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Recap / Family Guy S 4 E 1 North By North Quahog

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In the first episode of the series after being Un-Canceled for good, Lois and Peter take a trip to rekindle their waning romance — and end up on the run from Mel Gibson, who is plotting to make a sequel to his controversial religious movie, Passion of the Christ. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie are put in charge of disciplining Meg and Chris.


"North By North Quahog" contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: At the end of Peter's Long List of FOX shows, he glances at Chris as he says Greg the Bunny. Chris' voice actor, Seth Green, also worked on that show.
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  • Adam Westing: After Chris is caught drinking, Flint from the cartoon G.I. Joe gives an educational message, like he and others did on the real show. He is even voiced by his original actor, Bill Ratner.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Parodied after Chris is caught with vodka in the school bathroom. Flint (with Bill Ratner reprising the role) steps out of a stall to tell the kids about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
    Kids: Now, we know!
    Flint: And knowing is half the battle.
    Announcer: G.I. JOOOOOOEEEEEEE!
  • Artistic License – Religion: Obviously Played for Laughs but, according to Peter, Christians don't believe in gravity.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the episode, the Greased-up Deaf Guy says "See you next week. It’s good to be back, America," acknowledging the resurrection of the show.
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  • Disney Villain Death: Mel Gibson.
  • Epic Fail: Peter apparently once forgot how to sit down.
  • Freudian Slip: When Brian meets with Tom Tucker about Jake, his upside-down faced son, giving Chris alcohol at school:
    Brian: This whole situation has just turned his whole life upside-down face.
    (Stewie slowly turns and glares at Brian)
  • Ignore the Disability: Brian and Stewie go to the Tuckers' house to discuss alcohol belonging to Jake Tucker that Chris was found with, with Brian trying to ensure that Stewie will absolutely not say anything about Jake's upside-down face - and then goes on to accidentally let a reference to it slip almost immediately. Amusingly, Tom neither takes offense, nor even seems to particularly notice that it happened, as his response is to repeat the "upside-down face" line almost verbatim.
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  • Long List: The Cold Open shows Peter sadly telling the rest of the family that their show has been canceled to make room for more important shows, proceeding to list several short-lived Fox shows which had all come and gone while Family Guy was out of production, including That '80s Shownote , The Pitts, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Titus, Undeclared, Firefly, Dark Angel, Greg the Bunny, The Tick (2001), Wanda At Large, Andy Richter Controls The Universe and Action. He concludes that their show only has a chance to come back in the unlikely event that all of these shows go down the tubes.
  • Shout-Out: The episode is a homage to the film North by Northwest, directed by British director Alfred Hitchcock. The title, several scenes such as Peter being chased by a crop-dusting plane in a field and the final chase sequence across the faces of Mount Rushmore, Mel Gibson’s cliffside house in this episode is an exact facsimile of North by Northwest’s Phillip Vandamm’s (James Mason) cliffside house, and even direct quotations “We’re on top of the monument!” is found both in the film and in this episode, both in the exact same context are taken from the film. More so, the show also utilizes the actual Bernard Herrmann-composed theme music from the film on several occasions. The closing credits theme is done in the Bernard Herrmann style.
    • On finding a hotel to spend the night while their car gets fixed, Peter and Lois encounter a hooker, much to Lois’ concern. Peter reassures her by saying “Keep absolutely still, Lois; their vision is based on movement,” a reference to Jurassic Park in which the main protagonist has a similar line when they encounter a Tyrannosaurus, as well as a reference to the general concept of avoiding movement-based-visioned predators by remaining still.
    • Lois’ remark about Mel Gibson’s Nazi paraphernalia is a reference to the controversy over his father’s anti-Semitic views and the alleged anti-Semitic tone of The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson was later involved in a scandal where he let loose a string of anti-Semitic remarks after being pulled over for drunk driving by two officers.
    • The scene where Peter drives through the mall pursued by Mel Gibson’s goons is similar to a scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood Blues were being pursued by the police and took a reckless route through a mall in an attempt to lose them. The parody even uses the “I Can’t Turn You Loose” music from the original scene.
    • Two and a Half Men is parodied by literally having two and a half men - one man missing everything below his waist screaming for the other two to kill him as they just scream in horror.
  • Take That!: When Meg asks Chris to turn the channel to The George Lopez Show, Chris says the show perpetuates the stereotype that George Lopez is funny.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: Stewie asks Brian this when he spanks Chris after catching him with vodka, despite that Chris was framed by a student.
    Stewie: Do you think we were too hard on Chris tonight?
    Brian: What? Oh, God. No, no. I don't...I don't think so. Do you?
    Stewie: Oh, no, I just always feel badly when we have to be strict.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The episode's A plot is one to North by Northwest, including the famous crop-duster chase and showdown at Mount Rushmore.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: During sex, Lois blurts out George Clooney's name instead of Peter's causing him to get angry. The second during their second honeymoon, Lois yells out Mel Gibson's name, upsetting Peter more.
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