Family Guy / Tropes A to C

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  • Abandoned Catchphrase:
    • Back before Stewie Griffin's Character Development, he would frequently shout: "Victory is mine!"
    • The first Family Guy had Lois give a catchphrase along the lines of "X is God's way of telling you that Y".
    • Certain Family Guy examples have been Lampshaded in the show itself.
    Stewie: What the hell do you think I was talking about when I said "Victory shall be mine!"
    Brian: You have not said that in a very long time.
  • Absentee Actor: Peter and Lois were absent in the episode "Brian and Stewie", Stewie was absent in "Welcome Back, Carter", Brian was absent in "Candy Quahog Marshmallow!"note , and Chris and Meg were absent in far too many episodes to name.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer:
    • It is revealed in "Airport '07" that Quagmire's trunk and garage have enough space combined to hold 20 Asian women.
    • Not to mention that time Joe flew what appeared to be an Apache gunship into the sewers of Asiantown.
  • Abusive Parents: Played for laughs, especially if it concerns Meg.
  • Accidental Adultery: Zig-Zagged in "Perfect Castaway"; when Peter returns from being Lost at Sea, he finds that Lois has remarried with Brian. However, much to Brian's frustration, they have never actually consummated in the entire year they've been married.
  • The Ace: Quagmire's skill as a pilot is incredible: he once landed a jetliner without wings.
    • Joe is often shown to be quite good at his job.
  • Accidental Hero: In Joe's Revenge, Peter, Quagmire, and Joe go after Bobby Briggs, a notorious criminal responsible for crippling Joe. Unfortunately, he manages to get away. However, Peter collects a phone number he found in Bobby's apartment, allowing Joe to deduce that Bobby is heading to Mexico.
  • Accordion Man: Peter when a piano is dropped on him.
  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: In Season 3 "Lethal Weapons", while a naked Quagmire watches Lois chase away the New Yorkers on her lawn from his window, his window slams down shut on his penis. Unable to get the window up, Quagmire calls 911:
    Quagmire: Hello, 911? It's Quagmire. Yeah... Yeah, yeah, it's in a window this time.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: This trope is done heavily. Peter getting plastic surgery, Meg getting a makeover, Joe getting new legs, Chris becoming popular, and Brian becoming a best-selling author.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The show once featured a "The Villain Sucks" Song about the Federal Communications Commission, called "The Freakin' FCC". The real life FCC found it hilarious.
  • Ad Hominem: A lot of Brian fans disregard Quagmire's famous "The Reason You Suck" Speech by pointing out that Quagmire can be an awful person, ignoring that most of his points were valid.
  • Adam Westing:
  • Adaptation Decay: Peter's version of The King and I, featuring Gratuitous Ninja.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Drunken Clam.
  • 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.
  • Adventures in the Bible: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story had Stewie's future self going back in time to see Jesus. His sleight of hand tricks prove a little disappointing.
  • Advertising by Association: Parodied in an unaired cutaway gag from season 9, "Road to the North Pole".
    Stewie: (to Brian) You tried to trick me! Like those commercials for upcoming movies.
    (cut to Stewie watching TV in the living room)
    Announcer: This summer, from the guys who brought you Superbad comes a hilarious new comedy.
    Stewie: Uh, I hate when they do that. Which guy? You know it could be the writers or the guys in the wardrobe department, they don't specify.
    (Stewie changes the channel)
    Announcer: From the studio that brought you Wedding Crashers.
    Stewie: Uh, who cares? It's sure a broad association.
    (Stewie changes the channel)
    Announcer: From the species that brought you Talladega Nights.
    Stewie: Oh what, humans? Who else is making movies?
    Announcer: From the same molecular elements that brought you Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
    Stewie: What?
    Announcer: ...and air!
    Stewie: Fuck off!
  • 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.
  • Affably Evil: Stewie often talks about wanting to Take Over the World, but he's easily a nicer person than Peter and Lois.
  • Airplane Arms: For a split-second, in the episode "No Meals on Wheels", after Peter shocks Lois in a little trap of his (It Makes Sense in Context), he runs away, makeshift cape flapping, in a very familiar manner.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In Lois Kills Stewie, the virtual reality death of Stewie is handled with gravity and genuine sadness.
  • The Alcoholic: Peter and Brian.
    • Alcoholic Parent: Peter again, due to his Irish heritage. His father was also the town drunk which is a huge honor.
