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  • A-Team Firing: Taken to absurd lengths in Season 6's "Lois Kills Stewie". In the climactic battle between the two titular characters, they fired at least hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds at one another (not including Lois shooting a photo of George W. Bush), many at or near point-blank range. Neither of them appeared to be hit by a single bullet.
  • 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.
      • Another example from "Pal Stewie":
        Stewie: Victory shall be mine!
        Cut to father and son watching the episode on TV:
        Father: Ha! That's what the baby used to say when I was your age.
        Son: [staring at a tablet] Shut up, Dad! I'm watching Rick and Morty!
  • 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-Zagging Trope 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.
  • 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.
  • Accidentally Real Fake Address: In "The Thin White Line (Part 1)", Peter comes up with a Line-of-Sight Name by looking at a pea, then someone crying a single tear, and finally a gryphon. He calls himself Peter Griffin, then has an Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes that he just said his real name.
  • Accordion Man: Peter when a piano is dropped on him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Examples with Chris's voice actor Seth Green include:
      • Robot Chicken features in the episode "Road to the Multiverse".
        Chris: Look! G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thunder Cats, He-Man! Yay! Those shows existed!
        Stewie: How's it feel to be on a major network for 30 seconds?
        Chris: Fuck you!
      • Family members taking shots at Robot Chicken has become something of a Running Gag.
        Peter: Well, let's see Robot Chicken top this one.
        Chris: Actually, I think they did a pretty good job with that already, Dad.
        Peter: Well, I'll have to take your word for it. I don't watch Comedy Central.
        Chris: It's on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, Dad. I'm pretty sure you know that.
        Peter: I don't know that. I haven't seen that show in a while and I don't know that anyone else has.
        Chris: Oh, I think plenty of people have. Their fans are pretty loyal to them.
        Peter: Oh yeah? All forty-two of them?
        Chris: I'm not gonna let you get to me this time, Dad. I'm not gonna let you get to me.
        Peter: Well, maybe I got time for another story, then. It's called Without a Paddle.
        Chris: Fuck you, Dad!
      • During the Long List of cancelled Fox shows at the beginning of the current run, Peter ends on Greg the Bunny and gives Chris a sidelong glance. Seth Green starred on that show.
      • Chris is opening sewer grates so he can see the Ninja Turtles. Seth Green voiced Leonardo in the 2012 reboot starting from season 3.
      • "Petergeist:" Chris is the one who gets the creepy clown in his room. Easy to miss, because it follows the original so close, most people just assume that its only referencing that.
    • 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.
    • Kevin Swanson isn't the first time Scott Grimes has portrayed a character who was in the military.
    • The warden in "Cool Hand Peter" isn't the first time character actor Bob Gunton appeared as a corrupt warden.
    • In the 1960s segment of "Family Guy Through the Years", Gary Cole plays Mike Brady again.
    • In "Send in Stewie, Please", during therapy Stewie decides to talk in his real voice. When the psychiatrist can't hear any difference, Stewie proceeds to talk in the voices of Seth's other characters: Peter, Quagmire, Brian, Seamus, and Roger Smith, however, the psychiatrist says all that sounded like the same person.
  • Adam Westing:
  • Adaptation Decay: Peter's version of The King and I, featuring Gratuitous Ninja.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Drunken Clam.
  • 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. [changes the channel]
    Announcer: From the studio that brought you Wedding Crashers...
    Stewie: Uh, who cares? It's sure a broad association. [changes the channel]
    Announcer: From the species that brought you Talladega Nights.
    Stewie: Oh what, humans? Who else is making movies? [changes channel]
    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.
  • An Aesop:
    • "Road to the North Pole": Be grateful with what you have and don't be selfish during the holiday season.
    • Rush Limbaugh telling Brian to actually give differing opinions a chance before passing judgment on them as heard in "Excellence in Broadcasting"
    • "Friends of Peter G.": Keep your cravings in moderation and don't let them control your life.
    • "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar": Feminism is about choice. Choosing to be a wife and mother doesn't make a woman any less empowered. Also: men need to realize that women are people too, and should be treated equally (or at least that was the moral they were aiming for).
    • From "Brian Writes a Bestseller,": Putting faith in your work is often more important than the quality of the work itself.
    • "Extra Large Medium" makes the point that simply having a mental disorder doesn't negate a person from being a rude Jerkass.
    • "Cool Hand Peter": If you're a Cop (or just somebody in a position of power), you have an obligation to be more ethically upstanding than average citizen, not less.
    • "Dog Gone": Animals deserve the same rights as humans.
    • "Baby Got Black": Being the victim of bigotry is horrible but allowing those past experiences to allow you to act the same way is wrong.
    • "D in Apartment": Just because of a questionable tweet, it doesn't mean that people should just go and harass that user to the point of ruining their life.
