Tooncrap #20 - Family Guy - Seahorse Seashell
Stand Back! There's A Horrible Episode Coming Through!
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
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
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
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...
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