Family Guy controversies
The American animatedsitcomFamily Guy has been the target of numerous taste and indecency complaints. The show is known to include offensive jokes including racial humor and violent, gory, and disturbing images.
Critics have targeted Family Guy's reliance on cutaway gags, panning the show for its characterization and writing outside of these gags, and have unfavorably compared the show to contemporaries such as The Simpsons and Comedy Central's South Park; South Park itself has also parodied and criticized Family Guy in several episodes throughout its run. The show's dark humor and sexual themes have also led to backlash from special interest groups. The Parents Television Council has attacked the series since its premiere, deeming it the "Worst TV Show of the Week" on at least 40 occasions, and filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission.
Family Guy's frequent use of offensive jokes and satire has led to controversy. The jokes that receive controversy are often found in the cutaway gags. For example, in the episode "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", Peter and a barbershop quartet sing and dance around the bed of a man with end-stage AIDS. The airing of this episode led to immediate backlash. This cutaway angered audience members and led to protests by several AIDS service organizations. In his 2006 book The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture, author Frederick S. Lane described Family Guy as among several television sitcoms that he believed were "aimed at the darker side of family life."
Parents Television Council
The Parents Television Council, a conservative non-profit watchdog group, has published critical views of Family Guy. In May 2000, in an email, the PTC launched a letter-writing campaign to the Fox network to persuade the network to cancel Family Guy. This followed the show's return from a long hiatus in its second season, due to what the PTC claimed were "strong advertiser resistance and low ratings".Family Guy made the PTC's 2000, 2005, and 2006 lists of "worst prime-time shows for family viewing", with over forty Family Guy episodes listed as "Worst TV Show[s] of the Week". This was due to profanity, animated nudity, and violence. The series was also named the worst show of the 2006–2007 season by the PTC. In addition, a live-action special hosted by series creator Seth MacFarlane and fellow voice actress Alex Borstein titled Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show also was named "Worst TV Show of the Week" by the PTC due to what it said was "disgusting sex jokes, crass Holocaust humor, cruel impersonations of deaf people, and loads of bleeped profanity."
The PTC has targeted Fox, criticizing the network for failing to include "S" (sexual content) and "V" (violence) descriptors in content ratings for some Family Guy episodes. The Council has cautioned parents that due to the animation style, children might get attracted to the adult show. In order to prevent child viewing, the PTC has objected to Fox scheduling Family Guy during early prime time hours. Additionally, the Council has asked Family Guy sponsors such as Wrigley Company and Burger King to stop advertising during the show as their products appeal to kids.
The PTC, which has generated most of the indecency complaints received by the United States Federal Communications Commission, has filed formal FCC complaints against Family Guy episodes.
- The first indecency complaint was reported following the January 2005 rebroadcast of "And the Wiener Is...". The complaint was denied by the FCC on the grounds "that because of the absence of explicit or graphic descriptions or depictions of any sexual organ, along with the absence of shocking, pandering, and/or titillating effect, the episode ... is not patently offensive."
- In November 2005, during "sweeps" period for the 2005–2006 television season, the PTC launched a campaign for its members to file indecency complaints for sexually explicit humor to the FCC for "PTV", the Family Guy episode that satirized the FCC. However, the PTC had expressed doubt over whether they would formally complain to the FCC over that episode, with the PTC not having logged any complaints filed through their website. In fact, that episode was highlighted in the Fox special TV's Funniest Moments that was broadcast on June 1, 2007. A rerun of the program on August 20 that year was named "Worst of the Week" by the PTC, noting that "PTV" was among the highlights in the special.
- On March 11, 2009, PTC filed complaints about the episode "Family Gay" over claims that the episode contained sexual content in violation of indecency law.
- On December 15, 2009, PTC filed an indecency complaint about the episode "Business Guy" two days after its air date, citing a scene that included a lap dance as a possible violation of federal law regarding broadcast decency.
- In 2010, PTC filed a complaint against the 150th episode of Family Guy, "Brian & Stewie", after taking offense at excretory references. PTC president Tim Winter was quoted saying, "It seems as though Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, carefully reviewed the legal definition of broadcast indecency and set out to violate it as literally as he could."
- On November 15, 2013, PTC filed an indecency enforcement over the episode "A Fistful of Meg" five days after its air date. The organization cited lewd sexual content and what it considered profane jokes on subjects such as child molestation, exploitation, rape, and sexualised use of food as well as the main plot of a boy bullying and physically attacking a female classmate.
- On February 12, 2015, PTC filed an indecency enforcement over the episode "Quagmire's Mom", citing sexually explicit dialogue and jokes about statutory rape, including a scene where Quagmire had sex with an underage teenage girl but did not know until he learned about her age.
Accusations of anti-religious sentiments
Family Guy's dark humor commonly involves religious activity, and has received criticism from religious people and groups as a result. In 1999, during the show's second season, Entertainment Weekly TV critic Ken Tucker criticized the show for being anti-Semitic. The same year, L. Brent Bozell III wrote that he believed the episode "Holy Crap" promoted anti-Catholicism. After that episode, Family Guy was pulled from the schedule, purportedly due to low ratings. However, the show returned in March to finish airing the second season.
