Adult Fear: Parodied in the episode where Brian finds out that he has a 13-year-old (human) son. After hearing a news story, Brian has a rather over-the-top reaction to it, as he could not bear to think of his son in that situation. Peter and his friends find the reaction funny, and take advantage of the situation by asking Brian what he'd do if his son was in various dangerous situations.
Advertising Campaigns: In 2011 American channel TBS bought the rights to air The Big Bang Theory and advertised it by showing a clip of Peter jumping into midair and getting frozen there. After he says "Call a Scientist!" we cut to a clip from Big Bang of Leonard answering the phone. Oddly enough, the footage of Peter came from an episode which only five minutes earlier had featured a Big Bang parody complete with stars Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki voicing their characters.
All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: One cutaway gag has a drunken Peter exclaiming how he doesn't understand anime, as everyone seems to be either a 10 year old girl or a monster. What vaguely resembles a copy of La Blue Girl can be seen among the DVD cases scattered on the floor.
Alleged Lookalikes: In one episode, Brian is in a Spot the Imposter situation between Regular Stewie and Eviler Than Usual Clone Stewie. We can tell which is which because they have reversed colour schemes on their clothes: Regular!Stewie has red overalls with a yellow shirt and ETUC!Stewie has yellow overalls with a red shirt. That is, at least until the inevitable fight where they both get the overalls ripped off, leaving both Stewies in nothing but diapers.
All Gays Are Promiscuous: Used in the episode "Family Gay" where Peter sleeps with several men at once while he is under the influence of the "gay gene" that was injected into him earlier in the episode (although it's not like he'd be terribly opposed to an orgy with ten other women as a straight man, as long as Lois was cool with it).
All Germans Are Nazis: Taken to the point where there hasn't been a single German character to appear who isn't a Nazi.
The Dallas "Dream Season" potshot, complete with live action collaboration by Patrick Duffy and Victoria Principal.
Everyone was assuming that the big murder mystery episode would be this, only for the next episode to officially prove that yes, Muriel Goldman, Diane Simmons, and Derek (Jillian's husband) were Killed Off for Real. Though in Diane's case they Never Found the Body, so she might make a return. James Woods sure as hell did.
All Men Are Perverts: Peter and his friends are this but the only who stands out the most is QUAGMIRE.
All There in the Manual: Meg's friends are Beth (short-haired blonde), Patty (redhead), Esther (black girl with glasses), Ruth (puffy-haired brunette), and Collette (the long-haired brunette in "Fifteen Minutes of Shame").
Alpha Bitch: Connie D'Amico. Lois was one too back in high school.
Alternate History: Brian and Stewie go back to the year 1999 and wind up seeing their past selves and their old hijinks. Despite Stewie's warning to not tamper with anything in the past, Brian decides to tell his past self about 9/11. Flash forward to the current time, Brian is seen in the news as a hero for preventing a terrorist attack. Brian sees this as a good thing, but his actions caused a a much bigger problem.
In one cutaway gag, Quagmire has been abducted by aliens and inquires about anal probing. They reply that they don't do it anymore. After a short pause, Quagmire asks if they still have the device.
The episode "Da Boom" has a scene with aliens watching the destruction of Earth from their spaceship. While they're watching their abductee comes out and asks "What'd I miss?", the anal probe still stuck up his ass.
Peter: Hi, I'm Peter Griffin. Y'know, we had a lot of laughs tonight, but I'll tell you what's not funny: Killing strippers. Strippers are people too, naked people who may be willing to pleasure you for a price you negotiate later behind the curtain of a VIP room. Besides, there's no reason to kill them, because most of them are already dead inside. Good night!
Animation Bump: Usually utilized in fight scenes and musical numbers. Somewhat subverted in that the earlier seasons (1-3) had more frames of animation than the later ones from season 4 on. The Disney universe in "Road to the Multiverse" has very fluid animation compared to the rest of the show.
Anyone Can Die: While a number of recurring characters with varying degrees of importance have been killed off, it's probably safe to say that few people saw Brian's death coming…or, at the very least, that that it would stick. For two episodes.
In "Ready, Willing, and Disabled", Joe keeps thanking people for his Special People's Games win, but he never thanks Peter (the man who coached him). Peter is pretty upset with Joe over it and reveals him as a fraud.
In another episode, Lois asks this very question to Peter, who answers in the affirmative and walks over to the previously unseen Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion and gives them the same bullcrap the Wizard did, as well as Kristy McNichol, instead of addressing the person Lois was talking about.
Another episode when Peter found Jesus.
Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Demonstrated in "Untitled Griffin Family History" when Meg is surprised that the burglars have no interest in raping her. She goes so far as to chase them, to the point where the burglars have Meg arrested for sexual harassment.
