Airdate: December 12, 2010
An hour-long Christmas Episode (the second in the series after "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas") in Family Guy, which also contains two songs, and is narrated by Seth MacFarlane's father, Ron MacFarlane, in live-action bookends.
It's days until Christmas and everyone in Quahog is writing down what they want for Christmas in a musical number, except for Brian, who wonders if they're being too greedy. Stewie gets a rude brush-off from a Mall Santa, and vows to head to the North Pole to kill him for his disrespect. Not believing in Santa, Brian tricks Stewie by taking him to a Santa village, but Stewie sees through the ruse and threatens to kill him too if he doesn't take him to the real North Pole. After Stewie causes a traffic car pile-up that damages Brian's car, they continue on foot and eventually ride the rest of the way on a Canadian's snowmobile.
To Brian's surprise, Santa and the workshop does exist, but conditions there are far worse than they feared, due to the world's growing population and growing demands for the gifts. Santa is sick, weak, and worn out, the workshop pollutes the air, the elves are overworked, mutated, and inbred, and the reindeer have evolved into man-eating, and cannibalistic, monsters. Brian and Stewie agree to deliver the presents in his place, but crash the sleigh, break into a house, severely injure the family inside it to cover it up, let the reindeer eat each other, realize they only visited one house for an hour and a half out of the millions of other houses in the world they need to visit before dawn, and finally panic, give up, and barely escape with their lives.
The next day, on Channel 5 News, Tom Tucker announces that no presents were delivered in Quahog, when Brain and Stewie wheel a barely-living Santa onto the set in front of the nation. They reveal that the world's greed is killing him, and ask that everyone only ask for one gift per person each year. Chastened, everyone agrees, and the next year, Santa and his workshop are healthy and rejuvenated.
"Road To The North Pole" contains examples of:
- Advertising by Association: Parodied in an unaired cutaway gag.Stewie: (to Brian) You tried to trick me! Like those commercials for upcoming movies.
(cut to Stewie watching TV in the living room)
Announcer: This summer, from the guys who brought you Superbad comes a hilarious new comedy.
Stewie: Uh, I hate when they do that. Which guy? You know it could be the writers or the guys in the wardrobe department, they don't specify.
(Stewie changes the channel)
Announcer: From the studio that brought you Wedding Crashers.
Stewie: Uh, who cares? It's sure a broad association.
(Stewie changes the channel)
Announcer: From the species that brought you Talladega Nights.
Stewie: Oh what, humans? Who else is making movies?
Announcer: From the same molecular elements that brought you Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Announcer: ...and air!
Stewie: Fuck off!
- An Aesop: "We can get out of any mess if we learn to live with less..."
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Christmastime is Killing Us"
- Berserk Button: Christmas proves to be a pretty big one for Stewie. He angrily threatens Brian with a gun for trying to deceive him with a fake North Pole, and then tries to outright set about that threat on Santa for brushing him off at the mall.
- Big Applesauce: The house Brian and Stewie crash the sleigh on the roof of is either in or near New York City, as they pass the Statue of Liberty before the sleigh starts going out of control.
- The Cameo: Cleveland appears watching Brian and Stewie on the news.
- Characterization Marches On: Stewie's Knight Templar treatment of Christmas is a stark contrast to the previous Christmas special, where he didn't even know who Santa was.
- Chekhov's Gun: Santa says the reindeer eat elf flesh, when the elves wander out into the snow to die of exhaustion. When Brian and Stewie need to get the sleigh moving, Brian brings this up and Stewie cuts off the arm of a seemingly-dead elf in the snow to get them started.
- Christmas Miracle: Santa, the workshop, his elves, the sleigh, and reindeer, all somehow become normal again by the next year.
- Deconstructor Fleet: The whole Santa mythos takes quite a beating in this episode.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Brian's well-meaning comments to Quagmire's niece all backfire in his face to ridiculous degree: first he doesn't know her niece's a she for being out of chemo therapy and then he accidentally insults her further when thinking she was dying. Later on, apparently the encounter has left her in critical condition.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Stewie becomes set on killing Santa for ignoring his requests for presents.
- Despair Event Horizon: Beating up a little girl's parents up in front of her, tying them all up together, and quite possibly traumatizing her for life. All to keep your cover about Subbing for Santa. Merry Christmas!