  • All Adult Animation Is South Park: Had South Park not existed, Family Guy would probably take its place as the Trope Namer.
  • 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 color 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.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: In "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz", Peter creates a religion by combining Roman Catholicism with inspiration from Fonzie from Happy Days. It works out well for a while, but most of Peter's congregation are swayed by imitators, and the rest convert to evangelical Christianity.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Lampshaded, parodied hard, and combined with a hilarious Take That! at The Sopranos.
    • 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 of the Other Reindeer: Meg is treated like this.
  • 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.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: There's a very literal example of this in Peter's show idea called Big Jaws, wherein boaters are fighting off a small shark, and a bigger one comes along, forcing the boaters and smaller shark to work together. He's planning a sequel called Even Bigger Jaws.
  • Always Save the Girl: Often subverted with Meg. Peter and Lois even agreed that if they could only save two of the children in a crisis, they'd leave Meg behind. She calls them out on it.
  • Amnesia Episode: The episode "Big Man on Hippocampus" where Peter gets amnesia and reverts back to living his bachelor lifestyle. Lois spends the episode trying to jog his memory but it seems she fails and Quagmire starts hitting on her. And that is when Peter reveals he got his memory back not long after losing it and was just faking most of it because he enjoyed the opportunity to relive his single days. Peter is an asshole.
  • Anal Probing:
    • 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.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Parodied in "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington":
    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 much more fluid animation than the rest of the show.
  • Anti-Hero: Stewie evolves into a more-or-less good guy in recent seasons.
  • 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.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Peter and Ernie the Giant Chicken.
    • Stewie has Bertram, his half-brother by Peter's donated sperm and a lesbian mother.
    • Chris has the Evil Monkey, who was never really evil. The monkey was just socially awkward and had a copper deficiency.
    • Peter and Brian have James Woods.
  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?:
    • 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 more so when his cover story that he's Neptune, God of the Sea backfires when the real Neptune shows up.
    • This happens again in "Excellence in Broadcasting", when Brian goes to Rush Limbaugh's book signing to confront him about his political beliefs, prompting Rush to ask "Have you actually read any of my books?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • 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.
  • Art Evolution:
    • 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.
  • 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 – History: In "Stewie, Chris and Brian's Excellent Adventure," Ernest Hemingway appears, and is grey-haired and bearded, even though he was in his twenties at the time the episode takes place.
  • 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).
  • Artistic License: A paraplegic man could no longer work as a patrol officer. Averted of course with the fact his is a cartoon, and that Joe's seemingly super abilites compensate for his inability to walk.
  • Art Shift:
    • 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 Tracey Ullman Show.
    • There are a few moments in which Brian and Stewie are transported into the real world.
    • An early example: The only time Peter was defeated.
    • 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 .
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The series utilizes rounded characters and bright and colorful visuals, which contrast with the sexual humor and violent sight gags.
  • 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.""
  • Ascended Extra:
    • 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 taken Very 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 11, 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.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Whatever you do, don't let an elf get near one of Santa's flying reindeer.
  • Asian Rudeness:
    • 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.
  • At the Opera Tonight: Seen in "No Chris Left Behind".
  • 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.
  • Auction
  • Author Appeal:
    • This show has a lot of Star Wars and '80s references.
    • 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.
    • Can you tell he enjoys old movies and musicals? MacFarlane's a good Real Life example of "born in the wrong decade" and it shows in his work.
    • He also seems to have a thing for showing or alluding to women on the toilet. This was even lampshaded in the DVD commentary.
    • MacFarlane or somebody else on the staff really seems to like chubby girls. MacFarlane (and his writers, when he stopped influencing the scripts and only vetoed bad ones) would like you to know that fat women are sexy...unless the punchline involves the Fat-Admiring community or if it's Meg. Beginning with "Sibling Rivalry" in Season 4, fat women were added to the repertoire of fat jokes.
      • There's also a weird... thing... happening with breast expansion/growing that pops up in both Family Guy and American Dad!.
    • There are a lot of references to Airplane!, with some scenes being exact frame-by-frame remakes. Airplane! is MacFarlane's favorite movie.
  • Author Avatar:
    • 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.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Evil Stewie.
    • Peter on his bad days count as well.