    • Peter's speech and message at the end of "Boys Do Cry" saying that TV viewers with children should actually be the ones who care about what their children watch and not have to constantly complain to TV creators is clearly directed at the audience.
    • "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar": Peter learned the problems women face but he became loyal to a fault and became unfairly irate towards men, showing that being overly-supportive of a cause can be just as damaging as being discouraging of it.
    • In "Baby Got Black", Peter and Jerome get into an argument over the latter not letting his daughter date Chris because he’s white, and Jerome says that black people can't be racist when Peter claims that he is. Jerome learns that, either way, racism is racism no matter which group is discriminating.
    • "The Dating Game": The plot of the episode has Quagmire sign up for Tinder but develop an unhealthy obsession with it due to its simplicity towards sexual liaison. They even explicate the message in a song called ""Tinder is Gross," about the dangers of having too much of a good thing and how constant sex loses the emotional passion in a genuine relationship.
    • "Trans Fat" has a moral about transphobia. For context, Peter decides to identify himself as transgender so he can exploit people's sympathy and excuse how he treats others. After an injury, Peter is given sexual reassignment surgery and has now transitioned from male to female. After people start being transphobic towards him, Ida (Quagmire's mother who is actually transexual as male to female) berates Peter for his behaviour. Ida tells him how she had struggled for 47 years to come to terms with her identity, how she was suicidal and terrified of coming out to her own family. She finishes her story by telling Peter how he had tarnished the struggle by making transsexuality sound like a joke and how he had made it more difficult for people like Ida to come out without fear of mockery or resentment.
    • "Livin' on a Prayer" delivers a message about how not all religious people are unreasonable (Lois never gives up on her belief in God, and Scotty's parents are polite and sincere in their own beliefs), that science and faith can (and often do) coexist, and that people's minds can be changed through conversation and discussion. Lois discovers that Stewie's new friend Scotty has cancer, but his parents won't seek treatment because they are Christian scientists, who believe that prayer is enough to heal. Though Lois attempts to persuade them, she eventually goes as far as to kidnap Scotty and bring him to the hospital against his will. When word gets out, Scotty's parents beg Lois to return him. Instead of losing her temper, though, she makes a carefully-reasoned, well-delivered speech about how medical advancements can be viewed as answers to prayers for healing, and those who work in the medical field may be "the instruments of God's will." Scotty's parents are convinced and allow him to get treatment, and Lois thanks them by saying "God bless you both."
  • Affably Evil: Stewie often talks about wanting to Take Over the World, but he's easily a nicer person than Peter and Lois.
  • Affectionate Nickname: During Brian and Jillian's brief relationship, they appear to have pet names for one another. She calls Brian "Oogy", and Brian has "Jillybean" for Jillian.
  • 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.
  • Albinos Are Freaks: Family Guy always portrays its albinos as creepy and offputting. Taken Up to Eleven in the cutaway gag PBS Presents: Albino Children Are Normal.
    Host: So aside from not being able to go into the sun, you're completely normal?
    Albino Kid: [with Creepy Monotone] Yes. The moon is my sun. I like to kill beetles. Beetles are teachers. I sleep with a fork.
  • 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 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.
  • 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").
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Exaggerated in "German Guy" when Chris gets in a Spot the Imposter situation with Peter and an elderly Nazi. Peter remarks that they don't look anything alike, but it doesn't help.
  • 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.
  • Alternate Timeline Ancestry:
    • In one episode, Peter accidentally changes the course of history when he goes back in time and blows off a date with Lois. In the new timeline, Lois married Quagmire, and thus Meg, Chris, and Stewie were all fathered by him.
    • In "Chap Stewie", Stewie, tired of living in the Griffin family, goes back in time and breaks up his parents before he was conceived. Instead of no longer being born, Stewie is instead born as the son of rich British parents (He surmises that his soul was simply transferred to the next birth at that point in time).
  • 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.
  • American Eagle: Peter and his friends perform a patriotic parody of HyunA's "Bubble Pop" in an effort to convince Quagmire to move back to America. One of the dancers in the music video is an anthropomorphic bald eagle wearing an U.S. flag speedo.
  • 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.
    • Done intentionally by Stewie to the main group of Peter, Joe, Quagmire and Brian to test whether or not they would be friends if they had just met. The episode ends with them ending up with almost the same dynamic. For contrast, Stewie mentions doing this to the women and they "started killing each other almost immediately."
  • 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!
  • Animating Artifact: Invoked in one of the Christmas Episodes, where Lois lights Frosty's hat on fire using a Booze Flamethrower, leaving the snowman to either live in pain or simply become an inanimate snow pile.
  • 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.
  • Anthropomorphic Typography:
    • One cutaway gag personifies the vowels as businessmen attending a meeting. Y is portrayed as an obnoxious individual who disrupts his colleagues, referencing how said letter can also be used as a consonant.
