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Petarded

"Petarded" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the animated series Family Guy. Cloris Leachman guest stars as herself in a cutaway of Peter forcing her to juggle bean bags for him upon being purchased legally (even though she doesn't know how to juggle), and LeVar Burton, the host of Reading Rainbow and Geordi La Forge of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, voices Peter's social worker Vern.

The name is a portmanteau of “Peter” and “retarded,” but also contains the word “petard,” as in “to be hoisted by one’s own.”

Plot summary

The Griffins invite the neighbors over for game night. While they are playing Trivial Pursuit, Lois gives Peter the Pre-School Edition questions to, in her words, "let him have his moment". After winning the game, Peter is an insufferable boor and starts talking down to everyone. Brian can’t take it and challenges Peter to apply for the MacArthur Genius Grant to prove he is in fact a genius. When the test results come back, however, it turns out that Peter is actually mentally retarded.

Peter is depressed about this until he accidentally runs over Tom Tucker. Tucker is mad until he sees that it’s Peter, the "retarded fellow", who ran him over, and lets him go without calling the police. Peter realizes that being retarded means he can get away with all kinds of inappropriate behavior and he quickly takes advantage of his newfound power, in ways such as kicking doors open in the women's restroom.

Unfortunately, while trying to steal a deep-fryer from a fast-food restaurant, Peter drenches Lois with hot oil, burning her horribly. While she is in the hospital, Child Protective Services takes the children away (much to Stewie’s joy) because Peter is mentally unfit to be a parent. Cleveland takes custody of the Griffin children.

Brian tells Peter that he just has to show that he is a good parent. Peter thinks that the best way to do that is to show what a bad parent Cleveland is, so he brings prostitutes into Cleveland’s house. This doesn’t work, as the social worker sees through the plot. A heartfelt plea in trial the next day also fails and Peter avoids imprisonment only because the judge thinks of a place 'where Peter is away from normal people' but forgets the existence of the prisons and bangs the hammer letting Peter go. Only to remember it one second after banging the hammer when Peter tells: 'You were talking about the prison.'

Peter and Brian are at home lamenting the fact that the Griffins will never be a family again when Lois walks in. She is completely recovered (except for the fact that she will smell like French fries for six months, much to Peter's delight), and she gets the kids back.

Censorship

  • After Peter attempts to get guidance from Joe on what it’s like to be retarded (with Joe telling Peter that he’s physically handicapped, not mentally handicapped) on the TV version, there’s a cut to the scene where Peter and Lois are at a restaurant. On the DVD version, there is a musical sequence (parodying "The Telephone Hour" from the musical Bye Bye Birdie) where Joe calls Cleveland (and other characters such as Connie D’Amico, Diane from the local news, Quagmire, Death, Mort Goldman, and Herbert) singing about how Peter is mentally retarded.
  • Syndication edits in the United States:
    • After Lois tells Peter that he was born retarded, and didn't catch it, Peter's line, "Well, excuse me for being retarded!" is cut.
    • The scene where Peter tells Joe about how he's retarded (and of course, the song that follows) is cut.
    • Peter's line in Lois' hospital room, "This plan is so perfect, it's retarded" is cut.
    • Stewie asks one of the hookers, "So is there any tread left on the tires at all, or at this point, would it be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway?" In US syndication the later half is cut.

Cultural references

  • A musical scene where the characters are informing one another of Peter's retarded condition is a parody of the telephone scene from Bye Bye Birdie.
  • After Peter shoots Quagmire, he says “Relax, Quagmire, you’re doing better than Peter Weller from the opening scene of RoboCop.” Instead of predictably cutting-away to a recreation of the said scene, the show whip pans to Joe, Cleveland and Mort Goldman shooting the actor (who is dressed in his "Robocop" police uniform) by the stairs in the Griffin’s house.
  • In a flashback, Peter meets Timer, “the Cheese Guy,” a character who appeared in ABC’s 1970s public service announcements on nutrition He, somewhat ironically, is causing Peter to stay awake at 3:30 in the morning because he is singing his signature song, which he claims to be doing because he “just smoked a whole bunch of crack.”
  • The doctor shows Peter where his test results place him in terms of intelligence. His chart shows “Retarded” below “Average,” but above “Creationist.” The scene is a reference to a similar scene in Forrest Gump.
  • A cutaway parodies the 1985 movie Mask about disfigured California teenager Rocky Dennis.
  • Stewie asks Chris “Whatever happened to Geena Davis?” This episode aired a few months before Davis, the actress best known for several 1980s and 1990s films like The Fly, Beetlejuice, The Accidental Tourist and Thelma and Louise, resurfaced in the television series Commander in Chief. He also claimed that she didn't have a good "Tooth to Gum" ratio when she smiles.
  • A cutaway parodies recent iPod commercials, with Stewie dancing in silhouette. The song in the background is the 1984 hit “The Warrior (song)” by Scandal.
  • A voiceover counts the prostitutes Peter brings to Cleveland’s house. This is a parody of a Sesame Street segment.
  • One cutaway parodies the crime drama Jake and the Fatman, showing Jason “Fatman” McCabe as too sleepy and distracted by food to solve crimes.
  • The song that Lois’s tumor sings is to the tune of “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco, singing "I'm a tumor".
  • While Peter is defending himself in court, he lists off celebrities that have been exposed as unfit parents, specifically Bing Crosby (who, allegedly, beat his children) and Joan Crawford. He also mentions the Ramsey family "still got one left."
  • When Lois tells Brian that, "People had even worse days", it cuts away to a flashback dated August 6, 1945. When the Japanese man gets mud on his pants, he sees something falling. Instead of the Bomb that fell on that day, a Macaque falls and attacks him.

Reception

In his review of Family Guy, volume 3, Francis Rizzo III of DVD Talk wrote "[...] I will say there are some very good episodes in this set, starting with "Petarded," which sees Peter declared mentally retarded. The ways he takes advantage of this status is classic "Family Guy" material, while the musical montage here, involving phone calls all over town, is actually quite funny. Plus, the appearance of the Naked, Greased-Up Deaf Guy gave hope that the creators still had that sense of the bizarre in them." In a mixed review of the episode, Kim Voynar of TV Squad noted "[...] it just seemed to wrap up a little too quickly for me, like they ran out of time and were like, "Oops, let's wrap this up now". Other than that quibble, though, it was a fairly funny episode." In a TV Previews section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Marc McEvoy commented "Petarded" to be "a real thigh-slapper."

References

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