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'Simpsons'–'Family Guy' crossover recap: Homer beats up Peter with 31 Emmys

Season 13 | Episode 1 | “The Simpsons Guy” | Aired Sept 28, 2014

How does one begin a crossover episode between two of the most irreverent and legendary animated American institutions on Fox? By giving the middle finger to other networks, of course.

The hourlong Family Guy and Simpsons crossover episode begins with the Griffins watching an already terrible crossover between CBS’s All in the Family and ABC’s Modern Family, with a voice cameo from Julie Bowen.

“Yay!” exclaims Chris Griffin, with the hilarious lilt of reciting network talking points. “A crossover always brings out the best in each show. It never smacks of desperation; the priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing …”

But how to bring the Griffins to Springfield? Peter conveniently publishes a misogynistic comic strip called “For Pete’s Sake,” which infuriates all the bloggers. All of ’em.

“Gosh, it’s not like the Internet to go crazy over something small and stupid,” Peter protests, but the damage is done.

In a terrific homage to the “Homer Badman” episode with the gummy Venus de Milo on The Simpsons, Peter causes even more trouble while trying to apologize on live television, leading dozens of angry feminists to gather on Spooner Street. Things escalate when the women start throwing bricks into the Griffin household. The Griffins decide to leave town until things blow over.

We don’t even see any familiar yellow characters until 10 minutes into the episode. While stopping at a gas station, someone steals the Griffins’ car. They’re forced to walk to the closest town, Springfield.

“This Springfield place seems nice. We should come back,” Lois says.

“Nah,” Brian replies, beginning a series of jokes about how this crossover will never ever happen again. “This seems like a onetime deal.”

The Griffins stop first at the Kwik-E-Mart, where Peter addresses Apu Nahasapeemapetilon as a “funny-sounding Cleveland.” And the race jokes are off and running! Homer emerges from an inexplicably shadowy corner of the store and greets the “albino visitors” warmly, offering to buy the family a box of doughnuts.

“No man shall be so poor that he cannot afford a doughnut,” Homer wisely declares, before taking half of them for himself. “I think we’re going to get along juuuuust OK.”

Homer brings Peter to the police station to find the stolen car, and Chief Wiggum promptly makes an excuse to escape the prospect of work. Homer invites the Griffins to his home instead, letting them crash there until their car turns up.

“Thank you for not being a band of hippie murderers,” Marge tells them. Oh, the feels.

As Seth MacFarlane told EW, the crossover was all about the character interaction. “People want to see Peter interact with Homer. They want to see Bart interact with Stewie.” We all knew the must-see showdown would be between Peter and Homer, but the matchups among the wives, siblings, and pets were just as fascinating. Let’s break them down.

Homer and Peter 

Without help from the police, Homer and Peter decide to find the missing Griffin car on their own. They inadvertently make a German porn tape called “Gassensexen,” buy a giant magnet, and host a grotesquely sexy car wash.

“The animators thought of very creative ways to use Peter and Homer’s combined 500 pounds pressed against car windshields that never left us without a literal explanation of what innocent body parts we were seeing,” Family Guy co-showrunner/executive producer Richard Appel told EW.

Is there anything more delicious than watching Homer struggle to set up his own cutaway gag? Peter comes to the rescue, taking the stout patriarchs to an Air Force firefight, where they rip apart cameos from the failed and failing The Cleveland Show and Bob’s Burgers, respectively.

Homer-Peter

The friendship eventually goes south when Hans Moleman runs over Peter with his own car (followed closely by Grampa Simpson). More on that below.

Lois and Marge

This matchup is one that could’ve been fleshed out  more, but Marge and Lois are pretty blunt about how they felt about each other. “Next time you stay with the family, maybe you could wear a bra some of the time,” Marge suggests. After seeing an afternoon movie together, Marge seems thrilled. Lois, less so. The wives move the story along, occasionally asking about the missing dog and missing car, but otherwise don’t see much action.

Meg and Lisa

At once, Meg is taken aback by all of Lisa Simpson’s talents and trophies. Galloping in on her high horse, Lisa takes Meg under her wing, starts quoting Nelson Mandela, and becomes increasingly determined to make Meg believe in herself. “I matter!” Meg bellows, in a rare moment of triumphant empowerment.

“Shut up, Meg, you don’t matter,” Peter calls from downstairs.

Lisa Simpson offers Meg Griffin her saxophone to play.

A couple of scenes later, we return to the girls, who look exhausted. After Meg’s failed attempts at painting, Hula Hoop, cooking, ice skating, dancing, poetry, science, puzzles, video games, typing, reading, writing, weaving, tennis, pottery, chess, and controlling the volume of her voice, Lisa is about to give up.

