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Stew-Roids is the thirteenth episode of the seventh season of Family Guy, and the one hundred twenty-fourth episode overall.
The plot alluding to the title involes Stewie being injected with steroids and becoming a buff, mini-muscle man. Much of the rest of the episode centers on Connie D'Amico learning what it feels to walk in Meg's shoes when, after dating Chris, is shunned by the rest of the school when newly popular Chris breaks off the relationship.
The Swansons host a backyard barbecue, where Stewie and Joe's baby daughter, Susie, get into a fight over a Barbie doll. Susie gets the upper hand and easily beats Stewie up. To help Stewie get revenge, Peter takes his son to the gym to work out. Seeing Stewie struggle with the heavy equipment and dissatisfied at all the work it will take to become stronger, Peter asks a trainer for advice on how to help his son ... now. The trainer, with Peter's permission, injects Stewie with steroids. Stewie immediately turns into a buff, mini-muscleman and develops an aggressive personality. Lois is very angry with Peter, and Brian expresses his grave concern about the effects of steroids. But Stewie talks tough and begins asserting himself, bullying the dog around.
After a few days, Stewie wakes up and, to his horror, discovers that his arms are flabby. After Brian explains that the steroids have worn off, Stewie decides to jump out the window to commit suicide. However, Stewie discovers he has a newfound ability to fly, and — much like Rocky the Squirrel on The Bullwinkle Show, glides safely to the ground.
The plot inspiring the episode title, however, is the subplot to the main story, which centers on Connie D'Amico's latest attempt to get a boyfriend. When she is reminded that she has already dated all of the popular boys at school (and slept with many of them), she needs to expand her horizons and start dating "unpopular" boys. She and her friends decide that Chris — now somehow a student at James Woods Regional High School, after years of being a junior high student — would be the perfect candidate. Connie ends up asking Chris out, intending to make him popular before breaking up with him.
During their first date, Chris reveals that he really does like Connie. A shocked Connie is humbled at this revelation, and they decide to do more than just go to the school dance. Chris' popularity skyrockets at school, and the formerly awkward teen begins fitting in with the jocks and other popular students. Meg refuses to accept the relationship, while at a family dinner, Peter makes a fool out of himself as usual.
Later, Chris and Connie plan a house party at the Griffins, except that Meg is not invited. In fact, Chris becomes rude to his sister. As Lois tries (unsuccessfully) to console a despondent Meg, Chris really blossoms as a ladies man and begins kissing two girls on the couch. Connie becomes upset, but Chris brushes her aside as he and the two girls go upstairs to make out. Connie is trampled and knocked unconscious, and Peter rushes in to give her "aid" by lying on top of her, although it is apparent he wants to molest her (at this point, an agitated Peter breaks the fourth wall, staring into the camera and says, "Whatssa matter? It's a cartoon, OK?!"). On Monday at school, Chris shuns Connie once and for all.
Now the outcast, Connie is made to realize what it is like to be unpopular, shunned and bullied by her classmates. She turns to Meg for help, but Meg — remembering all the times where Connie was mean to her — flatly refuses ... at first. Then, after having a spear literally shot into her shoulder and enduring another of Chris' taunts, she decides that she needs to set aside her differences, at least temporarily, to give Chris his comeuppance. Working with Neil Goldman (another unpopular teen), the three publicly show a video of Chris dancing naked with lipstick and a silk cape. Chris immediately loses all of his new friends, and Connie's popularity is restored; even though she and Meg admit they will never be friends, the two now have a grudging respect for one another. Chris, meanwhile, apologizes to Meg for his behavior, and also eloquently relates his feelings of what it was like to be popular.
Wanting to get a word in edgewise, Stewie flatly declares, "I flew today!"
- Two characters reveal that members of their immediate family are deceased:
- Connie D'Amico, whose father died "four years ago" (i.e., when she was about 12 years old).
- Joe Swanson, whose son, Kevin, was killed in action while serving in Iraq. Kevin had rarely been seen or referred to since early in the series, and the writers (and series creator Seth MacFarlane) quietly dropped the character after being unable to develop his personality. Kevin's death would later be retconned, returning to Quahog in the Season 10 episode "Thanksgiving" (where it was revealed that he was actually missing in action, instead of killed).
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- "The Bullwinkle Show" — Stewie flying like Rocky and, upon landing, remarking, "Here's something we think you'll really enjoy," as well as the music cue, is taken from the 1959-early 1960s prime-time animated TV series.
- Family Ties — A gag pays homage to the 1980s-TV series starring Michael J. Fox. Actually, the joke centers on Peter complaining about a having to see a Jennifer-centered episode (because of the serious tone those episodes often took); Jennifer was played by Fox's co-star Tina Yothers.
- The Flintstones — A blackout gag, in the style of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, features Fred commenting about a previous scene.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin — Meg's remark about how she plans to make Chris "more of an outcast than a seagull at an Adam Sandler movie" is followed by a brief clip of The 35-Year-Old Bicycle Delivery Boy starring Sandler; a seagull is actually in the audience.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe — Stewie's holding up a barbell and remarking, "I have the power" (after becoming a buff mini-adonis) is much akin to He-Man's routine after transforming from mild-mannered alter-ego Prince Adam in the 1980s syndicated animated TV series. The scene fades to a commercial following a "He-Man" bumper.
- Johnson & Johnson — A gag makes fun of the hygene product manufacturer's slogan. Also in the same gag, the two lab technicians laugh like Beavis and Butt-Head.
- Lady and the Tramp and Michael Vick — The famous spaghetti-eating scene from the 1955 Disney movie is interrupted when, shortly after the dogs kiss and Lady blushes, disgraced NFL football player Michael Vick suddenly appears and dunks both dogs' heads into buckets of water.
- Silence of the Lambs — The song "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus, played during Chris' video (where he dances nude and wearing lipstick) parodies a similar scene in the 1991 movie starring Jodie Foster.
- Spike TV — Brian and Lois watch a TV bumper ad for a TV network called "Spike 2," a male-oriented network appealing to the lowest common denominator (e.g., farts, fast cars and fights). The segment itself is a spoof of the programming seen on the male-oriented Spike.
- "You're So Vain" — The buff Stewie changes the lyrics of the 1973 Carly Simon hit, singing about how "I've Got Veins."