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Recap / Family Guy S8 E11 "Dial Meg for Murder"

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Airdate: January 31, 2010

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"Hands in the air, Goldman!"
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Brian gets a job writing for a teen magazine — and finds his first story when Meg begins bonding with an escaped prisoner. And when Meg gets busted for harboring said escaped convict, she ends up in prison and is released later as a hardened thug.

The side-story is that Peter takes it into his head to enter a rodeo - and gets a whole lot more than he bargained for.


"Dial Meg For Murder." contains examples of (YMMV goes here):

  • Ass Shove: Meg does this to Peter with a loofah.
    Peter: AAAAAAHHHHH! You told me not to worry about it! I should have been worried the whole time!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Good lord, Meg. She completely flips out after coming out of prison.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Meg tries to imitate Chris' Big "WHAT?!" when she finds out she's under arrest. Who does it better? You decide.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Though Meg now has a criminal record, and yet another relationship of hers has been sabotaged, Brian manages to convince her that he cares about her, even if he has a terrible way of showing it, and prevents her from committing worse crimes. The other Griffins are giving her space for now.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Peter is a victim of this twice (possibly a series record):
    • After being bucked off the back of his bull in the rodeo, he rapes Peter in the middle of a rodeo arena, and nobody seems inclined to lift a finger to help him.
    • Meg joins Peter in the shower and rapes him with a loofah to assert her dominance.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Meg imitates Chris' Big "WHAT?!" when she is told she's under arrest for harboring Luke.
  • Bowdlerization: The following changes were made between the TV version and the version released on DVD:
    • The DVD has an extra line from the magazine publisher who talks to Brian, where she says that the bulls have their balls twisted to get them riled up before rodeos.
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    • The bull raping Peter: On TV, Peter has underwear on when the bull pulls his pants off. On DVD, Peter is naked from the waist down. The bull forcing himself on Peter was also shortened on the TV version, replacing most of the scenes with a reaction shot of the family.
    • When Lois forbids Meg from seeing her convict boyfriend, the DVD version has an extra scene of Lois explaining that she used to do the same thing in her youth ("I've dated convicts, I know how they talk. One day they promise you the world. The next day you're spitting balloons of heroin into their mouths during visits").
    • The scene of Luke sneaking into Meg's room and kissing her: His line on the TV version after he kisses her is, "It's nice to be in front of someone for a change." On DVD, the line is, "That tastes better than a guy's penis, I'll tell ya."
    • An entire sequence where it's dinner time and Meg excuses herself to her room. The family thinks Meg's still upset that she and Luke can never be together, but Stewie immediately figures out that Meg is having sex with Luke upstairs.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: What Brian believes he's doing by exposing Meg's relationship with Luke, though how dangerous he actually is is up to debate. He comes to regret it when Meg goes in the opposite direction and Brian tries to talk her down by mentioning Luke is waiting for her.
  • Brick Joke: After the bull rapes Peter, he "suggests" that Peter could maybe stop by his place for further sexual encounters. Later in the episode, the bull calls Peter on the phone and tells him to come over for sex, with Peter giving Lois and Brian an excuse about being needed at work before hurrying over.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Connie and her friends making fun of Meg after she returns to school from prison. They pay for it, big time.
  • Buy or Get Lost: When Brian reads his magazine article to convince Meg to give up her thug life, Mort comments offscreen that his pharmacy isn't a library.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Brian's magazine article; it started the mess in the first place when he was spying on her. In the end, he finally apologizes by showing her that he wrote the article about her being sweeter and kinder than the average American girl. This brings Meg back to her senses.
  • Contralto of Danger: Meg speaks in a lower range after she gets out of prison. She reverts back to her regular voice after Brian calms her down.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: A variant; Brian went behind Meg's back and ratted out Luke to her parents, without giving any thought to how she may feel. When Meg goes to rob the pharmacy, he says Luke fell in love with the Meg who wasn't a hardened parolee, and wants to see her when he gets out of prison in forty years. Meg retorts that she doesn't need Luke anymore, so Brian's pleas are empty.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Meg dishes these out to everyone. She even gives Peter a literal curb stomp (or in this case, "stair stomp").
  • Dirty Coward: When Peter was being raped by the bull and later assaulted by Meg, no one lifted a finger to help him. They also shifted the blame to Stewie, a baby, when Meg was terrorizing them.
  • The Dog Bites Back: This episode is basically Meg getting pushed beyond the brink and getting revenge on those who bullied her (including her own parents).
  • Epic Fail: Luke tries to run away from Joe by going downhill, making Meg go Oh, Crap!. Joe uses the slope to easily catch the man.
  • Forbidden Love: Meg's initial story with Luke, before it gets completely dropped.
