Since the dawn of time, one simple question has plagued humanity:
Are we better off dumb?
Okay, maybe that's not the actual one question. But you can't deny that it's out there - the sinking feeling that existence would maybe be a lot better if we could stop thinking about the meaning of existence and just be happy playing beer pong.
It's also a question that's been examined more than once by sitcoms in recent years.
From the a classic Simpsons Season 12 installment, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 9 Episode 8, TV has a way of coming to the same answer again and again: being smart is a prison that keeps you away from your family, happiness and appreciating fart jokes.
Family Guy Season 12 Episode 17 came down on the same side of the argument as these iconic episode, presumably, for more complex reasons than their own skin in the 'fart jokes' game.
While it was impossible not to make the Simpsons and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia comparisons, that's not to say that the episode was without its pleasures.
It wasn't as fresh as, say, Family Guy Season 12 Episode 16, but for Family Guy, plot is always less the main mechanism of the show than the raw skeleton needed to support the show's Family Guy quotes, sight gags and cut-away sequences.
And in that capacity, the conceit of a goon-gone-smart provides a wealth of set-ups. With no B-plot to complicate things, we got to focus entirely on this Peter-centric plot, which rewarded with a lot of gloriously drawn-out gags (the NPR bit was particularly sharp/ impossible to do justice on paper).
But much like The Simpsons' paean to being a simpleton, this ending came off a bit hollow.
Family Guy isn't about the pleasures of being dum; it's about the pleasures of playing dumb, with the full knowledge that you'll go back to being an over-analytical, worried, obsessive nerd the second that the credits roll.
In this micro-genre, only It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia really come out with an honest answer - it would probably be nice to be smarter, but you might as well make the best of/ cope with whatever you got.
But you tell me: Is Peter better off dumb?
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