As some guy with a beard and some guitars once said, "To every thing, there is a season."
I assume he was talking about season finales, right? So let's turn, turn, turn to our TVs and assess the most recent season finale of Family Guy.
Fifteen years, 12 seasons, and (at least) seven time travel episodes into the show, let us ask ourselves: where are we? How have we changed? What have we learned? What are the odds that there's a monkey in our closet?
The answers to those questions are: the same place we were when we started in 1999; not at all; nothing; and HIGH.
But that's not a bad thing (well, except the monkey part - you be the judge of whether that's good or bad news).
Family Guy Season 12 Episode 21 didn't reflect much in the way of changes: Stewie is still snotty, Brian is still horny, everyone else is still a pig, they're still better off with each other than alone.
And, somehow, it still works. Family Guy is that rare show where nobody ever grows, changes or learns anything... and the entire enterprise is all the better for it.
It goes against the very laws of narrative entertainment - shouldn't we be sick of a baby that acts like a creepy college professor after nearly two decades?
And yet, when the series still decides to give its all (i.e. not fall back completely on cheap sensational jokes), it can yield a laugh-per-minute count like nothing else on network TV.
Because Family Guy, despite moments of occasional (occasional) real warmth or high stakes, is simply a refined joke delivery system -- only a few steps removed from a kind of proto-Twitter, devoted to the Family Guy quotes above all else.
Fifteen years ago - when I was a devoted Simpsons fanatic who dismissed this show as knock-off claptrap - I certainly never would have dreamed that I'd be looking forward to Family Guy each week, while I haven't caught an episode of the Simpsons in years.
But Family Guy's joke machinery - rather than The Simpsons' warm character development - has better weathered the test of time. I'm shocked to hear myself say it, but I really think the Griffins are the ones doing the Simpsons a favor with this crossover.
Unfortunately, I doubt that the Simpsons will get whatever cultural bump the show is expecting from the crossover - Family Guy's comedy style won't transplant well to Springfield.
Because, for better or worse, Family Guy still thrives due to its devotion to the gag above all else.
But enough about me, let's talk about Stew:
How did this episode compare to Stewie's other time travel adventures?