Let’s string this one up.
I felt like this week’s new Family Guy episode “The Finer Strings” was a mixed bag. The episode starts out with Peter being amazed by a violin player and wanting to learn to play. Peter eventually starts a string quartet with Quagmire, Cleveland, and Joe. Meanwhile, Carter Pewterschmidt has cataract surgery, and Lois convinces Brian to become his assistant.
Along the way, there are some funny jokes. The cutaways, as usual, shine (for the most part). One cutaway featured Lois twisting Peter’s ear to make him take back something he had said. In addition, in the first scene, Meg and her friends do a 90s rap piece. It was really funny to hear Mila Kunis rapping about “Meg Meggy Meg”.
As always, there are some fat jokes mixed in there that I never personally find very funny. I never find them funny on The Simpsons, either. I’ve never really understood the heavy usage of the fat joke. Do other people find this really funny? We GET it, Peter and Homer are overweight. The topic just feels really overused, and a lowest-common-denominator kind of thing.
The episode had a very familiar feel, I think they’ve done a storyline or storylines like this before – one character has a story, there’s a revenge plot, etc. But isn’t that the great thing about Family Guy? The characters are always the same– rarely is there any kind of real character growth, and next week, we’ll see the same kind of antics. This lack of development carries the show’s nihilistic feel in a satisfying manner to which we’ve all become accustomed.
So the cutaways were pretty solid, there are some hilarious side pieces– although the two main stories were relatively bland. Peter gets kicked out of the string quartet, until the end– and he is trained by an unlikely violin tutor in order to improve his chops. Brian gets used to the good life, and becomes even snobbier than usual, but gets his comeuppance.
At the end of “The Finer Strings”, Joe, Cleveland, Quagmire and a newly-rejoined Peter are playing a wedding as a string quartet– and Peter realizes something very unique to musicians. After all his training and improvement, he finds no joy in the violin anymore, and he and the boys just get really drunk.
All in all, a familiar-feeling Family Guy, but not the worst episode ever. “The Finer Strings” definitely wasn’t a gem of this season, though. As always though, looking forward to the next episode.