  • Backhanded Apology:
    • In the episode "Mind Over Murder," a douchebag in the stands mocks Chris for his boneheaded play on the soccer field. Peter hears this.
    Peter: Hey, hey, hey, easy fella. That's my kid. Now apologize.
    Douchebag: Okay. I'm sorry your kid's a brain-dead stinking blue cheese fatass!
    • In the episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller," Brian writes a best selling book and Stewie becomes his agent. But soon, all the fame goes to Brian's head and starts acting really mean towards Stewie and even going as far as to firing him. At the end of the episode, Brian tries to apologize to Stewie, but claims that Stewie was the reason he acted like that.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • 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!"
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Meg's obsession with any boy or man that treats her nice.
  • Bed Full of Women: At the end of "Valentine's Day In Quahog", Brian ends up with all his exes like this.
  • Bedmate Reveal: There's a cutaway where Stewie wakes up to find a ugly girl his age in bed with him.
    Stewie: Oh God, please tell me we didn't do it.
    • Also when Peter tampers with the past and finds himself waking up in the present next to Molly Ringwald.
  • "Begone" Bribe: Lois' father attempted this to make Peter leave her. It didn't work.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: After the series got renewed and the reason why a lot of diehard fans have jumped ship.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Chris' reaction whenever Peter (or ANYONE ELSE, for that matter) mocks Robot Chicken.
    • As part of a Running Gag, Brian has the infallible (and usually accidental) talent of finding one whenever he talks to Quagmire.
    • Apparently, it's a very bad idea to give Peter an expired coupon.
    • Do NOT call Peter a poopnose. Just don't.
    • Or a fizzle. Only half the people who have called him a fizzle have gotten away with it.
    • Do not bring up having breakfast for dinner with Lois. According to her, it's anarchy.
    • If you value your life, do not mess with Stewie's teddy bear, Rupert.
    • Lois does groceries. No ifs, ands, or buts.
  • 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.
  • Better Than Sex: When Stewie grows a strong fondness for Flappy Jack's pancakes in the episode "Love Thy Trophy", he at one point insists that the pancakes are better than sex.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: Stewie and Bertram end up in a playground war which ends when Bertram infects Stewie's side with Chicken Pox.
  • Bi the Way:
    Peter: We all know that no woman anywhere wants to have sex with anyone, and to titillate us with any thoughts otherwise is — is just bogus.
    Lois: Ah, he is so right on. Women are such teases. That's why I went back to men.
  • 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??"
  • Big "NO!":
    • Peter's reaction to being told his parrot has died.
    • There's a running gag with this trope and Cleveland in the bathtub, which even continued for a brief period after he got his own show.
    • Quagmire belts out a Big "NO!" upon finding out that his transsexual father slept with Brian.
    • Also when Brian informs Quagmire that he slept with two Filipino women... and a man:
    Quagmire: You mean three Filipino women!
    Brian: ...
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Chris, Brian, and Stewie are this respectively in Stewie, Chris, and Brian's Excellent Adventure. Justified since Stewie is a baby, Chris is a teenage boy, and Brian is an adult dog.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Frequently. Peter drops one in this exchange from "Hannah Banana":
    Evil Monkey: Gah, I left my cell phone at that Monkeykid barbecue.
    Peter: I thought you said it was a father-son barbecue.
    Evil Monkey: Yeah, but it was up in Monkeykid.
    Peter: (stammers) WHAT?!?!?
  • Big "WHY?!": One cutaway has Peter tumbling down a cliff, plants and jagged rocks ripping at his clothes, until he crashes naked and bruised through the roof of a house to land on a poor Mexican family's dinner table. The father asks "What is this?" in subtitled Spanish, to which his wife replies, "It is the answer to my prayers." The father cries "Por qué?"
  • Bigger Than Jesus:
    • In the episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller," after Brian does exactly that, he remarks about his newfound fame by sharing his thoughts on The Beatles' controversy.
    Brian: I used to think that John Lennon was kind of a jerk for saying The Beatles were Bigger Than Jesus, but now, I mean, I'm not saying that I am, but I get it.
    • When Jesus becomes famous in the episode "I Dream of Jesus," one newspaper runs the headline "Jesus Is Bigger Than Jesus."
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • 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 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.")
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "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!
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • They do love their jabs at FOX. Deservedly so, considering what happened during the show's original run. A much more subtle example in the way some of the writers treat Author Avatar Brian, though even MacFarlane himself seems to be getting in on the act now.
