FAMILY GUY: "A Lot Going on Upstairs."

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FAMILY GUY: "A Lot Going on Upstairs." Family Guy #14.15, total episode count 264, 6 March 2016.[1] Fox Television. "Created by Seth MacFarlane, David Zuckerman."[2]

Animation. In the plot involving Peter Griffin, the "upstairs" in the attic to the Griffin house; relevant here is the "upstairs" of Stewie Griffin's head: the dreamscape of his unconscious. Being kept awake by nightmares, Stewie invents a machine to allow family dog/family member Brian to enter his (Stewie's) dreams and destroy the monster dwelling there. As opposed to the attaché-case-enclosed "Automated Somnacin Intravenous Device"[3] of INCEPTION[4], or even Dr. Haber's more complex dream machine in THE LATHE OF HEAVEN (film 1979/80), Stewie's device is large, and the headgear is awkward — but the design as a whole is rather elegant, having at its center, connecting the minds of Brian and Stewie, a Dreamcatcher of the Ojibwe (also spelled Ojibwa), and, later, other Native Americans. The imagery, then, includes large electronic helmets attached to a substantial Modernist machine, linking the subconscious minds of an anthropomorphized dog and an implausibly mature human baby by way of a delicate and beautifully-crafted Dreamcatcher. The plot involving Peter Griffin and the major cast is gross and juvenile even by the standards of Family Guy, on the one hand; on the other, a featured voice actor in the Stewie subplot is Glenn Close, an A-List star.[5] A dream-machine such as Stewie's in this episode and in the context of Fox Sunday-night cartoons, plus one live-action comedy blatantly aimed at 20-somethings (Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life),[6] is good evidence for how deeply such SF motifs have penetrated parts of world popular culture.

RDE 06/III/16