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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Family Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection (1999-2000)

"Math, my dear boy, is nothing more than the lesbian sister of biology."
- Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: December 22, 2004

Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis
Other Stars: Mike Barker, Andrea Beutner, Ricky Blitt, Mark Hamill, Mike Henry, Phil LaMarr, Ed McMahon, Peter Riegert, Mary Scheer, Danny Smith, Ben Stein, Wally Wingert, Nicole Sullivan, Brian Doyle Murray, Victoria Principal, Brian Dunkelman, Dakota Fanning, Ralph Garman, Waylon Jennings, Rachael MacFarlane, Kathleen Wilhoite, Carlos Alazraqui, Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Warburton, Lori Alan, Johnny Brennan, Michael Chiklis, Peter Gallagher
Director: Dan Povenmire, Monte Young, Brian Hogan

Manufacturer: Deluxe Digital Studios
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mature humor)
Run Time: 01h:50m:00s
Release Date: December 14, 2004
UPC: 024543146414
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-BB+ B+

DVD Review

As loyal fans wait for the resurrected Family Guy to return to Fox television in 2005, thanks in large part to the groundswell augmented by the sale of the full season sets, it may seem borderline greedy to issue this single disc of five previously released episodes (When You Wish Upon A Weinstein, The Road to Rhode Island, To Live and Die in Dixie, I Am Peter Hear Me Roar, Lethal Weapons).

But on closer examination, the hook for the faithful is not just that this has creator Seth MacFarlane's blessing (as well as four new commentary tracks), but that it includes a previously cut gag from The Road to Rhode Island, involving Osama Bin Laden trying to get through airport security, from an episode written two years before 9/11. That single scene—lasting less than 20 seconds—though it does not make or breake the ebb and flow of the episode, is a quick funny; it's hardly essential to the plot, except of course for the obvious parallels to reality, and that it was written before that fateful day in September only adds to the surreal vibe. Purists will appreciate its inclusion here, though it has been readily available on the Internet for quite awhile.

For The Freakin' Sweet Collection, the man himself, Seth MacFarlane, has overseen the selection of five of his favorites, from the road picture song-and-dance of The Road to Road Island to the south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line bashing of To Live and Die in Dixie. But it is the controversial When You Wish Upon A Weinstein, in which Peter Griffin tries to seek out his very own Jew, that was so edgy that it never aired on Fox during the original run. A lot of the humor is based on quick, nonsensical sight gags, often prefaced by a character saying "That was like the time...", or in the case of When You Wish Upon A Weinstein, a wickedly funny song. The episodes are loaded, start to finish, with a censor-pushing amount of clever sexual innuendos and disguised one-liners, as well as pop culture references stacked knee-deep.

This inexpensive single disc release might also serve as good taste test for those on the fence about Family Guy. The series, for the uninitiated, takes place in the fictitious town of Quahog, Rhode Island, and centers around the functionally dysfunctional Griffin family. Peter (voiced by MacFarlane), he of the testicle-shaped chin, is the rotund head-of-the-household, and appears to be as similarly dense and simple-minded as one Homer J. Simpson. Lois (voiced by Mad TV's Alex Borstein) is Peter's wife, and often times is the only sane voice to be heard above the din. Their two angst-ridden teenaged children are Chris (voiced by Seth Green), the chubby introverted artist wannabe, and Meg (voiced by Mila Kunis), the lonely president of the Quahog chapter of the Luke Perry Fan Club. Stewie (also voiced by MacFarlane) is the Griffin's one-year-old son, and he is constantly planning violent global upheaval; it's never made entirely clear whether Stewie, who speaks like Sideshow Bob's well-heeled sibling, can actually be heard by anyone else in his family, but that is one of the show's recurring unexplained gags. Lastly, the Griffin household is completed by Brian the dog (MacFarlane again), a martini-sipping alum of Brown University who, like Stewie, can talk.

I could go on and on about the cutting-edge brilliance of Family Guy, which is one of the few shows that can consistently make me laugh out loud. The good thing is that repeated viewings do not diminish the impact of the jokes at all, and no matter how many times I see these eps they still elicit the same deep belly laughs.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: All five episodes have been issued in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Colors are quite bright and well-saturated, with deep blacks, and the level of jagged lines that were more evident on the Season One set seem comparatively minimal here.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a lively 2.0 surround track, that reproduces character dialogue clearly and cleanly, with things like musical cues sounding especially robust. The traditional theme song (available on four of the five episodes) sounds wonderful every time I hear it, and scenes like Brian and Stewie crooning their takeoff of Road To Morocco at the close of Road To Rhode Island sounds excellent, as well.

French and Spanish 2.0 tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Daniel Palladino, Steve Callaghan, Danny Smith, Mike Henry, Chris Sheridan, Craig Hoffman, Garrett Donovan, Brian, Stewie
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are four brand new commentary tracks here, for the episodes The Road to Rhode Island, To Live and Die in Dixie, I Am Peter Hear Me Roar, and Lethal Weapons. MacFarlane shows up on three of them, as well as a rotating crew of Alex "Lois" Borstein, and writers/voice talent Daniel Palladino, Steve Callaghan, Danny Smith, Mike Henry, Chris Sheridan, Craig Hoffman, and Garrett Donovan. MacFarlane does double duty in character for The Road To Rhode Island, providing commentary as Brian and Stewie. If you're a fan, you'll find these informative and occasionally foul-mouthed (even Stewie), full of info about what went wrong with the network, the battle for a consistent timeslot, controversial gags, censor issues, even the origins of where Spooner Street came from. Plus, Alex Borstein talks dirty.

MacFarlane's upcoming American Dad (05m:58s) gets a brief preview, and though it starts out a little rocky (looking initially too much like a clone of Family Guy), I found myself laughing quite a bit by the end. Seth MacFarlane Talks About American Dad (07m:24s) reprises most of the footage from the preview, intercut with MacFarlane talking about the creation of his new series. Seth MacFarlane Talks About Family Guy Season 4 (15m:28s) is not just about the new season, but it's also a quick recap of why he chose the eps he chose for this disc; the second half centers on the new season, and he teases us with upcoming storylines.

Each episode is cut into five chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

This is an easy recommendation for diehard Family Guy fans, as it not only contains the restored Osama Bin Laden gag from Road To Rhode Island, but a set of four entirely new commentary tracks, including one in-character by creator Seth MacFarlane as Brian and Stewie. The five episodes are supposed to represent MacFarlane's favorites; whether or not these are the best is up for discussion, but they are funny.

 


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