Stewie Goes for a Drive
|"Stewie Goes for a Drive"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 10
|Directed by||Julius Wu|
|Written by||Gary Janetti|
|Original air date||November 6, 2011|
"Stewie Goes for a Drive" is the fourth episode of the tenth season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on November 6, 2011 in the United States on Fox. The plot depicts actor Ryan Reynolds moving into the house across the street, and Peter Griffin befriending him. Ryan flirts with Peter, making Peter uncomfortable, and their friendship ends. Meanwhile, Stewie takes Brian's car for a joy ride, and crashes it into a lamp post. Fearing the consequences, Stewie runs away from home, but then needs Brian's help when he ends up in a bad part of town.
The episode was written by Gary Janetti and directed by Julius Wu. It received mixed reviews from critics. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 5.73 million homes in its original airing. In addition to Reynolds, who voiced himself, the episode featured guest performances by Adam Alexi-Malle, Ralph Garman, Joe Lomonaco, Rachael MacFarlane and Tara Strong, along with several recurring guest voice actors. It was first announced at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International.
Peter and Lois are leaving a doctor's office when actor Ryan Reynolds asks them for directions. He seems very appreciative of Peter. The next morning Peter notices that Ryan has moved in across the street, taking Cleveland Brown's former residence. Ryan says he's filming for a movie nearby. Peter attends Ryan's housewarming party that night, at which Ryan tickles him and requests that he return the favor. Later that week, they go out to dinner, but Peter immediately exits the restaurant when Ryan tries to kiss him. The next day, Peter tells Lois he believes Ryan is gay but Lois rejects the idea. Peter confronts Ryan, who replies that he is only attracted to Peter's spirit in the way that a man is attracted to a woman. Angered by Peter's accusation, Ryan orders him to leave and that they can never talk again—but hands him a cell phone so they can "always talk".
Brian picks up Stewie from day care. On the drive home, Stewie listens to "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood on the radio. He decides to stay in the car by himself to continue listening after they reach home and accidentally hits the gear shift, causing the car to move forward. Thinking he can drive, Stewie takes the car for a ride and is thrilled by the experience. He hears on the car radio a contest to win Justin Bieber concert tickets. Stewie calls the radio station on his cell phone but loses control of the car and crashes into a lamppost. (Herbert is heard on the radio winning the tickets.) Stewie takes the car home with the front of the vehicle completely destroyed. Brian discovers the damage and immediately blames Stewie, who tries to deny his involvement, but Brian points out that Stewie left Rupert in the car. Brian says he'll tell Peter and Lois, and Stewie cries. Afraid of being punished, Stewie runs away. He leaves a CD-ROM for Brian that details his plans. Stewie takes the bus to the airport, but disembarks in the wrong neighborhood. Consuela, the Griffin family's former maid, finds him and takes him home. Brian finds Stewie, and tells him that he did not tell anyone about the accident. They attempt to leave Consuela's home, but she insists on keeping Stewie as her own baby. Stewie steals a gun and shoots her in the foot, but says that he didn't want to hurt her because she had shown kindness to him in the past. Brian and Stewie return home.
Production and development
First announced at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International by series showrunners Steve Callaghan and Mark Hentemann, the episode was written by Gary Janetti. Janetti joined the series in its first season, writing "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", as well as the series's landmark 150th episode "Brian & Stewie". It was directed by Julius Wu, who joined the show in its fifth season, directing "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou". Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdum served as supervising director, with Andrew Goldberg, Alex Carter, Spencer Porter, Anthony Blasucci, Mike Desilets and Deepak Sethi serving as staff writers for the episode. Composer Ron Jones, who has worked on the series since its inception, returned to compose the music for "Stewie Goes for a Drive". An announcement of Reynolds' appearance in the episode was made at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, along with several other guest voice actors for the season.
In addition to the regular cast, actor and musician Adam Alexi-Malle, actor Ralph Garman, voice actor Joe Lomonaco, voice actress Rachael MacFarlane, actor Ryan Reynolds, and voice actress Tara Strong guest starred in the episode. Recurring guest voice actors Alec Sulkin, writer John Viener and writer Wellesley Wild made minor appearances throughout the episode.
In the opening scene of the episode when Peter and Lois first meet actor Ryan Reynolds, Reynolds lists various movies he has appeared in, including the 2009 film The Proposal and the 2011 film The Change-Up. Impressed by Ryan's demeanor towards him, Peter then recalls meeting actress Shelley Duvall, which he did not enjoy, even though Duvall is shown being friendly. Reynolds also reveals that he will be portraying Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in a film entitled Hotler, which is being filmed in Quahog rather than nearby Newport, Rhode Island.
