Recap: Family Guy S 10 E 3 Screams OF Silence The Story Of Brenda Q
October 30, 2011
In this very dark, somewhat dramatic episode, Quagmire nearly dies from autoerotic asphyxiation and ends up in the hospital, but the real danger starts when Quagmire learns that his sister (from the season eight episode "Jerome is the New Black," only her name is Brenda instead of Harriet) is still with her abusive boyfriend, Jeff, and everyone tries to show Brenda that Jeff is bad for her, but Peter, Quagmire, and Joe soon learn that words and reasoning don't work against a bully like Jeff.
"Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q." contains examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: During the intervention, Chris gets mad that Joe doesn't know his name and thinks it's "Caleb".
- Asshole Victim, Bastard Boyfriend, Big Bad, Blond Guys Are Evil, Domestic Abuser, Hair-Trigger Temper, Hate Sink, Large Ham, Evil Is Hammy, No Indoor Voice, Would Hit a Girl and Jerkass: Jeff.
- Big Brother Instinct: Despite being a sexual predator with little to no respect for women (except for Meg, Lois when he found out Peter had amnesia as seen on "Big Man on Hippocampus," and his ex-girlfriend, Cheryl Tiegs), Quagmire doesn't take his sister's abuse very well.
- Bowdlerization: The scene of Quagmire nearly choking to death while watching clown porn is slightly different on the DVD than it is on television (the man on the video doesn't wear a shirt and you actually see the woman he's screwing and Quagmire says, "Almost there" before Peter and Lois find him unconscious).
- Call Back: Brenda and Jeff first appeared two seasons earlier as a one-off gag in "Jerome is the New Black" when Brian mistook Quagmire's abused sister for a one-night stand who liked rough sex.
- Cerebus Retcon: Their first appearance in "Jerome is the New Black" was mostly played for laughs (Brian thinks the beaten-up woman at Quagmire's house is one of his dates who was into S&M, until Quagmire tells him that the woman is his sister who's hiding out from her abusive boyfriend). Here, it's actually shown in a serious light.
- Cerebus Syndrome: While the episode has its usual brand of Black Comedy and cutaways, the story of Quagmire trying to save his sister from being abused is portrayed very seriously.
- Chekhov's Skill: Quagmire choking himself for sexual pleasure as seen in the beginning ends up saving him from being killed.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Quagmire
- Comically Missing the Point: When Jeff announces that Brenda is pregnant.
Peter: Have you thought about names yet? Like "Slappy" or "Bruisy" or "Keep-it-down-in-thersy"?
- Continuity Nod: Peter mentions his old fishing job which hasn't been mentioned since the middle of the fourth season. Lois doesn't remember it. For those who don't remember it, it happened after Peter lost his job at "Happy Go Lucky Toys" following his boss's death (from the pre-cancellation era) and before he took his current job at the Pawtucket Brewery.
- He also mentions Santos and Pasquale, whom he calls "Portuguese Consuelas".
- In a Cutaway Gag, Peter sings "Iraq Lobster", a parody of him singing "Rock Lobster" in "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire".
- Quagmire also mentions that he got a new cat after Peter killed his other cat James in "Episode 420".
- Peter repeats the "carton of cigarettes" gag from "Trading Places".
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Jeff gives Quagmire one during the climax. The beaten and bloodied Quagmire only gets in a single punch.
- Cut Himself Shaving
Brenda: I'd show you the ring, but it's under this splint. My finger fell down the stairs.
- Darker and Edgier and Something Completely Different: As mentioned before, the episode has its usual brand of Black Comedy and cutaways, but most of the focus is on Quagmire trying to save his sister from being abused, so there's more drama than comedy.
- Disproportionate Retribution: As per his character, Jeff abuses Brenda for little to no reason (such as slapping her for switching from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to Late Night with David Letterman and shoving her for not immediately getting Quagmire, Joe, and Peter a beer).
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe. During the intervention, Peter says he wants to tell some jokes, to which Lois objects.
Joe:' It's an intervention.
Peter: Now's a perfect time to tell my jokes.
Peter: They can wait 'till later.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: Quagmire nearly kills himself this way, which turns out to be an asset when Jeff nearly kills him, as he's strangled himself sexually so many times, he can't feel it anymore.
- Extreme Doormat: Brenda. Played for Drama, as her doormat ways makes her a punching bag for Jeff and Quagmire tells her that she doesn't deserve to be called a woman because a real woman wouldn't stand for the abuse. What's worse, she never grows a backbone or realizes that the abuse is detrimental to her self-esteem even after getting a letter saying that Jeff is dead, meaning that she'll probably get a new abusive boyfriend and the cycle will start all over.
