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I'm quite bad for re-watching programmes many times, and Family Guy is one of those that I go back to on a regular basis. It's humour and lack of great plot complexity makes it a great programme to watch in the background while doing other things, such as studying and review writing in my case, as well as it being enjoyable to pay your full attention to. This DVD contains some of the best episodes involving the family's talking, evil genius baby, Stewie Griffin.
Family Guy is a cartoon series made by Seth MacFarlane, who also made American Dad. Family Guy has become famous throughout many parts of the world for its satirical comedy and occasional downright offensiveness, and it is a show that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Many people have called it a cheap copy of The Simpsons, and whereas I agree that if it weren't for The Simpsons, then Family Guy would probably not exist, but that doesn't mean that they are not very different from each other and are aimed at a different audience. Whereas The Simpsons is predominately a show for children that can also be enjoyed by adults, Family Guy is more a show for adults that can be enjoyed by teenagers and children.
Family Guy is about an American family living in Quahog, Rhode Island in the present day. The main character, Peter, is the father of the family, and his frequent bouts of stupidly and bizarre actions make for stress and trouble for his family, but entertainment for the viewer. His wife, Lois, is a beautiful housewife, who despite having several small jobs throughout the show, spends most of her time at home. They have three children: Meg, the older teenager, who is unfortunately fairly ugly and is Peter and Lois's least favourite child; Chris, a younger teenager, who is a lot like his father yet entertaining in his own way; and Stewie, the diabolic one year old baby hell bent on killing his mother and taking over the world, and who also speaks with a standard English accent, despite his age and nationality. The family is completed by Brian, the dog, who can talk and walk on his hind legs, and is the most well-educated and sensible one in the family, and who has been in love with Lois for many years. Like many other cartoon series, despite the show now being in its seventh series, the characters have not aged at all since its beginning, though there are occasional flashbacks to the past. Despite now being very popular, Family Guy was cancelled after its second series several years ago, but was brought back due to impressive DVD sales, and now is going strong and shows no sign of stopping.
*Stewie Griffin - Best Bits*
This DVD contains four episodes: 'Chitty Chitty Death Bang', 'Stewie Loves Lois', 'The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou' and 'The Courtship of Stewie's Father.' Despite this DVD being released in late 2008, while the seventh series had already started on American TV, these episodes all come from the first five series (based on how the Americans label the series, as for some reason it's different here in Britain).
The first episode, 'Chitty Chitty Death Bang', comes from the first series, and it's amazing to see how different the programme was back in its early days. The animation has got steadily better with each passing series, and so if you watch the tenth series, which is in wide screen with exceptional cartoon graphics and effects, and then go back to watch the very first series, the drop in quality is very noticeable. The cartoon was also a lot less ridiculous back then, and while you could see that as a good thing, I have to say I prefer the direction that the recent series have gone in. That said, this is still an enjoyable episode, which features Stewie's first birthday and Lois's efforts to make it perfect yet simple, which unsurprisingly are scuppered by Peter.
'Stewie Loves Lois' sees a role reversal, as Stewie switches from wanting to kill Lois to being obsessed with her after she rescues his beloved Teddy Bear. This extra attention proves too much for Lois, and she fantasises about killing her son. Meanwhile, Peter accuses his doctor of molesting him after giving him a normal prostate exam. By this, the fifth series, the storylines have got sillier and this feels more like the Family Guy we know and love. I really enjoyed this episode and feel that it was a good choice for the DVD.
'The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou' is also from the fifth series, and I have to say that it's one of my favourite ever Family Guy episodes, and so I'm obviously very in favour of its inclusion on the DVD. In this episode, Peter takes Stewie with him when he goes to play golf all day, and Stewie ends up getting quite a strong tan. He loves how he looks tanned and so tries hard to keep himself in that state, being quite full of himself in the process. At the same time, Chris is upset that a new boy is taking all his paper round customers away from him. This is a brilliant episode with lots of classic Family Guy moments and cutaways.
The last episode included on the DVD, 'The Courtship of Stewie's Father', comes from the fourth series of the cartoon. This is also a great episode, which sees Stewie become his father's biggest fan and the two play pranks on Lois for Stewie's amusement. Peter also tries to be named Employee of the Month at work, but doesn't do particularly well. This was also very enjoyable and is definitely a good 'Stewie' episode.
*The DVD in General*
These episodes are all great, with only 'Chitty Chitty Death Bang' not being fantastic. They were all good choices for a DVD included Stewie's best episodes. That said, I don't know if there's much point in this DVD existing at all. As all these episodes feature on the series box sets, and since this would really only appeal to Family Guy fans and fans are likely to own said box sets, I don't really know who would buy this. The only reason that I would say this DVD would be worth a purchase is the fact that a digital copy is included, which means that you can upload the episodes to your computer and then transfer them to a handheld device to watch them. This means that you could watch these episodes on your phone, which I have to say is something I enjoy being able to do. While most of the time I'm happy to watch things on my laptop, so watching things online or from the DVD is fine, it is nice to have something to watch on your phone when you're on long bus or train journeys, and cartoons are ideal for this as the small screen size doesn't affect your enjoyment too much.
In short, as much as I enjoy the four episodes included on this DVD, I wouldn't necessarily recommend that anyone buy it who just wants to watch it on their telly or laptop, as you're better off buying the series. As there is a digital copy included, however, this is a good purchase if you want to be able to transfer these episodes to a portable device, to watch on busses or on trains, for example. It is better than the Peter Griffin version that I reviewed recently, as the episodes are generally better quality, and is also reasonable value at £5 from hmv.com. That said, any even slight fan will be better off getting the DVD box sets, as many are available for around the £10 mark from Amazon and include far more episodes than the measly four on this DVD.
Good episodes; not necessarily a good DVD choice.