But wait! Meg’s eighth-level-of-hell depression lends itself perfectly to playing raw, soulful blues on Lisa’s saxophone—better than Lisa herself. Lisa goes full Annie Edison and snatches the saxophone back. Eventually, Lisa swallows her pride and offers up her saxophone to Meg as a peace offering. Peter throws it out.

Brian and Santa’s Little Helper

Shooed away from the dinner table by Marge, Brian slinks into the kitchen, where he waxes on about his disgust with Santa’s Little Helper. And for the record, Brian sniffed SLH’s butt just “for, like, a second.” While walking SLH with Chris, Brian decides to liberate him. “You’re a grown dog; start acting like one!” SLH runs off, allowing Brian and Chris to essentially disappear from the episode. During their short chase scene, viewers are treated to appearances from Patty and Selma Bouvier, Dr. Nick, and Jeremy Freedman.

The dog matchup illustrated the extent of Family Guy‘s bold expansion on the family-of-five shtick. Brian’s fully developed character simply doesn’t have a worthy adversary on The Simpsons.

Stewie and Bart

As soon as Bart shows off his weapons closet, Stewie falls head over heels for him. In theory, it’s a pairing made in heaven.

“A slingshot!” Stewie exclaims. “It’s so simple and pure! You don’t need lasers or time machines, just gumballs and marbles and balls of string!” Bart teaches Stewie how to skateboard and make prank phone calls. Stewie loves Bart’s style, but takes everything too far in an attempt to impress his new friend.

When Stewie sees Nelson bullying Bart (as he’s been doing for roughly 24 years), he deals with it the only way he knows how—with traps, harassment, and violence. Stewie kidnaps Nelson and brings him to a windowless torture room featuring sharp tools, a chain saw, and jumper cables. Yet again, we have a charming example of the evolution of humor in American television.

Stewie taunts a ball-gagged Nelson and forces him to literally “Eat my shorts.” Stewie then kidnaps all of Bart’s other enemies (Principal Skinner, Sideshow Bob, etc.), hoping to cement his friendship with Bart, but Bart is just not into his vein of troublemaking.

“Stewie, I don’t think we can be friends,” Bart says, before untying Nelson. “You freak me out.”

“Bart, if we don’t keep in touch, I’ll kill myself,” Stewie wails. The episode ends with Stewie crying as he writes, “I will not think about Bart anymore” over and over on a chalkboard in his room. If only Stewie could’ve hung out with Mr. Burns.

Maggie and Chris

Unfortunately, Chris’ wits don’t quite match up with anyone in The Simpsons other than the baby. And even there, Maggie has got him beat. They shared a pacifier. That’s all.

The Chicken Fight

Could Homer and Peter truly continue their friendship forever? Of course not. Tensions rise when Peter gives Homer a Pawtucket Patriot Ale. At once, Homer declares it a lousy rip-off, launching a fantastic argument mirroring the Great Simpsons/Family Guy Copycat Debate.

“It’s not a rip-off of Duff,” Peter responds. “It might be inspired by Duff, but I like to think it goes in a different direction.”

Moe rips the label off the Pawtucket Patriot Ale, revealing it’s been Duff all along. And just like that, Homer brings Peter to court for intellectual theft and patent infringement. While Judge Fred Flinstone (seriously) recites the terms for flagrant intellectual theft in court, the show creators brilliantly line up the “twins” of both shows, from Kent Brockman and Tom Tucker to Bumblebee Man and Consuela.

After Peter loses his job, the two men start their inevitable chicken fight, which takes them from Otto’s school bus to the power plant (where radioactive powers turn them into superheroes) and to outer space. Kang and Kodos watch the fight, with Roger the Alien from American Dad. 

“Remember, kids, TV violence is fine, as long as you don’t show a nipple!” Krusty the Clown says.

Both dads beat each other to a bloody pulp until the credits roll. Comic Book Guy declares it to be the “Worst. Chicken fight. Ever.” I don’t know, Comic Book Guy. It was pretty satisfying to watch Homer attack Peter with all those Emmy Awards.

“I’m tired, since we normally do these things for half an hour,” Peter complains.

Peter and Homer agree to stay half an hour away from each other “with only a pile of garbage between us.” Ouch. Not sure Brooklyn 99 deserved that.

“America, you’re welcome,” bragged the Fox commercials leading up to the wildly anticipated crossover. It lived up to the hype, despite losing half its great jokes to endless spoiler previews during football Sunday on Fox. The true war wasn’t between Peter and Homer, but between creative and marketing.

The Insult of the Week goes to Lisa Simpson, dismissing Meg’s talent on the saxophone in a wave of jealousy: “It was OK, but it would be a shame to waste such butcher’s arms on a musical instrument.”

Family Guy airs Sundays at 9/8C on Fox.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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