- Fail O Sucky Name: Jeff Fecalman.
Quagmire: That's his name.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Sweet Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) is the replacement voice of Quagmire's abused sister.
- Inner Monologue: When Quagmire doesn't show up for the fishing trip, Peter and Joe each have one.
Peter's Brain: Jeez, I've never tried to make conversation with just Joe before. This is brutal.
Joe's Brain: Come on, Joe, you're losing him.
Joe: Two thirds of the planet is water.
Peter's Brain: Two thirds of the planet is water? This guy's okay...
- Jerkass Has a Point: For all the crap Peter and Lois do to each other and their children (mostly in the name of sick humor), they aren't cool with Jeff beating Quagmire's sister.
- Also, Quagmire — a sexual predator-cum-rapist with little to no respect for women (he's a registered sex offender, drugs and rapes his dates, steals women's shoes to satiate his foot fetish, hits on his best friend's wife [yet has the balls to call out Brian for doing the same thing], is open and honest with himself for dating women because of how hot they are, and had Thai prostitutes that he kept locked in the trunk of his car) — actually cares about his sister, doesn't condone Jeff beating her, and believes that women are beautiful and strong creatures.
- Karmic Death: Quagmire was able to finish off Jeff by running him into a tree.
- Knight of Cerebus: Jeff
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Quagmire is perfectly willing to murder somebody if it means his sister won't get hurt. Not that said guy didn't deserve it.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Brenda's song to the unconscious Quagmire mentions the next day as being October 31, 2011, the day after this episode's airdate.
- Let's Get Dangerous: After Joe hears Jeff beating Brenda from Quagmire's house.
Joe: Let's waste this dick.
- Mondegreen: When Peter says he doesn't know what a Portuguese is, it triggers a Cutaway Gag with a two geese sitting on a porch (a porch of geese).
Peter: That's what I thought what a Portuguese was. Me and my brain. And we're just getting started!
- Never Trust a Trailer: TV spots for this episode only had a few comedic moments (like the "Iraq Lobster" cutaway and Peter attempting to tell jokes at the intervention), when this episode put much more emphasis on the drama (which, to be fair, would be hard to include in the promos).
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Jeff beats Quagmire to a bloody pulp in the climax.
- Oh Crap: A rather satisfying case with Jeff, as Quagmire chases him down in his car.
- And a bit earlier when Quagmire when he sees Jeff pointing a shotgun to his head.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Quagmire's speech to Brenda. Considering how Quagmire treats women like sex objects (and often date rapes them), hearing him tell Brenda that women are beautiful, strong, vibrant, and don't deserve to be punching bags to men, you know he's not as misogynistic as the episode's play him out to be.
- Police Are Useless: Joe at first, until he decides to allow Peter and Quagmire to murder Jeff.
Joe: "Sorry — police policy is that we can't step in until it's too late."
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I choke myself every day, you bastard!!!"
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Quagmire's heartfelt speech to Brenda.
"The person I see before me right now is just a punching bag. And I call you "person," not "woman," because a woman is a strong, beautiful vibrant creature. Sadly, the fact that you are with Jeff proves to me that you have made a choice to make your life worse."
- Retcon: Brenda was originally named Harriet when she appeared in "Jerome is the New Black".
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Joe was initially against Quagmire's plan to kill Jeff since murder is a crime, but changes his mind after seeing how abusive Jeff is.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Quagmire, Joe, and Peter witness Jeff beating Brenda in silhouette.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Jeff knocks out Peter and Joe before the episode's climax, and Brian and Stewie have no real role in this episode (Brian was in the hospital scene and Stewie isn't in the episode at all). Outside of the cutaway gags, the Gwyneth Paltrow/yellow lab Take That, and Lois trying to stop Peter from cracking jokes at Brenda's intervention, this episode barely has any laughs.
- Take That: At police officers in general when Joe states the policy.
Peter: Aw, that yellow lab looks like it's dying.
Lois: Peter, that's Gwyneth Paltrow. She's fine.
- Tempting Fate: Joe says that his words are final about refusing to arrest Jeff...until they hear loud slap and hear Jeff yelling at Brenda for changing the channel.
- Truth in Television: Sadly, the way domestic violence is portrayed here actually does happen in real life, right down to Brenda trying to cover for Jeff's abuse by blaming herself.
- Wife-Basher Basher: Glenn Quagmire resorts to killing Jeff, and Joe, a police officer, allows this after seeing Jeff's actions for himself.