"Death Is a Bitch"
is an episode from the FOX animated series Family Guy
. It is the 13th episode of Family Guy
to be aired. It was produced for season one, but aired in season two. Norm Macdonald
guest stars as Death. The title is a play on the saying "life's a bitch".
finds a lump on Peter
's chest and worries that the lump could mean cancer
, prompting Peter to see a doctor. Before his medical test results come in, Peter treats the time he has as if he were dying, setting up a yard sale for life insurance and even trying to buy himself a casket. When the results do come, the lump is revealed to be a benign fatty corpuscle
. Peter decides to take a new outlook on life, but does not want to pay the hospital bill, so he declares himself deceased on the insurance
While the family celebrates the good news, Death shows up at his house to collect Peter. Despite Lois' protests, Death manages to get Peter to come with him. After a tearful farewell (with the exception of Stewie), Peter leaves with Death, but not before trying to make one last getaway. Death pursues him, just before killing Peter with his finger, badly sprains his ankle in the chase.
Lois suggests that Death should stay at their house while his ankle heals so that she can persuade him to spare Peter. Death warns Peter to say nothing about the fact that no one can die while he is injured, but Peter instead blabs about it to his friends at The Drunken Clam. He bets his friends that he can jump from One Financial Plaza building, and live (Peter made $2,000); drink over 300 beers without dying, and make fun of the toughest people at the bar without dying. The men get annoyed by Peter and shoot him several times, but Peter doesn't die. Soon, one of their bullets hit Cleveland and one of them shoot themselves. All the bar patrons start shooting each other, and laugh upon discovering that they're still alive.
Stewie tries to kill Lois and he would have succeeded if the rules of Death applied; he realizes he needs to get Death healthy. As soon as Lois manages to convince Death to keep Peter alive, the fact that no one can die becomes top news.
Death is outraged but, instead of punishing Peter by killing him (having decided to make good on his promise to Lois), allows Peter to redeem himself by having him take over his job in order to prove to people they can still die. Peter is charged with killing the kids from Dawson's Creek who are on a crowded passenger plane. He fails to do so because he says "If I do, then I have nothing to watch on Wednesdays...other than the fine programs on FOX". Instead, Peter unwittingly kills two airplane pilots, proving people are not immortal, and forcing actress Karen Black to land the plane. The Griffins and Death part on good terms, though the family is greatly troubled as before Death leaves, he says "I'll be back. Really, really soon". The family is left to ponder if he was serious or not.
- Edits made in syndication:
- *Death's flashback of his days as a teenager, where he is having sex with a girl named Sandy in a car and accidentally kills her and says "I'm gonna be a virgin forever..." is cut short to remove his line "...or am I?" followed by his continuing to have sex with her dead body.
- *The entire scene of Death playing Life, and his complaints of the TV being old enough to get the DuMont Network, the hot cocoa tasting like crap, and asking Meg for Entertainment Weekly is cut, instead going straight to the scene where Stewie tries to kill Lois, but fails when he realizes that with Death injured, the rules of death no longer apply.
- *When Death tells Lois that she owes him for letting Peter live, she unbuttons her shirt slowly, thinking he wants sex, to her belly before he stops her. In syndication, Death stops her before her belly can be seen.
- *The news report about people hurting themselves and not dying now that Death's ankle is twisted is edited to remove Diane and Tom violently demonstrating how they can hurt themselves without dying (Tom slamming Diane's head on the desk, Diane swinging a sledgehammer at Tom's head, and Tom revving up a chainsaw to use on Diane).
- *The Dawson's Creek cutaway ends after Ms. Jacobs says to Pacey "You mean to say, 'I make love well'", removing her line "You're good to go again, right?"
- *When Peter tells Death that if the kids from Dawson's Creek die, he'll have nothing to watch on Wednesdays, his following line, with his eyes widened as he slowly focuses his eyes toward the screen, "...other than the fine programs on FOX" and then chuckles (breaking the fourth wall, is cut.
- *After Death trips and hurts his ankle chasing Peter, his "Damn Irish" line is cut.
- *One FOX reairing of this episode edits the 60 Minutes After Dark cutaway to remove Lesley Stahl's line, "One of you is hung like an elf."
- The European version of this episode edits out the entire "Hitler" talk show cutaway.
- 60 Minutes After Dark, a show Peter and Lois watch, is a combination of the news show 60 Minutes and the raunchy variety show Playboy After Dark
- When Peter asks Death "Who are you?" he answers "I'm Calista Flockhart", referring to the actress' thin and bony frame.
- Stewie says that his last helping of white meat was "dryer than Oscar Wilde", referring to the Irish writer's sense of humor.
- When Death eats an entire turkey leg in one bite, he attributes the ability to "some films I'm not particularly proud of" he appeared in. This is a reference to the act of deep throating in pornographic films.
- Death's remark to Peter "Look, I caught Flo-Jo, you don't think I can catch you?" is a reference to the untimely death of runner Florence Griffith-Joyner.
- When Death decides to stay with the Griffins, Peter objects saying "How are we supposed to explain you to Mr. Roper?" referencing the original landlord, played by Norman Fell, from the sitcom Three's Company.
- There are numerous references to Norm MacDonald's movie Dirty Work. Stewie talks into a tape recorder like Norm's character does in the movie. Later, Peter explains he's not going to do Death's "Dirty Work". When Peter is posing as Death, he makes a "Note to self" like Norm does throughout the movie into the tape recorder.
- The Asian man dual-wielding pistols in the bar shoot out is a reference to John Woo's crime films.
- As Peter looks at the passengers on the airplane, the woman bouncing a baby looks very similar to Cleveland's new wife on The Cleveland Show. The baby might be her son Rilo.
- As Peter looks at the cast of Dawson's Creek, the show's theme song "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole plays.
- Actress Karen Black successfully lands the plane, as her character did in the film Airport 1975. Newscaster Tom Tucker calls it "an obscure reference". He also mentions her other films Five Easy Pieces and Nashville.
- Stewie uses a tricycle to push Lois down a flight of stairs, a reference to the 1976 thriller The Omen.
- This episode marks the first appearance of two recurring characters; Dr. Elmer Hartman, who would be the recurring doctor in the series (and was markedly more incompetent early on), and Death, who would be played in all his later appearances by Adam Carolla. Hartman is based on Seth MacFarlane's friend Butch Hartman who is also the creator of The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.
- Callaghan, Steve. "Death Is a Bitch". Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide Seasons 1–3. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 60–64.
- Delarte, Alonso. "Nitpicking Family Guy: Season 2". Bob's Poetry Magazine May 2005: 12–13. http://bobspoetry.com/Bobs02My.pdf