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The Giant Chicken vs. Peter

Family Guy
by Poe Ghostal

When it first came out, Family Guy kind of flew under my radar. I was in the middle of my college career and hardly watched any television. I remember catching it once or twice and thinking Stewie was pretty amusing, but it didn't become a must-see for me. It wasn't until I moved into an apartment with two television-addicted roommates that I caught the show regularly on [adult swim].

I found the show funny, but to me, it didn't have anything to distinguish it from other cartoon sitcoms like The Simpsons - until the infamous Chicken Fight in the episode "Da Boom." Spoilers for those who haven't seen the show: the fight occurs during one of the show's many cutaways ("Remember that time...") when Peter gets a bad coupon from a giant chicken. Peter attacks the chicken, and for the next two minutes (an eternity in cartoon sitcom time) Peter and the chicken duel it out, parodying many action-flick cliches in the process.

This was the moment Family Guy won me over, once and forever. Why was the scene so funny? Creator Seth McFarlane perhaps explained it best:

The chicken fight was a very complex scene to put together. It was one of those things that the longer it went on, the more we were laughing. We thought it could be a trademark for the show. It became the joke that begins, and it's funny, then it goes on longer and it's not funny, then it goes on even longer and it's hysterically funny.

The so-long-it's-funny sketch has indeed become the show's trademark, and the Giant Chicken getting a rematch was one of the first things that happened when the show got a second chance.

While I love the show, I never collected Mezco's Family Guy figures. It's not Mezco's fault - I just have only so much money to spend on toys, and they were already getting my somewhat-hard-earned cash for their Hellboy and Goon lines. But there was no way I could pass up the Giant Chicken vs. Peter 2-pack.

The packaging design is the same as the regular figures, with bright orange and blue graphics. It also includes some screen captures from "Da Boom," though these are a little blurry. The figures are well-displayed in the window box, and since these are basically pre-posed sculpts, it's probably an even better deal for MOC collectors than the regular figures. The diorama behind the toys makes it even more appealing for the MOC crowd.

It's not the flashiest packaging, but I really like it because the diorama is removable, so you can display your figures inside it even after you throw away the box. It's a nice touch, and another one of those little touches Mezco often includes with its products.

I know many action figure fans find fault with most sculpts of two-dimensional characters, but I think Mezco has done a fantastic job with the Family Guy line. Peter and the Giant Chicken are pre-posed in a Matrix-style battle. I don't think it's an accident that the Chicken's pose is almost identical to that of McFarlane Toys' Agent Smith figure. While the poses aren't taken directly from the televised fight, I think Mezco made the right decision in going with such a classic combat tableaux.

The figures are rotocast, just like the rest of the line, and with his yellow color, the Chicken seems a bit like a rubber ducky. The paint applications don't quite do justice to the sculpt. On my set, at least, there is some overspray around the eyes on the Chicken, and I'm not fond of the splotchy work on the purple of the Chicken's eye. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the light-orange wash... it's not really show-accurate, but since this set has a certain cinematic feel to it, it works, in a strange way. Peter's paint apps are similar, with a light gray wash around the shirt and cross-hatches all over the body. The purple around his eye is a bit nicer.

Since these figures are largely pre-posed, the articulation is predictably limited. However, the Chicken's is actually decent: he has swivel joints at the shoulders, legs, neck, tail, and right shoulder. The right arm and head are really the only joints that allow for any variation in display, but it's appreciated. Due to his angled legs, Peter only moves at the neck, waist, and shoulders. This allows for a little variation, but really, he's just going to have to stick to his air-kicking routine; this is primarily a McFarlane-style display set.

Again, this is a pre-posed display set, so the accessories are minimal. Included is a base sculpted to look like a piece of the street and a clear stand to shove up Peter's kaboose. It's not much, but not much is needed, and if you include the diorama as an "accessory," it gets even better.

This is a great set. I'm not usually a fan of pre-posed figures, but this one won me over. It's a must-have for anyone collecting the line, and I'm guessing there will be quite a few casual fans (of both the show and the toys) who won't be able to resist this set.

-- 03/14/10

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