The PTC has criticized what it perceives as Family Guy's negative treatment of religion, particularly if they portray God or Jesus Christ in a negative, sacrilegious way, concluding in its 2006 report Faith in a Box: Entertainment Television and Religion 2005-2006 that "mockery of God is a constant" on the show. For example, in the episode "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", there is a cutaway gag depicting God as a dirty old man having sex with a prostitute all while brushing off a teen-aged Jesus, who was seeking some help with his quarrel with Joseph. The Media Research Center, also founded by Bozell, was strongly critical of the 2014 episode "The 2000-Year-Old Virgin" in which Jesus emotionally cons people to have sex with their wives. In the same episode, Peter directs people to complain to the "Family Television Council", a thinly disguised reference to the PTC.
On October 3, 2007, the Bourne Company publishing house, sole Copyright holder of the song "When You Wish upon a Star", filed a lawsuit against the makers of Family Guy, claiming copyright infringement over their song "I Need a Jew". The suit claimed harm to the value of the original song due to the offensive lyrics of the parody. On March 16, 2009, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts ruled that Family Guy did not infringe Copyright when they transformed the song "When You Wish Upon a Star" for comical use in an episode.
In 2014, a writer in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that a scene in the episode "3 Acts of God" was evidence of long-held anti-semitism by MacFarlane.
Allegations of insensitivity towards transgender people
In May 2010, Family Guy gained negative reception after the episode "Quagmire's Dad" was broadcast. Many people felt this episode was offensive to transgender people. AfterElton.com writer Brent Hartinger gave a negative grade to the episode "Quagmire's Dad", in which Dan Quagmire (Glenn Quagmire's father) undergoes sex reassignment surgery and changes her name to Ida Davis. While noting that the episode deserves credit for making important points about transgender people, he found its inclusion of the vomiting scene and Lois and Peter's transphobic remarks about Ida to be "shockingly insensitive." Hartinger continued, "Frankly, it's literally impossible for me to reconcile last night's episode with MacFarlane's words, unless I come to the conclusion that the man is pretty much a complete idiot." The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, an LGBT media watchdog organization, released a statement about the episode, noting that "GLAAD shares the serious concerns being voiced from members of the community and GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Team is addressing these with Fox."
Sarah Palin's son controversy
In February 2010, the episode "Extra Large Medium," aired in which Ellen, a female character with Down syndrome, mentions that her mother is a former governor of Alaska. Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, criticised the show for mocking her brother Trig, who has Down syndrome. She wrote a piece on her mother's Facebook page stating, "If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they're heartless jerks." Sarah Palin herself also criticised the episode in an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, calling those who made the show "cruel, cold hearted people."
MacFarlane responded that the series uses biting satire as the basis of its humor and that it was an "equal-opportunity offender."Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress and public speaker who voiced Ellen and who herself has Down syndrome, responded to the criticism, saying that the Palin joke in the show was aimed at Sarah and not her son. She ended this statement concluding that "former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor." In a subsequent interview, Friedman rebuked Palin personally, saying she was angry with Sarah Palin for using her son Trig as a political prop to pander for votes, explaining that she has a normal life and that Palin's son Trig should be treated as normal rather than like a "loaf of bread."
MacFarlane characterized Palin's outrage as a presumptuous attempt to defend people with Down syndrome, and characterizing Friedman's statement as her way of saying that she does not need feigned pity from Palin.
Terri Schiavo controversy
During the episode "Peter-assment" (season 8, 2010), a musical number featuring animated children singing lines such as "Terri Schiavo is kinda alive-o" and "[She's] the most expensive plant you'll ever see." This was seen as mockery of the disability and death of Terri Schiavo, a woman who suffered massive brain damage and stayed in a persistent vegetative state for many years. Many protests emerged from people who claimed the program showed prejudice against people with brain injuries. That included protests from the American Life League and from Schiavo's family, who were upset over Family Guy's parody of Terri's case. Bobby Schindler Jr., her brother, urged Fox to cancel Family Guy altogether.
Domestic violence controversy
Media analysts reacted negatively to the treatment of domestic violence in the episode "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" (season 10, 2011). A. J. Hammer of Showbiz Tonight said of the episode, "Like so many other people, I was just shocked by what I saw on Family Guy last night...It was really just a depressing half hour of television." Whitney Jefferson of Jezebel, a feminist website, also strongly criticized the episode for its storyline involving Brenda and her boyfriend, Jeff: "Personally, I'm way beyond being offended by the show — I've long been numbed to shock-value offensiveness — and had stopped watching years ago anyhow. But being a sucker for Halloween-themed episodes, I tuned into Fox's "Animation Domination" comedy block last night. What I saw was seriously awful." Jefferson ended her review of the episode by stating that the show was "Definitely the scariest Halloween special we've ever seen."
The show has also been heavily criticized for its constant depictions of violence against women. "We counted how many successive episodes we could watch before we found one that didn't involve an act of violence against a woman. We managed 14. That's 14 episodes of Family Guy before a 20-minute episode that didn't feature Meg, Lois, or another female character being knocked to the ground, murdered, or slapped."
