This episode of Family Guy, simply entitled "Brian's Play," was off-kilter and left me feeling uncomfortable for many reasons, even though I think I enjoyed what it brought to the table.
It began with the first sequence. Brian writes a play? It’s sure to be hackneyed and terrible, as that’s how the show has presented Brian’s writing. And yes, his play, “A Passing Fancy," fit both those adjectives. But the audience thought it was rip-roaringly good, an irony that the show rarely possesses. This is usually more in-your-face with its comedy. Heck, it literally announces its pop culture references that it is about to make.
Then, there’s the fact that Brian had so much success, and then it all comes crashing down because of Stewie and his actually-brilliant play. He is an evil genius after all, so him possessing writing talent isn’t a surprise, and I suppose it makes some sense that it would happen here, even if it came otherwise out of left field.
What really shocked me was was Brian’s response, provoked by an out-of-nowhere cameo from his gay cousin Jasper (remember him?) that led him to destroy Stewie’s confidence by telling him it was terrible, and then destroying his only copy of it.
It was distressing when Stewie discovered Brian had tried to destroy it, then confronted him with i, and finally brought him along to New York as he attended its premiere on Broadway. This led to Brian getting to meet other serious playwrights who annihilated his work, leaving him feeling even worse, as he explained to Stewie. His time on Earth is short, and, yes, he may be jealous of Stewie discovering his greatness while he’s alive, but to try and stifle his talent while he’s young?
It seems downright evil. Stewie’s response of dragging Brian through the mud wasn’t much better. But yet, seeing his friend so low, he decided to sandbag his play by making changes that leave people unsatisfied. It didn’t seem appropriate. Yet, considering the relationship of the two characters, where they can be awful to each other but at the end show they care, it all made sense.
Yes, this is a review of Family Guy and I’m talking about the complexity of the emotions that drove this story. That’s certainly unusual. The rest of the Griffins didn’t play a huge role, though I must say that Lois actually enjoying Brian’s play was unexpected because she’s usually one to call out Brian on his bad writing.
Yet I think because of the fact that the emotions were so complicated, that’s why it was hard to swallow. I certainly had trouble forming coherent thoughts on how to describe my thoughts on this episode, and still am not quite sure how I feel. Still, the fact that this series can pull off this trick of being more than just manatee jokes, I suppose I like being reminded of that fact more than perhaps what I actually watched, which I’m still not completely sure about my feelings on it, to be honest.
There were still plenty of quality lines, collected on our Family Guy quotes page, but the Brian and Stewie dynamic was the star here.