Family Guy/Father, Son and Holy Fonz
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Father, Son and Holy Fonz is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Family Guy, and the sixty-eighth episode overall.
The episode focuses on Peter's attempts to form his "own" religion — based on the classic situation comedy Happy Days — after frustrated by his Francis' constant attempts to push his religious beliefs (Catholicism) on the family.
Also Starring: Paula Abdul (Herself), Lori Alan (Diane Simmons), Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), Gary Cole, Chris Cox, Charles Durning (Francis Griffin), Sherman Hemsley (Himself), Mike Henry (Cleveland Brown), Phil LaMarr, Sherry Romito (Joanie Cunningham), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Chris Sheridan (Fish/Judge/Man), Danny Smith, Amir Talai, Fred Tatasciore, Sarah Utterback, John Viener (Mr. Cates/TV Announcer), Wally Wingert
Francis Griffin arrives at the Griffins for a visit, and upon noticing the family has been neglecting Stewie's religious training, he demands that he be baptized and raised as a Catholic. However, Lois insists that Stewie will be baptized when she is ready and declines. When Francis brings Stewie to a nearby church and learns the water is unsuitable for baptism (much less human consumption), an impatient and irritated Francis baptizes his grandson himself. Stewie immediately becomes ill and needs to be quarantined. Later, Lois is outraged to learn Stewie was baptized without her consent and that Peter allowed it to happen. She gives Peter an ultimatum to stand up to his overbearing father, or else.
Peter, who was raised Catholic, takes Lois' advice the wrong way. He attempts to convert to various religions — including Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hinduism, all with failed results. He shuns Mormonism when he learns that they do not drink alcohol; an attempt to convert a neighbor to a Jehovah's Witness fails, and he sexually tackles a Hindu worship leader after misinterpreting a red dot on the leader's head as a laser spot from a sniper rifle. A frustrated Peter, while watching an episode of Happy Days, finds inspiration and decides to start his own religion based on the classic television situation comedy. He purchases an old barn and renovates it into his church, called "The First United Church of the Fonz." The church's mass style is similar to Christianity, except for the substitution of Happy Days characters and situations in its sacred texts.
Lois is surprised and Brian troubled that many people turn out for the founding service. (Some had come of curiousity or to support the new "religion," while others were seeking guidance and answers of their own.) Brian scoffs at the idea of Peter being a religious leader and spewing what he considers propoganda to a perceived naive populace that is unable to think for themselves. In order to derail Peter's new "religion," Brian decides to put aside his religious differences with Francis to expose The First United Church of the Fonz as a farce and a fraud. They do exactly that when they recruit Sherman Hemsley (of The Jeffersons), Gavin MacLeod (of The Love Boat) and Kirk Cameron (of Growing Pains) to draw people away from Peter's church. The plan works, and Peter mopes around at his apparent failed religion, but Lois comforts Peter by telling him that if his church embraced the morals and values of friendship embraced by The Fonz, it is worthwhile. In the end, Francis is seen looking at a picture of the Fonz, placing it on a table and praying, clapping to the beat of the seminal rock hit "Rock Around the Clock".
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- All in the Family — The driver of the episode's plot — Francis' determination to baptize Stewie against his family's will — is inspired by the plot idea of "Joey's Baptism," an episode of the classic 1971-1979 situation comedy.
- Happy Days — Much of the plot focuses on Peter's new religion based on the classic ABC situation comedy, set in the 1950s. The "religion" itself uses surface elements of Christianity, but with Happy Days characters and episode storylines replacing those from the Bible. The main deity in this new religion is The Fonz, the show's main character.
- Other situation comedies — Other "religions" which drew their inspiration from classic television situation comedies and dramas included:
- Growing Pains — A 1980s situation comedy featuring Kirk Cameron as the series' oldest teen-aged son, Mike. Unlike Sherman Hemsley and Gavin MacLeod (who reprised their characters as the lead dieties of their new "religions," Cameron does not voice his animated likeness.
- The Jeffersons — A spin-off of All in the Family, starring Sherman Hemsley in the lead role of George Jefferson, a loud-mouthed, opinionated African American owner of a dry-cleaning franchise.
- The Love Boat — The comedy/drama anthology series starring Gavin McLeod, set aboard a cruise ship.