  • Guy of the Week: Luke for Meg.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: This episode even provides one half of the page image. Meg goes from a naive girl and Drama Queen to a hardcore delinquent drinking beer, beating up anyone who opposes her, and would-be robber.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: We go from Peter trying out for the rodeo to a forbidden love story to prison life turning Meg into a monster.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The climax in a nutshell, as Brian tries to convince Meg not to go through with the robbery, and that this is not who she is.
  • Irony: Luke got arrested for robbery, which is exactly what Meg would have been arrested for if she went through with it.
  • Jerkass: Peter uses both Meg and Chris for rodeo practice.
  • Jerkass Realization: Brian gets this when Meg is about to rob Morty at gunpoint. He tries to talk her down, saying she's better than this and used to be the girl that Luke loved. Meg reminds him that Brian once thought she wasn't better than this, going behind her back to tattle about Luke. She also says she doesn't want Luke back and won't need anyone. Brian has a very guilty expression when she says no one cares about her, and decides to show her the article he wrote.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Brian is indirectly the reason that Meg got arrested. After dodging responsibility for most of the episode, she holds him at gunpoint and makes him drive her to the pharmacy so she can rob it. It's not until he indirectly apologizes for causing the whole mess that he can talk her down.
    • Peter and the popular kids suffer this after tormenting Meg. And Lois all but getting the same treatment after refusing to hear her out earlier regarding the story she gave about the inmate and forbidding her from seeing him again, which led to Lois' current predicament in the first place.
    Meg: Get out now, or stay and get weird. Your call, warden.
    • After shamelessly using his own children to practice his rodeo skills, Peter gets completely trounced in the rodeo - by the bull.
  • Love Overrides the Law: Deconstructed. Meg harbored an escaped criminal she fell in love with and gets arrested for it.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Griffins when Meg bursts in after getting out of jail.
    Meg: [slams door open] I'm home. You're all my bitches now! [Beat]
    Stewie: Ok.
  • More Than Mind Control: Let's see... Meg gets snitched on by Brian, scolded by her parents, forbidden to see the inmate she fell for again, forced to watch as said inmate is re-arrested, and has to go to jail herself for harboring him, all in one day. Then, once in prison, she had to fight for her life, and was probably raped by an inmate or two. By the time her prison sentence is up, this experience has changed her, to say the least.
  • Mugging the Monster: The popular kids try to roast Meg when she comes back to school with armfuls of tattoos, a sleeveless tank, and a cold expression. She casually puts some coins into the soda machine, loads them into a bag, and uses it as a throwing weight.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: What Meg eventually comes to realize when she's brought back to her senses.
    Meg: Oh my God, I can't believe I did this. I was just so tired of being everybody's whipping girl that I thought it would feel good if I did some of the whipping.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Brian's snitching and Lois's lack of sympathy makes them largely responsible for Meg's transformation.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Meg uses a bunch of soda cans to beat up all the popular kids at school and knock out Connie.
  • No Sympathy:
    • Joe shows this about his neighbor's underage daughter getting involved with a fugitive. Rather than convince Peter and Lois to put the whole blame on Luke so that Meg is painted as a manipulated child, he arrests Meg when she says she wants to go with Luke to jail because she was breaking the law. Quite ironically, when she actually starts to commit crimes, Joe is nowhere in sight.
    • Lois does not care one bit about Meg's story and forbids her from seeing the convict again. Granted the guy is a criminal and they can be dangerous, but Lois doesn't even check things out. When Lois tries to later make a peace offering by doing Meg's laundry, Meg treats it as a Rejected Apology and casually reveals that she used Lois's clothes as toilet paper.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Meg says that harboring a fugitive is only a felony if someone finds out... immediately before Peter walks into the room.
  • Only Sane Man: Zigzagged with Brian (well in this episode). On the one hand, he really cares about Meg's safety in dating a fugitive and harboring him, worried that she's putting herself in danger. On the other, he's the one who indirectly gets Meg arrested by busting her to her parents behind her back.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Negative Continuity aside, Lois telling off Meg for dating a convict doesn't seem so in-place when you remember that she was once arrested for shoplifting. Same goes for Peter, who has been arrested far more times than Lois. This later gets played for laughs when Peter says Meg should be careful who she gets involved with—immediately before getting a call from the bull who raped him earlier demanding him for "some coitus".
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The punishment that Peter and the popular kids receive by Meg.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Meg is fairly civil to Chris throughout the episode. He also has the sense to stay out of her way and not antagonize her.
    • Brian telling Meg that she is "far sweeter and kinder than the typical American girl."
  • Police Are Useless: Joe arrests Luke, a nonviolent offender, and tosses his friend's daughter into jail for harboring a fugitive. He's then nowhere in sight when Meg is released and has become physically abusive, as well as owning a gun.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Brian had simply asked Meg directly for an interview for his article, as opposed to basically stalking her, he wouldn't have stumbled onto her dark secret. Likewise, he had another opportunity to directly confront Meg when he finds out said secret, but tells her parents behind her back instead, without giving her so much as a warning. Meg takes it as a sign that no one cares about her, including the family dog.