    • 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 brought back. 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 lists every 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:
    • "Episode 420" showed a depressing, more realistic ending to the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler film Baby Mama.
    • A children's song in the same vein as "Ring Around the Rosies", but in relation to the Lockerbie disaster:
      "It's raining luggage and babies and limbs and daddy doesn't come home."
    • And of course...
      "I'm just a prom night, dumpster baby~~~"
    • "Dog Gone"
      Brian: Stewie, I killed one of my own kind! I mean, how would you feel if you killed a baby?
      Stewie: I've killed seven...
    • When Death himself gets killed in a car accident, Super Death comes to tell him that he's going to be reincarnated as a Chinese baby. Death disappears, then immediately reappears.
    Death: "Girl?"
    Death: "Girl."
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty:
    • Probably because he has "human" qualities, almost anything that happens to Brian Griffin counts as this. For instance, Stewie beating up Brian comes to mind.
    • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a hand razor, but he ends up killing it.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • "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".
  • Blatant Lies: The theme song. Yes, if any show embodies good old-fashioned family values, it's the show about an abusive dysfunctional family built on Black Comedy.
  • Blonde Brunette Red Head:
    • Chris, Meg, and Lois.
    • 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.
  • Bluffing the Authorities:
    • Played with in one episode. When police officer Joe comes to the door, Stewie, a fugitive, holds a gun to Brian. He initially tells Brian to say that everything is fine, but quickly begins using the situation to make him insult Joe. Joe still doesn't suspect anything though.
    • In another episode Stewie and Lois, out with a dead body, bluff a cop who happens across them by Stewie climbing into the man's suit, his head sticking out the collar, and pretending to be an alive person who just happens to by lying down on a bridge.
  • 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.
  • Blunt "Yes"
    Peter: Hang on a second, did you just say I was fat?
    Doctor: Well, yeah, you are pretty fat.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Mickey McFinnegan, the hard-drinking loud-talking crude-joking town drunk of McSwiggen Village (a position of great respect, mind you), and Peter's biological father.
  • Boot Camp Episode: A continuation of the Brian/Stewie duo episode tradition features one in which both of them are placed in the army.
  • Booze Flamethrower: In a Christmas Episode, an enraged Lois does this to Frosty the Snowman.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    Joe: You're under arrest for harbouring an escaped convict.
    Meg: Oh, well, I guess that's only fair since I did hide him from— WWWWHHHUUUUUUUUUUUUT?!?!
    • In Candy, Quahog Marshmallow, Cleveland internally debates whether or not he should say Quagmire's catchphrase "giggity" after an innuendo line, going as far as wondering if other characters are even allowed to say it. He does, but pretty much immediately regrets it and passes it off as nothing.
  • Bottle Episode: A rare animated example in "Brian and Stewie" — just one "set" and two characters, both of whom are voiced by the same guy, and "no" Cutaway Gags. Is there a Bottle Casting trope?
  • Bow Chicka Wow Wow: Stewie during the episode "Screwed the Pooch."
  • Box-and-Stick Trap: Peter traps James Woods in one, twice.
    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.
  • Brainless Beauty: Brian's ex-girlfriend Jillian and her friends.
  • Brand X: In "Halloween on Spooner Street", Stewie shares his collected Halloween candy with Brian, and explicitly states that they can't use any brand names due to advertising concerns.
    Brian: Right, okay, I'll have a Mr. Wiffle bar, a Kooky Nut Pop, some Gyminyms, uh... a Zip-Zap, a Choco-Buddy, uh, a $640,000 Bar, a Not-A-Finger, and a Dawkins Peanut Butter Disk.
    Stewie: God, I hate television.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs
    Peter: What are you gonna make me do, whack a guy? Off a guy? Whack off a guy? 'Cause I'm married.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    Brian: This [pie] is really good! What's in there??
    Meg: Oh, just some apples, and some cinnamon... and my hair...
    Brian: (beat) What.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: So much! Just a few examples:
    • 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...
    • "Who expected that? Except everyone, 'cuz Fox ruined it in the promos."
    • 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.
    • There's a longer list of examples on this shows wiki.
  • Breast Attack: Actually invoked by Lois. When Peter decided to solve all his problems by kicking, Lois insisted he should kick her in the breasts.
  • Breast Expansion:
    • 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?"
