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Recap / Family Guy S13 E1 "The Simpsons Guy"

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In this crossover episode (one that, for a lot of fans, has been a long time coming), the Griffin family, on the run after Peter publishes an offensive comic strip in the newspaper, finds themselves stranded after their car is stolen and happen upon the town of Springfield, where The Simpsons reside. While there, Homer and Peter Griffin fight over who drinks the best beer (then go to court after discovering that Pawtucket Patriot beer is really a knock-off of Duff), Meg bests Lisa at the saxophone, and Stewie takes a liking to Bart's pranks.


  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: During the fight scene, the school bus looks CG in several scenes.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Stewie kidnaps Bart's enemies, he also kidnaps Apu, just so he can say he "took Apu". Bart agrees that it's a good joke, but is horrified at everything else.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While Homer was flanderized as a Jerkass in later seasons of his show, he's portrayed as the Nice Guy in order to contrast from Peter.
  • Alternate Catchphrase Inflection: When Peter says, "Shut up, Meg", it's to make fun of her, as part of Meg's Butt-Monkey status. In the scene after Lisa decides to give Meg her sax, Meg starts rambling on about being a failure, but Lisa interrupts her with an affectionate "Shut up, Meg" and hugs her.
  • Always Someone Better: Meg's saxophone playing. Lisa gets over it in the end.
  • Amusing Injuries: Per Family Guy tradition, these show up. Peter gets hit twice by a car in one scene. The "chicken fight" between Peter and Homer is also a stunning example; at the finale, Homer gets crushed under Kang & Kodos' UFO, lying there in a pool of blood for a minute, then opens his eyes and crawls out functionally unscathed.
  • Animation Bump: The Simpsons characters are animated in higher quality than usual, up to par with the main Simpsons episodes with Matt Selman as co-showrunner, though this may have been invoked to stand out against the Family Guy cast's Limited Animation.
  • Art Shift: When Homer and Peter take their fight to the Nuclear Power Plant, the nuclear gas they accidentally release briefly causes them to switch art styles.
    • Can also apply to the episode as a whole. Both Simpsons and Family Guy characters move as they do in their respective shows.
    • The difference in skin colors between the two series is noted in-universe. Peter thinks everyone in Springfield has hepatitis, while Homer thinks the Griffins are albino.
    • When the Griffins enter Springfield, their colors are more dim to match with the universe of The Simpsons.
  • As Himself: James Woods voices both his Quahog and Springfield alter-egos.
    Quahog!James Woods: You lived in Springfield?
    Springfield!James Woods: Yeah, I worked at the Kwik-E-Mart, researching a role.
    Quahog!James Woods: These guys are gonna lose.
  • Aside Comment: When Roger shows up in Kang and Kodos' UFO, he tells the audience they're friends from summer camp.
  • Author Filibuster: Just before his fight with Homer, Peter voices Seth MacFarlane's own opinion that The Simpsons has sucked for years.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After arriving at the Simpsons house, Marge tells the Griffins that Bart is away at camp, so they won't get to meet him. About a second later, Bart swings open the front door, saying that he got kicked out of camp.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kinda. Homer and Peter somewhat make up but agree to keep their distance from another. Meg finds something she's finally good at with Lisa's help and Peter ruins it, like he always does. Duff wins the trial over Pawtucket Brewery's plagiarizing. But as it was only in Springfield, the decision won't hold water in Rhode Island, allowing the company to stay afloat and Peter to keep his job. And Bart breaks ties with Stewie after seeing how psychopathic he can be. Upon returning home, Stewie claims to Brian he's over it. But once alone in his room, Stewie starts crying while imitating Bart's chalkboard gag.
  • Black Comedy: Both shows have their own share of it to begin with, but this episode makes very clear they have different standards - Peter getting the most gruesome injuries such as when he gets run over twice, et cetera; additionally, the Springfieldians react to the FG humor accordingly. Perfectly summed up by Bart as he says goodbye to Stewie:
    • Related to the entry above, Lisa is visibly disturbed at Meg not only cutting Lisa's name deep into her arm so the scar tissue can serve as a reminder of their time together, but also Meg's cheerful enthusiasm about doing this. It's sort of justifiable since Meg is treated like dirt by her family, so she wants to cherish the memory of someone who was genuinely nice to her.