Armor-Piercing Question: In "A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Bucks", Bob Funland tells a misbehaving Peter that he owns the theme park that he's visiting. Then he asks Peter, "So what have you done with your life, ya jerk?" Peter is embarrassed, even moreso when his cover story that he's Neptune, God of the Sea backfires when the real Neptune shows up.
In "Believe it or Not, Joe's Walking on Air", when Joe gets his legs back, he makes his friends go mountain-climbing, learn karate, and perform a choreographed dance to "Good Morning" from Singin' in the Rain.
In "Supergriffins", Peter gains the power to morph, Lois gains super strength, Brian gains super speed, Chris gains the power to shoot out fire, Stewie gains telekinesis, and Meg gains the power to enlarge and sharpen her fingernails that can't even cut skin.
In "Road to the Pilot", when Stewie finds out that Brian told his past self about 9/11, he asks him what unforeseen consequences could await them; Saddam Hussein becoming president, Mexico becoming the world's most dominant super power, and Cookie Monster inventing Facebook.
Compare the pilot◊ to the first episode.◊ Hell, compare that to the newer episodes.◊ Now they're also utilizing CGI and widescreen, the former mentioned by Seth MacFarlane as a much better substitute to specific things. (i.e. vehicles, the beer bottles in "Peter's Two Dads"). Even compare "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" to the rest of season 3 (the former uses a blend of the animation of seasons 1-3 and season 4+).
Lampshaded in "Back to the Pilot" in which Brian notices that when they go back to the "Death Has a Shadow" universe, the Griffin family house looks different.
The 2009-10 season premiere had Brian and Stewie visiting various alternate universes, including one drawn in a Disney style, a Robot Chicken universe in Claymation, and another drawn in an extremely abstract style. Many fans consider the Disneyesque sequence to be one of the best in the show.
Of course, there are other episodes that showcase different animation styles, such as Stewie dancing with Gene Kelly in place of Jerry the Mouse, and the whole family crudely animated to spoof The Simpsons' start on The Tracy Ullman Show.
There are a few moments in which Brian and Stewie are transported into the real world.
Now that the show's finally gone HD (even more Art Evolution was employed), the intro was finally re-animated and looks much better, and supporting characters replace previous generic characters.
When Brian and Stewie meet themselves through time travel to the year 1999 (when the show first debuted), the entire scene is in the style of the pilot (with Brian and Stewie poking fun at the glitchy animations), including being in SD instead of HD. When the duo goes into the altered future, the art style shifts to a clay animation-like style CG note which was animated by one of the companies of Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined).
Artistic License - Geography: "Road to Germany" has one when it showed the British attack on Berlin. Delaying over the Black Forest? Are you trying to get your pilots killed? Also from that episode, the time travelers arrive in Warsaw on September 1, 1939. While that is the date that World War II began with the German invasion of Poland, they portray German soldiers arriving in Warsaw the same day. In truth, Warsaw was the last enclave of Poland to fall, and then only after a bitter siege. If they had used Danzig/Gdansk instead, it would have been accurate.
Artistic License - Law: "The Juice is Loose." Joe Swanson gets Peter to wear a wire so that he can get O.J. Simpson to confess to the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman. Said murders occurred in the state of California, well outside of a Rhode Island police officer's jurisdiction. Furthermore, Simpson had already been tried and acquitted of both slayings, so even if he had confessed to the murders, double jeopardy would apply (that is, Simpson could not be tried again).
As the Good Book Says: Parodied in "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington"; before a baseball game, there's discussion on what people holding signs that read "John 3:16" means. Brian looks up the verse in the Bible: "And the Lord said: "Go Sox.""
Quagmire's sister and her abusive boyfriend were introduced as a one-off gag in the Season 8 episode "Jerome Is the New Black." Flash forward to Season 10, they become the main focus of the show's seriously takenVery Special Episode.
Likewise Mort Goldman, who was introduced in Season 3 for two episodes as Neil's father and the embodiment of all Jewish stereotypes taken Up to Eleven, got his breakout role in the "Lil' Griffins" segment of "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", and has since been a regular member of the Family Guy cast. We hope the same can be said for his son.
Also James Woods is apparently more famous In-Universe than he is in real life. Some fans probably only know who he is from the show.
In general, Tricia Takanawa, a reporter for Channel 5 News, is treated this way by her employer. For instance, lead anchor Tom Tucker will refer to Takanawa as "our Asian reporter," and she is often placed in situations that are extremely dangerous or degrading (for instance, being sent out to report in the middle of a hurricane).
A cutaway gag shows an Asian Mall Santa like this.
Also, Mr. Washee-Washee.