- Epic Fail: Stewie and Brian's first attempt at delivering toys. They cause property damage, bludgeon a couple possibly to death, tie their daughter up, etc. It basically turns into a home invasion. And the real kicker? They've spent an hour and a half at the wrong house. Stewie even says as they fly away: "That was a disaster."
- Extra-Long Episode: This is the second of the three season 9 episodes to be broadcast as an hour-long episode.
- Fisher King: Santa regaining his health somehow also turns the elves back to normal and gets rid of the pollution.
- From Bad to Worse: As said in the above synopsis, this special shows what happens when reality hits the Santa mythos too much.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Every aspect of Stewie and Brian's first stop fails miserably. They damage property, the presents fall off the roof, they wake up the residents and need to restrain them, they've wasted an hour and a half there, and it turns out they weren't even at the right house.Brian: No wonder Santa lost his mind! This is ridiculous! We can't do this!Stewie: NOBODY CAN! IT'S INHUMAN!
- Harmful to Minors: The little girl witnessing her parents being beaten and possibly killed by Brian and Stewie subbing for Santa and then being bound and gagged with tape and left for the police to discover.
- Hollywood New England: Upon seeing Santa's workshop in a morbid, foggy state with factory chimneys spouting pollution, Stewie compares it to Bridgeport, Connecticut.Brian: Ooooh boy. Get ready for the letters.(cutaway to a Bridgeporter writing a letter) Dea' Family Guy basta'ds. How the Hell do you think you ah'?? I'll have you know that Bridgeport is among the world leada's in abandoned buildins', shattered glass, boa'ded up windows, bah'king dogs, and gas stations with no pumps! So eat my ***note , Jew writers.
- Incest Is Relative: Santa explains to Brian and Stewie that he started with one family of elves. To keep up with the growing demands of the human population asking for more gifts, he grew desperate and needed more elf workers, thus led to the family of elves inbreeding for generations. Due to their inbreeding, as least 60% of them are blind.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Santa's flesh-eating reindeer become so famished during the trip to deliver the presents, they end up devouring one another once they get stuck up in a tree.
- Mall Santa: An apathetic one chains off Brian and Stewie's journey by brushing the latter off.
- Musical Episode: The special contains two elaborate songs.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Brian's reaction when Stewie bludgens a father to dead, puts him in the closet, knocks out the mother and leaves the child tied up and traumatized as a means of keeping Santa's identity a secret.
- Nightmarish Factory: Santa's workshop has turned into one.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Stewie just before Quagmire gives Brian another chewing out for upsetting his chemo-patient niece.
- Brian and Stewie when Dan, the owner of the house they try delivering presents to, discovers them in his kitchen.
- Brian and Stewie stop dead when they hear a little girl upstairs say she wants a glass of water. Stewie lets loose a Precision F-Strike.
- The mother in the house when she sees Dan topple out of the closet, tied up and blooded. Brian actually says "Oh, Crap!" seconds later when she tries to make a run for it.
- Stewie again in mid-sentence when he realises he and Brian are in the wrong house. Then again immediately afterwards when he hears sirens in the distance.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Brian does this a few times with regard to Quagmire's cancer-stricken niece.Brian: Hey, who's this little guy? Is this your nephew? Hey, buddy! You excited to see Santa? Hope you've been a good boy this year.Quagmire: That "little guy" is my niece Abby, you douche. Her hair's short because of the chemotherapy.Stewie: Uh-oh.Quagmire: Do you know how much talking it took to get her outta the house because of her no-hair?Brian: Gosh, I didn't know. I'm so sorry.Quagmire: Oh, you're sorry? For what? That waiting in line is such a catastrophe, you'd rather destroy the confidence of a 5-year-old cancer patient?Brian: Aw, c'mon. I didn't know she was dying.Quagmire: Who said anything about dying!?Abby: Uncle Glenn, am I dying?Quagmire: [holds her close] No, sweetheart, you're not dying, 'cause we're gonna see Santa, and he's gonna give you a new brain. [turns to Brian, unhappily gritting his teeth] Get outta here, Brian. Just get outta here.
- Precision F-Strike: Coupled with an Oh, Crap!. Stewie says "Shit.", when he and Brian hear a young girl upstairs say she wants a glass of water.
- Cleveland's response to the one present idea: "Okay, just one. But if it's a gym membership, somebody's gettin' punched in the fuckin' face."
