Family Guy “Call Girl” Review

Spoilers for Family Guy below
Spoilers for Family Guy below

After seeing a bird of prey swoop in and murder the smaller visitors to Chris’ birdhouse, Peter decides to become a falconer. He uses his capable and trusty falcon Xerxes for damn near everything from fetching him things to making him dinner.

Naturally, Family Guy uses this to make several terrible jokes, like Xerxes tearing apart the seat of Quagmire’s pants because he’s got a rodent up thereYes, believe it or not, Quagmire is a bit of a pervert. Then Xerxes lands on Stewie’s head at the breakfast table. Right on his soft spot. So like his entire skull caves in. It’s pretty fucking gross. Not aw, dude! funny-gross, but like actually sickening. And I hate babies. Whoever is in charge of their sound effects did a great job with that one, but I kinda wish they hadn’t.

So, uh, congratulations, Family Guy. You got one single reaction out of me in thirty minutes. Bravo.

Peter takes his falconing too far when he has Xerxes steal a motorcycle and sidecar from a passing gentleman so they could go on super awesome adventures together. Unfortunately, the owner of said motorcycle is apparently super Jewish (their term, not mine) and sues the crap out of Peter.

Peter and Xerxes

The Griffins are now having money problems, so Lois decides to go back to work. At a job interview, she’s “discovered” as “voice talent” by some pony-tailed dickhead I don’t think even had a reason to be there. Lois assumes she’ll be a voice actress or commercial voice-over lady, but she’s actually been hired at a phone sex call center. Her new boss warns

Don’t mention the Internet. They can not know about it.

Alright, that’s pretty good.

There’s a good chunk of time spent on Lois taking calls from various Quahog residents (under the name “Classy”) and servicing their various kinks. Joe wants to double-team her with his son, Mort Goldman gets off on Lois counting her money very slowly because he’s Jewish and that’s funny, and Quagmire asks her to stuff most of her office supplies into her mouth, which might be the closest thing to amusing this sequence gets.

I don’t understand why everyone in Quahog hasn’t put two and two together and figured out the popular new phone sex lady is Lois. I mean, her voice is…ear-splittingly distinctive. I mean, when someone answers the phone and sounds like that, chances are it’s either Lois or Carmela Soprano.

To-ny, whatta caaaa!

While we’re nitpicking, why didn’t we get a Brian call? That might have actually been interesting seeing as he’s lusted after Lois for pretty much the entire series. There’s an untapped vein of awkward comedy they could have mined there.

Lois lies to the family about what her job really is, and starts to lose interest in Peter’s sexual advances. Peter talks this over with his friends at the Drunken Clam. Quagmire gives Peter the number of the sex line, asserting that it wouldn’t be cheating on Lois if it’s just over the phone. Peter gives in and calls. If you’ve watched television ever, you can probably guess that he’s connected with Lois and quickly becomes enamored with “Classy.” There’s an awful lot of time watching Peter’s antics on the phone, including staring at a silent and static image of a poorly drawn comic strip far, far longer than was necessary.

Peter on the phone with Classy

 Lois is hurt and angry that Peter cheat on her by calling a phone sex line. Instead of coming clean, Peter and “Classy” continue their relationship, until Peter asks to meet her at a motel. “Classy” agrees, and Peter lies to the family about a business trip and sneaks out.

Lois gets there a few moments later, dressed in a blonde wig. Peter, being as incredibly fucking thick as he is, still doesn’t recognize his own wife, until Lois takes off the wig and chews him out for cheating. Peter points out that it’s not really cheating since she’s his wife. Lois doesn’t care. Peter gives her a little speech about how he’s glad “Classy” turned out to be his wife, because as soon as he heard her voice he knew its owner was his soul mate, and he’s fallen in love with her all over again.

Okay, fine. I guess they needed to rekindle their love-spark or whatever. “Call Girl” had the potential to actually be kind of a sweet story, but it got so drowned out by the logical flaws and stupid gags for that to really come through.  It’s really kind of a retelling of the story from Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” A bored man decides to find another woman and falls for someone they haven’t seen in person yet, only to meet up and realize he was courting his love along. Again, a solid enough idea, and I think it would have played a little better if the basic concept had a better story built around it.

“Call Girl” is one of those episodes that’s hard to write about because I feel so ambivalent towards it. It usually takes some real digging and thought to come up with something to say.

When it comes to recent seasons of Family Guy, conventional wisdom is that the quality has fallen off a cliff, and many people like to claim that it was never good and they never liked it. Which I’m sure is completely true given that it didn’t sell any DVD sets and certainly didn’t get uncancelled. In fact, it’s not even on the air now. I’ve been making these reviews up.

But Family Guy isn’t exactly what comes to mind when I think of a terrible series. Most of the time, these episodes aren’t infuriating or torture to watch; they’re simply not funny. When I watch Family Guy I’m usually sitting on the couch with a bored expression and joke after joke flies by without netting any laughs. I come away from these things feeling like I’ve passed half an hour without much entertainment to show for it. And that’s its cardinal sin, really. It’s a comedy that’s simply not funny more often than not.

Even when, as we’ve seen here, there’s a solid idea underneath everything, the writers often shoot themselves in the foot by piling bland crap on top of it. At least when an episode is utterly terrible I can write an incredibly long review dissecting why; it’s much harder to spin critique-gold out of sheer ennui. You gotta give me something, here, MacFarlane.

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