Family Guy: Star Wars
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Family Guy: Star Wars

Cartoons have been used as a means of expression probably since a guy dressed in animal skins picked up a burnt piece of wood and scribbled a picture on the cave wall. Perhaps that drawing made fun of a popular hunter or the man a few caves down trying to invent the wheel. One of the earliest uses of drawn have been to poke fun at the world around us from satirical cartoons in the news paper to more recent animations making light of every conceivable subject. In our recent era we had cartoon series on television like the grandfather of the all, ‘The Simpson’. The irreverent humor has been a main stay of the format of a generation now. Following on its heels is the flagship of animation that helped propel Comedy Central to popularity, ‘South Park’. Every other animated series that has come before pales in comparison to the current king of politically incorrect hysteria; ‘Family Guy’. This series walks up to the very edge of good tastes and blissfully leaps over it without ever looking back. Some may cite it as a prime example of bad taste and an example of our declining society but in reality it is an extremely well crafted satire that holds the sacred cows of our culture up to ridicule. Many creative people are lauded with the term genius but when it comes to satiric comedy the term is completely applicable to the man behind this series, Seth MacFarlane. He reported has a $100 million development from Fox, the TV network that cancelled ‘Family Guy’ not once but twice. He is a humorist for the new millennium whose fans watch via the net and DVD not just the traditional venue of television. He also has become one of the staunchest critics of pop culture regularly lampooning every aspect of our society. He is also a huge fan of the George Lucas ‘Star Wars’ franchise and has just released direct to DVD a spoof of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ called ; "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side".

If Seth MacFarlane had not been able to channel his brilliantly warped and darkly twist mind in a creative outlet such as this there would be a strong likelihood that the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI would have a rather thick file on him. When I introduced one of my best friends to ‘Family Guy’ he sat there watching in disbelief saying ‘How can they get away with that? ‘It so happened that one of the first things we watched was the double Episode called ‘Blue Harvest’. This is a perfectly crafted parody of the original ‘Star Wars’ movie. The scenario is a power failure hitting the small community of Quahog, Rhode Island leaving the Griffin family unable to pursue their normal and only family activity of sitting in front of the television. Left with nothing else to do the father Peter (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) gathers the family around to tell them the story of ‘Star Wars’ in his own personalized fashion. Each of the family members takes on a character from the film. Peter becomes Han Solo, his wife Lois (voiced by Alex Borstein) is Leia, eldest son Chris (voiced by Seth Green) become Luke and the evil, matricidal baby Stewie voiced by Seth MacFarlane)is a diminutive Darth voiced by Seth MacFarlane Vander. While many of the scenes are frame for frame exactly from the film to the amazement and delight of even the most diehard fans of the franchise. Of course being set within the ‘MacFarlane’ universe not found in any incarnation of the film such when Stewie Vader announces he just made a ‘Darth doodie’. You also receive a different perspective such a storm trooper church with helmets on the bride, groom, pastor and the figure of Christ on the cross.

This was followed by a send up of Episode V called here ‘Something, Something, Something, Dark Side’ picking precisely at the same point after yet another power outage in Quahog. Luke is trapped by the Cookie Monster on the ice planet of Hoth and Han has to take his Don Don (a ‘Ton-Ton with the face and voice of Don Knotts. After the battle Luke travels to Dagobah for his Jedi training. All the action, adventure and excitement are played out against a wonderfully twisted background. The workers on the death star complain about benefits and the lack of safety rails while on the ground Luke and the droids join with the Ewoks in the jungle battle. What continues to come up constantly here is just how familiar every moment is as your favorite scenes are twisted with comic styling unlike anything you can imagine. There have been a lot of fan treatments online but none have come close to the exactness displayed here. The voice of Chris, Seth Green, is well known in the Sci-fi and fantasy world as the sensitive werewolf on Buffy the Vampire slayer and the disgruntled Scott Evil in the Austin Powers Robot Chicken’. At the end of each parody Peter gets into a fight with Chris who claims ‘Robot Chicken did the Star Wars spoofs much better. Actually both treatments are excellent. This is something that is so dense with material it will take a number of viewings to catch just a fraction of the jokes and sight gags. Get this one and hang on for a great ride.

Posted 12/29/09

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