Boston Marathon controversy
The episode "Turban Cowboy", aired on March 17, 2013, contained a cutaway gag showing Peter committing mass murder at the Boston Marathon by plowing his car through the runners. After the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, which occurred about a month after the episode's air date, April 15, Fox promptly removed the "Turban Cowboy" episode from Fox.com and Hulu. The network also stated it had no immediate plans to broadcast the episode again (although it was back on the air by 2014). The episode still airs on Adult Swim and TBS.
Rape joke controversy
The episode "The Simpsons Guy" (a 2014 crossover with The Simpsons), featured a character making a rape joke that was shown in the trailer for the episode which generated controversy before the episode aired. Tim Winter, the President of the Parents Television Council, wrote to Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane and Fox about the joke. In it, after Bart's prank call to Moe asking for a man with an innuendo name, Stewie makes his own call telling Moe that his sister is being raped. Winter felt that jokes about rape make it "less outrageous in real life", and that children who watch The Simpsons but not Family Guy would be unfamiliar with the latter show's brand of humor. A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on the joke. MacFarlane, interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, said that although he would be attacked for stating it as such, the joke was "pretty funny... in context". A spokeswoman from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network said "I think the show is making it clear that rape is not funny by how they are positioning the joke."
In addition, Family Guy has been panned by some media critics. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly has frequently panned the show, grading it with a "D", and naming it the worst show of the 1999–2000 television season. Tucker responded to a reader's question in 2005 that he continued to dislike the series. Mark Graham noted "MacFarlane's incredibly rocky relationship with both the magazine and its lead television critic, Ken Tucker" in a blog on the New York magazine website.
Controversy and criticism from other animators
Other animators have criticized the show as well. The show's animation came under fire by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, who expressed concern that the simplistic animation of Family Guy would negatively impact the new wave of content creators.
The show's writing style has also come under criticism by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In a 2006 interview, Parker and Stone stated that they dislike having their show compared to Family Guy. After the episode "Cartoon Wars" aired, Parker states they received support and gratitude from the staffs of The Simpsons and King of the Hill for "ripping on Family Guy." The show has been criticized for being too derivative of The Simpsons, with both exemplifying a working-class family with three children. Several episodes of The Simpsons, including "Missionary: Impossible," "Treehouse of Horror XIII," and "The Italian Bob," have poked fun at Family Guy, with the latter two implying that MacFarlane's show is guilty of plagiarism. However, both MacFarlane and Simpsons creator Matt Groening have said that there is no serious feud between the two of them and their shows. At the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International on July 24, 2010, The Simpsons writer Matt Selman jokingly referred to MacFarlane, stating, "Come on, Seth MacFarlane does one show three times." Selman later backed away from the comment, adding, "Those shows are all really funny – they deserve to exist." The animated film Bender's Big Score, based on Groening's show Futurama, featured a Family Guy "12 Laughs A Year" calendar. In a comic book crossover between Groening's two shows, The Simpsons / Futurama Crossover Crisis, Family Guy character Brian Griffin is depicted on a television in Hell.
In 2003, The Simpsons writer/producer Al Jean described Family Guy as "a little too derivative of The Simpsons" and said it "should be more original."
Writer Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, has noticed several similarities between the title character of his work and Stewie Griffin. Ware has remarked, "[The similarities are] a little too coincidental to be simply, well, coincidental." He further stated, "I don't want a book of seven years' worth of my stuff to become available and then be accused of being a rip-off of Family Guy." 20th Century Fox Television (now 20th Television) has insisted that Stewie is an entirely original character. In a 2003 interview, Seth MacFarlane said that he had never seen the comic strip before, described the similarities as "pretty shocking" and said that he "could see how Ware would reach that conclusion."
Fox managed to get a seven-year-old video they stole removed from the YouTube for violating copyright law. In the episode Peter and Cleveland play a NES game Double Dribble, with Peter abusing a technical glitch in the game to win, the episode included audio for a YouTube video, within hours of airing the video was taken down, however after a few days it reappeared Fox’s “routine efforts to protect its television show Family Guy from piracy
Parents Television Council
MacFarlane, whose other series American Dad! and The Cleveland Show have also been criticized by the PTC, has fired back on several occasions. In a 2008 interview with the magazine The Advocate, he said:
Oh, yeah. That's like getting hate mail from Hitler. They're literally terrible human beings. I've read their newsletter, I've visited their website, and they're just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values – I mean, I'm an atheist, so what do I know? – they spend their entire day hating people. They can all suck my dick as far as I'm concerned.
Main article: Family Guy and LGBTQ representation
In January 2019, it was confirmed that Family Guy would no longer write gay jokes. During the episode "Trump Guy" which premiered on January 13, 2019, Peter Griffin, was seen telling a cartoon President Trump that the show was trying to "phase out" gay jokes. The change in direction was confirmed by the show's executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, along with creator Seth MacFarlane, who stated that they wanted to better reflect the current climate in the show due to societal changes which have seen the jokes become frowned upon over time.
In the Season 18 episode "Disney's The Reboot" which premiered on October 20, 2019, when asked "I thought I read you guys were phasing out gay jokes?" Peter Griffin replies: "That quote was taken out of context and widely misunderstood.”