    • The fight scene, which involves Peter and Homer giving each other gruesome injuries, as well as killing numerous people.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: It's more violent than the average episode of The Simpsons, on par with the Treehouse of Horror episodes (although technically this is a Family Guy episode, which has been known to rely heavily on violence).
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Many between the characters.
    Peter: Woo-hoo!
    Homer: (kicks him) Roadhouse!
  • Bound and Gagged: Bart's enemies as well as Apu after being kidnapped by Stewie.
  • Brutal Honesty: One moment between Lois and Marge near the end.
    Lois: Anyways, it was still nice to meet you and your family, even though you kinda screwed us over.
    Marge: Good to have you! And, hey, next time you stay with a family, maybe you could wear a bra some of the time.
  • The Cameo:
    • Fred Flintstone is the judge during the trial, as a gag and a nod that he was the template Homer and Peter were adapted from.
    • Roger shows up on Kang and Kodos's ship during the Homer and Peter fight, explaining they're friends from summer camp. After a hole in the ship sucks them into space, Roger says "bye, thanks for having me!", a reference to how FOX stopped airing American Dad at that time and its move to TBS.
    • Bob Belcher in a Cutaway Gag. According to Peter, they have to carry him because when they tried letting Cleveland carry himself he ended up crashing his plane.
  • Continuity Nod: The final brawl, which itself was a take on the Giant Chicken fights, had its own Shout Outs.
    • The fight's end at Springfield Gorge.
      Peter: We're gonna make it!
      Homer: Trust me, we're not.note 
      • In the latter's case, he and Bart made it.
    • References to the dead:
      Homer: Say hi to Maude Flanders!
      Peter: No, you say hi to Muriel Goldman!
      Homer: Who?
  • Creator Cameo: Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane both appear in the courtroom scene as journalists standing at the back of the room. Fittingly, each is standing on opposite ends of the courtroom, on the same side as the central family they made.
  • Cross Counter: During their radioactive fight, Homer and Peter do one that creates a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom and sends them both flying across town. They do another one later that sends Teeth Flying.
  • Crossover: A long awaited one The Simpsons. There are also cameos by Bob Belcher, Cleveland Brown, Roger the Alien, and Fred Flintstone.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: To an extent. The Simpsons may be dysfunctional, but they react the way any normal person would to the Griffins, namely with both horror and pity.
  • Derivative Differentiation: Lampshaded between the Simpsons, the Griffins, their various supporting characters and Fred Flintstone.
  • Discontinuity Nod/Canon Discontinuity: Before the trial, Homer points out he doesn't know Quagmire ("Quagmire who?"). To fans of The Simpsons (but not necessarily of Family Guy), this is a huge source of relief.note 
  • Disney Death: Homer being crushed by Kang and Kodos' flying saucer. Yeah, he manages to walk that off.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The argument Peter and Homer have about Duff versus Pawtucket Patriot Ale is obviously a coded discussion about The Simpsons (Duff) versus Family Guy (Patriot Ale).
    Homer: This beer tastes exactly like Duff. It's just a lousy rip-off!
    Peter: Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa! It's not a rip-off of Duff. It may have been inspired by Duff, but I like to think it goes in a different direction.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • Peter makes a misogynistic joke in his newspaper comic which results in him and his family fleeing from the mob of angry women in Quahog until the controversy simmers down.
    • Bart's reaction to Stewie "phone prank" to Moe consisting of telling Moe his sister was being raped is to stare at him, mouth open in shock and plainly appalled.
    • When Meg not only cheerfully reveals that she's carved Lisa's name into her arm so that the scars will form a permanent reminder of their time together, but then shows off the bleeding wounds, Lisa looks about ready to puke.
    • Towards the finale, when Bart finds out Stewie has rounded up all of Bart's "enemies" to give them to Bart for torture, he outright asks what the hell is wrong with Stewie before setting them all free.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: Homer vs. Peter. Peter wins (technically, he just got out of the way of the falling saucer, Homer had him dead to rights otherwise) but Homer recovers and they squash their beef. The common fan complaint about the anticlimactic nature of this trope gets lampshaded: while Peter and Homer walk off into the sunset together after settling their differences and respecting one another, Comic Book Guy spontaneously appears in the canyon to complain that it was the "Worst. Chicken fight. Ever."
