“Partial Terms of Endearment” is “Family Guy’s” notorious abortion episode that Fox refused to air. If you’re a “Family Guy” fan, you’ll probably agree it’s just another case of overreacting. “Partial Terms” is just an average episode, not even as offensive as previous abortion references have been.
Most of the episode isn’t even about abortion. It begins with Peter going to Lois’s college reunion and meeting Naomi, the one girl she experimented with. The first act is about Peter thinking he’s going to have a three way, which only entails typical porno cliché jokes. Of course, being “Family Guy” they still manage to get an SS reference in with the porno jokes.
More after the jump…
It turns out Naomi brings her husband Dale with her and they can’t conceive, so they ask Lois to be a surrogate. That leads to some pregnancy humor including Lois vomiting gratuitously, and a really random reference to the Hovitos from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There’s also a really mean riff on celebrity babies but still nothing about abortion.
When the issue of abortion finally comes up, the complication in the story is actually really profound, mature and complete. The satire is biting towards both sides, although pro-life probably gets it worse. Their arguments are portrayed as total nonsense where the pro-choice spoof is just about Peter being uninformed.
In the last five minutes of the show, every argument surrounding abortion is expressed and satirized, including a fourth-wall breaking self-referential reference to “Family Guy” itself. It’s also silly with references to the difference between ‘80s and ‘90s racial stereotypes and a Wile E. Coyote sequence. Peter says the F word and since it’s on DVD they don’t bleep it.
It’s a solid episode of “Family Guy” and since it wasn’t on TV, it’s a nice extra to see on DVD. Some of the cutaways are bizarre and metaphysical, and Stewie has a sharp line about Lois’s vagina. A B story with the Griffin siblings is totally abandoned but the abortion story actually asks all the right questions, before humorously dismissing the whole thing.