  • Brick Joke: Frequently used.
    • 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 "Barely 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.
  • Bring It: Joe gets off a pretty epic one in the Y2K episode when faced with a giant mutant rat.
  • 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."
  • Broken Bird: Meg.
  • 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.
    • "Hannah Banana" establishes that they practice kissing with each other.
    • "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.
    • After Meg gives a The Reason You Suck speech to the rest of the family, Chris shouts in her face "I FAKED ALL MY ORGASMS!" before storming off. Meg's non-reaction could be taken as either "yeah, I knew" or "this is just Chris being weird again."
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Loretta in "Love Blactually".
    • The bus even survived a crash, as evidenced by Kevin Swanson's return in season 10.
    • Cleveland and his new family moved back to Quahog after the cancellation of his Spin-Off in "He's Bla-ack!"
    • In "The Boys in the Band", Olivia Fuller and Vinny.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Quagmire, among his many methods to get women into bed.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • 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 (except 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.
  • Buxom Is Better: Mrs. Lockhart. Just take a look at her.

  • C-List Fodder: "And Then There Were Fewer" trimmed the extended cast.
  • Call-Back:
    • 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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out
    • Chris got to pull this on Peter in "Hannah Banana."
    Chris: [Monkey] even helped me with my geometry homework.
    Peter: How did he know you were having trouble with geometry?
    • That's nothing compared to Meg pointing out all her family flaws and reducing Lois to a puddle of her own self-esteem.
  • Camp Gay: Brian's cousin Jasper, and sometimes Stewie; Peter when he became gay.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Done a few times.
    • Peter thinks real life is TV when the cable goes out.
    • Stewie thinks his favorite show is real, and gets a shock when he goes to where it's filmed.
      • Justified; most kids are vulnerable to this trope until age seven or eight, when it becomes a linchpin of 3rd grade language arts.
    • Mayor West sends away the police to save Joan Wilder's sister in Romancing the Stone.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Parodied.
  • 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.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop:invoked
    • Parodied in "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington," when Congressmen finally realize that smoking is bad.
    Congressman: Smoking is a horrible vice! It shortens life expectancy and pollutes our air. And according to recent polls, air is good!
    • Also parodied at the end of "Fresh Heir":
    Peter: And I guess I learned it's wrong to take your son to Vermont under false pretenses to try to marry him for his inheritance.
    Stewie: should have known that.
  • Captive Date: Meg does this to Brian when she falls for him.
  • Carcass Sleeping Bag:
    • In "Road to Europe", Stewie and Brian, lost in the desert with their camel dead, decide to take shelter inside the camel ("It looks like Orson Welles's autopsy!"). However, after Stewie gets in, Brian notices a nearby Comfort Inn.
    Stewie: You know, actually, once you feng-shui the organs, it's kind of cozy.
  • Car Fu How Quagmire kills Jeff.
  • Car Meets House:
    • A drunken Stewie drives Brian's car into The Drunken Clam. The Kool-aid Man gets his comeuppance when someone crashes into his living room for once.
    • Peter speaks of his fondness for parties at another person's house, because you don't have to clean up afterwards; he shows this in the Cutaway Gag.
    • In "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", a car gets thrown through the wall once Brian is revealed to be an atheist.
  • Cartesian Karma:
    • 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.
  • Cash Lure:
    • 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.
  • Casino Episode: One early episode involves a car trip to New York. When Peter desperately has to use the bathroom, they stop off at an Indian Casino where Lois gets addicted to Video Poker and ends up losing the car in a bet. The rest of the episode centers on Peter's attempts to earn the car back from the greedy Native American owners.
  • 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.
    Mayor Adam West: Come one Fluffy, come on Mittens, come on Paul... (Laughing) ...what a ridiculous name for a cat, Paul. That's a person's name, a person's name! (Continues laughing) ...Paul
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • 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..."
  • Cat Fight: The episode, "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar" had Peter believing he's a woman after undergoing feminist sensitivity training. It's a cat fight between Lois and the feminist lawyer featured in the episode that finally snaps him out of it.
  • 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 by with his crotch on fire, with the obvious implication.
  • Celebrating the Heroes:
    • At the end of "Blind Ambition", Peter is given a medal for rescuing Horace from a fire in his bar, the scene itself being a spoof of a similar scene in Star Wars: A New Hope.