An Asian woman cuts across a crowded highway and causes a devastating traffic accident. Also doubles as an example of Asian Drivers.
Asian Woman: (in coy Asian accent) How much signal I need to cut across eight lane? None? I turn now. Good luck everybody else!
Asian Speekee Engrish: Tricia Takanawa's monotone, nasal delivery is heavily stereotypical, with situations meant to play upon her race.
Ass Shove: Peter's prostate exam, among other instances.
Attractive Bent-Gender: Stewie is almost always this when he crossdresses. He likes coming off as classy, hot and refined, and he usually manages to. Many, in-universe, seem to think so, too, with references to men hitting on one of his drag personas ("hey, is that Desirée?!") and his winning the Little Miss Texas contest.
MacFarlane loves '50s music and he's not afraid to remind you of that whenever he gets the chance (Conway Twitty, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and the New Rat Pack). In the "Road to the Multiverse" episode, there's a universe where earth became a hellhole (indirectly) because Frank Sinatra never existed.
Brian. His voice is simply MacFarlane talking in his own voice. (MacFarlane has even admitted in interviews that sometimes when his tastes change, Brian's change is reflecting that, such as in his liquor/cocktail of choice changes, and that Brian is MacFarlane taking a bit of himself and putting it into the show more directly).
Peter was this in the beginning, as he mirrored some of the creator's interests in sci-fi films and series, like Star Wars and Star Trek.
James Woods. Being a celebrity entitled him to top-notch medical attention that allowed him to come back to life by transferring the Life Energy of a 17 year old girl into his own body.
Kevin Swanson, Joe and Bonnie's son, was stated to have been killed in action while deployed in Iraq. Years later in a Thanksgiving Episode it is revealed he was the sole survivor of a bomb that wiped out his unit and he went AWOL from the military.
Shockingly, this was initially averted when Brian died. In spite of Stewie's efforts, he wasn't able to repair his time machine, meaning he couldn't go into the past to prevent it. Additionally, Brian was replaced with a new pet (Vinnie) in the same episode, making some fans believe it was likely going to stick But it was played straight just two episodes later, Stewie uses his past self's time machine to save Brian. Seth Mccfarlane later tweeted, "You seriously thought we'd kill off Brian? Jesus, we'd have to be fucking high!"]]
Bad Mood as an Excuse: This show often makes use of this. On example is Brian ranting at a crying baby in a restaurant. When confronted about this he claims he was irritated because his meal was undercooked.
Bad Present: In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, there's a cutaway where Walt Disney, who is shown to be cryogenically frozen, awakens and wants to be re-frozen because a bad present for him is that the Jews are still alive.
Peter: I'm going to stop you the only way I can... (lifts up axe in very sinister manner)BY KILLING YOU...!(camera fades to Peter using axe as hammer to drive his campaign sign into the front lawn)(calmly) ...in the race for school board president!
Or a fizzle. Only half the people who have called him a fizzle have gotten away with it.
Best of All Possible Worlds: The episode "Stewie Kills Lois" deals with Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Stewie finally carries out his long running threat to kill his mother. Over the course of the episode and the next he takes over the world, culminating in an action movie style showdown between him and his parents (Mom was Not Quite Dead), which results in his death. The we see it was all just a simulation, and Stewie concludes he's not ready to kill Lois yet. Brian lampshades the cheapness of this ending.
Big Ball of Violence: In "And the Wiener Is...", Quagmire gets in the way of a violence ball, courtesy of Andy Capp and Flo. After getting out of the ball, he asks, "What the hell? Did I just get laid??"
In one episode, the family hides out from the law in "Asian Town." Their apartment is above a Chinese restaurant that, judging from the sign, is actually Japanese-run.
An earlier episode has two Cubans falling out of a crashing plane and speaking in Spanish, with gratuitous subtitles in Korean (Trilingual Bonus?).
Cuban 1: (Oh my god, We're gonna die!)
Cuban 2: (Do you remember if I closed the garage door this morning?)
The recurring fisherman characters speak Spanish and Portuguese...to each other.
Less a Bilingual Bonus and more of a dialectical one, in one episode with the cutaway scene to that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation wherein Captain Picard comments that Commander Worf's forehead "Looks like a fanny". To Americans, it sounds like Picard is comparing Worf's forehead to someone's bottom. However, to English audiences, "fanny" is a slang term for the vagina. This is especially amusing given that the line is delivered by Patrick Stewart, who is English and would know of the meaning. Plus Klingon foreheads do look more like vaginas than bottoms.
In "Halloween on Spooner Street", the "proverb" that Quagmire shares from his (fictional) Japanese grandfather is real, if somewhat nonsensical, Japanese:
Quagmire: "Takusan no shinju ga ashi no yubi no aida ni aru kagiri, otoko wa binbo ni wa naranai" ("A man will never be poor as long as he has many pearls between his toes.")