    • When Peter visits H & R Block, the managers are portrayed as those letters, only with human lips and limbs. R finds out that H has been cheating on her with M (a reference to the H & M clothing company) and takes her own life, prompting her husband to desperately scream "Why?". This causes the letter Y to show up and state he was taking a pee; which in turn leads to the letter P joining them.
  • 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.
  • Apathetic Clerk: Carl the clerk at a local convenience store is a stereotypical stoner who is more interested in talking about movies than doing his job. In an episode where both Meg and Chris get a job working at the convenience store, he promotes Chris over the hard working Meg, because Chris also likes talking about movies. When Meg complains, he fires her.
  • 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. As in, he found him working at a music store.
  • 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 ever read anything I've written?"
  • 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.note 
    • 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+).
    • Season 4’s animation starts off pretty similar to the first three seasons, but with some CGI in the backgrounds. As the season progress however, the new animation style starts to take place. There’s still some remnants of the older animation style (mainly certain characters/objects still having thick black outlines) until the second half of Season 6.
    • 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 – Law Enforcement: In "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q", Joe claims that he cannot arrest Jeff unless Brenda herself reports him for his behavior. While that is true of abusive relationships that are happening behind closed doors (as the episode's title would suggest), in this case, Joe is not able to prosecute Jeff even if he physically beats Brenda right in front of him.
  • Art Reflects Personality: Discussed in the episode "A Painting Worth a Thousand Bucks", after Peter accidentally discovers that Chris is an incredibly talented artist.
    Chris: It's partially an expression of my teenage angst...but mostly, it's a moo cow!
  • 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 character designs and bright and colorful visuals, which contrast with the sexual humor and violent sight gags.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "Meet the Quagmires", Peter travels back to The '80s and changes the timeline so that Lois married Quagmire and had Meg, Chris, and Stewie with him instead of Peter, and they all have Quagmire's chin to prove that they are in fact Quagmire's offspring. Realistically, any children that Lois would have with Quagmire would be completely different people, and not just Peter's kids with Quagmire's chin.
  • In "Quagmire's Dad", Ida had sex with Brian a few days after her vaginoplasty. In Real Life, trans-women who have undergone a vaginoplasty have months of recovery before sex can safely take place.
    • Taken to ridiculous lengths and then lampshaded when it's found out that Brian has a 13 year old son:
    Stewie: Now that I think about it how can you possibly have a 13-year-old son when you yourself are only 7?
    Brian: Those are dog years.
    Stewie: That doesn't make any sense.
    Brian: You know what? If you don't like it, go on the Internet and complain.
  • 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:
    • "Screwed the Pooch" has Brian brought to court by Carter for having sex with and impregnating his racing dog Sea Breeze.note  Peter is brought to the stand and Carter's lawyer asks a series of extremely biased, leading questions, such as if Brian is better described as "sexual deviant" or "African-American haberdasher." Peter consistently admits that the former, negative part of the question is closer than the non-sequitur latter part, which the lawyer then thanks him for, cutting off Peter as he tries to clarify what he really means. If Peter, as a legally retarded man, can see the holes in this logic then the judge should have immediately declared a mistrial for the lawyer's line of questioning, which is illegal in the first place, and also for his not allowing Peter to finish his sentence and therefore influencing the court record in his favor.
    • The entire plot of "Padre de Familia" is that Peter's mother originally didn't want him so she went to Mexico to get an abortion but ended up having Peter there, at which point she changed her mind and brought him back to America but neglected to register him as a citizen and, therefore, Peter is actually an illegal Mexican immigrant and has been for his entire life. Except no, he wouldn't be: while this would seem to be a cut-and-dry reversal of the American law that anyone born on American soil is a natural-born American citizen regardless of where their parents came from, leading to the stereotype of Latin American mothers rushing across the border at the very end of their pregnancies in order to have an "anchor baby" that will allow them to stay in the country, there's actually another ruling on natural-born American citizenship, that anyone who has at least one parent who was an American citizen is also considered to be natural-born regardless of where they themselves were born. If anything, this would just mean that Peter has natural-born dual-citizenship as both an American and a Mexican, not that he's one or the other.note 
    • "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).
    • "12 and a Half Angry Men" features the cast as a jury trying Major West for murder and takes place entirely over the course of their deliberation, and at the end they find him innocent. In the final minutes of the episode Brian, who was on the jury, commends himself for a job well done by not convicting an innocent man, and Stewie gets all pissy with him because the real murderer is still out there as if it was Brian's job to find and catch him. First of all, if the murders were still taking place during the trial, then West should have been found innocent right then and there because he clearly couldn't be the one responsible. Second, it was never the place of Brian or anyone else on the jury to actually solve the case because that's not what a jury does—their one and only purpose in any given trial, in this case for West being accused of and tried for a murder, is to determine to the best of their ability if the defendant is guilty or not and that's all.
