Seahorse Seashell Party
|"Seahorse Seashell Party"|
|Family Guy episode|
Stewie tries to console Brian as he hallucinates
|Directed by||Brian Iles|
|Written by||Wellesley Wild|
|Original air date||October 2, 2011|
"Seahorse Seashell Party" is the second episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series Family Guy, an episode produced for season 9. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on October 2, 2011. The episode mainly centers around the Griffin family, who are riding out an oncoming hurricane. In their attempt to pass the time, they participate in numerous activities and games. After being condemned by her family, Meg lashes out and confronts them. Meanwhile, Brian consumes magic mushrooms which cause him to hallucinate.
"Seahorse Seashell Party" is the second part of the Night of the Hurricane block with The Cleveland Show and American Dad!. The episode was first announced by Seth MacFarlane at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International. It was written by Wellesley Wild and directed by Brian Iles. Originally scheduled to air on May 1, 2011 as the sixteenth episode of the ninth season of Family Guy, the episode was postponed due to the 2011 Super Outbreak subsequently coinciding with the timing of the scheduled episodes.
Reception of "Seahorse Seashell Party" by television critics has been negative, with its humor and main plot receiving the most criticism. An estimated 6.91 million viewers tuned into the episode upon its initial airing, while also garnering a 3.5/8 rating in the 18–49 demographic according to the Nielsen ratings. The episode featured guest performances by Ioan Gruffudd, Dee Bradley Baker, Debra Wilson, Kat Purgal, and Colin Ford along with several other recurring guest voice actors for the series.
As a hurricane approaches Quahog, Rhode Island, the Griffin family prepares for its arrival. In his own attempt to pass the time, Brian decides to use magic mushrooms, to the curiosity of Stewie. As the mushrooms start to take effect on Brian, he begins having hallucinations and eventually cuts his own ear off. Stewie tries to help Brian by staying by his side and taking care of him, but Brian continues to perceive himself in an ugly world where he is continually attacked by various monsters resembling the Griffins and Quagmire. Brian eventually snaps out of the hallucination after Stewie helps him downstairs to drink some water.
The rest of the family attempts to pass the time by playing charades and various other games. They are unable to keep themselves entertained and take their frustrations out on Meg as usual. Having dealt with their abuse for years, Meg finally turns on them. She starts with Chris, calling him a bastard for his bullying treatment of her and how he never takes her side against their parents. When Lois tries to tell her that she's taking her problems out on everyone else, she brings up her delinquent past and tells her that she is "the furthest thing from" the perfect mother. Meg also informs Lois that when she turns 18, she is considering never seeing her again. Lois is reduced to tears and profusely apologizes to Meg.
Finally, Meg confronts Peter who, unable to comprehend her insults, thinks that his daughter's argument is amusing, even when she points out his destructive tendencies and that he'd go to jail if anyone saw his treatment of her. It dawns on Peter that he's being insulted when she calls him a "waste of a man." Shocked, he demands Lois make her stop, but she refuses on the grounds he didn't stand up for her. Within moments, all three of them turn their abusive criticisms on each other, ending with Peter running away to his room crying, and leaving Meg and Brian to discuss what just happened. Despite Brian complimenting her for standing up for herself, Meg concludes that her family cannot survive without a "lightning rod" to absorb its dysfunction, and that her enduring her family's antagonism helps keep them together. She then decides to apologize to her family and lies that she was taking her own problems out on everyone, restoring their egos and original opinions. Stewie then breaks the fourth wall by telling the audience about the dangers of drugs: "Tonight's Family Guy was a very special episode about drug use, but the simple fact is, it's no laughing matter. To learn more about drugs, visit your local library. There's probably a guy behind there who sells drugs."
Production and development
The episode was first announced in July 2010 by series creator Seth MacFarlane at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Kevin Reilly, the entertainment president of the Fox Broadcasting Company, originally pitched the idea for the crossover, which was inspired by theme nights of comedy shows from the 1980s. MacFarlane described the crossover event to be an "enormous challenge" and a "substantial undertaking"; he chose to do one central story line so that each writing staff would not have to write stories for unfamiliar characters. MacFarlane was also willing to do another crossover event if this one receives successful ratings.