  • Prison Rape: Presumably what happened to Meg in prison, and hence her current demeanor. Also, what Meg does to Peter in his shower with a loofah.
  • Reality Ensues: Meg instigates a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown against her former bullies, which is pretty awesome. Lois then reveals she got suspended, which is not so awesome.
  • Recursive Canon: Peter finds out the plot of the episode by reading it from TV Guide.
  • Rejected Apology: A variant; Lois tries to make a peace offering to Meg by doing laundry for her. Meg reveals that she's using a bucket for a toilet and Lois's clothes as toilet paper.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Brian breaks up Meg and Luke by reporting the latter to Peter and Lois. Afterward, Luke is found in Meg's bedroom and fails to run away from Joe. By the end of the episode, they've clearly broken up thanks to both of them ending up incarcerated. Brian says that Luke is waiting for Meg when he comes out of prison, and Meg retorts that she no longer cares about Luke.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Meg whacking the popular kids in retaliation. She makes great use of soda cans in a bag, all without saying a word.
  • The Runaway: Meg plans to rob the pharmacy so that she can get enough money to leave town and her family as soon as possible. Brian fortunately talks her out of it.
  • The Scapegoat: When the family privately discuss how she's out of control, Meg overhears Brian call her a psychotic freak and confronts him. Brian immediately tries to pass the buck to Lois, who says it was Peter. Peter in turn blames Stewie, and the others all join in.
  • Society Is to Blame: Rather than admit that he's partly responsible for Meg's transformation, Brian goes on a Character Filibuster about how prison is a broken system that turns sweet girls into monsters. Notably, he calls Meg "innocent" when he was fine about her being dragged to jail due to her naivete. Just because he's right doesn't mean that he's completely absolved. Meg later makes it clear that she doesn't care about the system, but rather wanting revenge on the people who put her in that situation. That includes Brian.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Brian. Justified in that he's shown to actually be concerned for Meg's safety rather than wanting to get her in hot water, and probably didn't expect her parents to be as harsh on her as they were. Meg, however, doesn't appreciate this one bit. She says that no one cares about her, Brian included, and so there's no reason for her to try and be good.
  • Stopped Caring: By the time that Meg attempts to rob the pharmacy, she claims this. She says that no one cares about her, so why should she care about Luke since being involved with him led to her arrest, or about going back to jail?
  • Take That!: After Peter's final line about Meg's overly esoteric reference "Always end on a strong joke." The credits and theme are very reminiscent of another animated comedy series.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Meg French kisses Connie after knocking her out cold.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted. Given the popular kids were beaten up so badly that Meg was suspended, they were out cold and in dire need of hospitalization due to three of their skulls being cracked open.
  • Temporarily a Villain: Meg. Justified in-story as she went to prison and had to fight for survival, and justified in the fandom as revenge to all the people who have treated her like crap throughout the series.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Invoked; Meg says she doesn't care if Brian calls the cops on her because it's not like anyone would care if she went back to jail. She already has a record, and it's not like anyone visited her.
  • Tranquil Fury: Meg's default mood after coming out of prison.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Brian wants to keep Meg safe from a potentially dangerous relationship...by sneakily notifying her parents behind her back, which earns her a nasty scolding from Lois, who refused to hear her out or check things out.
    • Luke also qualifies, only robbing a store to support his mother, according to Meg. But that's not good enough, according to the law, her family, or anyone who cares to interpret more criminal behavior he may be hiding.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: For being such a central character to the plot, Luke just disappears after Meg is arrested, though he was obviously sent back to prison. He's never seen or mentioned again until the end of the episode, while Brian is talking Meg down from robbing Mort, saying that Luke still loves her and is expecting to see her when he gets out of prison, in forty years.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Meg really calls out Brian in this episode. He invaded her privacy, tattled to her parents about Luke rather than talk to her outright, and let her get arrested for harboring a fugitive. On top of that, no one visited her in prison and left her to rot, including Brian. It seems fitting, then that she makes him drive her at gunpoint to the pharmacy so she can rob it, and indirectly calls out Brian for saying Luke misses her by saying she no longer cares about her fugitive boyfriend since obviously no one cares about her.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: At the end of the episode, Meg attempts to rob Mort's pharmacy and is one police call away from falling even deeper right before Brian defuses the situation by reading her the article he wrote about her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Meg orders Stewie to punch himself in the face, but the results are underwhelming. Meg then orders Peter to punch Stewie in the face, and he does so without hesitation to try to get on her good side.
  • You Will Be Spared: Whereas the others get a lot of abuse from Meg, Chris is generally spared since he didn't do anything to reveal her relationship with Luke or antagonize her in general (at least in this episode). He's still smart enough to keep his mouth shut and his head down, though.

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