- Reality Ensues:
Stewie: This was ONE! HOUSE! We've been here for an hour and a half! An hour and a— First of all, we're not even Santa anymore. This has been a home invasion. But an hour and a half, Brian! It's gonna be light in six hours, and we have to deliver to the whole rest of the world! There's two apartment buildings on this block alone!
- Unlike what's depicted in most Christmas Episodes that have mortals trying to help Santa Claus make his yearly gift delivery, this special pretty much breaks that well-worn story into pieces by having no magic aiding Brian, Stewie, or Santa, showing The North Pole toy factories as sweatshops, and turning the typical "Santa slides down the chimney to leave presents for families" trope into what it really is: a home invasion mixed in with No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to keep the witnesses from ratting them out to the police.
- Stewie points out how impossible delivering presents around the world in one night actually is.
- Running Gagged: The last episode to feature Brian's Rant-Inducing Slight relationship with Quagmire. By the next episode Quagmire's hatred of Brian remerges, Brian openly loathes him back enough to piss him off on purpose.
- Santa's Sweatshop: Rampant demand for presents has reduced the North Pole to a polluted wasteland, the elves have devolved into barely sentient mutants, and Santa himself is suffering from a Heroic RRoD.
- Saving Christmas: Double subverted. Stewie and Brian fail miserably at Santa's job and Christmas is ruined, but they get the idea to show the world what a toll the holiday has taken on Santa and convince everyone to switch to one present per person. The next Christmas is thus a success.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Brian and Stewie do this when they realise how utterly impossible delivering presents around the world in one night really is, after spending an hour and a half in just one house.
- Subbing for Santa: Brian and Stewie attempt to deliver the Christmas presents in Santa's place. They screwed it up royally.
- Tangled Family Tree: Santa Claus explains to Brian and Stewie one of many problems with the elves, one of them is the inbreeding which began with a small family of elves and every year Santa needed more and more elf workers to help him with the gifts making. This unfortunately led to the single family of elves turning to inbreeding with their relative to mass produce more workers to help Santa. Which left them with severe mental, physical and health defects (at least 60% of them are born blind).
- Wham Line: We get two back-to-back after Stewie and Brian tie the family up and clean up all the blood.Stewie: Go check on the other kid.
Brian: What other kid?
Stewie: Johnny, the one who's getting the bat.
Brian: (runs upstairs) Stewie, there's only one bedroom up here!
Stewie: What? (turns to the daughter) Do you have a brother?
Daughter: (shakes her head for "no")
Stewie: Well, then who the hell is Joh- Oh my god, we're in the wrong house.
- Who's on First?: Occurs when a passing Canadian man stops while Stewie and Brian are stranded on the side of the road.Canadian: Oh, hey there. You're having some car troubles, eh?Stewie: Yeah, we're trying to get to the North Pole. I don't suppose you're from Triple A, are you?Canadian: Who?Stewie: Triple A, you know? A-A-A.Canadian: Oh, AA, eh? Oh, I just came from AA.Stewie: No, not AA! AAA!Canadian: Yeah, that's what I said. AA, eh?Stewie: Oh, so you are with Triple A.Canadian: Oh, no, that's AAA. I just came from AA, eh?Stewie: Huh?Brian: Stewie, I think he's just a drunk.Stewie: Well, drunk or not, can you help us?Canadian: I can if you wanna join AA, eh?Stewie: Oh, I'm already a member of AAA! I need help with the car!Canadian: Oh, I see. Yeah, looks like you got some water leakage. You might need a hose, eh?Stewie: José, Roberto, whatever. If you got some Latinos up here that can fix cars, that'd be great.Canadian: No, I mean, it looks like you need a part, eh?Stewie: Well, yeah, when it's fixed, we can celebrate, but let's deal with first thing's first.Canadian: Well, I can probably take you to a gas station, eh? You have cash, eh?Stewie: Well, I dunno, my name carries a little weight, but I don't see how that matters here.
- Would Hurt a Child: Brian and Stewie are not above tying up a little girl with her half-dead parents, though she is the only one who Stewie doesn't bludgeon with a bat.
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Brian when he tries to get back into the house he and Stewie are delivering presents to, only to find the front door somehow locked behind them.
- Younger Than They Look: Santa Claus, who is only 28 despite looking like he's in 80's.