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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Family Guy: Freakin' Sweet Collection
Family Guy: Freakin' Sweet Collection
Fox // Unrated // December 14, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 7, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


Out of the small animation boom that happened a couple of years ago (see also "Futurama", "Clerks", "Dilbert" and a couple of WB animated shows I can't remember the names of) came "Family Guy", one of the most hilarious and controversial shows that Fox has aired. A mixture of "The Simpsons" and the darkest parts of "Married With Children", the TV-MA show seemed to take pride in pushing the limits and seeking out as many targets in current society to goof on as possible. Every week, the show turned pop culture on its head, offering twisted and laugh-out-loud spoofs of "Tron", "The Truman Show", "The Brady Bunch", "Willy Wonka" and "Dawson's Creek", among many others. Most episodes smoothly tied in as many of several of these hits at the entertainment industry.

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of "Mad TV") is the calm leader, Meg (Mila Kunis of "That 70's Show" and Lacey Chabert for the earlier episodes) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.

This disc includes five episodes from the series that are creator Seth McFarlane's "Top 5" (some of these aired on Fox recently as part of a marathon.) They include "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" (the previously unaired ep that was included with the season 3 box set), "Road To Rhode Island" (the unedited version, which includes a joke about Osama Bin Laden - the episode was done before 9/11/01), "To Love and Die in Dixie", "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar" and "Lethal Weapons".

The episodes do offer some of the show's finer moments, but I don't think they'd all go in my personal top five for the series. "Road to Rhode Island", which features Brian and Stewie on a road trip, is a very amusing episode due to the fact that the two animated characters riff off each other better than anyone else on the show. "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar" is amusing, due to it's very un-politcally correct humor and clever bits. "To Live and Die in Dixie", where the Griffins have to hide out in the South, has its moments, as does "Wish Upon a Weinstein". However, I don't think "Lethal Weapons", where Lois turns into a karate champ, is one of the funnier moments in the series.

Other episodes I'd have picked include "Da Boom", where the Griffins search for food after every disaster that was going to happen on Y2K comes true; "E. Peterbus Unum", where Peter finds out that his house isn't on the map, leading him to have the idea of making his own country and "Peter Peter Caviar Eater", where Peter gets a new luxury house and unsuccessfully tries to enter high society. There's many great episodes, but these are just a few of my favorites.


The DVD


VIDEO: "Family Guy" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is good, although there's the occasional issue with jagged lines, which is an animation issue. Sharpness and detail remained satisfactory, as the rather low-tech animation appeared about as good as it can likely look here. The picture does offer the show's bright color palette well, as colors remained vivid and well-saturated throughout. No instances of edge enhancement or pixelation appeared.

SOUND: The show's Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is included here in English, French and Spanish. The show's dialogue remains crisp and forward throughout, with the surrounds providing some reinforcement for music and occasional sound effects. Audio quality is superb, as sound effects remained clear (and occasionally punchy) throughout.

EXTRAS: This disc does offer some new supplemental features. Of the four new commentaries, there's one definite highlight - a new commentary for "Road to Rhode Island" with creator Seth McFarlane doing the voices of Brian and Stewie, who comment on the episode. The curse-filled commentary has Brian and Stewie talking about their fictional co-stars and chatting about the "making" of the episode. Occasionally, they poke fun at each other or veer off onto other topics, such as Britney Spears. The commentary runs out of steam (the characters even admit it) towards the end, but this is often a pretty hilarious effort.

Aside from that, there's commentaries on all the other episodes aside from (oddly) "Wish Upon a Weinstein". Given that "Weinstein" had a commentary on the season two set, it's odd that that track didn't just get carried over here. The other three commentaries are:

Commentary by Seth MacFarlane, Daniel Palladino, Steve Callaghan, Danny Smith, and Mike Henry on To Love and Die in Dixie

Commentary by Seth MacFarlane, Chris Sheridan, Alex Borstein, and Craig Hoffman on I Am Peter Hear Me Roar

Commentary by Seth MacFarlane, Chris Sheridan, Garrett Donovan, and Steve Callaghan on Lethal Weapons

Aside from the commentaries, there's a short bit of footage from creator MacFarlane's upcoming animated series "American Dad" and another piece with him talking about the creation of the series. The third featurette promotes itself as being a discussion of the upcoming new season of "Family Guy" (Fox cancelled the series, then decided to pick it up again after the fan base for the series became enormous - sales for the full season DVD sets have been huge), but it's mainly about how MacFarlane chose his top 5 episodes, with only a little bit about the upcoming season.


Final Thoughts: Often brilliant, extremely witty and darkly hilarious, "Family Guy" keeps the laughs going at a remarkable rate. While I'm not sure all of these episodes are the best the series had to offer in its first three seasons, there's still some fantastic moments throughout. There's some minor updates here that may interest fans of the series who own the full season sets. Those seeking to try out the series before it comes back next year may want to pick up this disc, but I'd recommend going right to the full season sets.

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