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Family Guy Review: "Road to the North Pole"

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For those who aren’t familiar with Family Guy’s “Road to...” episodes, there is usually a lot to enjoy in these hour-long installments. Traditionally, episodes such as "Road to the North Pole" feature our favorite dog and baby in a madcap road-trip musical.

I had mixed feelings about this one, despite its clever moments and hopeful ending.  While I normally have no problems about Family Guy’s shocking or offensive themes, I felt bit disconcerted about the direction of this Christmas episode.

A Family Guy Christmas

Perhaps it was the way that the series stomped on something as innocent as Santa and his elves and twisted them all around. Or perhaps it was the cannibalistic reindeers.  Whatever the specific reason, the irreverent nature of Family Guy seemed just a little too graphic for me this time around.

“The Road to the North Pole” started innocently enough.  I enjoyed Stewie and Brian’s adventure and the often-homicidal Stewie’s decision to kill Santa after feeling slighted by the local mall version.

Despite Brian’s best efforts to trick Stewie by taking him to a Santa’s workshop in Rhode Island, Stewie was determined to avenge his slight and insisted on trekking to the North Pole by any means necessary, despite blowing up a truck and cutting a Canadian man’s leg. 

There was a clever little Bones shout-out to David Boreanaz, who appeared in an Aurora Borealis to guide Stewie and Brian to safety.  Remember when Booth hallucinated Stewie back in Season 4 of that show?

Viewers received quite a shock with Santa’s workshop.  Instead of the cheery place we would expect, it was a shocking den of toxic waste, inbred elves and wild, feral reindeer.

I bet a lot of younger viewers were more than disturbed by the scene where mutant elves churned out presents sweatshop-style.  And what about Stewie and Brian tempting reindeer with elf flesh?  Overall, I was surprised by the dark tone of the episode, even if we were treated to a welcome throwback to the simpler times of “one gifts” at the end of the episode.

Was “Road to the North Pole” meant to be a social commentary on consumerist tendencies?  Most likely, considering the factories in Santa’s workshop, population boom, and references to the iPod.  Was it meant to teach us a lesson in appreciating the simpler things in life?  Probably.  Was it necessary to bludgeon the father and mother in front of a little girl during Christmas Eve to teach us this lesson?  I would say most likely not.

Did anyone else find it over the top? Check out our favorite Family Guy quotes from the hour and sound off now.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (120 Votes)
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i'm confused as to why people are complaining about violence and looking for hidden messages.. it's family guy, not church...

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Come on people the home invasion scene wasn't that bad, Stewie is a homicidal maniac, what do you expect? It's not a family cartoon, if you let your kid watch it because it's a cartoon then you are a bad parent. I didn't feel disturbed by the scene, neither do I want to go out and kill someone (which I'm sure some people believe this episode will make you do)
As for the depressing view of santa's village, why does every Christmas episode have to be upbeat and happy? What's wrong with an alternative view of Christmas?

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Seth Macfarlane is scum. This episode was vile.

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Nobody cared that it was violent. The media is full of violence. Everyone cares that the episode contained a little girl watch her mother get beaten to death and then tied up on Christmas eve. Thats not funny, that's disgusting.

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First of all Family Guy has been taking a turn for the worst for a while now. And I love family guy, I've been watching it for years now. While I normally love the Road to... episodes this was just not humorous at all. It started out great, got my attention, chuckled a little. I didn't care about the inbred elves, or the reindeer, or the toxic waste north pole. But I had a HUGE problem with the home invasion scene. It started out funny with Brian and Stewie failing miserably but turned sadistic quickly. Knocking the guy out woul have been acceptable. Even just beating him would have slid by. But beating a family to death in front of their small child and then tieing the little girl up was disturbing and was NOT humorous at all. It was unnecessary and sick to say the least. And before you call me a prude or a "concerned mother" Im 16 years old, I'm a HUGE fan of family guy and I watched Friday The 13th before this and found Friday the 13th to be less sick than this episode. And anyone who thinks the home invasion scene was "funny" or "okay for cable television" should really seek professional help. I know family guy is a show known for crossing the line, but it's really slipping lately, and should go back the old days where it was actually enjoyable to watch.

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This episode was no more crude or graphic then t heir other uncut episodes. stop complaining and realise that family guy has always been shocking. And that is what makes it do unpredictable and funny.quit your winging and get over your seemingly polished expectations of family guy!

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Why do you people comment on this with phrases like its gone too far it should never have been shown etc. Have you people forgotten this is not a kids show and parents should take the responsibility to not let their kids watch ANY FG regardless of the kind of content of a particular episode. That said while I didnt find this episode hilarious, what part of a homisidal high functioning sociopath Stewie killing a father and mother infront of their daughter is unrealistic given the characters previous evil intent. If you watch a show like this you arent looking for a hidden message - go watch Shakespeare for that you are looking for some escapism and Family Guy is exactly that, no more no less

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Personally, I thought the home invasion scene was WAY too much. I was cringing. They duct taped the little girl to the chair and killed her mother in front of her? Come on now Family Guy, have SOME boundaries. South Park isn't even that bad.

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Part of me was somewhat shocked by the " deconstruction " of the whole Santa myth ( the North Pole, elves, reindeer are ALL twisted versions of the warm fuzzy childhood mythology ), yet at the same time, I remember " Futurama "'s take on Santa, showing him as a homicidal robot maniac who judged everyone as " naughty " for the flimsiest of reasons, & whose elves were drunken, malnourished aliens. Was their 30th century " X - mas " anymore dystopian than Family Guy's Christmas ? I'm not a big fan of FG when they get all preachy, & I was divided about this episode. I felt that they were & are trying to flesh out the character of Quagmire by showing him with his little niece with leukemia. I wish they'd added on to that story, because they showed Quagmire as something other than a one - note ( sexual deviant ) character who only wants " booty ". He really appeared to care about his sick little niece. & they displayed his extreme dislike of Brian by his reaction to him referring to his niece as a little boy, because she'd lost her hair. Brian is coming across as more of a douche lately.
Hmmm..... Still divided.

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YOu are allll soooooooo boring...this episode was aweseom! Loved everything about it....people are actually complaining about elves and violence....wow...

Family Guy Season 9 Episode 7 Quotes

Santa, now we've got a slight problem here because I've been rather naughty. But you're a business man, I'm a business man, I'm sure we (starts flicking dollar bills) can work something out.

Stewie

I want a pet animal that's half chinchilla and half mink because I could call it "Chink" and that would be ok.

Peter
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