"Chitty Chitty Death Bang": Stewie turns one. Peter screws up the planning for Stewie's birthday party, while Meg tries not to attend. Stewie murders the leader of a cult (who he believed was the doctor who delivered him).
"Peter's Two Dads": Meg asks for a birthday party, and it takes input from Chris for Lois and Peter to make a connection. They don't realize that Meg is turning seventeen. Francis Griffin is injured by Peter while Peter is performing as a clown. Francis dies from his injuries.
The first act of "A Picture is Worth 1,000 Bucks" starts out as a birthday episode for Peter, until, typical for his character, he botches it, and the plot of the true episode catches up at the end of the first act. This happens again in "Baby, You Knock Me Out!"
"Meg and Quagmire": The family takes Meg to the Teen Choice Awards for her eighteenth birthday then bring her home for her surprise party, which goes unattended even though Lois gave Chris money to pay off Meg's classmates to come. The only person to attend the party is Quagmire who wastes no time in putting the moves on Meg.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lois, originally the most compassionate and down to Earth member of the family, has gradually leaned into this. Was arguably more a case of Comedic Sociopathy humor in having a usually sweet character act callous in earlier cases (especially when Meg was involved) though as the show has progressed, Lois seems to have evolved more into a genuine jerkass, e.g. attempting to have sex with Meg's boyfriend or becoming drunk with power from her martial arts skills, to the point of raping her husband (it is worth noting she blamed Peter for provoking her for both instances). Also since Rule of Funny makes up half the cast's personalities anyway, it's hard to separate one instance from the other. Her behavior has even been lampshaded at least once:
Lois: Ya see? I'm part of it. *laughs excited* I'm part of the joke just like everyone else!
It has culminated with a cutaway gag where MacFarlane basically says he prefers [adult swim] over Fox since Adult Swim doesn't censor as many jokes as Fox.
And there's also the way Adult Swim itself gets made fun of a lot, even though Adult Swim is a big part of how Family Guy got Un-Canceled. Stewie and Peter often say that it "isn't a real network" and treat it as though barely anyone has heard of it.
In the premiere after it was brought back, before the opening credits Peter says they've been cancelled. He then lampshades it by saying FOX has to "make room for quality programs such as..." and then listsevery other show that FOX had cancelled between Family Guy's own cancellation and its return. Then this:
Lois: Is there no hope?
Peter: Well I suppose if all those shows go down the tube then we might have a shot.
Black Comedy: Always happened throughout the show, though more common in newer episodes.
"Prick Up Your Ears," where Lois pounces on Peter after Peter declares that he's abstinent.
Lois also rapes Peter in "Lethal Weapons", with him reacting as such and whimpering "Last night...Lois, was, THE MAN!"
Also the theme of numerous cutaway gags.
"One of the people you hit was a virgin whose hymen was busted, so rape."
Pulls a hat trick in "Dial Meg for Murder". The first time when Peter is attacked by the "Breeding Bull", second is when Meg sexually assaults Connie after beating her and the popular kids up with a bag full of soda cans, third is implied when Meg joins Peter in the shower with a Luffa.
The Blank: Peter's "poker face" in "Screwed the Pooch".
In the episode "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell", Lois hung out with two younger women. One is blonde and the other is a brunette. With Lois, it completes the set.
Blood Bath: When God gets pissed at Peter for creating a religion based around himself and starts attacking the Griffins with the seven plagues of Egypt, one sees Stewie's bath water turn into blood. While the rest of the family is freaked out, Stewie is enjoying himself.
Stewie: "How positively delightful! It's as if someone stabbed Mr. Bubble!"
Bloodier and Gorier: While more on par with cartoonish slapstick violence in early episodes, the show has became increasingly graphic and shock oriented in it's portrayal of violence and bodily harm as it has evolved. Even when gore isn't involved, violence often has a disturbingly uncanny portrayal at times. MacFarlane stated in one of the DVD commentaries that even when they animated proofs of graphic violence and realistic injuries, the stuff they got back was cartoon-ized. It would seem executive meddling was finally shut down with the uncancelling.
Bloodless Carnage: While Family Guy doesn't spare the audience the sight of blood in the later seasons, in the second season episode "There's Something About Paulie", Paulie gets shot to death without a single drop of blood being spilled.
Blowing a Raspberry: One episode has Peter blowing a raspberry every time Meg's name is mentioned, prompting Chris to then repeat Meg's name over and over again until Lois tells him to stop.
