Tooncrap #20 - Family Guy - Seahorse Seashell Party

Stand Back! There's A Horrible Episode Coming Through!
Fox: 2011

Written by: Raymond Gallant

You know, I've debated whether or not to review this episode for a long time. A lot of the reason I've steered clear from it is mainly because this is one of those Family Guy episodes that pisses me off. In fact, I can say that about damn near every Family Guy episode in recent memory. Hell, I talked about one that tried to find comedy in domestic abuse. And for as bad and reprehensible as that one was, Seahorse Seashell Party may just be on par with that one.

Seahorse Seashell Party was part of a concept of the Family Guy writers to take all three of their shows and devote an episode each about a hurricane that goes through The Cleveland Show, into Family Guy, and all the way into American Dad. the trilogy (for lack of a better term) was to air in late season 9, but due to actual tornado disasters, Fox didn't feel devoting episodes to killer storms would be wise, so the episodes were moved to early into the next fall lineup.

For the other two episodes, I can't really complain about them. The Cleveland Show episode was forgettable, much like The Cleveland Show itself to be honest, and American Dad's was okay, but again, nothing spectacular, even for them. But it's the one smack dab in the middle that remains the one everyone remembers, for all the worst reasons. Why exactly? Well, let's see why as we review this thing.

We open the episode as the Griffin family are watching the news that mentions the severity of Hurricane Flozell. However, the TV stops working as the satellite gets knocked loose. This is most troubling for Peter, since he was going to watch G.I Jose. Which leads to a cutaway, as is the norm of Family Guy.

As we see Jose give bad advice as to how to take care of a wound. It's bad, and somewhat racist, but compared to far more worse, and far more pointless Family Guy cutaways in the past few years, this was pretty tame.

While we wait for the A plot to kick in, we go directly into the episode's B-plot, as Brian grabs a bag of magic mushrooms he had stashed under the floorboards. He tells Stewie, who is cool with Brian enjoying some psychadelic drugs to stave boredom, and Brian takes a few.

Since it takes a few minutes for the shrooms to kick in, we join the rest of the family trying to keep from being bored. After a pointless game of charades, they decide to all be quiet as Peter just makes noises for a minute. And that's really issue #1 of this episode. Not much really happens for a good majority of it. I'm guessing the writers had the mushroom plot thought out initially, but to get to the more important plot of the episode, we mainly have to sit through long bouts of Family Guy filler.

The shrooms start to kick in, and Brian begins to see things in a far more wacky and fun way. Enjoy this, for this is the end of the trip being tame. Peter plays finger bang with Chris, which sounds more dirty than it actually is. Lois wants to join in too. But when Meg of course wants to have fun with her family, they get pissed at her, and tell her to go fingerbang herself. And thus we begin to see the A-plot kick into high gear.

Stewie discovers Brian cutting his ear off in the bathroom. He fixes his ear up, but it's clear that Brian's trip is going really bad. After a pointless naked Lady Gaga cutaway, Stewie tries to comfort Brian...

Only for this to happen, which leads into the most random Time Bandits reference of all time. I've never taken mushrooms. Hell, I've never taken any major drug. But I wonder if these are the effects of a bad trip, and not just the Family Guy show runners wanting to wave their massive wads of money around. Because we're getting into the best animated, and arguably most disturbing part of the episode.

But before that, we need to get into some more Meg bashing, because we don't want you to forget how shittily treated she is. This time, Peter suggests a sing along to the chase music from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It's another one of these bits that drags, because again this whole A-plot feels like something that could be done in five minutes, but is stretched on and on. Meg opens a can of soda, and it pisses Peter off. Meg tries to defend herself, and the rest of the family tells her to shut up. We're already seeing Meg at her boiling point, but we've far from getting good.

And now we go from angry to disturbing, and I do mean disturbing, because remember what I said about Family Guy waving their upped budget around? Get ready for the darkest point of Brian's shroom trip. He ends up in a freakish world as he sees frightening imagery of his family and Quagmire. Everything from Peter being roasted alive, to tiny Brians being eaten alive by a flying Quagmire, and eventually Brian and a demonic Stewie. it's hard to really describe a lot of it here, but for what they're trying to do, it's definitely the most interesting thing in the episode. I'd say if you're a fan of some real screwed up stuff, I'd definitely suggest checking it out, but viewer discretion is certainly advised.