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- ^"'Family Guy' Will Phase Out Gay Jokes" from The Hollywood Reporter (January 14, 2019)
- ^France, Lisa Respers. "'Family Guy' phasing out gay jokes". CNN. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- ^Rackham, Annabel (2019-01-15). "Should Family Guy 'phase out' gay jokes?". Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- ^"Family Guy: Comedy animation 'phasing out' gay jokes". www.news.com.au. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- ^"Family Guy addresses its position on 'gay jokes'". The Independent. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
20 Funniest Food Moments from "Family Guy"
When the 2011 scene where Family Guy accurately depicts how "Every Pizza Place" makes a salad resurfaced the other week in multiple media publications, it reminded me how many funny food moments have been depicted on the show. The fact that the comedy is based on surprisingly accurate cutaways and absurdly random jokes allows the writers to come up with some truly memorable moments about food. Of course, because Family Guy humor consistently verges on being slightly—and sometimes very—offensive, we decided to keep our round-up PG. Here, we present to you those moments throughout the show's long run—and if we've made you feel nostalgic, you can then check out these 35 Funniest Food Moments From "Seinfeld".
Episode: The Courtship of Stewie's Father, Season 4
We all know about Stewie's countless plots to try to kill his mother, but Lois doesn't find out until she sees a picture Stewie drew of him killing her. Instead of being worried, she wonders why Peter isn't shown in any of the drawings and suggests Peter bond with his son. The two get in some solid bonding time, but it happens to be at the expense of Lois, who is locked in the station wagon and pushed into a lake. (She lives, obviously.) Furious, Lois returns home and sends Stewie to his room. Brian attempts to cheer Peter up from being separated from his new pal by dancing to the viral video hit "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" dressed as a banana.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Finders Keepers, Season 12
Peter becomes convinced Stewie's restaurant placemat is a real treasure map and embarks on a quest to follow clues that lead him to the gold. He convinces Lois to join him (and eventually the whole town joins in), but by the time the two make it to the Old Block Island Cemetery, Peter realizes that everyone got there before them. The reason why they were late? Lois just had to stop for ice cream and takes a long time deciding what her order is. Don't worry, Lois, we've all been there.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Baking Bad, Season 13
When an earthquake strikes Haiti, Lois decides to bake cookies that will be handed out to those who donate blood. After tasting how good they are, Peter encourages Lois to open a cookie store. The couple goes to the bank to get a loan, and Lois brings a sample of their product to show how good they are. After tasting a cookie, their loan officer says he just has to confirm with the bank supervisor if he can approve the loan. Turns out, the supervisor is Cookie Monster—so the answer is a resounding yes.
ICYMI: 30 Worst Supermarket Cookies in America.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Baking Bad, Season 13
A fan favorite scene happens in the same episode as above when Peter and Lois open a cookie store. Peter catches sight of a woman approaching the store when he nervously tells Lois to lock the door.He says, "It's that lady who comes in, tries a sample, and then whispers about how bad she is." The woman never buys any cookies, always sticking to the samples, reassuring herself that "at least I know I'm bad, so that makes me a little less bad." She obviously doesn't know that cheat meals can be a part of a healthy diet! Here are 20 Cheat Meal Tips for Weight Loss Success.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Grumpy Old Man, Season 10
Brian tricks Stewie into thinking lemon snow just falls from the sky and convinces Stewie to try it, saying it's basically like Italian ice. Once Stewie tastes it and realizes it's pee, he disappointedly exclaims, "I was having fun playing in the snow and now you've ruined it like a pizza place ruins a salad!" The hilarious cutaway scene describes how every pizza place makes the same awkward salad, full of a whole head of lettuce, a can of black olives, huge chunks of tomatoes, wide strips of carrots, and hot peppers. Oh, and it's always placed on top of your steaming-hot pizza box so it ends up wilted by the time it gets to you.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Peter Griffin: Husband, Father… Brother?, Season 3
Remember that cheerleader scene from American Beauty when Lester (Kevin Spacey) fantasizes about the hot blonde cheerleader to the point where rose petals pour out of her shirt? This is that scene—hangry-Peter-Griffin style. Peter tries to distract himself from his hunger pangs during a basketball game. He immediately focuses on the cheerleader, and we see the scene progressing just like the scene from American Beauty. That is, of course, until the Family Guy cheerleader opens her shirt and chicken drumsticks come pouring out.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Brian in Love, Season 2
When Brian sees a therapist about his peeing problem, the shrink suggests the leaking may be because he's in love. Brian then confesses to Peter that he isn't sure if the girl loves him back, and Peter gives him a little advice about love: "You gotta find out for sure. You don't want to spend your life wondering what could have been." Instead of a cutaway to a lost lover, we see a scene where Peter is forced to choose between soup or salad and regrettably chooses salad before changing his mind. Alas—it's too late, and the waiter has already left with his order. "And to this day I still lie awake at night wondering about the soup that got away." We would too, Peter, if it was one of these high-protein soups.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Friends Without Benefits, Season 11
Have you ever been to a diner or restaurant where the servers sound like they're talking in code? Family Guy nails their unintelligible banter in this scene, where Peter tells Lois he's going to pass on that waffle because he has to take Janice's shift at the restaurant. Two eggs, scrambled, on toast becomes "Adam and Eve on a raft, wreck them!" A hotdog with ketchup and some Jell-O is "Paint a bow-wow red and a side of nervous pudding!" And a well-done burger with lettuce and tomato is "Burn one, drag it through the garden, pin a rose on it!"
