In the "Super-Griffins" segment of "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", during a town hall meeting to discuss how to handle the newly-enhanced Griffin family, Mayor Adam West mentions that he has tangled with super-beings before, a nod to his role in the 1960s TV series Batman.
Famously averted with Seth MacFarlane missing the flight that would have killed him on September 11th, 2001 (thanks to a hangover and a very lucky mistake on part of his travel agent).
The trope was temporarily played straight when MacFarlane decided to join the WGA in the Writers' Guild of America strike from 2007 to early 2008 and not finish any episodes (though he did record voicework for his characters). In what MacFarlane now refers to as a "colossal dick move," FOX aired three episodes that were only 90% done ("Padre de Familla"note The episode where Peter discovers that he's an illegal immigrant after his mom gave birth in Mexico, "Peter's Daughter"note The one where Meg nearly dies when the house is flooded and thinks she's pregnant after dating a young doctor, and "McStroke"note The episode where Peter has a stroke after eating 30 hamburgers out of depression over his lost mustache, while Stewie poses as a high school student to prove to Brian that being a high schooler is easy, like on TV) without MacFarlane's expressed permission.
"When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" was originally a DVD-only release, and was shown on TV for the first time (three years after it was produced) on Cartoon Network's [adult swim]. The episode was pulled by FOX due to fears that the episode would be offensive to Jews (despite that MacFarlane brought in an actual rabbi to make sure the episode was kosher. It was, despite what the FOX Broadcast Standards and Practices people say) and Catholics for the scene with nuns going after Peter for going to a synagogue. In the end, only a single line had to be altered for the episode to air on Adult Swim (Peter's line near the end of "I Need A Jew" was changed from "Even though they [the Jews] killed my Lord," to "I don't think they killed my Lord"). After it was announced that Family Guy was going to be brought back with new episodes, FOX themselves showed the once-banned episode (with the same line edited as in the Cartoon Network version; the original line can be found on the season three DVD set). There was also another cut: Quagmire "looking for his keys" in front of Lois was drastically shortened so it wouldn't look like he was masturbating.
FOX banned the eighth season episode "Partial Terms of Endearment" because it dealt with Lois becoming a surrogate mother to her best friend and her husband who can't have children and choosing whether to abort her best friend's baby following her best friend's death. The episode was later released as a DVD-exclusive episode and has aired on most international channels like the UK's BBC3 (though the international versions are the edited versions that have scenes cut for content and/or time reasons, even though most international channels aren't commercial-happy like America is when it comes to television). Unlike "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," this episode has not aired on FOX and/or Cartoon Network (and, due to the subject matter, which is actually shown in a rather serious light amid all the — pardon the pun — Dead Baby Comedy, will never see the light of day on American TV). On Family Guy's 200th episode special, the episode was a discussion point and some clips were aired.
"Turban Cowboy": While it wasn't well-liked due to the Muslim stereotypes (though it did make a good point about not all Muslims being terrorists), that's not why it was banned after it first aired. Less than three weeks after its premiere, the Boston Marathon was hit by a terrorist attack. Not making things any better is the fact that the episode had a scene that predicted that a lot of people would die or be severely injured during the Boston Marathon (only it was because of Peter driving his car through the marathon path). While FOX and Hulu stopped airing it in light of the attack, the episode did appear a few months later on [adult swim], TBS, and Netflix streaming (U.S. feed).
BBC3 in the UK initially undermined the show to the point where new seasons could be first shown/seen in the UK on DVD. Then they showed Season 5 in 2007 and the show gradually gained a cult following/status to the point of where since 2008, Family Guy is BBC THREE's biggest breakthrough hit even though it's not an original.
In "Baby Not on Board," a radio station identifies Roxette's "The Look" as "You've Got the Look." This would be a Refrain from Assuming, but the phrase "you've got the look" never appears in the song; it's always "she's got the look".
The Dish Network summary for the episode "Lois Kills Stewie" assumes that a Cutaway Gag about Stewie auditioning for American Idol is the focus of the episode.
Their summary for "Road to Rhode Island" seems to think that Brian is picking Stewie up from Carter and Babs' house because they banished him from said house.
The summary for "Stu and Stewie's Excellent Adventure" refers to the events of "Stewie B. Goode" instead.
The Verizon Fios summary of "New Kidney In Town" indicates that Peter's years of alcoholism would be the cause of his kidney failure and subsequent need for a new kidney, when in fact it was Peter recently becoming addicted to Red Bull, binge drinking it to no end, and then trying to come up with a replacement mix with assorted items and kerosene, not his years of alcoholism.
Verizon also incorrectly state in the summary of "Road to Europe" that Brian and Stewie journey across Europe to return home in Connecticut. The duo live in Rhode Island.
Edited for Syndication: In "I Never Met the Dead Man", the scene of Tom and Diane reveling in saying politically incorrect things (until the cameraman tells them they're still on the air in Boston), Tom's line, "I'm the Lord Jesus Christ. Think I'll get drunk and beat up some midgets" was cut down to "Think I'll get drunk and beat up some midgets" when the show airs in free TV syndication (not [adult swim] syndication). Diane's confession that she doesn't like black people was also cut in free TV syndication.
At least on the version of "April In Quahog" on Netflix, the ending of the episode with Peter playing Call of Duty is cut for some reason. This can make the 'With thanks to Infinity Ward' in the end credits baffling for people if this is their first time watching the episode.
Executive Meddling: Literally in "PTV", what the FCC representatives do to disrupt the personal day-to-day lives of the Griffins.
