It’s trendy to hate on Family Guy and lambaste newer episodes of The Simpsons, but I’m truly a fan of both shows, and this week’s crossover episode really hit the spot. It wasn’t the best of either show, but it was still entertaining. And of course, it was neat to see the two clans finally interact.
Even with an hour (about 44 minutes without commercials) to fill, the episode admittedly felt a bit cramped. But when you consider just how many iconic characters are in each series, and how many different interactions and scenarios are possible, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot is going to get cut. There just isn’t enough time.
So it’s less about missed opportunities and more about time constraints. I suppose they could’ve made it into multiple hour-long episodes, but then it would’ve started to lose what made it so special in the first place – the fact this likely won’t ever happen again (something the episode is quick to point out).
But for all that didn’t make it in, the episode was full of meta jokes that broke down the fourth wall, poking fun at both shows and the audience alike. And it did that while mostly staying true to each series. Some jokes were a bit crude and more puerile than what you’d expect from The Simpsons, but of course, that’s in-line with Family Guy. There was a balance, though, and plenty of references for fans of both shows to take in.
That said, I think you really have to be a Simpsons fan to fully appreciate this episode, and I get the feeling that some people – primarily those who only watch Family Guy, or haven’t watched The Simpsons in a long time – may not really “get” all the allusions to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of The Simpsons. There were some good ones, though.
I was a tiny bit skeptical about this crossover when it was first announced, but upon reading the interview with Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago, my apprehension was put to rest. And rightly so, it seems.