Blunder Correcting Impulse: In one episode, paraplegic Joe Swanson gets a leg transplant and is able to walk again, almost instantly becoming as athletic as he ever was and soon becoming very cocky about it, abandoning his old friends (who can't keep up with him in his newfound interests) and eventually about to walk out on his wife Bonnie. Bonnie says she wants her old Joe back and pulls a gun, trying to shoot his spine and reparalyze him. She keeps missing and wounding him in other places, until he finally yells "STOP, I'LL DO IT MYSELF!!!" He then takes the gun and shoots himself in the base of the spine.
Peter: Okay, Brian, next time let's remember this right away, because he's done this twice.
Brain Bleach: In-Universe, just one look at Meg and a store clerk and camera guy screamed in fear, poured gasoline over themselves, lit themselves on fire and jumped out the conveniently placed window. Later on, Stewie's look at a porno magazine and the time Brian showed him 2 Girls 1 Cup.
In one episode, Peter is sexually attracted to Connie D'Amico, an underage high school girl. He keeps saying and doing increasingly disturbing things until he gets on top of Connie as she lies unconscious on the floor, turns to the camera and angrily shouts: "What are you looking at? It's a cartoon!"
"The fourth wall! You're breakin' the fourth wall!"
In the episode "Dial Meg for Murder", Peter uses the TV Guide to find out what will happen. They even manage to use those clips for the commercials for the episode. It works in both contexts.
In "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", after Meg reveals that she's become a born-again Christian:
Peter: That's right, folks, it's gonna be a Meg episode, stick around for the fun... (puts remote on kitchen table) Here's the clicker. No one would blame ya...
Brian and Stewie have an extended conversation on whether or not Loretta is close enough to being a main cast member to understand Stewie. An offscreen voice also states "We're filming!".
"Okay, they're dead, alright? We're not gonna be seeing them again." - Stewie in "Saving Private Brian" after he murders Vern and Johnny with a gun.
In the Thanksgiving Episode the studio executives suddenly didn't have an appropriate cutaway gag when Peter set-up a joke and panicked. After playing a cutaway that didn't have any significance to the one Peter set up he wonders aloud what exactly happened to the studio people.
On the episode "I Dream of Jesus," Peter asks Jesus to give Lois huge breasts and Lois' boobs grow to absolutely enormous size.
In "I Take Thee Quagmire", Lois is trying to wean Stewie and as a result, her breasts swell. Said swelling is what pulls Quagmire from his newfound monogamy and wanting to get out of his marriage to Joan.
Breathless Non Sequitur: From the episode "And Then There Were Fewer": "And I am not saying another word until I speak to my lawyer, because why is he wearing shorts?"
In "Dog Gone", Brian tells the father in The Family Circus to "fuck your wife in the face". Later, Peter reads a very surprising issue of Family Circus.
At the beginning of the episode "Family Gay", Peter buys a brain-damaged horse who eventually dies, so he flings its body into Mort's pharmacy. At the end, Mort throws the corpse through the window of the Griffins' house, shouting, "Take back your fucking horse!"
In "To Live and Die in Dixie", Peter dares Brian to enter his General Lee through the window The Dukes of Hazzard-style, but forgot to roll the window down and as a result Brian is knocked out cold upon colliding with the window. Four years and a cancellation later on in "The Fat Guy Strangler", Brian throws a rock at Peter's head. Peter, assuming Brian meant to throw it at Patrick (the titular murderer), tells him he missed and Brian replies "No I didn't. That's for rolling up the damn window when I tried to jump into the General Lee."
In "Love Thy Trophy", Peter, Cleveland, and Quagmire beat up the cable guy to get free cable. Later on in the episode, Joe, who was not involved in the beating, says that he is the only one on the block who pays for his cable.
In the Season 4 episode "Perfect Castaway", Herbert asked Brian if he had any ice cream trucks for sale to attract the kids with. In the Season 9 episode "And Then There Were Fewer", he's driving one.
Near the beginning of "Halloween on Spooner Street", Peter and Joe play a prank on Quagmire. The entire rest of their B plot is a set-up for Quagmire to get them back.
In "Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air," Adolf Hitler is seen in a cutaway juggling fish while riding a unicycle. After a cutaway where Cleveland remarks about the scene, Peter is shown kicking Hitler in the groin, causing him to fall off the unicycle. Peter: "See, we had a plan for that all along."
"Brian! I'm Ready! Are you in or out?" from "Barley Legal."
In "420", Peter, Brian, Cleveland, and Joe accidently kill Quagmire's cat while trying to shave it as a prank. After hiding the body, it is never brought up again in the episode until the last scene. Quagmire knocks on Peter's door offering a cash reward for finding his cat. Peter calmly takes the money and tells Quagmire that he killed it and the episode ends.
