Family Guy - Back to the Pilot (2011)

A cartoon drawing of an anthropomorphic white dog and a baby wearing red overalls looking up at a blimp with the words "Forgive Me Lois" written on it.Let's do the timewarp, again

After four weak episodes, Family Guy bounced back in spectacular form with an episode that rewarded long time fans of the show. The plot was Brian and Stewie went back in time to find a ball Brian once dug away back in January 31st 1999, which, coincidentally, is the day the first ever episode of Family Guy, known as "Death Has A Shadow", aired on television.

With Stewie and Brian travelling back to the pilot, the writers wisely utilize jokes that feel like they have been in storage, waiting to be properly used, as the duo make great referential gags to Meg's voice, what happens during cutaway gags and the animation quality, just to name a few of the jokes.

The duo return to the present with help from 1999's Stewie, despite nobody commenting on how big his eyes used to be, only to  find that while in the past, Brian warned his past self of the September 11th Attacks, causing Brian to stop the attacks, which leads to George Bush not winning the 2004 elections, which in turn leads to a second civil war.

Brian and Stewie then take the opportunity to go five years into the future, where they notice how things have changed, with the writers poking more fun at the show as the animation has grown to make everything three-dimensional, set-ups for cutaway gags are even lazier than before and Cleveland is back on Spooner Street after "things didn't work out with Virginia". To make matters worse, the second civil war has escalated into a world war with over 17 million people dead, Quagmire mutated into a frog-type creature and Joe becoming a cyborg. I'm a sucker for storylines like this, showing that yes, a world-wide tragedy has been prevented, but on a greater scale, saving that amount of people caused the world to become an even worse place, and to make things better, they have to let the tragedy occur.

Family Guy - 10x05 Road to the Pilot
"If you have time machines, why don't you prevent Justin Beiber's birth?"

I am a fan of Family Guy, and yes, the show has declined in quality over the years, but i'm one of the people who will strongly stand by the show even in the past few seasons. With that said, even I will admit that the past four episodes of this season have been predominantly rubbish. "Lottery Fever" did nothing to set it apart from all the other "characters get rich" episodes in every sitcom show there has been, only delivering moderate laughs (3/5). "Seahorse Seashell Party" did not make me laugh at all during the entire episode, despite addressing the whole Meg get picked on shtick very well, and Brian and Stewie's b-plot seemed more focused upon visuals than an actual story, making it the weakest episode of the season (2/5). "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" had funnier jokes than the previous two episodes (Iraq Lobster was a personal favourite of mine), but weakened by the serious storyline, which made for a depressing episode (3.5/5). "Stewie Goes for a Drive" wasted the potential of Ryan Reynolds guest-starring for a laugh-less half hour, and the less said about Stewie's b-plot, the better (2.5/5).

Back to the Pilot is a marked improvement for Family Guy, giving us an unofficial "Road-To" episode that boasts a terrific storyline, great jokes and fantastic moments that poke fun at the show. I have a grave feeling that the show will go back to the quality of the previous episodes after this one, but one can hope it maintains the quality of this episode.


HarleyQuinn said…
I really liked this one, and I agree with your statements on Family Guy, that it has declined over the years. I liked Iraq Lobster too though. excellent review!
James Rodrigues said…
someone actually read this, hooray. cheers Harley
Jesse P said…
Nice Review i look forward to when it Airs. Though the plot sounds somewhat really interesting and funny.

And Of course it's Family Guy xD