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart has this reaction towards Stewie when he kidnaps Nelson, Jimbo, Skinner, Sideshow Bob, and Apu. This despite the fact that two of them regularly cause physical harm to Bart and another frequently wants to kill him. His stunned reaction to Stewie's rape comment on Moe's sister qualifies as well.
    • During the fight against Homer, Peter is shocked to hear how Homer is fine with strangling his kids.
  • Eye Scream: Near the end of the fight, Peter punches Homer in the face so hard his right eye temporarily pops out of its socket.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Homer and Peter drink gasoline, figuring they have to 'think like a car' to find Peter's car. Then they see a car coming into the gas station and its driver fitting the gas pump into the car's backside and drop their pants... Fortunately, the scene cuts away to a German sex shop, where a customer asks for a DVD of their antics with the gas pump.
    • The Homer and Peter car wash. Wiggum enjoyed it, though.
  • Fingore: Peter crushes Homer's entire left hand with a rock at one point during the fight.
  • Flintstone Theming: Fred Flintstone say his favorite beer is Budrock.
  • Foil: Due to this episode being a Crossover certain differences do stand out between franchise to franchise:
    • Brian and Santa's Little Helper are both the family dogs of their respective series. But while Brian is sapient, capable of human speech, and walks upright, Santa's Little Helper likewise is pretty much an exaggerated epitome on how Real Life dogs are for the most part.
    • Meg and Lisa. Both are unpopular female students at their respective schools, both are often portrayed as the misunderstood No-Respect Guy, both suffer from social issues (Meg especially), and both have an Abhorrent Admirer (Neil in Meg's case, Milhouse in Lisa's). But while Meg is the eldest child of her family, and gets mistreatment from both of her parents therefore having a lot of psychological and self-esteem issues understandably, Lisa on the other hand suffers from the Middle Child Syndrome, but is otherwise well respected and is treated well by her parents by comparison, and despite her social issues she is quite otherwise confident and does not have nearly as much psychological issues for obvious reasons. Also, Lisa is a Child Prodigy whose unpopularity mostly has to do with Intelligence Equals Isolation, while Meg is an unpopular Generic Girl who is never implied to be smarter than average.
  • Furry Confusion: Brian doesn't understand why Santa's Little Helper isn't sapient. When Brian asks where he's sitting in the dining room, we get these exchanges from Marge:
    Marge: I was under the impression that you were a dog.
    Have you ever drunk out of a toilet?
  • Groin Attack:
    • Wiggum asks if Peter has contributed to the Policeman's Ball. Lou needs one as he lost one while trying to jump over a parking meter.
    • Homer bites Peter in the nuts during the Chicken fight scene.
  • Grossup Close Up: Peter and Homer cross counter and we get a very detailed look as the impact hits their faces and knock out a few teeth.
  • Hope Spot: During the gorge reference:
    Peter: We're gonna make it!
    Homer: Trust me, we're not.
  • Hulking Out: Peter and Homer briefly do this upon being exposed to Nuclear Waste during their fight. It's only temporary however.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Chris criticizing the Squeaky Voiced Teen as sounding ridiculous.
    • Peter is appalled to learn that Homer strangles his own son, saying it's no wonder he's "fat and stupid and masturbates all the time". Homer points out that that's actually Peter's sonnote .
  • Instant Expert: When Lisa lends Meg her saxophone to find out what she can be good at, Meg immediately begins to play blues on it expertly. Lisa, being the jealous person she is, takes the saxophone back. By the end of the episode, Lisa gives away her saxophone to Meg so she can play it and shine. Unfortunately, Peter throws it in a garbage can.
  • Internal Homage: The ending fight and the Springfield Gorge drop.
  • In the Style of:
    • The nuclear plant Peter and Homer get superpowers from briefly makes them exchange drawing styles.
    • Peter's reactions to being injured by Homer are reproductions of Homer's reactions.
    • The episode ends with the ending theme played in the style of The Simpsons'.
  • Karma Houdini: Peter and Homer don't receive any sort of punishment for the destruction they caused during the fight.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Chris does this in the first minute of the crossover, and this happens on many occasions throughout the episode.