In April 2011, executives of the Fox Broadcasting Company officially announced that "Seahorse Seashell Party" would air on May 1. However, on April 29, it was announced that the crossover event would be removed from the schedule, in response to a series of tornadoes that killed nearly 300 people in the Southern United States. The episodes were subsequently replaced by repeats of "I Am the Walrus" from American Dad!, "Brian Writes a Bestseller" from Family Guy, and "Ain't Nothin' But Mutton Bustin'" from The Cleveland Show. MacFarlane agreed with the decisions after consulting with the executives of Fox, and a spokeswoman for the company later announced that the episodes would air the following season.
"Seahorse Seashell Party" was written by Wellesley Wild and directed by Brian Iles. It features guest appearances from Ioan Gruffudd, Dee Bradley Baker, Colin Ford, and Debra Wilson. This episode marked Gruffudd's first guest appearance since the season eight episode "The Splendid Source" and Wilson's first guest appearance since the season three episode "And the Wiener Is...".
"Seahorse Seashell Party" features several references to media, music, film, and other pop culture phenomena. The episode's title references dialogue from the viral video "Drinking out of Cups" by electronic musician and composer Dan Deacon.
Peter mentions wanting to watch "G.I. José," which leads to a cutaway parodying the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero public service announcements. Peter mentions the film Fletch while playing charades. One of the many passing-time gags involves Peter performing a sing-a-long to the opening chase music from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As Brian's hallucinations begin to worsen, Stewie attempts to calm him, reminding him that seeing Lady Gaga nude was a worst-case scenario. Towards the end of the episode, a cutaway gag involving a confrontation between an African American woman and an Italian American man parodies the National Geographic's documentaries. A reference to the social networking site Twitter was also made by Stewie.
"Seahorse Seashell Party" first aired in the United States on October 2, 2011 as part of the animation television night on Fox. It was preceded by episodes of The Simpsons and The Cleveland Show, while being succeeded by an episode of American Dad!. It was viewed by 6.91 million viewers upon its initial airing, despite simultaneously airing with Desperate Housewives on ABC, Amazing Race on CBS, and a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets on NBC. Total viewership for the episode was the highest out of its respective line-up. "Seahorse Seashell Party" garnered a 3.5/8 rating in the 18–49 demographic, according to the Nielsen ratings, also becoming the highest rating of the animation television night on Fox. Total viewership and ratings were significantly down from the previous episode, "Lottery Fever", which was watched by 7.69 million viewers and garnered a 4.1/9 rating in the 18–49 demographic.
The main plot of "Seahorse Seashell Party" was panned by critics. Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club wrote of the episode, "This far into the show’s run, shifting to a much more dramatic bottle episode and reaching for emotional payoffs felt far too little too late." He resumed: "Nobody cares about any member of the Griffin family the way we care about every last Simpson. I feel bad about Meg becoming the scapegoat. Not because she’s a good character, but because instead of tweaking and working to make her appreciated or comically valuable, Family Guy spent years going down the path of least resistance and simply joined the fan chorus of hatred. One episode of pointed, forced justification for that shift doesn’t change a thing." McFarland concluded his review by giving the episode a grade of D+. Similarly, Terron Moore of Ology felt that much of the episode was wasted. In his review, Moore stated that "Seahorse Seashell Party" was "an episode that spends a lot of time addressing something that didn’t need to be addressed." He gave the episode a 4.5 out of ten points. TV Fanatic's Kate Moon was less negative of the episode, stating that even though Meg confronting her family in regards to her treatment was long overdue, she concluded that it felt contrived and uninteresting.
Critics were polarized with the episode subplot. While McFarland expressed enjoyment of some of the animation of the episode, he asserted that it "fell flat." Moon exclaimed that the subplot would have been more interesting had Stewie ingested the mushrooms alongside Brian.
The episode debuted in the United Kingdom on May 20, 2012, and achieved 1.6 million viewers. Although US reception was negative, UK critics praised the episode for its subplot animation and bold storyline.
- Night of the Hurricane
- "The Hurricane!", the related episode of The Cleveland Show
- "Hurricane!", the related episode of American Dad!
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