When You Wish Upon a Weinstein
|"When You Wish Upon a Weinstein"|
|Family Guy episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Dan Povenmire|
|Written by||Ricky Blitt|
|Original air date||September 9, 2003 (on DVD)
November 9, 2003 (on Adult Swim)
December 10, 2004 (on Fox)
"When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" is the twenty-second episode of Family Guy's third season, and the original series finale. It originally aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on November 9, 2003, and on Fox on December 10, 2004. In the episode, Peter prays for a Jew to help him with his financial woes. After befriending a Jewish accountant, Max Weinstein, and discovering the wonders of their religion, Peter gets the idea of converting Chris to Judaism so he will be successful in life. Lois attempts to stop him, believing that success is not based on religion.
"When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" was written by Ricky Blitt and directed by Dan Povenmire. A holdover from the second season's production run, the episode was intended to air in 2000 towards the beginning of the third season, but Fox executives were concerned about its content, believing it could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, and did not allow it to air on television. Due to popular demand, it was instead aired on Adult Swim in 2003. This episode features guest performances from Andrea Beutener, Mark Hamill, Phil LaMarr, Ed McMahon, Peter Riegert, Mary Scheer, Ben Stein, and Nicole Sullivan.
Peter gives Lois's "rainy-day fund" to Jim Kaplan the scam artist selling volcano insurance. That night, Stewie breaks Meg's glasses because he hates being watched while he sleeps. Lois tells Peter that he needs to recover the money to buy their daughter a new pair of glasses. After hearing Quagmire and Cleveland talk about how men with Jewish-sounding names have helped them achieve financial success, Peter decides that he needs a Jew to handle his money in an elaborate musical number.
When a Jewish man named Max Weinstein has car trouble outside the Griffin house, Peter takes it as a sign. After a foot chase, Peter pressures Max into helping him get the emergency money back, and he recovers the money from Kaplan. After inviting Max to dinner and accompanying him to a Reform synagogue, Peter comes to the conclusion that Chris would become smart and successful if he converted to Judaism. The two sneakily drive to Las Vegas for a quickie Bar Mitzvah.
Lois learns of the Bar Mitzvah from Brian (by means of torturing him with a dog whistle), and borrows Quagmire's car. She arrives just in time to stop the ceremony, but the congregants, angry that Lois is apparently insulting their religion, attack the Griffins. The family escapes just in time, locking the synagogue's door using a large star of David and getting back home on a bus. Lois points out that one's success is not based upon religion, and Peter realizes the error of his ways and makes up to the family. However, as it turns out, the bus is full of nuns who, displeased that Peter strayed from Catholicism, attack the family with rulers.
Peter's song, "I Need a Jew", is a parody of "When You Wish Upon a Star". The scene where Lois tried to stop the Bar Mitzvah is a parody of the ending of The Graduate. When Peter says "Uh-oh" in the Synagogue, it sounds like "Eh-oh" from the "Teletubbies".
In addition to the regular cast, voice actress Andrea Beutener, actor Mark Hamill, voice actor Phil LaMarr, actor Ed McMahon, actor Peter Riegert, actress Mary Scheer, actor Ben Stein, and voice actress Nicole Sullivan guest starred in the episode. Recurring guest voices in the episode include Mike Barker, Ricky Blitt, Mike Henry, Danny Smith, and Wally Wingert.
Though the episode was aired during the third season, it was a holdover from the second production season. Fox network executives were concerned that the episode could be construed as anti-Semitic, and decided not to air the episode after it had completed post-production. It aired on Cartoon Network's programming block Adult Swim in 2003, and then it aired on Fox in 2004.
On the DVD commentary for the episode, Seth MacFarlane mentions that he showed the script of the episode to two rabbis, both of whom approved the episode "because Peter learns the right lesson at the end". MacFarlane also points out that 70% of the show's writers are Jewish, including Ricky Blitt, who wrote the episode, as is Ben Stein, who plays the Rabbi.
Reception and lawsuit
On October 3, 2007, the Bourne Company publishing house, sole owner of the song "When You Wish upon a Star", filed a lawsuit against several Fox divisions, Cartoon Network, Fuzzy Door Productions, Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane and composer Walter Murphy, claiming copyright infringement over "I Need a Jew", seeking unspecified damages and to halt the program's distribution. The suit claims harm to the value of the song due to the offensive nature of the lyrics.
On March 17, 2009, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts ruled that the creators of Family Guy did not infringe on Bourne's copyright. The episode has since returned to syndicated airings on Adult Swim, TBS, and other networks.
- Tune, Cydney A.; Leavitt, Jenna F. (Summer 2009), "Family Guy Creators' Fair Use Wish Comes True" (PDF), Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, American Bar Association, 27 (2) – via Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
- Chicago Sun-Times (November 27, 2004) Fox to air 'Family Guy' episode once considered anti-Semitic.
- Mark I. Pinsky (2007). The gospel according to the Simpsons: bigger and possibly even better! edition with a new afterword exploring South park, Family guy, and other animated TV shows. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 262 (Afterword). ISBN 0-664-23160-8. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- Keys, Lisa (December 10, 2004). "Bar Mitzvah-gate, Courtesy of Fox". The Forward. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- "It's 'Wish Upon a Star' vs. 'Family Guy'". CNN.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- Neumeister, Larry (2007-10-04). "Classic song's owner sues over spoof". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- Bourne Co., vs. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Fox Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., Fuzzy Door Productions, Inc., The Cartoon Network, Inc., Seth MacFarlane, Walter Murphy. Text "Defendants' infringing activities have cause and will continue to cause Bourne great and irreparable harm. By associating Bourne's song with such offensive lyrics and other content in the episode, Defendants are harming the value of the song."
- Kearney, Christine (March 16, 2009). ""Family Guy" Wins Court Battle Over song". reuters.com. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
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