RELATED: 25 Things Fast Food Chains Don't Want You To Know
Watch the moment!
Episode: I Never Met The Dead Man, Season 1
While Peter is off teaching Meg how to drive, Lois tries to feed Stewie broccoli—a veggie he hates. Lois tells him, "Honey it's not going to go away just because you don't like it." To which Stewie replies, "Well then, my goal becomes clear—the broccoli must die." After seeing that cold kills broccoli in the Farmer's Almanac, Stewie's plan is to control the global weather by using the satellite that Meg ran into while driving.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Amish Guy, Season 10
Peter is refused entry to a roller coaster because he's too overweight. After Quagmire and Joe convince him to go on a diet, Peter agrees and begins by trying a rice cake because "somebody told me this is a really good way to start your diet." If you couldn't guess, he doesn't really like it. We don't either. In fact, rice cakes are one of the 25 Worst "Healthy" Snacks for Weight Loss.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Da Boom, Season 2
Remember Y2K when everyone thought all our electronic devices would stop working and the world might end when we reached the new millennium? If you don't, maybe you remember the Family Guy episode that joked about how a nuclear holocaust occurred at midnight, January 1, 2000. Luckily, the Griffins avoid the destruction by hiding in their basement with a year's supply of dehydrated meals. Unluckily, Peter immediately eats the entire dehydrated supply—and then guzzles it all down with a glass of water. The result? A bloated Peter who really needs to poop. Maybe some of those meals contained these 23 Foods That Make You Poop.
Episode: 8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter, Season 4
Likely the most famous scene from Family Guy; Peter buys the vomit-inducing syrup, ipecac, and challenges Brian, Stewie, and Chris to drink it. Whoever throws up last gets the last piece of pie in the fridge. That pie must have been pretty good because they all agree to participate. You probably know the rest. But if not, check it out below.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Screwed the Pooch, Season 3
Brian is taken to court over custody of the puppies he believes he is the father of. Carter Pewterschmidt's lawyers try to prove that Brian is unfit to be the father of his puppies and uses an example of Brian's behavior at a Denny's restaurant years ago. The incident involves Brian becoming easily agitated by a crying baby and cries right back at him.
RELATED: 20 Worst Breakfasts in America
Watch the moment!
Episode: Peter Griffin: Husband, Father… Brother?, Season 3
After hanging out with the basketball team, Chris starts to pick up some street talk. Peter thinks he's possessed, but Lois rules it out saying it's just a phase. Brian backs her up, reminding Peter of that phase he went through when he narrated his own life. We cut to Peter's narration: "I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I looked with a grimace at the questionable meal Lois had placed in front of me. Of course, I'd never tell her how disgusted I was with her cooking, but somehow, I think she knew." Yes, she knew, because you just told her. But if she wanted to healthify that meatloaf and mashed potatoes, she should check out these 32 Kitchen Hacks for Healthy Eating.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Herpe, the Love Sore, Season 12
Some jerks have taken Peter, Quagmire, and Joe's booth at their drinking hole, The Drunken Clam. When Peter finally gets the courage to confront the guys, the trio gets beaten up. Before Peter goes down for good, he tries to get an energy boost—Popeye-style. He chugs a can of spinach, but it doesn't do much good.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Death Has a Shadow, Season 1
Peter asks Lois for permission to attend an upcoming bachelor party for a guy from work. Lois is reluctant because of all the things that have happened when Peter drinks too much, like acting inappropriately in church—and this scene, where he falls flat on his face at an ice cream parlor after one lick of butter rum.
RELATED: Every Ben & Jerry's Flavor—Ranked By Nutrition!
Watch the moment!
Episode: Chap Stewie, Season 12
If you're a Family Guy fan, you know the recurring joke around Peter using the film Road House as an excuse to drop kick people in the face. The writers began to get creative with the joke, like you'll see in this scene. Stewie is complaining to Brian about his awful family until Stewie realizes that Brian only walked into his room to charge his phone. Brian apologizes, pointing out that Peter is currently using all the outlets. To make toast. A "Toast House."
Watch the moment!
Episode: Killer Queen, Season 10
After Chris wins a hot dog eating competition, Lois decides his eating habits have gotten out of hand. As a result, she sends him—and Peter—to fat camp. In this scene, the kids sit around a campfire as Peter tells a ghost story about a man who was hungry but could only find a take-out menu for a vegan place. The boys shriek in fear at the idea that vegan foods exists.
Watch the moment!
Episode: Hot Pocket-Dial, Season 14
After learning how to use a toothpick at a steakhouse, Peter believes that chewing on the little piece of wood will change him into a stereotypical tough guy—just like the intimidating people who work at seafood counters "and make people uncomfortable for not knowing about fish." The scene cuts to a timid customer asking Peter if the halibut is fishy, to which Peter replies, "It's all fish." Peter might not be helpful behind the counter, but hopefully our guide to Every Popular Fish—Ranked By Nutritional Benefits is!
Watch the moment!