    • Brutally parodied in "Herpe the Love Sore"; when it turns out that the three bullies who have been making trouble for Peter, Quagmire and Joe throughout the episode are American soldiers about to leave for their third tour of duty, Mayor West declares a celebration in their honor.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • Although it more than likely won't continue into later episodes due to it being a one-shot thing MacFarlane wanted to do, ''Brian and Stewie" actually got shockingly in-depth and serious.
    • Season 9. Season 8 occasionally treaded into this as well.
    • Notably the ep. "Screams of Silence: The Brenda Q Story". It's basically an animated Lifetime movie.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • 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.
    • In seasons 2-3, Brian had aspirations of becoming an actor. From season 4 onward, this gave way to his desire to be an author.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody:
    • The first half of "Wasted Talent" and instead of candy it's beer, complete with Oompa Loompa style midgets (the "Chumba Wumbas") who sing a hilariously cruel song about the lack of wheelchair access.
    • A somewhat more accurate version appears as a one-off joke flashback where Peter chewed the gum (you know the one), and denied doing it (despite it being obvious he did).
  • Cheated Angle: The artists have to cheat Stewie's head to keep it football-shaped.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Spider-Man saving people, the fire truck documentary from "Petarded," — Take your pick.
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Meg. Meg oscillates between this and The Woobie. At least some of the things her family (especially Peter) does to her are deep within Dude, Not Funny! territory.
    • Brian when it comes to his inability to hold a relationship.
  • Christmas Episode: Played straight in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas." Then nine years later came "Road to the North Pole", which deconstructed Santa's job and work environment to Hell and back.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Cleveland Jr. only appeared once post-3rd season. Although he did return following the cancellation of The Cleveland Show.
    • 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.
    • Dave and Dottie Campbell, a nudist couple, made a couple of appearances in season three, cameoed in the DVD version of "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story," then they pretty much vanished.
    • Brian's therapist, Dr. Kaplan. He made a handful of appearances across seasons 2 and 3, then disappeared entirely.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Brian lights up in his therapist's office.
  • Civilized Animal: Brian. His sophisticated demeanor is at odds with his animal instincts (for example, his strong belief in equality versus his innate fear of black people).
  • Class Reunion: Peter's in "Patriot Games".
  • 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.
  • Clueless Aesop:
    • "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.
  • Colossus Climb: Stewie manages to pull this off against...
  • Combining Mecha /The Worm That Walks: Wheelchairs and those who use them.
    Joe: "Form up Cripple-Tron!" (every wheelchair user in Quahog piles up into a giant robot)
  • Comedic Lolicon: Peter in "Extra Large Medium" says he needs to touch something that belongs to the buried guy with a bomb strapped to his chest so he can find him (he thinks he's psychic), and asks if the guy's 12-year-old daughter is just a kid, or the type of 12-year-old who drinks a lot of milk and had her breasts come in early.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: 90% of the show's character humor seems to revolve around this trope.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In "German Guy," Chris mentions a bunch of things Herbert has Chris do that Herbert gets off on and Chris is thinking Herbert has him do those things because Herbert believes in free labor.
    • Peter lives and breathes this trope all the time, though sometimes he admits he does it on purpose just to get a rise out of people.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Cleveland and Donna have made regular guest appearances on Family Guy after "The Splendid Source."
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: The famous Fight Scene between Peter and the chicken began over an expired coupon. Amusingly continued after they make up later on and go out to restaurant, only to start fighting again when they both insist on paying the bill.
  • 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.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: From "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar":
    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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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.
  • Continuity Porn: The episode "Thanksgiving" is chock full of 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.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction:
    • In season 3 "Mr. Saturday Knight", During a jousting match between Peter and the Black Knight at a Renaissance Fair, the Black Knight gets distracted when he hears that his car is getting towed and Peter knocks him off his horse. Peter lampshades how lucky that distraction came at the right moment and then it's revealed that Mort towed the Black Knight's car away to get revenge.
    • In season 12 "Herpe the Love Sore", When Peter tries to fight three tough guys who took his usual booth with a whip and then later a taser, Quagmire asks Peter if that's his stuff which distracts him leading to one of the tough guys to knock the weapons out of his hand. During the bar fight with one of the tough guys, Peter hits one of them with several things in the bar which leads to one of the bar patron to scold Peter for breaking his stuff he brought, giving the tough guy an opportunity to strike back.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Carter.