British Royal Guards: Subverted where Peter believes the guard won't move. However, he does and responds to Peter, "Nope, that's just our women."
Brother-Sister Incest: Family Guy finally went down this road when Meg and Chris ended up doing 7 minutes in Heaven at a Halloween party. Neither one knew it was the other since they had masks on. As expected, they both completely freak out when they find out. Later on, though, they seem pretty proud of the fact that they scored with someone of the other gender.
"Fresh Heir" indicated that they take baths together, much to Peter's horror when he found out.
Peter: ...I don't have the parenting skills necessary to deal with this.
Meg (though she wasn't that much of a butt monkey in the early episodes; just a teenage girl who wanted to be like the popular kids).
A very near literal instance comes from the episode "Petergeist," where the exit from the spirit world is actually her butt. An excellent illustration of her family's attitude to her comes from the same episode:
Peter: Lois, dammit, we both agreed, remember? If we could only save two we leave Meg!
Brian can be this too. Any time Brian says or does something like dating a new woman or stating his political beliefs, everybody mocks and attacks him for the rest of the episode while he tries to either rationally explain his position or just ignore them. They continue to attack him for the rest of the episode until the end when The Dog Bites Back, and most of the time they just Yank the Dog's Chain and he ends up in the same place or worse off than he was before.
Peter and Stewie arguably go through as much torture and humiliation as the key Butt Monkeys in the series; it is merely balanced by them dishing out as much as they take.
Joe falls into this, too. With the disability jokes aimed towards him.
Despite Connie being an Alpha Bitch at James Woods High School, she isn't immune to this trope, as she has been attacked by every Griffin family member (accept Lois, who hasn't directly attacked her, although she did get her through Quagmire), and she still decides to act like a bitch.
Butt Sticker: In the episode "Mr. and Mrs. Stewie" Lois goes over to Quagmire's house to ask Peter to come home. When Peter gets out of bed... Quagmire is stuck in his backside.
Butterfly of Doom: In one episode about time travel, Brain and Stewie go back to the pilot episode, and Brian warns his past self about 9/11 (the pilot having aired/taken place in 1999). When they get back to the present, they find that Brian singlehandedly prevented the attacks, which at first seems like a good thing — then we find out that without the "fear-mongering" caused by The War on Terror, Bush lost his re-election in 2004, and eventually led the South in starting a second Civil War, which eventually leads to most of the East Coast getting nuked. Naturally, Stewie and Brian go back to try and stop Brian from warning his past self, at which point Hilarity Ensues.
The Charlie and the Chocolate Parody episode has Peter find a golden scroll that lets him get a tour of a brewery. He runs home in excitement and trips on the sidewalk, holding his knee in pain for several seconds. Another episode several seasons later plays this scene in nearly the exact same way, except it is Lois running home after hearing she got the job as a news reporter, but when she trips, she winds up hurting her breasts and holds one while in pain. The original version of "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" (The Empire Strikes Back parody) had one of the AT-ATs doing the knee version. Reruns cut that scene.
The third season episode "Lethal Weapons" has Stewie demonstrating a number of novelty and gag items from Jack's Joke Shop while using the slogan "If it ain't funny, it ain't worth Jack". Years later in season 5's "Road to Rupert" he pulls the same schtick on Brian; Brian's reaction is not one of amusement.
Captain Morgan Pose: Peter strikes the pose three times in a campaign ad. First he's in a classroom, and he puts his foot on a desk. Then he's in a school hallway, and he puts his foot up on another desk. Then he's in the middle of a football field, and there just happens to be another desk for him to stick his foot on.
Although more just a product of Peter's usual shenanigans than direct mind control, he has been 'changed' temporarily an untold amount of times for the period of single episodes. Despite this, it's subverted as the rest of the cast usually don't see anything periodic about it and never reprimand him beyond the individual change. To date, he has been 'brainwashed' into becoming feminine, 'rich', Jewish, a bully, Mexican, African American, a red neck, and a homosexual, all of which is forgotten about by the next episode.
Both Mayor Adam West and Meg are apparently unwilling sleeper-agent Russian spies, the former of which has been outed. No consequences of this have come up so far, but it's hard to question it when one ponders how someone as suspicious and incompetent as Mayor Adam could have become Mayor in the first place.
Happened in a Cutaway Gag from "Road To Rupert" when Peter recalled having good times with an anvil, the gag being Peter setting up a trap with said anvil, using a dollar bill as bait. Of course, since this is Peter, he falls for it.
When it's revealed that Lois' mother is Jewish, Carter attempts to bait her this way (due to the Greedy Jew stereotype) so she would get wet (by Carter's Super Soaker toy, folks). She doesn't fall for it, but Carter soaks her anyway.
