Seahorse Seashell Party
|"Seahorse Seashell Party"|
|Family Guy episode|
Stewie consoles Brian as he hallucinates
|Episode no.||Season 10
|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 animated comedy series Family Guy, an episode produced for season 9. It originally aired on October 2, 2011 in the United States on Fox. 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 peers, Meg lashes out and confronts her family. 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 April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak subsequently coinciding with the timing of the scheduled episodes.
Critical responses to the episode were negative, particularly for its humor and main plot. 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 the Griffins prepare for an approaching hurricane which had already hit Stoolbend, Brian decides to use magic mushrooms, to the curiosity of Stewie. As the mushrooms take effect on Brian, he has hallucinations and cuts his ear off, believing it would stop World War II. Stewie tries to take care of Brian, whose hallucinations become more overwhelmingly disturbing, to the point where he sees Stewie transforming into a hideous demon towering over him before he perceives himself in a grotesque, hellish world. During his nightmare sequence, Brian is continually attacked by various monsters resembling the Griffin family and Quagmire. He recovers when Stewie helps him downstairs to drink some water.
The rest of the family passes the time by playing charades and other games. Peter, Lois and Chris play a game of "finger-bang," until Meg joins in. They shun her, using the sexual connotation to insult and demean her and again later gang up on her when she disturbs Peter's humming by opening a soda can. At her limit after years of their abuse, Meg finally gets the nerve to turn on them.
She starts with Chris by calling him "a bastard" for being a terrible brother to her, berating him for all the ill treatment he has given her over the years, and how he never takes her side when their parents abuse her. Lois condescendingly tells Meg that she is simply taking her own problems out on everyone else invoking Meg to bring up her mother's delinquent past. Meg tells her that she is far from the perfect parent, harshly berates her for constantly and ruthlessly pointing out Meg's shortcomings. Lois tries to justify that she's a better person because of her past and she is open that she isn't the perfect parent, but Meg tells her that she's the farthest thing from and states how she has neglected to protect her from harm and guide her through life. Meg also informs Lois that when she turns 18, she may never want to see her again. This breaks Lois' heart and she finally admits that she's been a terrible mother to Meg. Finally, Meg turns on Peter who, unable to comprehend her insults, thinks that his daughter's argument is amusing, even when she points out Peter's destructive tendencies and that he would go to jail if someone could witness his negative treatment towards her. It dawns on Peter that he is being insulted when Meg calls him a "waste of a man."
A shocked Peter asks Lois to tell Meg to "knock it off," but Lois refuses because he didn't stick up for her. Within moments, Peter, Lois and Chris turn their abusive criticisms and insults on each other. Peter finally runs to his room crying, leaving Meg and Brian, who is now full recovered from his trip, to discuss what just happened. Despite Brian complimenting her for standing up for herself, Meg comes to the conclusion that her family cannot survive without a "lightning rod" to absorb the dysfunction, and the only way they can get along is if she continues to take their abuse. Brian tells her that she is more mature than her family. She then lies to them, saying that she was only taking her own problems out on everyone, restoring their egos and original opinions although she only did this to prevent further fighting and will return being abused by the family, as the hurricane heads for Langley Falls.
Before the episode ends, Stewie then breaks the fourth wall by telling the viewer 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. Jose', 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" received negative reviews. 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 mushroom 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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