The opening moments of “The Boys in the Band” didn’t exactly fill me with hope for Family Guy’s 15th season. That initial cutaway gag, with Willy Wonka making inappropriate overtures to young Charlie Bucket, is exactly the sort of cheap, shock-driven humor this show relies on far too often. Luckily, that gag wasn’t indicative of the episode’s overall quality. Typically lousy cutaway humor aside, “The Boys in the Band” turned out to be a pretty enjoyable start to the new season.
Like so many episodes before it, this one hinged heavily on the Stewie/Brian dynamic. The pairing worked in this case because the characterization was a little less extreme than it’s tended to be in recent seasons. Less “Stewie making nonstop homosexual passes at Brian” and “Brian being a pompous know-it-all” and more of the two simply hanging out and hatching a new scheme together. It definitely helped that this latest scheme involved forming a Wiggles-esque band called “Red Shirt, Blue Shirt” and going on tour. Musical numbers are often where Family Guy stands out the most. One of the reasons the Season 14 finale, “Road to India,” was so disappointing was the lack of musical numbers that are usually so prominent in the “Road to…” episodes. “The Boys in the Band,” whether intentional or not, felt like an apology for that episode.