  • The Couch
  • Couch Gag: Before the opening sequence was created, Seth originally suggested each episode open with a parody of different tv show's classic opening credits. While this concept was ultimately deemed too expensive, a few examples have made it to the final show, such as Family Ties, Will & Grace (used as a cutaway gag instead), That Girl (animation created for the opening was used instead as a joke in "Mr Griffin Goes to Washington"), 24, Monty Python's Flying Circus Modern Family, and Law & Order. King of the Hill had one after a cameo in the Cold Open featuring Hank Hill. Little House on the Prairie, Happy Days, and All in the Family have had their end credits parodied, right down to the font style. And, of course, the actual regular opening is a parody of Archie and Edith at the piano.
  • 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.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Lois when she played a catholic schoolgirl as part of sex roleplaying.
  • Cramming the Coffin:
    • A bit has the characters mentioning Meg's funeral. They cut away to a coffin being lowered into the ground...and then Peter runs in from offscreen, chucks Meg's body under the coffin and runs away yelling "Sorry, didn't want to pay for the hole!"
    • Another episode has a cutaway gag to a Mexican funeral, the coffin packed with at least a dozen bodies.
  • Crapsack World: If you're a sane person in this show, don't expect to get any leeway. Everybody's either incredibly racist, perverted, corruptible, immoral, socially incompetent, or mentally ill. And if you're someone like Meg, it's a Crapsack Universe.
    • Crapsaccharine World: The earlier seasons, though still ripe with darker humor, 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 for certain eventualities, including one for 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.
  • Cringe Comedy: The later seasons in spades.
  • Crossover: MacFarlane's three 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 three 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 first 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.
    • "Bigfat"'s cold opening was another crossover with American Dad in which Stan murders Peter, only for Peter to be woken up from a nightmare... then cue Hank Hill walking in from the bathroom and asking what "that fat man" is doing in his bed... then cue Hank waking up from his own dream, lamenting that he always wakes up before he can find out if anyone understands what Stewie says.
    • Season 13 opened with "The Simpsons Guy", a proper crossover between Family Guy and The Simpsons.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles:
    • After "Brian and Stewie," Name and Name episodes have become more common, such as "Peter and Quagmire" and "Tricia and Carter."
    • Some episode titles are variations on that of the show, like "Ratings Guy," "Yug Ylimaf," "The Simpsons Guy," and "Padre De Familia."
    • The "Road to..." episodes pay homage to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope's similarly-named road films.
  • Crying After Sex:
    • In the episode "The Fat Guy Strangler", a Cutaway Gag features Peter just after having sex with a rhino. Peter asks the rhino "why wouldn't you look at me during?" The rhino just gets out of the bed and walks away, leaving Peter to cry by himself.
    • In "Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure", Stewie tries to help Stu lose his virginity to his coworker Fran. He sort-of succeeds, but Stu is so pathetic that Fran leaves unsatisfied, Stu having cried during intercourse.
  • Cue the Rain: In "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Stewie is stuck without a ride and without cab fare. He says, "Well, at least it's not raining." Promptly subverted when a man runs up, stabs him, and leaves him for dead. Double Subversion in a later episode when Stewie says "Well, at least I'm not being stabbed by some random guy on the street." It promptly starts raining, and Stewie says, "See, it works the other way too!" Then he gets stabbed again by the same guy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
  • Cure Your Gays: One part of "Family Gay" has Brian and Stewie sending Peter to a straight camp to "cure" him.
  • Cutaway Gag: The Trope Codifier. Sometimes number from few to many, although there have been distinctive episodes without cutaways ("Brian and Stewie", "And Then There Were Fewer")
  • Cut Himself Shaving:
    • From "North By North Quahog", as Stewie spanks Chris:
    Stewie: If your teacher questions you about these bruises, what will you say?
    Chris: I got hit by a baseball! (cries)
    • Another instance happens in "Wasted Talent" where Stewie beats up one of Lois's piano students for causing a racket playing piano while he is watching television:
    Lois: OK, Jimmy... oh my God, what happened?
    Stewie: Yes Jimmy, what happened?
    Jimmy: Uh, uh... [glances back at Stewie]... I fell.
    • And from "Screams of Silence"
    Brenda: I'd show you the ring, but it's under this splint. My finger fell down the stairs.