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Star Bores

September 24th, 2007 No comments

I just don’t get Family Guy. I know that people love it, and I know that I simply do not comprehend what they find funny in it.

Last night, I watched the season premiere, which was a double-length retelling of the original Star Wars film. And, to my absolute lack of surprise, I didn’t laugh out loud once. There were a few chucklesome moments, such as when John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra were killed by Imperial Stormtroopers and replaced by Danny Elfman, but not a single out-and-out guffaw.

For an episode which so slavishly recreated the film, lifting entire sections of dialogue and reproducing many visual effects shots in computer-assisted cartoon animation, I had expected more actual jokes about Star Wars. There were a few insider references, including a moment in which Peter (as Han Solo), boasting about the Millennium Falcon, is called out on his incorrect usage of the real-life measurement of distance “parsec.”* But most of the humor was on the level of making Obi-Wan a gay pedophile or having Artoo and Threepio share a doobie. Because it makes sense for droids to smoke marijuana.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Star Wars is sacrosanct and should never be the target of stoner jokes. As demonstrated by the recent Robot Chicken special–which was referenced at the end of last night’s episode–there’s plenty of puerile fun to be had at the expense of that galaxy far, far away. It’s just that the alleged humor of Family Guy‘s parody had little to do with the setting, characters and cliches of Star Wars. It’s a sign of desperation when the writers have Leslie Nielsen drop in to deliver a line from Airplane!, itself a parody. (And a much, much funnier one.)

In the end, the effect was like watching Star Wars recast with thoroughly unappealing characters and retold with even fewer jokes. I know that for some, Family Guy is hipper than The Simpsons, but I’d much rather have seen Homer’s take on it than Peter’s.

*I also appreciated a similar bit during the Falcon’s escape from pursuing Imperial Star Destroyers. In the original film, Han says “Don’t worry, I know a few maneuvers. We’ll lose them.” The next shot is of the Falcon moving in a straight line, which always bugged me. They did have some fun mocking that moment by having the Imperial commanders completely unprepared for Han listlessly turning to the left.

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