Family Guy: Blue Harvest (TV, 2008)


From Death Ray 11.

FILM: THREE STARS EXTRAS: FOUR STARS

2007/45 mins /15

 The Force is so-so with this one as the Family Guy guys spoof the entirety of Star Wars: A New Hope.

Family Guy is not the world’s funniest ’toon, it lacks the sharpness of the Simpsons or the sheer madcap profanity of South Park, and is not as satirically knowing as either. Its humour is that of the playground: a situation will come up in the show, and they’ll directly quote a film, either visually or verbally, at some kind of vaguely appropriate juncture, like teens shouting the latest comedy catchphrase. That’s about it, there’s little cleverness to it, certainly none of the multi-layered skits that characterise its rivals.

The film the show most often references is Star Wars. As you’ll see from the extras on this disc, the production team are all horrendous Star Wars geeks. In the act of ultimate fan love, they’ve recreated the entire film almost shot for shot, the show’s characters changing places with the Wars heroes.

It’s impressive in itself, this, and the ships and look of the film are brilliantly captured in Family Guy style, but the quality of the laughs don’t match the visuals, and a knowing chuckle is all its cavalcade of poop and weak sex jokes manages to raise. Examples include “Don’t get penisy, kid,”  Herbert the pervert’s (as Obi Wan) flaccid lightsaber becoming erect when he spots young Luke, and Darth Stewie wittering on about shitting himself.

Even if you are a fan of Family Guy‘s puerile japes, you may be a mite disappointed by Blue Harvest. A lot of it is “convention humour”, the pit wherefrom springs filthy filk. It’s the kind of humour that generates the funless, loud laughter of the illuminati, who bark out an approximation of mirth simply because they want to demonstrate they’re immersed in the property enough to get the joke, whether or not it is funny. Often as not, it isn’t.

If you love – really love – both Family Guy and Star Wars, Blue Harvest will entertain you to a large degree. For the rest of us it’s an amusing enough trip, but one not good enough to justify paying the steep fare.

Extras: A crowded commentary, a making of, a trailer for the upcoming Empire Strikes Back parody Something, Something, Something Dark Side, an introduction to the series, a collection of some previous Star Wars clips, and, as a bonus, the season 4 opener episode “North by North Quahog”. Though crammed, on the one hand the bulk of the extras section is intended to entice non-FG fans who have bought the DVD for the Star Wars content to pick up more Family Guy, on the other it’s an effusive love letter to Star Wars. In particular, show creator Seth MacFarlane’s starstruck interview with a slightly bemused George Lucas is touching and embarrassing in equal measure.

Did you know…?

“Blue Harvest” was the codename ascribed to The Return of The Jedi by George Lucas to stop film service providers ramping up their costs.

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