For "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", the subplot of Chris doing chores for Herbert had to be completely watered down as FOX was scared of the pedophile jokes that would spring from the storyline. The DVD commentary goes into detail about what would have been in the subplot had FOX not interfered. On the plus side, it did show that Herbert actually cared about Chris enough not to take advantage of him, but the "Chris lives with Herbert the Pedophile" subplot on the season eleven episode "Chris Cross" got away with more than what this episode did.
Robert Downey, Jr. (whose teenaged son loved the show) was the first voice of Lois' long-lost, mentally-ill, fat guy-strangling brother.
Rush Limbaugh has appeared twice in the series: once as himself on the episode "Excellence in Broadcasting"note The episode where Brian confronts Rush Limbaugh over his conservative views, then becomes conservative himself after Rush tells him to read his new book to get an insight on right-wing politics rather than blindly bash it, and again, as a replacement for the Rancor in the "It's A Trap!" installment of Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball.
When Peter turns gay in the episode "Family Gay" he sounds almost exactly like Roger from American Dad! (which is actually Seth MacFarlane doing a Paul Lynde impression)
The uncut version of "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" where Stewie hears Hitler's voice in his head amid sounds of war and destruction when he imagines what he wants for his birthday (before deciding on a roller disco party) hasn't been seen since the first time it aired. Even the DVD version has it edited. Ironically, the German dub doesn't edit this.
Also the uncut version of "A Hero Sits Next Door", which had a scene where a kid's JFK Pez dispenser gets shot by a stray police sniper bullet hasn't been seen since FOX first aired the episode, not even on DVD. Adult Swim has aired the uncut version, the scene is available on a DVD version in Germany, and Netflix streaming has it uncut.
The original cut of the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" had a DeBeers diamond ring commercial parody that showed the woman sliding down her man to give him a blowjob. The edited cut shows her sliding down for about a second or two before it cuts to a card that reads, "Diamonds: She'll Pretty Much Have To."
When the season two episode, "Brian in Love" originally aired, Peter's line to Brian after he urinates in the supermarket was "Jeez, Brian, where do you think you are, K-Mart?" In all versions, "K-Mart" is changed to "Payless".
I Knew It: People figured out that Brian wouldn't stay dead minutes after the event in question happened. A number of fans were savvy enough to figure out that Brian would be saved through the summary of the Christmas episode for that year. Some particularly clever fans figured out exactly how it would happen - it was theorized that Stewie would encounter his past self (seen in a cutaway gag) and use time travel to save Brian's life, since he couldn't build another time machine.
Mid Development Genre Shift: It flip-flopped with this throughout its development. Its prototype short Life With Larry was something of a faux-sitcom and had already invented the cutaway setup and heavy pop culture humor (which is pretty much what Family Guy is now). The second prototype, a What-A-Cartoon short Larry And Steve played out more like a wacky, Saturday morning cartoon with the satirical humor being more subtle. In its initial run, Family Guy played something of a mix of both, utilizing the original cutaway and pop culture humor, but maintaining heavy use of light-hearted slapstick and keeping most of the Black Comedy to a minimum. During its third season and definitely following its revival after three years of being canceled, the show slowly evolved into a shock valueSadist Show, which has become a Base Breaker for a lot of fans.
The Other Darrin: Meg was originally voiced by an uncredited Lacey Chabert until sometime in season two, when Mila Kunis replaced her. Since then three jokes were made about this: in "Business Guy," Peter threatens to replace Lois, adding, "Does the name 'Lacey Chabert' mean anything to you?"; "Back to the Pilot" had Stewie state that Meg [as voiced by Chabert on the pilot episode "Death Has a Shadow"] sounds like "...someone who missed out on an opportunity.", and the 200th episode "Yug Ylimaf" had Stewie screaming "You're Lacey Chabert" after Meg spoke, as the reverse flow of time landed him on the day he was born.
Recycled Script: The Life of Larry pilot (first one) had many gags that would later be used in Family Guy - some of which appeared on the first episode (the one where Peter gets fired from his job at the toy factory, puts the family on welfare, and ends up rich because his first welfare check is for $150,000 instead of $150 due to a clerical error).
Schedule Slip: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" was originally supposed to air on December 16th, 2012, but was held off until a week later due to news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and a live memorial that broadcast from 7:00pm to 8:30pm eastern time. While there wasn't anything that would make people shout, "Too Soon!", a lot of people still would have complained about the warped take on the Nativity story (besides, having it air on December 23rd would put it at the right time before Christmas).
Talking to Himself: Played straight to the point of mild exaggeration: Seth MacFarlane voices Peter, Brian, Stewie, Quagmire, Carter, Tom Tucker, Jake Tucker, Seamus, and Dr Hartman in every episode.
Lampshaded in one episode where Dr. Hartman and Carter are put in a conversation together, and notice that they have the same voice.
Dr. Hartman: Seems lazy, doesn't it? Carter: Well, there's only so many voices in the world. Some of them are bound to be similar.
Un-Canceled: Twice; first in 2000 (though that was brief and hardly anyone noticed), then from 2002 to 2005 (which was more noticeable, especially when news hit that the money made from DVD sales and the big ratings from [adult swim] reruns were enough to bring the show back).
Originally, one of the "Text Message" options for the end of "Prick Up Your Ears" was "If you want to see Peter and Lois throw Brian out the window," instead of giving Cleveland Brown his first (and only) line of the episode. The original scene can be found on the season five DVD extra section where it features full episode animatics.
Cree Summer was initially considered to voice Meg but was dropped because MacFarlane felt uncomfortable about an African-American woman playing a white character, never mind that Cree Summer has done it before (Penny from Inspector Gadget and Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures).
Word of Gay: According to the DVD commentary track to Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, the movie was going to be called Queer as Stewie and was going to center on Stewie coming to terms with being homosexual. The writers decided against it, as they were getting more mileage out of Stewie being ambiguously bisexual in the regular episodes.