Later, as Brian and Stewie drive home from his day care, they listen to the 2006 single "Before He Cheats" on the car's radio, sung by American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. Stewie stays in the car after arriving home to listen to the rest of the song, and sings along. Pleased with himself, he decides he should appear on the Fox television series Glee. Later Stewie learns of a contest to win tickets to a local Justin Bieber concert, but ultimately he loses the contest to his neighbor, Herbert. After returning home, Stewie begins watching a film parodying various 1970s science fiction movies (including music parodying the 1976 Michael York film Logan's Run) before being accused by Brian of crashing his car. When Stewie tries to reject blame for the incident, Brian tells him that he must accept his punishment, and compares it to the television game show The Price Is Right, in which a woman is shown accepting a poor showcase, involving a weeklong trip to her parent's house in Wilmington, Delaware. Stewie then runs away from home, leaving a video message for Brian asking Brian to rescue him in a TV-movie-clichéd way at the airport, and to bring appropriate soundtrack music, suggesting "With or Without You" by U2, "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel, "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield, "Live Like We're Dying" by Kris Allen, "Thank You" by Dido and "Somebody" by Depeche Mode.
In minutes 12 to 13, Ryan takes Peter out to eat Moroccan food. Peter hesitates for fear of gas he gets from Mexican food, and a cutaway show Peter farting out a Mexican bandit spirit who utters, "Con cuidado! Es El STINKO!" (Watch out! It's the STINKER!)" and then fires shots from pistols in each hand whereupon the Griffins all flee. After Ryan convinces Peter to try his lamb tajine, Peter has to excuse himself to the bathroom, and on the way he farts out a Moroccan swordsman spirit who waves his sword and yells out something in Arabic [clarification needed], and the nearby couple has to flee.
"Stewie Goes for a Drive" was broadcast on November 6, 2011, as a part of an animated television night on Fox, and was preceded by The Simpsons and Allen Gregory, and followed by Family Guy creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane's second show, American Dad!. It was watched by 5.73 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings, despite airing simultaneously with Desperate Housewives on ABC, The Good Wife on CBS and Sunday Night Football on NBC. The episode also acquired a 3.0/7 rating in the 18–49 demographic, beating Allen Gregory and American Dad, in addition to significantly edging out both shows in total viewership. The episode's ratings decreased somewhat from the previous week's episode, "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q".
Reviews of the episode were mostly mixed, calling the storyline a "much less extreme reversal" of the season two episode "The Story on Page One", in which Peter attempts to seduce actor Luke Perry. Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club wrote of the episode, "It was disappointing to see Family Guy bury a guest star like Kaitlin Olson in the background for much of her episode as Quagmire's sister last week, but it was even worse to see the show waste Ryan Reynolds." He continued, "He may not fit an empirical definition of a movie star, but I think he’s worth more as a guest than a tired trope like playing himself as a sexual predator towards Peter." McFarland also criticized the episode's two storylines, noting, "Both plots paint themselves into a corner with no time to get out. In the third act, Stewie is trapped at Consuela's house and Peter hadn't succumbed to Reynolds' repetitive and slowly escalating advances or done anything about them, so the show snaps its fingers and ends each one prematurely." He graded the episode as a C-. In a much more positive review, Terron R. Moore of Ology criticized the episode for not featuring Griffin family siblings Chris and Meg, but praised the series for adopting a Stewie-centric storyline. Moore noted of the storyline involving Reynolds, "All pretty funny stuff, but Ryan Reynolds' entire guest slot is based on the fact that you like Ryan Reynolds and his occasionally homoerotic humor, which I can definitely appreciate." He concluded his review by writing, "Not the best Family Guy, but a definite improvement on the week before, using some of the elements it knows best." Andy Neuenschwander of Yidio also gave mixed reaction to the episode, writing, "Something happens whenever a celebrity shows up on "Family Guy" and plays themselves. I can't quite put my finger on it, but everything just feels a bit off. This episode, which featured Ryan Reynolds as Ryan Reynolds, only confirmed that feeling." He also compared it to The Simpsons, noting, "Maybe it's the way the celebrity is treated as a character: in shows like The Simpsons, celebrities who play themselves appear as a relatively normal version of themselves [...] But on Family Guy, celebrities tend to appear as some bizarro version of themselves."
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