The Cast Showoff: Happens often. Mostly when a character voiced by MacFarlane sings — he has extensive vocal training and ability.
Casual Kink: The sex between Peter and Lois is almost always presented as a mutually loving and kinky relationship; they're even seen discussing their day-to-day lives moments before they suit up and Lois cheerfully informs Peter that "the safe word is banana".
Cat-apult: Mayor Adam West defends his home with a crossbow that fires cats, which he stores in a large sack on his back.
In "Welcome Back, Carter", Peter forces Carter to come up with a series of catchphrases for him. The one he likes best is "tell it to my butt, cause he's the only one that gives a crap!" Lois seems to think highly of it too.
Tom Tucker has: "And now this..."
Caught with Your Pants Down: One episode has Chris drinking a lot of energy drinks, like his dad. We see Peter try to milk a cow at super speed, causing its teats to catch on fire. A few seconds later, we see Chris running downstairs with his pants on fire, with the obvious implication.
It is odd to watch the really early episodes where Meg was treated with respect and love by her family, like Peter trying his hardest to help her out at the school newspaper or Lois helping her to get revenge on Connie. This seemed to have an effect on Meg's personality. The earlier better treated Meg was also a somewhat spoiled and manipulative Bratty Teenage Daughter. As her abuse began to increase, she humbled and (the odd Yandere moment aside) is something of a Token Good Teammate for the family, if not the entire show).
Also Stewie and Brian's relationship has developed significantly since the first season, where they very obviously despised each other. Now they often seem the only people who significantly care much for each other. Stewie's relationship with the rest of the family has also changed. He was indifferent to Chris and Meg, hated his mother, and hated his father just because he was an idiot. Nowadays, he's just a general jerk to everyone, but he does care about his family and sticks up for them should anyone try to mess with them.
Lois, through seasons 1-2 and some of 3, started off as a stereotypical 1950's housewife who tries to uphold a morally (even if they are outdated) upright household, and was completely oblivious to her infant Villain Protagonist child's plans to kill her and take over the world. Starting with Season 3's "And The Wiener Is..." and "Lethal Weapons", she started to take an aggressive, even sociopathic stance with her Nice Guy image gradually becoming a hypocritical facade.
It is also jarring to see Quagmire as the wacky sex maniac in the early seasons become a jaded cynic in the later seasons, though this is somewhat justified when Quagmire confessed to Brian that he spent his whole life dedicated to a woman he broke up with and regretted it ever since since he is still madly in love with her.
It is also jarring to rewatch episodes like season two's "Da Boom!" to hear, even in passing mention, that Brian would even be 'allowed' to step foot in Quagmire's house, with Quagmire's vicious, ever-growing hatred for Brian that sprung up and continued on from the ninth season.
Joe's son Kevin didn't fare much better, making three season 4 appearances, and one more in season 5 before disappearing entirely. Darkly lampshaded two seasons later; when Peter asked about him, Joe deadpanned "He died in Iraq." However, he made a surprise returning appearance in a Thanksgiving Episode.
Death disappeared for a long while, though he reappeared in "Friends of Peter G." to show Peter what life would be like if he continued to binge drink.
Jasper, Brian's gay cousin, vanished after the Season 4 episode, "You May Kiss Uh... the Guy Who Receives". However, he reappeared in the Season 11 episode "Brian's Play".
Carol's infant son born in "Emission Impossible" is not seen in the other episodes where his mother appears on screen. He has never been mentioned at all but could be living with his biological father.
This trope was discussed in "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz," where one of Peter's sermons for his new Fonz-centric religion focused on Chuck's disappearance.
Brian's son has never been seen again and was only briefly referenced in another episode.
Peter's biological father was shown only once and was brought up in a few mentions.
Meg used to have four friends she hung out with; a blonde girl, a girl with curly brown hair, a black girl, and a redhaired girl with glasses. In recent episodes the blonde girl has vanished.
Cliffhanger: Naturally used on the two parters "The Thin White Line"/"Brian Does Hollywood" (at the end of part one, Brian leaves the Griffins), "Stewie Kills Lois"/"Lois Kills Stewie" (Lois returns from the "dead" to proclaim that Stewie tried to kill her), and, in syndication, "Bango Was His Name-O"/"Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure" (Stewie meets his future self).
Clone Degeneration: In "Quagmire's Baby", this is the fate of Bitch!Brian and Bitch!Stewie.
"Family Gay," which manages to be incredibly homophobic while supposedly promoting gay rights. Arguably any episode with gay rights as the topic, since every gay character is presented as a stereotype, and yet, the episode centers on how they're people too and deserve the same rights as straight people.
