The fourteenth season finale of the long-running animated series Family Guy features Brian and Stewie in India. Created by Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy specialises in merciless satires of American culture. What happens when India and its holy cows become the target?
In the episode, Brian (voiced by MacFarlane) falls in love with tech support employee Padma, causing Stewie (also voiced by MacFarlane) to remark, “Amazing, one second of a stranger’s voice on a phone and you have gone full Bollywood.” And so they set off on a journey to India to meet Padma.
From the opening sequence, it is apparent where much of the humour is going to be drawn from. A sitar-heavy theme is set to images of Brian and Stewie in scenes from Life of Pi, Brian and Stewie playing in garbage and taking a rickshaw ride. The drawing style in this particular episode appears to be a tribute to Nina Paley’s lovely animated film Sita Sings the Blues.
The episode features clichéd jokes about overcrowded public transport (“I think I see a cab with less than nine people in it”) and funnier ones (Why did Wes Anderson come here to make his worst movie?” and “This is where The Beatles came to ruin their music.”)
As soon as Brian and Stewie take a train to Bangalore, they are accosted by people who are offended by Brian loudly proclaiming that he loves steak. They escape by pressing the “red buttons” on the men’s foreheads.
Before Brian can marry Padma, he must repay the dowry that her father was going to give the man she was supposed to marry. “Inspired by movies about India that always end up great” (a sly dig at Slumdog Millionaire), the pair heads to Kaun Banega Crorepati, hosted by a character voiced by Anil Kapoor. They lose because Brian, like Maria Sharapova, does not know who Sachin Tendulkar is. Next quiz question: which moment in 2016 made Seth MacFarlane a family name across India?