Family Guy/Fat Guy Strangler
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Fat Guy Strangler is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Family Guy, and the sixty-seventh episode overall.
This episode establishes Patrick Pewterschmidt as Lois' mentally ill brother, who was unseen and not referrred to before this point. Patrick had been secured at a local mental institution ever since seeing his mother seduced. The plot revolves around Lois' efforts to free her brother, and the consequences that unfold when Peter unwittingly triggers Patrick's hatred for obese men.
Meanwhile, upset over being told that he is overweight and needs to make major lifestyle changes, Peter stars up a group to address the needs and desires of "fat people," with his group playing a major role in Patrick's eventual hostilities towards overweight men.
Guest Stars: Chris Sheridan (Half-Dead Fat Guy), Ralph Garman (Fat Guy), Lori Alan (Diane), John Viener (Bob Barker), Danny Smith (Various), Patrick Warburton (Joe), Mike Henry (Various), Dave Boat (Hand #1), Margaret Easley (Hand #2), Alec Sulkin (Caveman #3), Alex Breckenridge (Cybill Shepard), Tim O'Rourke (Fat Guy), Will Sasso (Todd), Bobby McFerrin (Caveman #2), Robert Downey, Jr. (Patrick Pewterschmidt)
Peter ignores Lois' pleas to have his annual physical examination, instead going to dinner with his buddies. An irate Lois finds out and sends him immedaitely to Dr. Hartman, who reveals that Peter is fat needs to seriously change his lifestyle if he wants to live. Peter takes the news badly and pouts that he doesn't want to change. Later, he knocks over an old family picture, and when Lois picks it up, she notices another child in the photograph. She realizes it may be a long-lost brother, but is unable to get answers from Carter when he refuses to answer her questions. Intent on finding the truth, Lois breaks into her parents' house and discovers that she indeed has a brother, Patrick, who is secured in a mental hospital.
Unaware (or perhaps ignorant) of the reasons why he was institutionalized, Lois authorizes his release behind her parents' back and arranges for Patrick to stay with the family. (In a backstory, Patrick reveals that, when he was a child, he had suffered severe emotional trauma when he walked in on his mother having a sexual affair with a man, whom Patrick identifies as Jackie Gleason, dressed as and behaving like Ralph Kramden (of The Honeymooners); the man orders Patrick out of the room. This incident had prompted his parents to institutionalize him, where he remained until his release.)
Patrick's mental instability soon becomes apparent when he announces he has a wife, Marion (who is imaginary and no one else can see her). Brian and Stewie begin making jokes about the mentally ill when Patrick is out of the room, including a particularly cruel "cucumber" joke. Meanwhile, Lois continues to ignore the fact that Patrick is mentally unstable and needs intensive psychiatric counseling regarding his childhood trauma.
Naturally, this is because she's busy dealing with Peter's latest whim. In response to his refusal to heed Dr. Hartman's advice, and at the same time ignoring Lois' pleas to not encourage people to be fat, Peter charters a "National Association for the Advancement of Fat People (NAAFP)," a group that recognizes overweight people and their accomplishments, gives members self-esteem and addresses perceived unfair bias by others. This comes after Peter studies his family tree and concludes that several of his ancestors were overweight.
Later that night, Peter unintentionally traumatizes Patrick later by dressing up like Ralph Kramden and repeatedly uses the catchphrase, "Pow, right in the kisser!" This triggers Patrick's memories of seeing Barbara being seduced by "Gleason" and then being told to "get out." Patrick decides the best way to cope with this is to kill fat men.
Peter brushes this off as he prepares for the first NAAFP meeting — which doesn't go very well due to excessive grunting, farting and eating of junk food. Carter then calls, warning Lois that Patrick may be a danger to the community. Just then, Quahog 5 News airs a story about the killing of a fat man by an unknown suspect. Lois becomes concerned for Patrick's well-being since he had disappeared at about the time of the victim's death, but remains in denial about her brother's possible involvement as more homicides are reported and that the same suspect may be responsible. Brian is unsuccessful in convincing Lois that Patrick may be a killer and a danger to others (and possibly himself).
Peter brings a group of overweight men to his home to protect them from the killer-at-large, but Brian is able to persuade Peter that Patrick is the killer. As Peter initiates a chase to capture Patrick, Brian finally makes Lois realize the truth about her brother by showing her his room, where inside are the corpse of a dead man and another who is half-conscious and had been left for dead. Eventually, Lois realizes her brother is a danger to the community and joins in the pursuit. Patrick is tracked into the woods, where he corners Peter and begins to strangle him. Lois catches up to them and convinces Patrick that she is going to "stab Marion"; Patrick releases Peter and realizes he needs to return to the mental instution. However, Lois and the others promise to visit once a month.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- The Boston Strangler — The episode title is a play on the name attributed to the murderer(s) of several women in Boston, Massachusetts, during the early-to-mid 1960s.
- The Honeymooners — Several scenes make allusions to the classic 1950s situation comedy, including a Jackie Gleason lookalike dressing as Ralph Kramden (the show's main protagonist) and his use of the "Pow! Right in the kisser!" catchphrase.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — Peter's newly chartered group is named the National Association for the Advancement of Fat People. Like the NAACP, its major goal was to address real and perceived unfair bias of a minority group (in Peter's case, people who were either overweight or obese).
- The Price is Right — Lois watches the long-running CBS game show. Here, a One-Bid segment is screened, featuring one contestant employ a frequent trick of bidding $1 higher than the previous bid; this time, the other contestant lets his displeasure be known with a profanity-laced tirade.
- "To Love and Die in Dixie" — At one point in the episode, Brian throws a rock at Peter's head and shouting "that's for rolling up the windows when I tried to jump in to the The General Lee," a reference to a scene from the episode in the series' third season.
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