brian tells his psychiatrist about the experience. Afterwards, Brian volunteers to pick up Stewie from his vacation at his grandparents' summer home in Palm Springs, California, where Stewie frames a maid for stealing to amuse himself at dinner. At the airport bar, Brian gets very drunk and, when Stewie comes to retrieve him, their plane tickets are stolen. They stop at a rundown motel, where Stewie tries calling home, but fails because he believes his phone number is 867-5309. The next day, they have to escape and hotwire a car because their credit card was rejected. To get home, Stewie and Brian masquerade as crop dusters to steal a plane, which they immediately wreck. As the pair continue hitchhiking back to Quahog, they pass by a puppy mill near Austin, Texas, Brian's birthplace. Upon arrival, they discover that Brian's mother was taxidermied and turned into a table by the puppy mill owners as a memorial. With Stewie's reluctant help, Brian gives his mother a proper burial. The pair eventually complete their journey home by riding in an open boxcar, where Brian attempts to apologize to Stewie for all of the trouble he has put both of them through, only to have Stewie reply that he actually enjoyed it. Reconciled, they perform a musical duet "Off On the Road to Rhode Island" as the train takes them home. When Stewie and Brian return home, Lois asks Stewie about the trip, and Stewie covers up for Brian by saying the trip was "Smooth sailing through calm seas". Lois leaves and Brian tells Stewie that he is thankful to Stewie for covering for him, and asks Stewie if there's anything he can do to repay him. At first it appears that Stewie wishes to make him his servant by providing an example with an episode of The Brady Bunch, although it turns out that Stewie wants Brian to tape that episode for him.
Meanwhile, Lois urges Peter to watch relationship videos with her, but the videos turn out to be pornography hosted by Dr. Amanda Rebecca, who strips after asking the women to leave the room. Peter becomes addicted to the videos, much to Lois' chagrin. She gets herself on the end of one of the tapes in black lingerie and entices Peter. While kissing, Peter rewinds the tape, playing the part of Lois taking her robe off over and over.
"Road to Rhode Island" was directed by Dan Povenmire and was written by Gary Janetti. It featured guest appearances from Victoria Principal as Dr. Amanda Rebecca, Danny Smith and Wally Wingert as various characters. This was the first episode directed by Povenmire. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane granted Povenmire substantial creative freedom for directing episodes. Povenmire said that MacFarlane would tell him, "We've got two minutes to fill. Give me some visual gags. Do whatever you want. I trust you." Povenmire praised MacFarlane's management style for letting him have fun. Several years after the episode was written, in DVD commentary for the eighth and ninth season of the show, Gary Janetti, the writer of the episode, recalled that the original title of the episode was intended to be simply "Brian & Stewie", but was changed by series creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane, who wanted there to be a "Road to" episode each season. The name of the episode was then changed to "Road to Rhode Island", with the original name later being used for the landmark 150th episode of the show, also entitled "Brian & Stewie", and written by Janetti.
This is the first episode of the "Road to" episodes of the series which air through various seasons of the show. The episodes are a parody of the seven "Road to" comedy films starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. MacFarlane, a fan of the film series, came up with the idea. The musical number in the episode is sung to the tune of "(We're Off on the) Road to Morocco" from the film Road to Morocco.
During the airport section of the episode, there is a scene that has subsequently cut from some editions/airings of the show, involving Osama bin Laden. In the scene, Stewie, when approaching airport security, realizes that his bag is full of weapons. He then breaks into song, singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop" to distract the X-ray scanners. He then says, "Let's hope Osama bin Laden doesn't know show tunes." At that time, Osama is pictured in another line, distracting the scanners by singing "I hope I get it" from A Chorus Line. Even though the episode was made a year and a half before 9/11, it was still controversial, and was left out of the original DVD release in the US. However, the scene was left intact on the "Freakin' Sweet Collection."
In his 2009 review, Ahsan Haque of IGN, rating the episode 10/10, praised the episode, saying: "Great writing, hilarious jokes, a catchy musical, and a story that's both hilarious and touching at the same time – Family Guy doesn't get much better than this." It is one of the only two Family Guy episodes that has ever been given a "Masterpiece" (10/10) rating by IGN, the other being "I Never Met the Dead Man", leading many to consider this episode as the greatest in Family Guy's history. IGN also placed the episode at the top of their list of "Stewie and Brian's Greatest Adventures".
The episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour), but lost to The Simpsons episode "Behind the Laughter".
Tom Eames of entertainment website Digital Spy placed the episode at number thirteen on his listing of the best Family Guy episodes in order of "yukyukyuks" and despite describing the episode as "hilarious", he said that Brian discovering his mother's body was "ultra emotional" and "one of the rare emotionally-charged moments in the show." He added that he "can never get enough" of Brian and Stewie and their bromance.
- Callaghan, pp. 90–95
- "Family Guy: Road to Rhode Island". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- Callaghan, p. 90
- Bond, Paul. (2009-06-07). "Q&A: Dan Povenmire". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- Janetti, Gary (2011-12-13). Family Guy Volume Nine Audio Commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Interview with Seth MacFarlane". IGN. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
- Lambert, David (2004-10-25). "Family Guy – Pre-Election Surprise! Osama bin Laden found...on new Family Guy DVD, that is!". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- "Family Guy: "Road to Rhode Island" Review". IGN.
- "FAMILY GUY FLASHBACK: "I NEVER MET THE DEAD MAN" REVIEW". IGN.
- "Stewie and Brian's Greatest Adventures". IGN.
- Staff (July 21, 2000). "Nominees in Major Categories The 52nd Prime-Time Emmy Awards". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. E6.
- Eames, Tom (19 March 2017). "The 16 best ever Family Guy episodes in order of yukyukyuks". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
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