Episode: Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington, Season 3
When the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory (remember Peter's job before he works at the brewery?) is taken over by a power-hungry cigarette company, Peter gets to keep his job and even gets a raise. To celebrate? Peter buys the whole family fresh lobster, but he's late to dinner because of it. Because Lois doesn't let the family eat until he gets there, Chris begins to complain about his rumbling tummy with a classic idiom. In true Chris fashion, he happens to twist the words a bit, incorrectly exclaiming, "Can't we eat yet? I'm so hungry I could ride a horse. I don't get it. Well, I guess I could ride him to the store."
RELATED: 30 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry
Watch the moment!
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more
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The 20 Best And Funniest Family Guy Episodes
By Kevin Wong on
The animated comedy Family Guy has had a lasting effect on viewers, with its signature brand of comedy, creator Seth MacFarlane created a comedic format that's beloved by many. Premiering on Fox in 1999, the show had a rough go with ratings for three seasons, and it had its time slot bumped around quite a bid. Fox canceled Family Guy in 2002. However, the show found its audience in the home video market, Kazaa file sharing, and on Adult Swim. Fox revived the series in 2005, and it's still going strong, 20 seasons in.
Numerous show clips have gone viral--everything from Giant Chicken Fights, to Cool Whip, to Bird is the Word, to Ipecac Drinking Contests. Put enough of these in a 22-minute running time, and you have a show that will never earn the critical acclaim of its peers, but will always garner the most laughs per minute.
We're celebrating the 20 best Family Guy episodes from Season 1 to Season 16--the episodes with the perfect mixture of pop culture references, blue humor, and non-sequitur storytelling. Nearly all them, not coincidentally, have a generous helping of Brian and Stewie. Here are the episodes, listed in chronological order.
Season 2, Episode 3
Timing is key here. This episode originally aired on December 26, 1999, a prime position to goof on Y2K conspiracists. Peter shuttles his family down into the basement of the house to watch the clock strike midnight, and when it does, everyone's worst fears come true: Planes fall out of the sky, trains derail, and scores of nuclear warheads launch into the sky. The rest of the episode is a dystopian dark comedy, in which the Griffins search for other human life and try to rebuild society. "Da Boom" also features the very first Giant Chicken Fight, one of the most famous recurring gags in the show's history.
"Death is a Bitch"
Season 2, Episode 6
In this episode, Death comes for Peter's soul. But when Death sprains his ankle chasing after Peter, Peter must don the black robe and take up Death's scythe. Adam Carolla is the regular voice for Death. But in this episode, Death's first appearance, he was played by former SNL Weekend Update anchor Norm MacDonald, whose laid-back, sarcastic delivery worked perfectly.
"Road to Rhode Island"
Season 2, Episode 13
The first "Road to…" episode, starring Brian and Stewie, was presented as special; instead of beginning with the regular piano introduction, the show began with still shots of Brian and Stewie on various adventures. This was a buddy comedy rather than a family sitcom. And the plot--a road story where Brian and Stewie track down Brian's mother--delves deeper into the characters than before. This, and an earlier Season 1 episode "Brian: Portrait of a Dog," proved the show could be more than just random collection of cutaways.
Season 3, Episode 7
This episode had two main intersecting plotlines: rude New Yorkers traveling to Rhode Island to see the leaves change color, and Lois taking martial arts lessons and learning to stand up for herself. In the third act, the episode becomes a critique of violence, which, per Family Guy style, is resolved with an all-out brawl.
"To Love and Die In Dixie"
Season 3, Episode 12
Chris witnesses a crime, and the family is forced into witness protection in the Deep South. Stewie starts a bluegrass band, Peter disrupts a Civil War reenactment, and Chris falls in love with a Southern girl named Sam (who he originally mistakes for a boy). Chris and Sam's inevitable goodbye is sweet and touching.
Chris: "I'll be sure to write."
Sam: "And I'll be sure to learn to read!"
Season 4, Episode 14
When Family Guy returned to the air after its cancellation, it took the new writers a few episodes to find their footing. And "PTV," a clever takedown of the FCC and its weird, draconian prudery, is where the show hit its stride again. It's anchored by one of the best Family Guy songs ever written--so good that Brian and Stewie performed a version of it at the 2007 Emmys.
"Meet The Quagmires"
Season 5, Episode 18
This time travel episode explored an alternate future where Peter blew his chance to marry Lois, and Quagmire married her instead. In later seasons, the humanity in Peter and Lois' marriage is completely sucked dry. This is one of the episodes where their love still feels believable and real. The episode concludes with a tribute to Back To The Future and a Broadway-esque Rick Roll, courtesy of Brian.
"Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air"
Season 6, Episode 4
Joe gets a new pair of legs, can walk again (just go with it), and becomes a complete douchebro as a result. The episode ends with Peter, Cleveland, Quagmire, and Bonnie trying to maim Joe because they liked him better when he was handicapped. A crass and mean-spirited episode overall but funny enough to overlook the worst of it.
Season 6, Episode 8
Sometimes, a Family Guy episode seems like a collection of random jokes rather than an actual plot. That's certainly the case with "McStroke," in which Peter grows a moustache, has a stroke, and exposes a fast food corporation all in a single, convoluted plot. But the individual parts are so funny that the lack of cohesion matters less. Meanwhile, Stewie attends Chris and Meg's school as Zac Sawyer, and he quickly becomes the most popular boy in school.
