TV Article

If I Ran...

Why shouldn't TV bigwigs live out their ''Freaky Friday'' fantasies? EW asked producers of Fox's ''Family Guy'' and ABC's ''According to Jim'' to swap places and explain how they'd run each other's show

ROLE REVERSAL Peter feuds with the trashman? Jim having media-saturated flashbacks?
ROLE REVERSAL Peter feuds with the trashman? Jim having media-saturated flashbacks?

Family Guy by According to Jim executive producer Warren Bell

Act One: Peter gets in a fight with the garbageman, who now refuses to pick up their trash. His loving wife, Lois, announces that she is undergoing extensive plastic surgery because all the overweight TV dads need wives that are too hot for them. We cut to backstage at the Emmy Awards, where Mark Addy, Mike O'Malley, and Kevin James nod sadly in agreement. Meanwhile, Stewie the Talking Baby and Brian the Talking Dog are about to join in Peter's garbage revenge scheme when the goon squad from the Committee for Television Fairness busts down the door. It seems a show can have a talking baby or a talking dog, but not both. Brian sees where this is going and calmly leads himself away.

Act Two: Back in the Griffin house, Peter launches his plan to get back at the garbageman, but finds himself paralyzed by the lack of a goofy sidekick. The guy from American Dad flies in to help, leading to confusion when no one can tell them apart. Lois, who is now a dead ringer for Pam Anderson, returns from the sex toy and outfit store, planning to indulge her husband's every deviant whim in order to distract him from his trash-delivery-inefficiency-induced rage. Peter responds with a tremendous fart. Stewie poops. Brian returns from TV jail, no longer able to speak. He sniffs these vapors and is inspired to finish his novel. Stewie teases Brian about his novel for the next 16 minutes, providing YouTube with its most popular download of the year.

Act Three: Peter and Now Silent Brian have disguised themselves as garbagemen to infiltrate the garbageman place. Their adventure builds to a hilarious physical comedy scene in which both man and dog must escape from a giant steel vat full of Vaseline. They are discovered and arrested, but Peter manages to persuade the garbagemen that the manly thing to do is forget the whole thing. Lois and Peter have a long scene in front of their couch, forgiving their excesses and reaffirming their deep love and commitment to each another, because we don't know how to end a show any other way. Meanwhile, at the Emmys, According to Jim has swept all the major categories. Cut to Stewie, cackling that his secret plan is finally under way...

According to Jim by Family Guy showrunner/executive producer David Goodman

Act One: According to Jim (Jim Belushi) decides he wants to build a retracting roof on his house. Courtney Thorne-Smith is upset as According to Jim and Andy proceed to wreck the house trying to install it. This reminds According to Jim of when he was a janitor, and we do a FLASHBACK of Jim Belushi and Michael Keaton doing hilarious slapstick in the short-lived sitcom Working Stiffs.

Meanwhile, now that Aunt Dana is pregnant, little Kyle is worried that he won't be the baby of the family anymore, and decides Aunt Dana must die.

According to Jim has devoted the entire resources of his construction company to the retractable roof, and goes bankrupt.

Act Two: Their house a disaster area, Courtney Thorne-Smith has to shoo away wild animals and homeless people who try to squat on the land. Little Kyle enlists the aid of a homeless person to kill Aunt Dana.

According to Jim comes home from a week at various jobs: He got hired as a school principal, but was fired because he was too violent. (FLASHBACK of Jim Belushi busting heads of rowdy students in The Principal.) Then he got a job as a Mall Santa, but ran afoul of the Governor of California. (FLASHBACK of Mall Santa Jim Belushi selling a black-market Turbo Man to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way.) He's depressed; since losing his business, he's lost his sense of self worth. Courtney Thorne-Smith, feeling sympathetic, initiates lovemaking, but According to Jim is impotent. Courtney Thorne-Smith later tells Aunt Dana that it was the worst sex she's had since she went out with that prop comic. (FLASHBACK TO Courtney Thorne-Smith making out with Carrot Top in the film Chairman of the Board.)

Act Three: Courtney Thorne-Smith, deprived of sex for weeks now, has taken solace in eating, and has gained 80 pounds. According to Jim complains to his friends in the band about it, but they all agree that they'd still do her.

Lying in bed with obese Courtney Thorne-Smith, According to Jim laments his life: He realizes people have always had unrealistic expectations of him. (A FLASHBACK MONTAGE of funny moments from the work of John Belushi.) He decides he's going to forget about his day job, and pursue his true love: music. Obese Courtney Thorne-Smith pledges her support. His sex drive returned, they make love.

Later, in a hospital room, Courtney Thorne-Smith is in the bed, thin again. According to Jim's band has started playing gigs, made a little money, and although nailing a fat chick had its moments, he decided to spring for a gastric bypass.

Little Kyle waits impatiently for word from the homeless person he hired to kill Aunt Dana, but is surprised to see them show up together. They have fallen in love, and Dana has left her husband. Little Kyle decides he'll have to settle for ruining Aunt Dana's life. (Dana's homeless boyfriend will become a recurring character. Maybe Tom Arnold?)

Originally posted Aug 03, 2006 Published in issue #890 Aug 11, 2006 Order article reprints
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