Family Guy/The Courtship of Stewie's Father

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The Courtship of Stewie's Father
Season 4, Episode 16
Airdate November 20, 2005
Written by Kirker Butler
Directed by Kurt Dumas
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The Courtship of Stewie's Father is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of Family Guy, and the sixty-sixth episode overall.

The main plot involves Peter trying to bond with Stewie in an attempt to ward off his increasingly aggressive behavior toward Lois. In the subplot, Chris breaks one of the windows of Herbert's house during a game of streetball, and when he is assigned chores to pay for the damage, the elderly pedophile tries to take full advantage of the situation.

Guest Stars: John Viener (Joe), Phil LaMarr (Various), Adam West (Mayor Adam West), Mike Henry (Various), Jennifer Jean Snyder (Penelope Cruz), Mo Collins (Ms. Hobson), Carrie Fisher (Angela), Fred Tatasciore (Michael Eisner)


Plot Overview

At work, Peter is frustrated over his job, failing to realize that his constant goofing off is the reason behind why he is not being honored at work; all he can do is complain that an employee who is mentally challenged is the one being named "Employee of the Month." Eventually, Opie is promoted and is replaced by the new Employee of the Month — Soundwave of the Transformers!

As that is going on, Peter is also annoyed with his family life, Stewie and Lois in particular. He fails to notice that Stewie has stepped up his efforts to kill Lois, and is trying to do so by particularly violent means. Later, Lois is called to Stewie's preschool, where the teacher shows her pictures he has drawn of killing her. Lois fails to notice the obvious and that Stewie needs immediate counseling, and sees only that Peter is not included in any of the pictures. Lois suggests to Peter that the two spend more time together, and Peter reluctantly agrees.

Father and son are unable to hit it off, but one day in the kitchen, Lois asks Peter for help in getting a box from a high shelf in the cupboard. The box slips from Peter's hand and it hits a nearby Lois in the head. Stewie, who is watching nearby, laughs hysterically. Peter, realizing that Stewie enjoys seeing his mother get hurt and that this could be the break he needs to bond with Stewie, picks up on this and begins throwing larger objects at Lois, stunning her by hurling a large pickle jar at her.

After hurting Lois in various ways, their most outrageous act comes when Peter ties up Lois and throws her in the cargo area of the station wagon, before driving it to the marina and letting the car roll into the river, the father and son yukking it up the whole way. Days later, a very angry Lois returns home and confronts Peter. When Peter tries to defend his actions, Stewie kicks at Lois; Lois has enough and punishes Stewie by sending him to his room. Peter finally realizes the seriousness of his actions and does not stand up to Lois, making Stewie feel betrayed.

To make amends with Stewie, Peter offers to take his young son on a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The two have a fun time. However, Peter loses Stewie, who has been kidnapped by Disney World employees who use children as slave labor for their attractions. Stewie is placed at the Small World attraction inside the Magic Kingdom. After a frantic search, Peter finds Stewie and rescues him, but the pair are pursued by security guards. Peter (as Indiana Jones) and Stewie (as Short Round) run off and are able to elude their pursuers in a Temple of Doom-style chase. After a brief encounter with Michael Eisner, the two return home, Peter and Stewie now having formed an appropriate bond.


Chris and the neighbor boys are playing streetball when Chris hits a long, line drive ... into the window of one of the nearby houses. Uh-oh, the window was on Herbert's house. Herbert, moping around the house, perks up when he sees the ball and realizes that young teen-aged boys are playing outside.

When Herbert comes over to the Griffins to report the damage, Lois makes Chris do chores at Herbert's house to pay for the damage ... which is exactly to Herbert's delight. Herbert makes a few token attempts to seduce Chris, but doesn't quite succeed.

Eventually, Chris and Herbert go to dinner at a fancy restaurant. After a photo is taken of the two at their table, the scene dissolves into Herbert singing "Somewhere That's Green" (adapted from the 1986 film-adaption Little Shop of Horrors), as an attempt to cast himself as a sympathetic character of an elderly man who, having never had a meaningful relationship — indeed, little is known about his past — is finally on the cusp of one with Chris. The song includes Herbert envisioning himself as a woman and having a family life with Chris as "her" partner. Herbert falls asleep at the table just after the song concludes.

Nothing more is made of the Chris-Herbert relationship in this episode, except that it is established in the final scene that Chris is no longer working for him. This perhaps implies one of two things: 1. Chris had repaid the debt; or 2. Peter and Lois became concerned over Herbert's over-fondness for Chris. In any event, Herbert and his dog are at home alone, watching TV when he tunes into an ESPN broadcast of the Little League World Series. Herbert replies with an excited "Jackpot!"


Arc Advancement





The Show

  • The Parents Television Council gave this episode a thoroughly negative review, specifically condemning a gag where God — as He has in several Family Guy episodes — is depicted as a dirty old man having sex with a prostitute. When Lois scolds Peter about a prank in which she was nearly killed, the scene changes to one with an angry, adolescent Jesus arguing with Joseph; after he tells Joseph, "You're not my real father!" he phones God, who is in bed with a woman named Janet; Janet hands God a condom, to which "He" muses, "But it's my birthday! The PTC had also condemned the main plot for its comic portrayal of spousal abuse and the Chris-Herbert subplot.[1]

Behind the Scenes

  • The Herbert storyline, as it aired on FOX, shows a few token attempts by Herbert to come on to Chris. The intended version, according to the Season 4 DVD commentary on the episode, showed increasing efforts for Herbert to molest the unwary Chris. Most of this story was revised after censors were nervous about the original, intended version. Indeed, as aired, the subplot's ending -- Chris taking Herbert to dinner at a black-tie restaurant -- can be interpreted as an act of kindness.

Allusions and References

  • The Courtship of Eddie's Father: A 1963 movie that spawned a 1969 TV show.
  • Little Shop of Horrors : A movie and play that tells the story of a florist's assistant named Seymour Krelboyne who creates a mysterious plant in order to keep himself from being fired. The dream sequence that occurs with Herbert and Chris is an almost exact replica of a scene in the play where the character of Audrey sings the piece "Somewhere That's Green," composed by Alan Menken
  • The Bridges of Madison County: A movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller. It tells the story of a lonely war bride who has an affair with a National Geographic photographer who has travelled to Madison County (Iowa) in order to create a photographic montage of the bridges in the area. The scene following Stewie's exclamation of his life's ambition of taking pictures of Madison County is based from the movie.
  • What's Happening!! :An American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979. The premise of the show was following the antics of three African-American teenagers living in the Watts district of Los Angeles. When Peter asks Stewie "Why are you dressed like Rerun?," he is referring to the outfit of Freddy "Rerun" Stubbs, one of the characters on the show who was always portrayed wearing his signature overalls and hat, which Stewie is coincidentally wearing.

Memorable Moments