"Road to Germany"
Season 7, Episode 3
A time travel episode, "Road to Germany" Brian, Stewie, and Mort Goldman are transported to Warsaw, Poland in 1939--right before the Nazi occupation. Their efforts to return to the present day takes them to both London and Berlin, and Stewie dresses up as Hitler to steal some uranium. The "mirror gag," when Stewie Hitler meets the real Hitler, is an old time vaudeville routine lifted from Marx Brothers classic film "Duck Soup."
"Road to the Multiverse"
Season 8, Episode 1
If there's a single episode to put forward as the best of the entire series--proof of the show's comedic value and creativity--"Road to the Multiverse" is a great candidate. Stewie builds a contraption that allows him and Brian to travel to an infinite number of alternate universes. The funniest is the Disney universe, where every character is reimagined as a squash-and-stretch character from the House of Mouse. It even comes complete singing animals and a Disney-esque ballad titled, "It's a Wonderful Day for Pie."
"And Then There Were Fewer"
Season 9, Episode 1
In Agatha Christie's mystery novel And Then There Were None, ten people are trapped on an island during a storm. They all begin dying one by one, and the surviving guests realize that one of them is the murderer. "And Then There Were Fewer" is Family Guy's tribute to the entire British 'locked room' mystery genre. It also led to the permanent deaths of two main characters.
"Brian Writes A Bestseller"
Season 9, Episode 7
One of the best running jokes in the series is Brian's misadventures as a writer. He's a terrible one, and that forms the main plot of "Brian Writes A Bestseller." Brian deliberately sets out to write a terrible self-help book and in a Producers-esque twist, it becomes a national bestseller. The success goes to his head, and he ends up being humiliated by Bill Maher on Politically Incorrect. Stewie, who works as Brian's manager, is the perfect comic foil as Brian slowly becomes a spoiled diva.
"Road to the North Pole"
Season 9, Episode 7
A bawdy Christmas special with a lot of heart, "Road to the North Pole" stars Brian and Stewie. They find Santa close to death due to exhaustion and excessive demands, and they decide to deliver the presents in his stead. The attempt is, of course, an unmitigated disaster, and it features some of the darkest comedy in the show's history. But the episode manages to bring it back around with a heartfelt message against greed and materialism.
"Back to the Pilot"
Season 10, Episode 5
Family Guy is great when it goes meta, and this episode, where Brian and Stewie travel back in time to the pilot episode of Season 1, serves as a self-analysis of the show's evolution. The episode plays on every time travel paradox and loophole in a late sequence, where hundreds of Stewies and Brians from multiple timelines debate about whether to change the past to alter the future.
"Lois Comes Out Of Her Shell"
Season 11, Episode 6
Lois has a midlife crisis, brought on by the worst imaginable birthday toast by Peter. And although Peter likes the new Lois, he eventually can't keep up. It ends with Peter beating up Justin Bieber, and reasserting his love for Lois. The B-plot, where Stewie adopts a homicidal turtle, is a zany complement.
"Roads to Vegas"
Season 11, Episode 21
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Second Chances" deals with a transporter accident that creates two William Rikers. "Roads to Vegas" has an identical plotline; Stewie and Brian use a transporter to travel to Las Vegas, and the transporter creates a separate Brian and Stewie. Each set goes to Las Vegas unbeknownst to the other and while one wins big, the other loses all its money and becomes indebted to a loan shark. Well-plotted, clever, and well-resolved, "Roads to Vegas" is further proof that Brian and Stewie are the most fleshed-out, funniest characters on the show.
Season 13, Episode 3
Peter and Lois start a cookie shop that Peter, despite his best intentions, slowly transforms into a strip club. In the B-plot, Stewie gets addicted to cough syrup, and Brian holds an intervention with all of Stewie's stuffed animals. "Baking Bad" features Cookie Monster, who bookends the episode with two well-placed cameos.
Season 14, Episode 6
After over a decade, we finally learn why Peter constantly bullies Meg. It's because of his professional wrestler sister Karen, who bullied him when he was a kid. And when Karen comes to visit Peter during Thanksgiving, it's Meg who tries her best to support her father. This episode features a rare father/daughter moment near the end, when Meg tag teams with Peter to beat up Karen in the ring.
"Dog Bites Bear"
Season 16 Episode 11
Last season, Family Guy dialed back the cutaways and the crassness; the writers are harkening to an earlier time, when the characters had heart. "Dog Bites Bear" deals with the "death" of Stewie's teddy bear Rupert, and it eventually becomes a deconstruction of Brian and Stewie's long-standing friendship. The two friends climb a mountain to scatter Rupert's ashes, and they end their eulogy with a Boyz II Men cover that strangely works. No matter how crazy the show gets, the Brian and Stewie relationship has always kept things grounded, and "Dog Bites Bear" is a case in point.
Family Guy: 10 Stewie Griffin Moments That Were Surprisingly Wholesome
The youngest member of the Griffin family, Stewie, leaves quite the impression on viewers. With his posh British accent, advanced vocabulary, and murderous tendencies, it's pretty difficult to forget him. His day-to-day life tends to involve plans for world domination, murdering his mother, Lois, and surviving his family environment.
