Look. Nobody was expecting the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover that aired last night to be any good. For one thing, it was technically an episode of Family Guy, and whatever spirit or creativity that show had was long ago wrung dry. For another, when was the last time you saw a crossover event that was anything other than a cheap cash-in? The odds were against this from the first.
But still. What could be expected here was mostly just a weird mediocrity, a blip of a footnote in both shows' histories. What nobody could have expected was a blight on humanity itself. But that's what we got.
Here's a brief list of the episode's most awful, awful moments.
1) A fight sequence between Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin that lasts a full seven minutes.
Look, yes, Family Guy is known for its ultra-violent chicken fights, for its endless repetition of gags that worked at one time, and for gags that go on too long, seemingly just to pad out episodes. But seven minutes of Homer and Peter beating each other up, spreading action-movie chaos throughout Springfield, also featuring Homer biting Peter in the crotch, before he collapses and foams at the mouth? Please no more.
2) Also, Homer and Peter washed cars to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" while dressed in denim cutoffs and tiny T-shirts
Yes, this happened. Yes, it also went on forever.
3) Everybody was mean to Meg again
This is one of Family Guy's longest running gags, and having Lisa befriend Meg made it seem as if the Griffin daughter might finally find a true friend. But the scene concluded with Peter yelling, from offscreen, "Shut up, Meg! You don't matter!" It would be one thing if this gag had ever been funny, but it's just not, and the show keeps turning to it. And Meg's saxophone, the new thing that might bring her joy, got thrown in the trash. Ugh.
4) Every other joke reminded us Family Guy was just The Simpsons in a slightly different package
Actually, a couple of these were funny, but the show returned to that well again and again and again, as if trying to make penance for something.
5) They had to go and make fun of Bob's Burgers
Look, we know Bob's Burgers, the best show in the Fox animated bloc, has trouble holding its own in the ratings. But did the episode have to point this out in an elaborate gag involving World War 1 biplanes? (Though Cleveland crashing and burning was kind of amusing, if you remember The Cleveland Show.)
6) The casually racist treatment of Apu
Whether it was Stewie locking the guy in a cage for a cheap laugh or the line "I come from a country where the word for sewage and beverage are the same," the show treated Apu, a rich, developed character on his own show, like the punchline to a joke told in 1972.
7) Peter and Homer drank gasoline out of the hose after buying far too much, then got turned into a German porn
Yes, this also happened. (Really, this list could just be "everything the show had Peter and Homer do together.")
8) Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of "politically incorrect" sexist jokes
At this point, Family Guy is trying so hard to cheekily offend that it's long since moved past being transgressively funny and past being genuinely offensive. Now, it's just tired when Brian wants to see Lois's breasts, or the show has Stewie make a rape joke in a prank call to Moe's.
9) Peter's comic strip
The Griffins have to escape Quahog because Peter has riled up a bunch of bloggers with his occasionally misogynistic comic strip. It's meant to be a commentary on the easy offense taken at shows like Family Guy by people on the internet, but it mostly comes off as pointless gloating by a show that seemingly can't believe it's crossed the decade mark.
Or, put another way, when The Simpsons aired a 12-day marathon of every episode it had ever made, it was greeted with warmth and nostalgia. It's hard to imagine that happening with Family Guy, a show that has pretty much just given up and started rubbing our noses in the inexplicable fact that it still exists and is reasonably popular. Happy TV season, everybody. Let's all find something else to watch.
Correction: This piece originally indicated Peter and Homer stole the gasoline they drank from the hose, but, indeed, they paid for it.