But for while I can say it's awesome to see, it's also extremely pointless. Because despite such freaky imagery, and something that would definitely scar anyone for life, it doesn't matter in the end. There's no real payoff to the mushroom B-plot. Brian doesn't seem to be done with them. He doesn't say anything about the experience afterward, and we just pretty much move straight into the Meg plot with very little mention of this whole situation following. So, much like a lot of this episode, this whole B plot was absolutely pointless. Pointless with epic imagery, but completely and totally pointless.

It's a Jump Scare.

It's a jump scare.

Oh wow, a jump scare. You totally got me with that!

Stewie takes Brian downstairs to get some water, as we continue with Meg vs the family. But since this episode is 30% story, 20% Freak out, and a good 50% time filler, we have to spend almost a minute with hearing Stewie get Brian his water. This plays into the next scene too as we still hear Brian drinking the water from the bowl.

And now we enter what is easily considered the biggest pipe bomb in Family Guy, as Meg begins to rip into her family, starting with Chris for never coming to her aid like a brother would. Brian joins in, since his whole Mushroom thing is over, and in the end, it never really mattered to the plot, so he's in to watch all hell breaks loose. And if you think bashing Chris was good, it gets much better...

Because after a pointless racist cutaway, Lois is the next name on Meg's shit list, and she begins to berate her on being a horrible mother, a shoplifter, and letting Bill Clinton and Gene Simmons have their way with her. But the most biting of all these shots is telling Lois off about how horrible she treats her daughter who rarely ever deserved her cruelty, and that when she turns 18, she already plans to never see her again. This causes Lois to cry.

And now all that's left is one more fat, retarded nut to crack. Meg tells Peter what we all know. He's stupid, fat, drunk and reckless. And despite being a "Family Guy", he treats said family like human garbage. However, none of this really hits home to Peter until he eventually clues in. This eventually leads to Peter, Lois, and Chris fighting with one another. So, in the end, we get a satisfying shoot promo of sorts as Meg, the character that has been treated like trash, for mostly no good reason finally calling her family out on the shit that they are. It finally feels a bit liberating, even if you aren't a fan of Meg.

Too bad what comes next renders this whole thing null and void... sigh...

Meg, despite being 100% in the right, feels bad for seeing the family explode like this. She talks to Brian, who is now perfectly fine after the mushroom trip, because it didn't matter. None of it mattered. Burning Peter didn't matter.

Jump scare didn't matter. None of it mattered...

So, what comes next is the absolute worst excuse of "The Status Quo is God" that any cartoon has ever done. After seeing the family go into each other like they did, she comes to the realization that maybe she's supposed to be the victim. If she's the one they focus their hatred and anger on, maybe they won't hurt themselves.




No. No! No! NO!! NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!!

This has got to be the stupidest thing I've heard in the history of this show. They can't honestly be saying that a victim should stay with their abusers and take their abuse because it means they don't hurt themselves or anyone else. They seriously can't think that. Even if this is supposed to be some subversion or parody of very special episodes, it still sends the worst message you could send. But why am I surprised? The episode after this is "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q", an episode that jokes about domestic abuse, and tries to make us feel bad for a rapist.

And yes, this isn't the first time they've done this. In fact, let's go back to an earlier episode. Season 8's " Dial Meg for Murder" which saw Meg become a tough ex-con, and we see her actually get revenge on her family in some of the most satisfying of ways.

Ah, that's the stuff.

But despite status quo rearing its ugly head in the end, it was more justified. Meg was turning into a horrible person, and that wasn't who she really was. But here it's just like Seth said "Well, let's have Meg once again get revenge on her family, but we can just turn her back into the punching bag because reasons. I dunno, add some magic mushrooms or something. Now if you'll excuse me, I must go back to working on Ted".

So, in the end Meg apologizes to her family, and agrees to be their punching bag. And Stewie makes a mention about learning about mushrooms at your local library, because there's probably someone there who can sell you them.

And that's Seahorse Seashell Party. The problems with this episode are astounding. From the pointless B-plot with the mushrooms, to the constant filler moments, to the entirety of Meg's story, which in the end becomes pointless as well. In fact that's the word that best describes this episode. Pointless. Nothing of substance or importance happens. There's barely any humor, The message is a muddled mess of trying to justify abusing your family. It's not a good parody of special episodes because it never feels poignant. And even involving the episode in a hurricane is pointless. You could have had it be a blizzard, or the friggin' rapture, and it would have had the same effects, making this "trilogy"... you guessed it... pointless.

In the end, it's one of the worst in the series. I think there are far worse ones, like the Brenda Q episode, but there's so many idiotic things about this episode, that it's very much deserving of the hatred it gets.