Brian's Got a Brand New Bag

"Brian's Got a Brand New Bag" is the fourth episode of the eighth season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It premiered on Fox in the United States on November 8, 2009. The episode follows anthropomorphic dog Brian as he dates a middle-aged woman named Rita whose daughter has stood Brian up. He becomes reluctant to continue their relationship after discovering her numerous health concerns; also, his family continually harasses him.The episode premiered during an "all-Seth MacFarlane" schedule, preceding the live-action episode Seth and Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show.

"Brian's Got a Brand New Bag"
Family Guy episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 4
Directed byPete Michels
Written byTom Devanney
Production code7ACX02[1]
Original air dateNovember 8, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Family Guy (season 8)
List of Family Guy episodes

The episode was written by series regular Tom Devanney and directed by Pete Michels. It received very mixed reviews from critics for its storyline and many cultural references. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 7.38 million homes in its original airing. The episode featured guest performances by Hart Bochner, James Burkholder, Aimee Garcia, Jack Samson, Stacey Scowley, Debra Skelton, Reginald VelJohnson, Nana Visitor, Tico Wells, Mae Whitman, and Bruce Willis, along with several recurring guest voice actors for the series. "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag" was released on DVD along with seven other episodes from the season on June 15, 2010. The episode is dedicated to Patrick Swayze.


During a visit to a closing video store during a DVD sale, Peter decides to buy Road House and, after watching it, decides to start roundhouse kicking everything in sight including his family. While driving with Brian and using his feet on the steering wheel, Peter crashes into a young woman's car and Brian rushes to make sure she's all right.The woman apologizes to Brian and he asks her out. She accepts, but when he comes to her house to pick her up, her mother Rita says she has just left with somebody else. Brian keeps talking to Rita and finds himself attracted to her. After dating for several weeks, they sneak into the Griffin home late one night, but the family finds out the next morning and ridicules Rita behind her back. Brian attempts to convince the family that Rita is a wonderful, charming woman despite the fact that she's significantly older than he is, and invites her to dinner to prove his point. It doesn't go well: they demand that she reveal her age, and she breaks down and admits that she's 50. Infuriated with the Griffins, Brian goes to console Rita, and proposes to her. Feeling guilty for how they treated him, the Griffins give Brian their blessings.

Rita breaks her hip while she and Brian are having sex. Peter warns Brian that their relationship will not last much longer now that he must run errands for her. Brian goes out to pick up medicine for bedridden Rita, but is distracted by the sight of a group of young women entering a bar. One of them offers to have sex with Brian in the bathroom, after which he returns with her medicine. Realizing that he still loves Rita, he admits his infidelity. However, Rita decides he is far too young for her and breaks off their engagement. A regretful Brian understands that it is for the best and leaves her.

Production and developmentEdit

Nana Visitor provided the voice of Rita.

The episode was directed by former Simpsons artist Pete Michels, and written by Tom Devanney, shortly after the conclusion of the seventh production season. Both are series regulars for the show, who joined in its third and fourth seasons, respectively. Prior to providing minor voice-over roles for the series, actress Nana Visitor portrays the episode's featured character, Rita. Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdum served as supervising directors, with series creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane and David Zuckerman serving as staff writers for the episode.[2]

"Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", along with the seven other episodes from Family Guy's eighth season, were released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on June 15, 2010. The sets included brief audio commentaries by Seth MacFarlane and various crew and cast members for several episodes, a collection of deleted scenes, a special mini-feature which discussed the process behind animating "Road to the Multiverse", and mini-feature entitled Family Guy Karaoke.[3]

In addition to Visitor and the regular cast, actor Hart Bochner, James Burkholder, actress Aimee Garcia, Jack Samson, actress Stacey Scowley, Debra Skelton, Reginald VelJohnson, actor Tico Wells, actress Mae Whitman, and actor Bruce Willis guest-starred in the episode in both voice and live-action appearances. Recurring guest voice actors Alexandra Breckenridge, writer Steve Callaghan, voice actor Ralph Garman, writer Danny Smith, writer Alec Sulkin, and writer John Viener also made minor appearances.[2] Recurring guest cast members Adam West and Patrick Warburton also made appearances in the episode.

Cultural referencesEdit

The title is a reference to the James Brown song "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Peter buys the film Road House starring Patrick Swayze. While at the movie store's going out of business sale – where Mayor West buys The Garbage Pail Kids Movie – Peter refuses to take the Robin Williams' film What Dreams May Come, even though it's free, causing the DVD to wistfully sing the song "Maybe" from Annie. Meanwhile, Brian buys Dan in Real Life, which Stewie mocks. In another scene, Joe is dragged away by shadowy figures, a reference to a second Patrick Swayze film, Ghost.

One cutaway gag features Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown romantically bonding over their shared love for crack cocaine. Another cutaway gag features Peter in the famed Peanuts bit in which Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown, with Peter attacking her until she cries and promises to never pull the same stunt. Brian brags over his previous work as an actor, which he proves by showing a scene from Die Hard in which the animated Brian is inserted into the live action next to Reginald VelJohnson and Paul Gleason. When Rita is introduced to the Griffins, Peter jokes about her age by asking if anyone has made any "Jessica Tandy jokes" yet. Charlotte Rae from Facts of Life later appears in the Griffins' living room to say, "Whaaaaat?" Peter flips through Playboy's "Women of the Olympics" issue, which Peter finds full of unattractive, manly women.


In a significant decline from the previous week's show, and despite being heavily promoted as an "all-Seth MacFarlane" night, the episode received a Nielsen Rating of 4.3/7 in the 18–49 demographic, and was viewed in 7.38 million homes.[4]

The episode received mostly mixed reviews from critics. Ahsan Haque of IGN gave it a 6.5/10, saying that the "episode felt very formulaic and a bit of a wasted opportunity"[5] Emily VanDerWerff from The A.V. Club gave it a B, saying, "it's weird to see a Family Guy episode that has something approaching an actual story [...] and even the cutaway gags were more muted than usual."[6] In a subsequent review of Family Guy's eighth season, Ramsey Isler of IGN listed "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag" as "remarkably unfunny, with lazy and unoriginal writing."[7]


  1. ^ "20th Century Fox – Fox In Flight – Family Guy". 20th Century Fox. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  2. ^ a b "Family Guy – Brian's Got a Brand New Bag – Cast and crew". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  3. ^ "Family Guy – This Just In: Volume 8 DVD Announced to Retailers, with Complete Details". Archived from the original on 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  4. ^ Rick Porter. "TV ratings: NFL stars Sunday for NBC". Zap2it. Archived from the original on 2012-04-12.
  5. ^ Haque, Ahsan (November 9, 2009). "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  6. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (November 9, 2009). "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  7. ^ Isler, Ramsey (2010-06-02). "Family Guy: Season 8 Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-28.

External linksEdit