Usual spoiler warnings apply. I’m not the biggest fan of Hannah Montana, so I’m going to avoid making jokes at her expense.
I apprehensively sat down to watch a recent Family Guy episode last night, the slightly appropriately titled ‘Hannah Banana’. The problem with that title is that it is obviously supposed to rhyme, as it does. If you pronounce it with an American accent. However, to those of us who pronounce it ‘Hannah banarna’, it doesn’t work. Maybe it was the lemonade or my tiredness, but I found myself laughing quite a bit. The plot itself felt tired and clichéd, but the jokes were actually pretty funny.
The tired cliché that passes for a plot is as follows: Chris attempts to prove to his disbelieving family that the evil monkey in his closet actually exists, while Family Guy proves to be a late addition to the ‘mocking Hannah Montana’ bandwagon, with a subplot that intersects with the main Peter-Chris one of Stewie & Brian meeting Hannah Montana. It was one of the least surprising twists in history that she turned out to be an android, but it works. It allowed for a nice reference to King Kong, while at the same time turning it on its head with the ‘woman’ taking the small ape up the skyscraper. Peter shows himself to be his usual tosser self when he ignores his son’s homework needs, then gets into an argument with him when the monkey (of all people/simians) helps him with his work. What really grates about this is that nobody called him out on how much of an absolute bastard he was being to his kid. Not even his wife.
The Evil Monkey finds himself being less evil in this episode, due to the need for Chris to have a potential replacement father figure to take over from Peter, even though everybody knows that’s never going to happen. It’s the typical family sitcom situation, which is what Family Guy is when you come down to it. A ruder, topical version of The Simpsons.
Their true views on Hannah Montana are given one line in the show, in which the show and the music are called awful (by the monkey, who you think would be tone deaf). It’s nice to see that Family Guy has no need for the ‘the opinions of the characters within the show do not reflect those of the producers’ disclaimer. Because other than a ruder version of The Simpsons, that is essentially what Family Guy is. A platform for the producers’ opinions, and boy do they have opinions. Opinions and old footage of Conway Twitty, but let’s not go there.
This episode was good because they picked an easy subject to mock, as anyone who’s not the target audience could probably find something to mock in Hannah Montana. It was also good because they kept to writing actual jokes that were funny, not airing political opinions about recent events. I liked this one, and it felt like a return to form for Family Guy. By some peoples’ standards, maybe not as good as the early seasons, but there is a seemingly inevitable decay in the quality of animated shows the longer they last. So for anyone interested in Family Guy or who has seen most of them before, I’d definitely say check this one out.