Monday, February 10, 2014

#1,274. Family Guy Presents Something Something Something Dark Side (2009)

Directed By: Dominic Polcino, Peter Shin

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green

Tag line: "The Family Guy Saga Continues"

Trivia: This was the first Family Guy episode ever released on Blu-Ray

Initially an hour-long episode of The Family Guy, Something Something Something Dark Side is a follow-up to 2007’s Blue Harvest, and as such relates the story of The Empire Strikes Back, the second entry (and my favorite film) in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Something Something Something Dark Side begins in much the same way Blue Harvest did, with the entire Griffin clan: Peter (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), Lois (Alex Borstein), Chris (Seth Green), Meg (Mila Kunis), baby Stewie and the family’s dog, Brian (both MacFarlane) watching television. When the power goes out, Peter passes the time by telling them all the thrilling tale of The Empire Strikes Back. As in Blue Harvest, the show’s characters stand in for the movie’s original cast, with Chris as Luke, Lois as Princess Leia, Peter as Han Solo, Stewie as Darth Vader, Brian as Chewbacca, and neighbors Glen Quagmire (MacFarlane) and Cleveland Brown (Mike Henry) as C-3PO and R2-D2, respectively. With the help of this group, plus a few additional characters, including Carl (H. Jon Benjamin), the movie-loving manager of a local convenience store, as Yoda; Carter Pewterschmidt (MacFarlane), Lois’s father, as Emperor Palpatine; neighbor Mort Goldman (John G. Brennan) as Lando Calrissian; and the Giant Chicken as Boba Fett, Peter continues his unique take on the Star Wars saga, giving us a version of Empire that’s as funny as it is exciting.

And Something Something Something Dark Side is very, very funny. Starting with the title crawl (a bit involving an animated elephant had me laughing out loud), we’re treated to one hilarious scene after another. On the ice planet Hoth, Luke, while out on patrol, is attacked by a snow creature that looks a lot like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. When Luke doesn’t return, Han jumps on his trusty “Don-Don” (a beast with both the face and voice of actor Don Knotts) and heads out to search for him. The jokes continue when Luke speeds off to the Dagobah system to begin his Jedi training, which, under the tutelage of a very laid-back Yoda, includes a working knowledge of “Sweet-ass” DVD releases. Like Blue Harvest, Something Something Something Dark Side has a number of great lines. After Leia calls him a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking, nerfherder”, Han responds by punching her, shouting “You can't use that word! Only we can use that word!” The scene that had me laughing the hardest takes place on Bespin, when Han, under threat of torture, spills his guts, telling Darth Vader exactly where Luke is and confessing he was the one who “clogged the toilet on the 16th floor”. Visibly annoyed by this revelation, an angry Vader replies, “Oh, that was disgusting! You know, because of that I had to use the pig people's bathroom”.

Continuing the trend established in Blue Harvest, Something Something Something Dark Side also does an excellent job recreating key moments from The Empire Strikes Back, matching the look and feel of some of the film’s best scenes (the battle on Hoth is particularly good, as is the sequence when the Millennium Falcon enters an asteroid field). Like its predecessor, Something Something Something Dark Side acts as both spoof and homage, poking fun at a classic movie that its writers and creators clearly love.

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