Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Explosions on Family Guy Boston Marathon

"Turban Cowboy" is the fifteenth episode of the eleventh season and the 203rd overall episode of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It aired on Fox in the United States on March 17, 2013, and is written by Artie Johann and Shawn Ries and directed by Joe Vaux.[1]



As Peter, Joe, and Quagmire hang out at The Drunken Clam, they decide to do something to shake up their boring lives. They take Peter up on his suggestion to take up skydiving. Peter is invigorated by their jump and keeps up skydiving despite Lois' concern, even as his jumps usually result in accidents like falling on Meg at dinner, falling on a ninja that killed a woman, and falling on the castle of the Pig King from Angry Birds with only one pig not ended up killed. An accident at the Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas lands Peter in the hospital where he meets Mahmoud, a Muslim. He finds he gets along great with Mahmoud. Back at the Drunken Clam, Peter has Mahmoud stop by to introduce him to Quagmire, Joe, and Brian. They find he has nothing in common with them when he refuses to drink or look at other women. Mahmoud introduces Peter to Islamic culture and he becomes interested in becoming a Muslim. Lois has reservations as Peter starts studying Islam in-depth although she decides to let it pass. Joe and Quagmire also voice their suspicions about Mahmoud as Peter tries to dial up Mahmoud twice only to cause some explosions off-screen. Mahmoud later invites Peter to a Muslim get-together but finds himself unwitting involved with terrorists intent on blowing up the Quahog Bridge.
When Peter drops that he is trying to act inauspicious, the guys begin to suspect that he is involved with terrorists. Peter realizes that he has been duped and wants to drop out but Joe convinces him to go along since he is already on the inside. As they go over the plan, Peter finds out that he will be driving the van. Peter is caught when he reveals he is wearing a microphone when trying to scratch an itch near it. Joe and Quagmire hear as they plan is rushed into action. Peter is held at gunpoint and forced to drive the explosives-laden van to the Quahog Bridge. Peter tries to talk Mahmoud out of his plan, but fails. Joe arrives in time with the police to stop him and destroys the detonator by knocking it out of Mahmoud's hand. Joe mentions that 30 of the terrorists have been arrested and that the rest of the local Muslims are cast under suspicion. Joe thanks Peter for his involvement as Peter decides to call Horace to get a table ready for his friends and family at the Drunken Clam. As he dials his cell phone, the Quahog Bridge explodes and Peter orders everyone to run away.

2013 Boston Marathon bombings

The episode has attracted controversy due to the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. As of 16 April, these two scenes have not yet been deleted from official mirrors of the episode:

One scene depicts a mass killing of participants at the Boston Marathon:
At 3 minutes, 33 seconds into the episode: As Peter is skydiving:
Peter: Holy crap, this is awesome! I haven't felt a rush like this since I won that marathon!
Cue flashback: Peter is speeding his car, killing runners at a marathon
Cue news interview after marathon killing:
Bob Costas: I'm Bob Costas, here with Boston Marathon winner Peter Griffin. Peter, how did you do it?
(background image shows Peter smiling in his blood-drenched car, raising a clenched left fist as he crosses the finish line past many dead bodies)
Peter: I'll tell ya, Bob, I just got in my car and drove it. And when there was a guy in my way, I killed him.

The second scene shows Peter activating twin explosions:
At 15 minutes, 6 seconds into the episode Inside of a tavern:
Joe: Peter, I think you joined a terrorist sleeper cell.
Peter: What? That's crazy. Look, I'm gonna call Mahmoud right now on this cell phone he gave me. He'll tell ya.
(Peter dials phone) (An explosion sounds in the distance)
Peter: Damn phone's busted. Maybe I dialed wrong.
(Peter dials again) (A second explosion sounds in the distance, multiple people are heard screaming)


Critical reception

Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club gave the episode a D, saying “Turban Cowboy" feels like an episode made in 2002 and left on the shelf for a decade, completely unaware of just how uniformly Middle Eastern characters are depicted as terrorists. If only Joe and Quagmire had chosen Peter’s suggestion that they rob a mafia poker game, then maybe this would’ve been a Family Guy send-up of Killing Them Softly instead."[2] Carter Dotson of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 2 and a half stars, saying "I don't expect Family Guy to be as revolutionary as its earlier days, when its humor went to shocking places yet still had a heart to it. Remember the outrage over the "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode that was ultimately benign and surprisingly respectful to Judaism while still making joking references to the religion? It had a true sense of its perspective. Now it has little of the heart left to it, preferring to just be offensive, and the only people getting outraged by the show is the Parents Television Council. It's just a shame because I know this show can be better."[3]


The episode received a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 4.92 million viewers. This made it the most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination line-up that night, beating The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers and The Cleveland Show.[4]


  1. ^ "Family Guy Episode Guide 2013 Season 11 - Turban Cowboy, Episode 15". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  2. ^ McFarland, Kevin. "“Turban Cowboy” | Family Guy | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  3. ^ "Family Guy Review: Free Fallin'". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  4. ^ Daily Preliminary Broadcast Cable Finals Broadcast Finals. "Sunday Final Ratings: ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘The Amazing Race’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘The Cleveland Show, ‘The Simpsons, ‘Bob’s Burgers’ & ‘The Mentalist’ Adjusted Up - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20.

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