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Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (DVD Review)

17 Dec, 2009 By: John Latchem

Street 12/22/09
Animated Comedy
$22.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
Not Rated.
Voices of Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry.

When “Family Guy” decided to take on a practical shot-by-shot spoof of the original “Star Wars” two years ago, fans couldn’t have been more excited. After all, most viewers of “Family Guy” are in the same demographic audience as the guys who make the show: geeks who grew up addicted to “Star Wars.”

True enough, that first special spoof episode, Blue Harvest, was widely hailed as one of the best episodes “Family Guy” had ever done. So a follow-up was inevitable.

Something, Something, Something, Dark Side is a hilarious blow-by-blow parody of The Empire Strikes Back, with much of the same casting in place from the first spoof. I suspect that had the creators known they’d be making this second one when making the first, the Cleveland character would have been saved to play Lando instead of used to play a gangsta version of R2-D2. Instead, they use the show’s token Jewish stereotype as Lando, and he isn’t given much screen time here.

Otherwise, the episode covers all the bases an Empire Strikes Back parody should cover, and Seth MacFarlane and his team even throw in references to a few other movie franchises for good measure, such as “Rocky” and “Back to the Future.”

I’d say the effort is on par with Blue Harvest, but if it feels like it lacks the energy of the original, it’s only because the first installment seemed so fresh at the time, and the source material was a bit more iconic and made for a riper target.

The show looks great in HD, but the episode isn’t presented in widescreen, which is unfortunate. Luckily the package of extras more than makes up for any slight nitpicks.

A commentary with MacFarlane and other cast and crew members is a funny companion for a second viewing, and a tongue-in-cheek pop-up trivia mode makes a third viewing even better.

There aren’t any deleted scenes, but the disc does include a table read rehearsal of the first two-thirds of the episode, featuring an early draft of the script containing many unused gags.

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