Release date: December 27
Running Time: 45 mins
Year Made: 2010
Creator: Seth MacFarlane
Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green
While the second Family Guy Star Wars spoof, Something, Something, Something, Dark Side verged on expending all of the goodwill from the decent Blue Harvest, the animated sitcom’s interpretation of Return Of The Jedi practically runs it into the ground. The opening credits joke about the writers dragging out this one novelty idea into three extra-long instalments might be played for laughs, but the quality of It’s A Trap! implies that the Family Guy hive mind really did hit a wall when it came to extracting more humour out of George Lucas’s intergalactic carcass. This is uninspired stuff, and wouldn’t really suffice as a regular episode of the Fox comedy.
For those not in the know, these special double-length episodes of Family Guy retell the Star Wars saga with characters from the series filling the roles from the movie, such as Stewie Griffin as Darth Vader, Peter as Han Solo and so on. With this third instalment, however, the writers have found themselves running low on characters, meaning that other characters from the Seth MacFarlane house of animation (taken from shows like American Dad and The Cleveland Show) have been drafted in to fill the gaps.
This doesn’t really have a negative effect on the show – it’s the dearth of jokes that’s the problem. Some sequences, particularly around the Battle of Endor, just feel like Star Wars presented in animated form without any of the edge that Blue Harvest had. The first 20 minutes are better, particularly the drawn-out sequences of the characters nodding in preparation for the Sarlacc Pit fight or Emperor Palpatine planning the Death Star on a bar napkin. The last 25 minutes are generally a grind, though, apart from Chewbacca being savaged by bees and a bizarre-but-amusing reference to the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air theme tune. Plus, Family Guy’s tendency to use expletives (which jar with its earlier swear-free seasons) still feel like lazy ways to elicit laughs.
We know, talking about something funny in a straightforward way makes us sound like we just don’t get it – well, the truth is, Family Guy is usually examined in one of two ways. It’s either spat upon by pretentious critics or championed loudly by rambunctious buffoons during office tea breaks. The actual quality of the show justifies a bit of both; moments of genuine wit can be bookended by a lot of pointless filler, and It’s A Trap! represents Family Guy at its worst in that regard.