    • Stewie questions how the Kwik-E-Mart had shadows that were hiding Homer and his lookalike.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Peter's attempts for Homer to set up the cutaway gags.
    • How long has Nelson terrorized Bart?
      Bart: About 24 years.
    • Homer weaponizing the show's 31 Emmys.
    • At the start of the trial, Peter snaps at Lois when she warns Peter what's at stake for the Pawtucket Brewery. He then apologizes, stating he's tired and not used to doing hour-long specials.
    • During the Homer VS Peter fight, when the fight leads to Kang and Kodos' ship and it sucks out both them and American Dad!'s Roger, Roger says "Thanks for having me!", a nod to the fact that the American Dad was moving to TBS.
    • Lois and Brian about Springfield:
      Lois: Well, this Springfield place seems nice. We should visit here again.
      Brian: I don't know, Lois. This seems like a one-shot deal.
    • In the end, Bart refuses Stewie's friendship because even Bart thinks that Stewie's misdeeds go too far. After a cutaway gag in an earlier episode featured Quagmire raping Marge and murdering all five Simpsons, the friendship between Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane was nearly destroyed.
    • While insisting he doesn't miss him at all, Stewie says Bart sounded like a girl.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Marge and Lois respectively. One is a sweet-natured, modest woman who isn't into edgy media and is frightened when she sees penguins surf in animated films. The other is perverted, snide, bitchy, and doesn't wear a bra.
  • Logo Joke: The Gracie Films logo comes on before the credits roll, with Peter singing "And now the show is over now" over the music sting.
  • Menace Decay: Lampshaded with Dennis the Menace.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer, after he realized he cost Peter and other their jobs after the Pawtucket Brewery trial.
  • Not So Similar: The trial scene that compares the "similar" characters shows that similar occupation and role aside, the characters in the Simpsons and Family Guy aren’t that similar.
    Quagmire: You like sex?
    Lenny: [shrugs]
    Quagmire: I don't think we're very similar.
  • Our Product Sucks: One common interpretation of the episode is that it was an attempt on the Family Guy writers' part to say outright that they completely agree that their show isn't good any more, even compared to some of the weaker Simpsons episodes, by putting the two side-by-side and playing up the former's flaws as much as possible.
  • Out of Focus: Harry Shearer was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts, so all of his characters remain silent. Even Lenny's "eh" doesn't sound like his natural voice.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: Stewie kidnaps Apu just so he can say "I took Apu".
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: Homer and Peter fall into a vat of waste at Springfield Nuclear during their fight, which melts them to their skeletons before they reform as superhumans.
  • Recursive Reality: In a previous episode, Stewie mentioned watching The Simpsons.
  • Rejected Apology: Homer sincerely apologizes to Peter for getting his job shut down, only for Peter to declare his hatred for the Simpsons.
  • Running Gag: Several The Simpsons and Family Guy gags get peppered throughout this episode.
    • The whole fight scene is a reference to the giant chicken fights Peter has in Family Guy where he gets in lengthy, elaborate fight scenes that take them all over the town as Peter and a giant anthropomorphic chicken beat the stuffing out of each other. Comic Book Guy even calls it a chicken fight at the end of it.
    • Peter hits Homer with a plank at one point during their fight, prompting him to yell "Woo-hoo!" in the same intonation that Homer does as his Catchphrase. This prompts Homer to roundhouse kick him and say "Roadhouse" after, like what Peter does throughout his own series.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • There's a lot of Meta Humor on Family Guy being considered the Poor Man's Substituteinvoked of The Simpsons, from the court case of plagiarism being ruled in "Duff's" favor to Homer using his plentiful Emmys to attack Peter while the latter complains about not having any (despite actually having five). Even The Simpsons gets in on the fun by having Fred Flintstone declare both show's beers are rip-offs of his own.
    • And, in the beginning, Chris sums up what skeptical people may think of this episode's set-up:
      Chris: Yay! A crossover always brings out the best of each show! It certainly doesn't smack of desperation. The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing-
      Stewie: (interrupts) Okay, that's enough.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Peter is shocked to learn that Homer strangles his son, despite doing much worse things as a parent. Homer calls out Peter for his hypocrisy.
