Weekend TV Review: Family Guy's 200th, Wedding Band, Sunday's Logjam
Family Guy | Photo Credits: FOX
It's a good time to be Seth MacFarlane, with a hit movie (Ted) under his belt, a gig as Oscar host in his future, and a mini-empire on the Fox network, whose Sunday "Animation Domination" lineup is overrun with his shows, most notably and memorably Family Guy. Not many shows that got canceled early in its run (after several seasons of incredibly incompetent scheduling), only to be resurrected on the strength of DVD sales and a cult cable following, manage to live on to mark a 200th-episode milestone.
The Griffins may never achieve the longevity of The Simpsons or enjoy that level of mass pop-culture worship, but time hasn't dulled their show's bawdily irreverent sting. In fact, time is a major player in Sunday's hour-long big event (9/8c), when everything begins moving backwards after Brian tinkers with Stewie's time machine, threatening the diabolical talking baby's very existence. Family Guy often aims for the gut, or below, in its zeal for a cheap, nasty laugh — the targets this week range from Lincoln's assassination (witnessed by some memorable critics) to one of the most cataclysmic chicken fights ever staged. So when you hear someone declare, "Oh God, this is so disgusting I think I'm going to puke," prepare for the joke to become even grosser when the barfing begins happening in reverse. One self-reflective gag involving the voice cast nearly caused an embarrassing spit-take in my own living room. Speaking of the cast, stay tuned after the episode for a half-hour celebration of the show's colorful history, with backstage insights and interviews.
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BAND OF BROMANCERS: Given TBS' mostly painful track record with original sitcoms, we can be excused for feeling like an eternal bridesmaid heading to yet another fitting when presented with a new show, especially one that has been designated to the graveyard slot of Saturday at 10/9c. But Wedding Band deserves a chance, and certainly a more hospitable time slot. This agreeable, though hardly groundbreaking, hour-long buddy comedy-with-music is almost as catchy as the cover tunes these wedding (and occasional Bar Mitzvah) singer/musicians specialize in.
Fancying themselves "weekend rock gods" as they work the crowds in Seattle, the four members of Mother of the Bride are genuinely nice screw-ups. They actually seem to like or at least appreciate their clients, and go out of their way to make sure that even the misfits and losers have a good time. They yearn for better bookings in fancier venues, and in the enjoyable pilot episode, they get their break, though not without a series of rom-com complications that could sour their relationship with the posh event-planning firm they're trying to impress. Wedding Band's greatest selling point is its unusually strong and appealing cast: Brian Austin Green as the resident horndog commitment-phobe, whose ex gets married in the pilot; Peter Cambor (NCIS: LA) as the token family man, torn between domestic duty and letting it all hang out with the band; Harold Perrineau as the cool and musically experienced newbie, who sees more potential in these guys than they do in themselves; and Derek Miller as a schlubby Jack Black clone, Cambor's younger brother and the band's irrepressible drummer. Having the best time of all: The Office's delicious Melora Hardin as the sexy event planner who unexpectedly takes a shine to these boys.