Original Air Date: Jan 13, 2013
Kym Caffrey – Senior Reviewer
It’s opening night at the local theater for “A Passing Fancy”, by Brian Griffin and the whole family has turned out to see it. Peter regales them with his high school theater experience – pooping in the pot as the plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” – before they all head in to sit down and watch. Brian is understandably nervous.
And Mayor West is his usual weird self – claiming his seat to take it home with him – just before the curtain rises…
The play is the story of success and it’s effect on the relationship of the lead characters. It gets a standing ovation and the reviews the next day call it “hilarious and insightful”. Brian is beside himself. Stewie decides he can write a play too – after all he was in HR with the Muppets and had to fire Beaker for making meth – so it can’t be that hard. He writes it in one night and asks Brian to read it but he’s just so busy, he’s not sure he has the time. Yeah, busy being the pompous ass you’d expect fame to turn him into. But he does finally read it that night after he gets home and is moved to tears by “An American Marriage”. He even calls it miraculous. Peter brings in his effort too, but all Brian gets out of that is the fart that was trapped inside. Brian calls his brother online for advice on what to do about the fact that Stewie’s overnight job is way better than his and Jasper tells him to just lie to Stewie and tell him it was awful, but even after his play was nominated for an award, he still hasn’t gotten around to saying anything and Stewie is forced to ask. Brian follows through on the lie and even goes so far as to tell Stewie he shouldn’t send it to the Roundabout Theater in New York and Stewie gives him the “Good Dog” award he made in appreciation for his “honesty” and friendship. Brian loves the award, but then gets distracted by the news that there’s only one copy of Stewie’s play. He sneaks into his room that night to steal it and finds a weird man there that Stewie apparently pays to watch hiim sleep. Where does he come up with that kind of money? The arrangement doesn’t cover protecting Stewie’s stuff though, so Brian is able to take the script. The following day, Stewie comes looking for his missing script and Brian plays dumb, but it was all an act. Stewie already found his script buried in the back yard and knows that Brian stole it. He tells him that he knew his play was better and that Brian’s was drivel. Brian runs off upset and chases down a squirrel. The squirrel is way to insightful though, so Brian has to kill it to keep it from telling anyone how pathetic he’s being.
Cut to a later performance of “A Passing Fancy” and Stewie has shown up to tell Brian that his play will be opening on Broadway – and that he’s stealing Brian’s lead actor for it. Ouch. It’s no wonder Brian’s reluctant to give Stewie the ride he needs to New York. At least until he finds out about the party being thrown in Stewie’s honor. Then he decides to go, just to be able to mingle with the elite of the theater world. He’s totally outclassed though as he listens to the other famous playwrights trash his local theater effort and ends up drinking outside on the steps like a wino. When Stewie finds, him he confesses that he was happy until he read Stewie’s play and discovered how brilliant he was. He just wishes, considering how much shorter dog’s lives are than people’s, that Stewie had waited a few more years to discover that particular brilliance. Stewie tells him that that sadness is where he should be writing from – that’s his voice. Apparently it was a very moving voice too. Moving enough that when “An American Marriage” finally opens, it sucks because he “mucked things up” trying to polish it. Yeah, right. He did it for Brian, and Brian knows it even though Stewie denies it. We all know it. Stewie’s never really as evil as he likes to pretend to be.
This episode was a bit personal for me. I’ve always connected with Brian’s frustration as a writer and to seem to have such great success only to have it completely dashed would have been equally devastating to me. I suspect he’s like me in that he’d like to be a great writer, like his idols, but secretly fears he’s nothing more than mediocre. At least he actually keeps writing though. Perhaps that’s what we should take to heart from this episode – that you should keep doing what you love, even if you aren’t going to be the best at it.