Blue Harvest (Family Guy)

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"Blue Harvest"
Family Guy episode

The poster for "Blue Harvest".
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 1
Written by Alec Sulkin
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Guest stars Luke Adams
H. Jon Benjamin
Kirker Butler
Steve Callaghan
Chevy Chase
Beverly D'Angelo
Mick Hucknall
Rush Limbaugh
Helen Reddy
Alex Thomas
Don Tai
Judd Nelson
Production no. 5ACX16
Original airdate September 23, 2007
Season 6 episodes
Family Guy Season 6
September 23, 2007 – May 4, 2008
  1. Blue Harvest
  2. Movin' Out (Brian's Song)
  3. Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air
  4. Stewie Kills Lois (1)
  5. Lois Kills Stewie (2)
  6. Padre de Familia
  7. Peter's Daughter
  8. McStroke
  9. Back to the Woods
  10. Play It Again, Brian
  11. The Former Life of Brian
  12. Long John Peter
List of all Family Guy episodes
List of Family Guy episodes

"Blue Harvest" is an Emmy-nominated[1] hour-long premiere to the sixth season of the FOX series Family Guy. It originally aired on September 23, 2007.

The episode is a retelling and parody of the blockbuster film, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, recasting the show's characters into Star Wars roles.[2] For this purpose, and for the first time in the history of Family Guy, this episode runs an hour long with commercials (48 minutes for the DVD version). It was also made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise. The name "Blue Harvest" was the fake working title for the 1983 production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.


[edit] Production

At the 2007 Comic Con, a series of clips was shown at a panel for Family Guy from the season premiere episode, showing the Family Guy characters as Star Wars characters. The episode aired on September 23, 2007, with some slight changes from the clips shown at Comic Con. Parts of this episode were shown at Star Wars Celebration IV, at which Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, a Star Wars fan since childhood, was a special guest,[3] and again at Comic-Con International 2007[4] The episode was officially endorsed by Lucasfilm, especially George Lucas, who revealed in his conversation with MacFarlane that he has TiVoed every single episode of Family Guy without having to buy the DVDs and, in addition to Jackass, it's the only show he watches. MacFarlane had said they were extremely helpful when the Family Guy crew wanted to parody their works.[5]

Rush Limbaugh makes a cameo[6] as the Tatooine radio pundit and the voice of one of the X-wing pilots. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprise their roles from National Lampoon's Vacation as Clark and Ellen Griswold. Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and Helen Reddy also provide their own voices. In the DVD release, Judd Nelson reprises his role from The Breakfast Club as John Bender during the Rebels briefing.

[edit] Plot summary

While the Griffins are watching television one night, the power goes out and they are left sitting in the dark with no other form of entertainment. While they wait for the power to return, Peter decides to tell the story of Star Wars (starting with part four), where the characters from Family Guy are re-imagined as Star Wars characters.

An extremely expository opening crawl reveals several plot spoilers such as Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker's father and Princess Leia being his sister before trailing off to talk about Angelina Jolie and her movie Gia. Finally, a large Rebel ship is seen being captured by a Star Destroyer. On the ship are the droids C-3PO (Quagmire) and R2-D2 (Cleveland). While the ship is boarded by stormtroopers, Princess Leia (Lois) tries to send an MPEG to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert) through R2, but encounters so many complications that R2 offers to deliver the message himself. Leia is captured by Darth Vader (Stewie) while R2 and 3PO flee to Tatooine in an escape pod, where they are captured by Jawa traders.

The droids are sold to a family of moisture farmers and their nephew, Luke Skywalker (Chris), who wishes to join the Rebellion and fight the evil Empire, all the while enjoying John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra performing in the background. While cleaning the droids that night, Luke stumbles upon Leia's message inside R2, who escapes by the next morning. Luke and 3PO go out after him and meet Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert), who takes the three to his hut. Leia's message explains that R2 contains the plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star, which must be sent to her father on her home planet of Alderaan. Leia compels Obi-Wan's cooperation by referencing the "mess" that Obi-Wan got into with some children on Alderaan, a reference to Herbert being a pedophile. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must learn the ways of the Force and accompany him to Alderaan, and gives him his own lightsaber. Realizing that the Empire would be looking for the droids, Luke returns home to discover that his home has been destroyed and his aunt, uncle, John Williams, and the London Symphony Orchestra have all been killed by Imperial stormtroopers, though Luke is only concerned with Williams' death, since the film must now be scored by Danny Elfman, whom Luke beheads after hearing a few seconds of his music (regardless, the original score plays throughout the rest of the episode).

Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids travel to Mos Eisley in search of a ship and pilot to take them to Alderaan. At a local cantina, they meet and hire smuggler Han Solo (Peter), "the only actor whose career wasn't destroyed by this movie", and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (Brian), who agree to take them on their ship, the Millennium Falcon. The group is spotted by stormtroopers and flees into space, evading pursuing Star Destroyers with some flashy maneuvers (i.e., listing lazily to the left) before jumping into hyperspace. When they do make the hyperspace jump, the time vortex tunnel from the opening of the Tom Baker-era Doctor Who series is shown. Meanwhile, Leia is being held captive on the Death Star, where commanding officer Grand Moff Tarkin (Mayor West) has Alderaan destroyed to test the space station's "planet blower-upper gun."

The Millennium Falcon exits hyperspace into the middle of an Asteroid field where Alderaan once was. The ship is then captured by the nearby Death Star's tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay, assisted by valets. Disguising themselves as stormtroopers, Han and Luke set off to rescue the captive Princess while Obi-Wan leaves to shut off the tractor beam, but not before performing "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" with stormtroopers as a farewell to Luke. Han, Luke, and Chewie head deeper into the Death Star and rescue Leia, and the four dive into a nearby garbage chute to escape from the stormtroopers. Ending up in the garbage compactor (the only instance Meg appears, as the dianoga skulking in the murky water), they are nearly crushed until 3PO gets high off of the marijuana R2 gave him earlier and leans against the off switch. Before they escape, Han and Chewie insist on taking a couch they found in the garbage with them. Obi-Wan manages to turn off the tractor beam before he is confronted by Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel; in it, Obi-Wan's blade falls limp until he sees Luke, and it becomes erect. Vader strikes Obi-Wan down as the others board the Falcon and escape, taking their new couch with them.

Warding off a group of "TIE Fighters" sent to stop them, the Falcon journeys to the Rebel base at Yavin IV where the Death Star plans are analyzed by the Rebels and a weakness is found. The attack will require a pilot to skim along a trench in a one-man starfighter to attack a vulnerable exhaust port added for aesthetics (Vader had ordered it to be boarded up earlier, but delayed the process to "get estimates"); in addition, they watch an instructional video featuring Magic Johnson that explains the strategy. Luke joins the assault team while Han collects his reward for the rescue (a gift basket with rather meager prizes) and leaves, much to Luke's dismay. The attack proceeds as it does in the film; the Rebel fighters suffer heavy losses (including Redd Foxx), though Luke remains piloting one of the few remaining ships. During his run, Luke hears Obi-Wan's voice telling him to use the Force, and he turns off his targeting computer. Darth Vader appears with his own group of fighters and is about to fire at Luke's ship, when Han arrives in the Millennium Falcon (sitting comfortably with Chewbacca at his side on his new couch) and attacks Vader and his wingmen, sending Vader careening off into space. Guided by the Force, Luke fires a successful shot into the port which destroys the Death Star, and he returns to the Rebel base with his friends to celebrate their victory.

Back in the Family Guy universe, just after Peter wraps up the story, the power comes back on in their house. Everyone thanks Peter for keeping them entertained, though Chris points out that Robot Chicken already did the same thing three months before (Chris is voiced by Seth Green, creator of Robot Chicken). A discussion follows, in which Peter denigrates that show as Chris defends it. Chris finally leaves the room in frustration as Peter indifferently hums part of the Star Wars end credits music.

[edit] Cast

Several characters from the film have been re-imagined by Peter, appearing and/or behaving like Family Guy characters. Aside from a typical change of garments, some characters take on specific physical attributes that are distinct to the roles they play.

Family Guy character Star Wars character
Chris Griffin Luke Skywalker
Peter Griffin Han Solo
Lois Griffin Princess Leia
Stewie Griffin Darth Vader
Brian Griffin Chewbacca
Glenn Quagmire C-3PO
Cleveland Brown R2-D2
Herbert Obi-Wan Kenobi
Mayor Adam West Grand Moff Tarkin
Carter Pewterschmidt Uncle Owen
Barbara "Babs" Pewterschmidt Aunt Beru
Jake Tucker Repair Droid
Mort Goldman Jawa
Al Harrington Darth Harrington
The Evil Monkey Himself
Opie Tusken Raider
Bruce the Performance Artist Greedo
Tom Tucker Imperial newscaster
Diane Simmons Imperial newscaster1
Ollie Williams Imperial meteorologist1
Screaming Black Dolphins Mouse Droids
Fouad Imperial officer
Meg Griffin Dianoga
RJ Stormtrooper
Joe Swanson Biggs Darklighter

[edit] Cultural references

The episode's title comes from the code name used during the production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The production staff notes on the DVD commentary that, if they had known that the episode would lead to more Star Wars parodies, they would have saved the title "Blue Harvest" for a parody of Return of the Jedi.