An episode meant as a vehicle for preaching the merits of legalizing marijuana ("Episode 420") is not the best place for constant stoner jokes. Especially bad after Brian's speech on how "productivity is skyrocketing and crime is miniscule" is right after a newscast in which the anchors were too stoned to even do their job and Peter was so stoned that, rather than set up a cutaway gag, he just gives off a list of celebrities he hates.
Compressed Abstinence: When Peter almost dies (Death pays him a visit) while driving when drunk, he promises to stop drinking beer. Death shows Peter that his teetotaler self is very intelligent and wealthy but pretentious, so Peter decides to drink in moderation in a Status Quo Is God decision.
Cone of Shame: In "Brian Sings and Swings", Brian wears one after being hit by Peter's car.
Salesman: Now I know you've been here all day, so if you'll just sign this contract without reading it, I'll take your blank check and you won't not be not loving your new timeshare in no time.
Conspicuous CG: Season 4 onward for vehicles, backgrounds, and even humans on occasion.
Consulting a Convicted Killer: In one episode, Joe consults Lois' brother, Patrick 'Fat Guy Strangler' Pewterschmidt, when kids at a fat camp start turning up dead. Patrick initially theorises that the killer will remain at the fat camp to ensure a good supply of victims. The killer turns out to be a professional eater who Chris humiliated at an eating contest earlier in the episode, and wants Chris dead.
Rush Limbaugh guests in "Excellence in Broadcasting", where Chris recalls the time Fox News Channel revealed he was Fred Savage in a costume, which Lois defends as a lie even though it's true and she reported it (in the episode "FOX-y Lady"), because even the truth becomes a lie if told on Fox News.
Lois also calls Peter out on how he mindlessly spends money on things to use for his shenanigans, including the Peter-Copter where Peter used in an earlier episode and tore up Joe's front lawn with it.
Contrived Clumsiness: After seeing Jillian's boyfriend accidentally trip a waiter and immediately spring into action to prevent him and his drinks from spilling over, Brian tries to do the same in order to impress his former girlfriend, by deliberately tripping the next waiter to walk by. The waiter falls, his drinks crash, and he questions why Brian would do something like that. Adding insult to injury, the waiter had just recovered from recent hand surgery, and was told he should not have come into work that day, but Jillian's boyfriend massages his hand and makes it better.
Couldn't Find a Lighter: Peter and Lois end up temporarily trapped in Cuba. Peter takes to it quickly by getting a Cuban Havanna, but failing to find a lighter he lights it off a burning American flag that a helpful local was carrying past.
Country Matters: Alluded to. In "The Tan Aquatic With Steve Zissou", Brian notices a dark spot on Stewie's body, and warns, "It could be the... C-word."
Stewie: Well what the hell does that have to do with anything? Brian: No, "cancer". Stewie: Ohhhh, I thought you meant... it's not important. Oh no, cancer.
Crapsaccharine World: The earlier seasons, though still ripe with darker humour, were played with a much more whimsical sitcom-esque setup, with most of the cast (even antagonists such as bank robbers) being highly cheery and friendly. It is only later on the cynical tone kicks in and the show evolves into a high order Crapsack World.
Crazy-Prepared: Peter taped a series of videoes in case he ever went feral.
Creepy Child: Pre-season 4 Stewie. He's getting his edge back in season 9. After all, he sniped Diane Simmons, pulled a bazooka on some teenagers who stole his Halloween candy, and traveled all the way to the freaking North Pole to try to assassinate Santa Claus, from whom he'd wanted yellow cake uranium.
Crossover: His 3 shows have crossed over each other frequently to the point where fans are sure they exist in the same universe. FOX once ran a Sunday evening with his 3 shows each having an episode linked together under the theme of a storm moving over the characters' subsequent towns.
A brief bit with American Dad! (Seth's other animated show) in both "Lois Kills Stewie" and "Meet the Quagmires". Though Seth has stated he toys with the idea to make a proper one.
Stan appears for a one-shot cutaway gag in "Excellence in Broadcasting."
Brian also appears in the American Dad! episode "The People V. Martin Sugar."
Roger and Klaus have both appeared in the Star Wars specials
Joe Swanson replaces Stan in the opening intro to American Dad in a cutaway gag.
In "Believe It Or Not, Joe's Walking On Air", Peter, Cleveland, and Quagmire attempt to "recripple" Joe after healing his disability inflates his ego. He soundly pummels all of them, none of them able to lay a single hit.
Cure Your Gays: One part of "Family Gay" has Brian and Stewie sending Peter to a straight camp to "cure" him.
Cutaway Gag: Sometimes number from few to many, although there have been distinctive episodes without cutaways ("Brian and Stewie", "And Then There Were Fewer")