RELATED: Family Guy: 10 Times Fans Completely Hated Stewie Griffin
But Stewie, at the end of the day, is a child. He reacts to children's games and TV shows, needs parental love and protection, and has shown that he does not know everything. Furthermore, he has shown on many occasions that he is capable of humanity. Even super-geniuses hell-bent on domination need their teddy bears.
10 Stewie Helping Chris Get Ready For His Date With Ellen
Throughout the series, Stewie has consistently shown disdain for his family and often voices his plans to kill them (particularly Lois). Having said that, Stewie has shown support for his family now and again.
When Chris expresses worry about his upcoming date with Ellen, Stewie jumps to the occasion and helps Chris get ready (song and dance included). Although the song is less than PC, it's a touching moment that shows that even Stewie can come in clutch for his family.
9 Stewie Doesn't Know Everything
Despite having an advanced vocabulary and genius-level intellect, Stewie is still a child. And even he doesn't know everything. In the episode "Chick Cancer," while struggling with his new relationship with Olivia Fuller, he reveals that he does not know what sex is (saying that it's a kind of cake).
He was also deeply traumatized after accidentally walking in on Lois and Peter having sex, calling it "ghastlier than a thousand ghouls." Goes to show that even a genius super-baby is still a child at heart.
8 Stewie Stands Up For Meg
As much as Meg takes the brunt of her family's abuse (and everyone else's) even Stewie sticks up for her on occasion. When Brian accidentally becomes addicted to cocaine, he becomes abusive towards the family. After insulting Meg, Stewie tells him "Just because you can't feel your teeth doesn't mean the girl can't feel your insults."
RELATED: Family Guy: 10 Must-See Episodes From Seasons 1-5
It's a rare moment of support from Stewie towards his sister. He is capable of compassion and empathy towards someone who is being treated unfairly (although the instances are few and far between).
7 Stewie's Bonding With Peter
It is hard to ignore that Stewie does not think highly of his father, constantly referring to him as a "fat man" among other things. However, when Lois suggests that Peter finds a way to bond more with Stewie, Peter realizes that he can make Stewie laugh by inflicting harm on Lois.
The two quickly bond over mutually abusing Lois. As dark as this is (and definitely not recommended in parenting manuals), it is an oddly wholesome moment with Stewie seeing his father in a positive light.
6 Stewie Helps Chris With Bullying Issues
As much as Stewie looks down his nose at Chris, he genuinely does see him as his only friend apart from Brian. And he is willing to go out of his way to help his friends. When Chris struggles with bullies at school, Stewie offers to help him confront them.
RELATED: Family Guy & American Dad: 10 Best Christmas Episodes, Ranked (According to IMDb)
Even though Chris' newfound confidence ends up going too far, Stewie shows that he is willing to go out of his way to help out those he cares about.
5 Stewie Keeps His Crayons In Order
Stewie shows time and time again that he still has toddler tendencies, despite his advanced intellect. A particularly wholesome moment (in a strange situation no less) is during "Untitled Griffin Family History." When robbers break into the house and kidnap Meg, they use signs to communicate with the family.
Stewie's response? "Better not be using my crayons. Mixing them up." It's difficult to not find a precocious toddler with a British accent commenting about his crayons being in order adorable.
4 Stewie Saves Lois (For The Moment)
It is no secret that Stewie cannot stand his mother Lois. However, there is a hidden part of him that wants to protect his mother. In "And Then There Were Fewer," Lois is almost killed by Diane Simmons while trapped at James Wood's mansion.
However, an unknown person (revealed to be Stewie) intervenes. Despite Stewie's ulterior motives (no one is allowed to kill his mother but him), it's still heartwarming to see a son come to his mother's aid.
3 Stewie Realizes He Can Love His Mother
Matricide is consistently on Stewie's mind and he is always stating that he will kill Lois to fulfill his evil schemes. But when Lois shows him parental care and affection by fixing his teddy bear, Rupert, and making him his favorite dinner, he has a change of heart.
RELATED: Family Guy: The 10 Saddest Moments
As independent (and sociopathic) as Stewie acts, he still requires love and attention from his parents. And seeing him love his mother for a short time is very heartwarming.
2 Stewie Doesn't Understand Peek-A-Boo
If anyone needs more examples that Stewie is still a child at heart, simply attempt to play peek-a-boo with him and he will be endlessly confused. When Peter tries to play peek-a-boo with him, Stewie starts by feeling disdain for his father until the latter "disappears." Thinking that Peter has left, he picks his nose until Peter "re-appears."
Not only is this moment hilarious as a bit, but it's pretty wholesome to watch evil supervillain Stewie Griffin be confused by the children's game of peek-a-boo.
1 Stewie Entertains His Family At The Piano
Not only is Stewie proficient in literature, languages, (and weapons), he is also musically inclined. In a parody of Amadeus, the family is forced to wear wigs after they all lose their hair. To entertain the family, Stewie plays the piano (all while mocking his father).
Stewie often makes it known how much he dislikes his dysfunctional family. But watching him entertain his family and make them laugh is pretty wholesome.
NEXT: 10 Characters From Other Animated Series That Would Be Great On The Simpsons
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.Family Guy Stewie Griffin Being A Baby Compilation
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