While watching television one evening, the Griffin family suffer a calamity: there is a power cut. Brian the dog (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) suggests they all light candles and read books, which is met with hoots of derision, so dad Peter (also MacFarlane) settles down to tell a story. A long time ago, but somehow in the future, there was a tale that bore an uncanny resemblance to Star Wars, only slightly different. The difference being that the characters were now drawn from the television series Family Guy...
For the big season six opener, Family Guy did what they were evidently itching to do ever since they started: a whole double episode devoted to Star Wars. The series tends to divide people into the love it or hate it camps, and many of the haters dislike the way that they always rely on pop culture referencing flahsbacks for easy gags. Well, you didn't get anything like that with this spoof, mainly because the whole thing was an extended flashback from beginning to end.
Or a flashforward, if it's set in the future, which it might not be... anyway, all the main characters make an appearance, cast in roles appropriate to their nature, so Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, Stewie is Darth Vader, Brian is Chewbacca and Meg is... I won't spoil it. The supporting characters get to appear as well, with Quagmire an unlikely C-3PO, Cleveland R2-D2, Mayor Adam West as Tarkin, and so forth, but rather than rely on recognition for laughs, they are important to the plot.
And that plot is what everyone who has followed Family Guy must know by now: "I'll start with Episode Four" says Peter. So Stewie's Darth captures Lois's Leia, but not before she sends R2-D2 and C-3PO away to the nearest planet in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Herbert the geriatric paedophile). On the way there they meet Chris's Luke Skywalker and eventually take a trip on the Millennium Falcon with Han and Chewie to the Death Star - and all throughout the attention to detail is impeccable.
But is it funny? As ever with this series, not all the jokes hit their target, but it does have hilarious moments from the throwaway lines ("Great, kid, don't get penis-y") to the more involved humour, such as Stewie wondering if there could possibly be a flaw in his supposedly impervious space station. As usual, celebrity cameos make an appearance (although Leslie Nielsen is an audio clip from Airplane!) and the tone is relentlessly irreverent, even when an article of faith such as Star Wars is concerned. Parodies of these films rank just below Star Trek in popularity, but nevertheless Blue Harvest (spot the in-joke) induces enough laughter to justify its existence.
[Fox's DVD may showcase only one forty-five minute episode, but they've gone to town on the extras with an audio commentary, interview with George Lucas, compilation of past Star Wars jokes, a bonus episode, and more.]