  • Sinister Suffocation: Though Peter is prone to violent outbursts and rarely displays empathy, he is genuinely appalled when he finds out that Homer regularly strangles Bart as a form of discipline.
    Peter: What the hell? That really hurts!
    Homer: No, it doesn't. I do it to my son all the time.
    Peter: You strangle your son? That's insane!
  • Skewed Priorities: During the fight, Peter crashes into Krusty's set. Krusty notes how excessive TV violence is given a pass so long as viewers don't see a nipple.
  • Status Quo Is God: Pawtucket Beer is successfully sued for copyright infringement. But since the discovery wasn't anywhere near Rhode Island, they suffer no repercussion for it allowing Peter to keep his job. Something which Lois smugly lampshades.
  • Stock Scream: In the nuclear plant during the fight between Homer and Peter, when they fall into a vat of nuclear waste, a hazmat worker on the catwalks falls off while yelling the Wilhelm scream.
  • Stout Strength: Despite both Homer and Peter being overweight characters, the fight between each other shows that they have equal strength and durability with Peter only barely winning after the UFO falls onto Homer (even then Homer miraculously survives).
  • Straw Feminist: The "For Pete's Sake" protesters who drive the Griffins out of Quahog over a very misogynistic cartoon.
  • Stylistic Suck: The cartoon Peter made, which is crudely drawn pictures with poor spelling and misogyny in place of humor.
  • Take That!:
    • To the internet fans, by having them get overly upset over Peter's cartoon.
    • Also to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as Peter and Homer agree that it's best to keep "a pile of garbage" in between them.
    • When Bob Belcher appears in the back seat of the airplane Homer and Peter are on in the cutaway, Peter remarks they have to "carry him since he can't fly on his own", a swipe at the middling ratings Bob's Burgers was getting around that time. Then he says they tried letting "that guy" fly solo, which cuts to a bathtub-style gag of Cleveland crashing his plane, in reference to his show being cancelled.
  • Tempting Fate: At the end of the episode, Lois points out that there's no way The Simpsons will be coming to Quahog. It almost sounds like they're trying to set up a Sequel Hook.
  • Title Drop: For both shows after the fight.
    Peter: You see, I'm a Family Guy.
    Homer: I understand, I'm a The Simpsons.
  • Token Minority: At the trial, Cleveland and Carl are shown together. They agree they were seated together because they're the funniest guys in town.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Homer is dumber here than on his own show, especially during the scene where he drinks gasoline to find Peter's car. (But he did think about it once in canon...)
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The "For Pete's Sake" protesters.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Peter recovers immediately after being hit by two cars. Both Peter and Homer also suffer very gruesome injuries throughout the fight scene (Homer even gets crushed by a flying saucer) and are none the worse for wear.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Nelson's reaction to Bart freeing him from being kidnapped is to punch him in the gut.
  • Ur-Example: Another lampshaded gag. Fred Flintstone is the judge of the court case and he mentions that he considers both shows to be a rip off of his own.
    • The gag reveals another layer when you consider that The Flintstones was based on The Honeymooners. Even better is that this fact was pointed out on the Simpsons episode "The Day the Violence Died," which also dealt with plagiarism in animation.
  • Variations on a Theme Song: Family Guy's ending theme is In the Style of The Simpsons theme.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Naturally, but with a twist — while Peter and Homer's "sexy car wash" makes Snake Jailbird puke, the camera is cleverly placed outside of the very car window Snake throws up on; in other words, he's hidden behind his own vomit.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Peter and Homer go from best buds to hated enemies over the course. By the end, they reconcile but agree to stay out of each other's way.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Brian states he can't imagine they're allowed to say which state it's in.
    • A prime opportunity for Kool-Aid Man to burst through the wall of the court is missed because he's in the wrong Springfield.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Comic Book Guy drops by after Homer and Peter fight to drop a variation of this.
    Comic Book Guy: Worst... chicken fight... ever.
  • Writing Lines: In reference to The Simpsons' opening sequence, Stewie does this in his room at the end, crying as he writes, "I will not think about Bart anymore".
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Lisa admits Meg is good at playing her saxophone and gives it to her. Peter immediately throws it in the trash, saying the car is full.