"The Son Also Draws" is the sixth episode of the first season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on May 9, 1999. The episode follows Chris as he is ejected from the Youth Scouts, and his father Peter drives the family to Scout headquarters to get him readmitted. During a rest stop at a Native American casino, Lois gambles away the family car, and Peter pretends to be a member of the tribe in an attempt to get it back. When he is sent on a vision quest to prove his heritage Chris accompanies him to explain that he does not like the Scouts, and prefers drawing. Delirious from hunger, Peter has a vision of his spiritual guide Fonzie and on his advice finally listens to Chris. Reconciled, the pair return to the casino and reclaim the car.
"The Son Also Draws" was written by Ricky Blitt and directed by Neil Affleck, both working on their first Family Guy episode. The episode guest starred actors Suzie Plakson, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Tatasciore and Wally Wingert. Recurring guest voice actors included writer and animator Butch Hartman and actor Patrick Bristow. Much of the episode's humor is structured around cutaway sequences that parody popular culture, including references to Happy Days, Nova, One Day at a Time, and The More You Know. It was rated TV-14 for suggestive dialogue (D) and coarse language (L).
Critical reception for the episode was positive; certain critics believed the episode was not an "instant classic" in contrast to the other episodes of the season but called it "memorable" and "brilliant" nevertheless, while others regarded it as the black sheep of the season. The episode caused controversy in Canada for the episode's final gag, in which Peter states that "Canada sucks."
Chris Griffin, the family's teenage son, hates being in the "Youth Scouts" (Family Guys version of the Boy Scouts) and wants to quit, but is afraid to tell his father Peter. Chris is finally kicked out when he runs over the troop leader (who looks a bit identical to Butt-head of Beavis and Butt-head fame) during a Soap Box Derby. Peter insists on driving Chris and the rest of the family (Peter's wife Lois, their daughter Meg and their infant Stewie) to the Youth Scout headquarters, in Manhattan, to get Chris readmitted. While they are gone, their talking dog Brian is unable to switch the TV channel or turn the TV off, and his intelligence drops sharply after watching daytime programming.
The family stops at a Native American casino as Peter needs to use the bathroom, Lois quickly becomes addicted to gambling and loses the family car. After hearing that Lois has gambled the car away, Peter tries to get it back by claiming to be Native American. The doubtful Indian elders demand that he go on a vision quest to prove his heritage. Chris accompanies Peter into the wilderness, hoping to tell him that he only wants to draw instead of being in the Scouts. Delirious from hunger, Peter begins talking to anthropomorphic trees and sees a vision of his spiritual guide, Fonzie. After hearing Fonzie's advice Peter finally listens to Chris's complaints and realizes his son is a talented artist. They return to the casino and reclaim their car. The episode ends with Lois, Stewie, and Meg counteracting stereotypes about Native Americans, Mexicans, and Swedes, respectively, before Peter comments that "Canada sucks."
Alex Borstein helped in the writing of the episode. "The Son Also Draws" was written by Ricky Blitt, his first episode in the Family Guy series, and directed by former Simpsons director Neil Affleck, also in his first Family Guy episode. Peter Shin and Roy Allen Smith, who have since supervised other episodes of Family Guy, both acted as supervising directors on this episode. Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois, helped write this episode, making her the first female member in the Family Guy writing staff; show creator Seth MacFarlane mentioned that her input on the character of Lois was particularly helpful. Andrew Gormley and voice actor Mike Henry acted as staff writers for this episode, while Ricky Blitt, Neil Goldman and Chris Sheridan worked as the story editors. The subplot of "The Son Also Draws" that involved Lois losing the car was based on the 1985 comedy film Lost in America. The part where Peter pretends to be an Indian to get the family car back was inspired by real-life instances of people who were "1/64th" Native American receiving money from wealthy casino tribes.
In addition to the regular cast, "The Son Also Draws" featured the voices of actors Suzie Plakson, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Tatasciore and Wally Wingert. Recurring guest voice actors included writer and animator Butch Hartman and actor Patrick Bristow.
Like other Family Guy episodes, "The Son Also Draws" features multiple references to popular culture. The television show the family is watching near the beginning of the show is an episode from the 1974 ABC sitcom Happy Days. When the rest of the family is gone on the trip to Manhattan, Brian watches an episode of Nova, which is interrupted by a PBS announcement that they will be showing various episodes of One Day at a Time. Speed and Pops from Speed Racer make an appearance at the Soap Box Derby starting line and again when the Griffins prepare to leave for Manhattan. When Peter has to search for his spiritual guide, it turns out to be Fonzie from Happy Days. The end of the episode features a parody of the The More You Know series of public service announcements.
Reviews for "The Son Also Draws" were mixed to favorable. In his 2008 review, Ahsan Haque of IGN rated the episode an 8/10, stating that while the episode is not an "instant classic", it is "still quite strong" and has "more than a few clever moments". He also notes that the cutaways are "kept to a minimum", and much of the humor comes from the storyline. He commented that the episode did not have as much laugh-out-loud moments as other episodes, but stated that it had bolder humor than the show would later be known for. In his review of the first volume DVD collection of Family Guy, Aaron Beierle of DVD Talk listed "The Son Also Draws" as one of the series' "most brilliant moments", praising the spiritual vision sequence and naming the conversation between Peter and Brian among the best moments of the series, calling the conversation "rolling-on-the-floor funny."
Robin Pierson of The TV Critic, however, was far more hostile towards the episode, giving it the lowest rating of the season, a 44 out of 100. Pierson believed the episode was "very poor" and called the storyline "lame" and "unfocussed ," with "a bunch of jokes to match." The gag at the end of the episode, in which Peter states that "Canada sucks", inspired anger from Canadian viewers of the show, which lead them to send letters to the show's producers. Ricky Blitt, the writer of the episode and the person responsible for the controversial gag, is Canadian.
"The Son Also Draws" and the complete first and second seasons of the series were released under the title Family Guy Volume One; this standard four-disc DVD box set debuted in Region 1 on April 15, 2003, three months before the premiere of the third season. Distributed by 20th Century Fox Television, it included several DVD extras such as episode commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and online promo spots. The same episodes, without the special features, were released in Region 2 on November 12, 2001 and in Region 4 on October 20, 2003.
- Callaghan, Steve. "The Son Also Draws". Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide Seasons 1 3. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 34 37.
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