According to Seth MacFarlane, the nature of this episode as being a parody is inspired by Mel Brooks.[7]

[edit] Reception

Reviews of this episode were generally positive. Critically, the Associated Press's Frazier Moore called it "a dead-on homage that hilariously picks apart Star Wars, along with much of real life".[8] Newsday's Diane Werts rendered a more mixed verdict, saying the episode "veer[s] wildly from bull's-eye satire to gotta-fill-time-now exposition", and was not as enjoyable for non-Star Wars fans.[9] Jon Caraminica of the Los Angeles Times felt it worked by playing to the show's strength, its cutaway gags, by being "almost entirely an aside". He wondered if the Robot Chicken conversation at the end was "a note of self-doubt, maybe, masking as self-awareness."[10] The Parents Television Council, a group that has frequently criticized Family Guy, criticized the episode for sexual dialogue that it perceived to be frequent in the episode, enough for the episode to have an "S" content descriptor for sexual content; the episode was rated TV-14-DLV on Fox.[11]

This episode has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour Or More),[1] but it lost to rival South Park's "Imaginationland".[12] It also won a Saturn Award for Best Presentation on Television.[13]

[edit] Sequels and DVD release

Special Edition DVD release.

With the episode's ratings success, a sequel episode entitled "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" is in production and is expected to parody The Empire Strikes Back.[14] In February 2009, it was announced that a table read for a Return of the Jedi parody was already done. It is tentatively titled "Episode VI: The Great Muppet Caper".

Fox Television has released a special DVD of "Blue Harvest" on January 15, 2008 in both regular and special editions. Extras include about four minutes of exclusive DVD material, an uncensored audio track, animatics and commentary by the Family Guy staff, interviews with Seth MacFarlane and George Lucas, a sneak preview to "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" and a table read of dialogue from the episode. In addition, the special edition release will come exclusively with collectible packaging, a 3-D battle scene and glasses, a themed T-shirt, Size XL, trading cards, and brochure which will contain a letter from the show's creator Seth McFarlane, script excerpts, pictures and so on.[14] An official website for the DVD has been made with DVD info, games, clips, behind the scenes and more.[15] In an interview with IGN, Seth MacFarlane says they are already done writing the sequel; Seth Green wrote one line of dialogue. Also, most copies of the DVD, excluding UK Versions, includes an iTunes digital version, which can be transferred to an iPod, iPhone, or AppleTV but not to other devices because of DRM. As of January 16, a day after the DVD's release, both Apple and Fox have received multiple complaints that the 'Fox Digital Copy' of "Blue Harvest" fails to transfer properly to iTunes. Apple seems to have resolved the issue.[16] Since it already has its own DVD release, this episode did not appear on the Volume 6 DVD box set.

The episode also saw release on UMD Format for the Sony PSP in the UK with a 12 rating by the BBFC.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b "The 60th Primetime Emmy® Awards and Creative Arts Emmy® Awards Nominees are...". The Internet Movie Database. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved on 2008-07-18. 
  2. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 29, 2007). "'Family Guy' meets 'Star Wars'". Variety. Retrieved on 2007-09-24. 
  3. ^ "The Force is With Family Guy". IGN. May 30, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-24. 
  4. ^ "Programming for Saturday July 28". Comic-Con. Retrieved on 2007-10-02. 
  5. ^ Burton, Bonnie (September 21, 2007). ""Family Guy" Creator Reveals Star Wars Cred". Retrieved on 2007-09-21. 
  6. ^ ", Friday, September 21, 2007". Retrieved on 2007-09-24. 
  7. ^ Seth MacFarlane on the new Family Guy season. YouTube (sourced from Knoxville, TN local media outlet). Retrieved on Mar. 28, 2009.
  8. ^ Moore, Frazier (September 23, 2007). "TV Lookout: Highlights for Sept. 23-29". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
  9. ^ Werts, Diane (September 21, 2007). "Fox's 'Family Guy' takes on 'Star Wars'". Newsday.,0,5416623.story. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
  10. ^ Caraminica, Jon (September 21, 2007). "Fox marks the return of 'Family Guy' and 'American Dad!'". Los Angeles Times.,1,4552170.story?coll=la-entnews-tv&ctrack=2&cset=true. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
  11. ^ Schulenberg, Caroline (2008-04-11). ""Family Guy" on Fox". So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?. Parents Television Council. Retrieved on 2008-04-11. 
  12. ^ "60th Primetime Emmy Awards". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2008-09-14. 
  13. ^ "Awards". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2008-07-24. 
  14. ^ a b "The Griffin Clan Spoofs the First Star Wars Movie — There are two 'easter eggs' on the main disc: Under the 'Features' menu where the dianoga's/Meg's head pops up there is the teaser trailer for 'Something, Something, Something, Darkside'. Under the 'Options' menu on the reactor there is the footage of the cast going over the script for the sequel (Empire) to Blue Harvest. Family Guy Presents: "Blue Harvest"". Forbes. November 5, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-11-08. [dead link]
  15. ^
  16. ^ "CanMag.Com". Blue Harvest Blows It. Retrieved on January 16 2008. 

[edit] External links

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