With The Simpsons entering it 26th season, and Family Guy entering its 13th, these two much loved shows are perhaps both past their primes, but the novelty of seeing both families duke it on screen is a something that provides in part moments of greatness, in part missed opportunities, as well as a smattering of simply bizarre moments.
Chris: “Yay, a crossover brings out the best in each show. it certainly doesn’t smack of desperation. The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing or -“
Stewie: “Ok, that’s enough”
The Griffin family are forced to leave Quahog after Peter’s misogynistic cartoons rile the locals, and they soon find themselves in Springfield bunking up with The Simpson family after Homer and Peter bond over the virtues of donuts.
What follows is 30 minutes of inside jokes, self-deprication and nods to each show’s history. With the action predominantly taking place in Springfield we have a tour de force of cameos from fan favourite characters and locations. Family Guy fans will no doubt be disappointed that the Griffin’s trip to Springfield is not reciprocated by the Simpson family, but tonally the episode is much more in line with what is expected from Family Guy than that of The Simpsons. Expect more of the random jokes and skits of Family Guy, and less of the heart and warmth of The Simpsons.
One particular rape joke in a scene between Stewie and Bart has already become infamous, and was drawing ire before the episode aired. Mostly though the jokes consist of good natured jabs at one another, claims of plagiarism (Pawtucket Ale is revealed to be Duff Beer with the Pawtucket label stuck on top) and fan service.
However, with such a short running time and so much history it feels as though there are many characters left unseen. Meg and Lisa have fleeting moments onscreen, Marge and Louis are nearly non-present, and with Springfield as the setting for the episode it means Quagmire and other Family Guy favourites are limited to brief appearances.
What we are left with though are some remarkable moments between Homer and Peter. Needless to say, they are not a good influence on each other, with each exaggerating each others pigheadedness, resulting in a ‘chicken fight’ style duel through Springfield’s landmarks. One scene between these two characters also brings perhaps the most bizarre couple of minutes either show has produced when they decide to run a car wash….
Bart: “Eat my shorts.”
Stewie: “Eat my shorts, I love that, is that a popular expression, like what the deuce?”
Brian: “Probably more popular. Probably waaay more popular.”
The clear highlight of the crossover episode is certainly Bart and Stewie’s newfound friendship, and their arc also does the best job of showcasing the differences between the two shows. Though they predictably get on like a house on fire, Bart is at heart a gentle soul, whereas Stewie is far too sadistic even for his new idol, as he tries to make Nelson literally eat his shorts.
It’s understandable that with a combined 37 full seasons already between the two shows that expectations are high, and for the most part “The Simpsons Guy” delivers. Predominantly it serves almost as a love letter from Family Guy to The Simpsons, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Perhaps down the line we’ll see The Simpsons in Quahog for some further hijinks – Marge meets Quagmire, Herbert meets Bart? Or perhaps not…
Louis: “What are they gonna come here? I think we know that’s never gonna happen!”
For now we’ll have to be safe in the knowledge that Homer and Peter hosing each other down is a thing that actually exists, disturbing as it may be.
By no means essential, but nonetheless hilarious. A treat for those who have debated the merits of each show over the years, and for those who have been wondering just how much chaos Homer and Peter would be able to cause when banded together.
Rating (out of 5):