    • In "Screams of Silence", Joe claims that the police cannot intervene against Brenda's abusive boyfriend unless she files a complaint. In reality, there were multiple witnesses to Jeff's outbursts, any of which could have pressed charges and helped the prosecutor build a case. Even disregarding that, there is the fact that Joe himself was present when the guys spied on Jeff as he started beating up Brenda, which by itself would be enough for him to be arrested for assault and battery.
    • Joe Swanson, a paraplegic, would in no world be allowed to work as a patrol officer. In-universe, it's justified since Joe has near-superhuman abilities that make him as competent as most able-bodied officers.
  • Artistic License – Sports: In "The Most Interesting Man in the World", Peter's deaf coworker Stella talks about attending the "Deaf Games", at which point a cutaway shows two boxers fighting while the bell rings repeatedly to the end the round, neither one presumably being able to hear it. In real life, combat sport referees are instructed to physically separate the two fighters if they don't do so on their own at the end of a round.
    • "Patriot Games:" an over-40, obese high school dropout would never be an NFL Rookie, even if he is Acrofatic.
  • 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 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.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Whatever you do, don't let an elf get near one of Santa's flying reindeer.
  • Asian and Nerdy: In the episode "April in Quahog", Tricia Takanawa conducts an interview with Stephen Hawking, introducing him as "The first white man I've ever met who knows math better than me."
  • Asian Rudeness: 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: In "Candy Quahog Marshmallow", Peter sings that everything in South Korea is complete nonsense, referencing how several k-pop songs feature butchered English sentences in their lyrics.
  • Ass Shove: Peter goes through his first prostate exam in "Stewie Loves Lois". Being the idiot that he is, he mistakes the procedure for sexual harassment and is left traumatized.
  • Assuming the Audience's Age: In "Brian's a Bad Father", Peter does an Aside Glance and tells the audience, "Oh, you don't know who Joe Pesci is cuz you're fourteen." The show itself is rated TV-14.
  • 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:
    • Peter attends a seized property auction to buy a boat with which to become a professional fisherman.
    • In another episode, Stewie complains about his small stature, and a cutscene shows him attempting to bid on a Mind control device which is practically being given away, but Stewie's hand can barely be seen by the auctioneer as he yells in desperation.
    • There is also the episode which shows how Cleveland lost his job as an auctioneer. A cutscene shows him speaking at a hilariously unnatural (for him) high speed and he gets hit on the head resulting in the speed he speaks at now.
  • 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.
  • Auto-Incorrect: In "Quagmire's Dad", Quagmire introduces Peter and Joe to his father. As he tells a story overflowing with homoeroticism, Joe texts Peter a message saying "How gay is he?", and Peter texts back "So ducking gay."
    Peter: That's my auto spell correct. But yeah, he's super gay.
  • Ax-Crazy: In "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair", Stewie's clone is the physical manifestation of the original's evil impulses and commits various murderous acts without a hint of remorse.

  • 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.
    • Defied with Brian's death. 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 the accident. Additionally, Brian was replaced with a new pet (Vinnie) in the same episode, further suggesting that his death was permanent. However, 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!"
  • 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 it isn't "I'm sorry for being such an irrational dick" so much as "I'm sorry I wasn't more patient with your incompetence".
  • Bad Liar: In "420", Brian manages to get marijuana legalized in Quahog, but for corporate reasons, Carter wants the law repealed. As a result, he tries to bribe Brian by printing two million copies of Brian's book and offering to help sell it. Stewie tries to talk Brian out of it, but is unconvincing to say the least:
    Stewie: You don't have to sell out like this, Brian! [struggling to force a feigned smile and speaking through gritted teeth] Your novel... is good enough to be published on its own merits...
    Brian: You think so?
    Stewie: [still struggling] Yeah, you bet...
  • Bad Mood as an Excuse: Brian yells 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In "Three Kings", Peter narrates three segments that parodize Stephen King's books. He gives a long description of the plot of The Shining, and muses that it would be awesome to see Stewie killing the rest of the family with an axe, but then reveals that the last short will actually draw inspiration from an unrelated novel.
    • This line from "Running Mates":
    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) the race for school board president!
    • One cutaway gag from "Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure" has Peter launch himself from a medieval catapult purchased with Meg’s college funds. The scene then cuts to a man next to an open window telling his hemopheliac infant son about his now-fully-arranged domino display, fine china, and priceless Fabergé egg. Peter then crashes just below the window, getting up and complimenting the man on his work.
    • "Love Thy Trophy" has the family arrive at a Child Services office after Stewie was wrongly taken away due to Meg lying about him being her "crack baby". Ahead of them in line is another woman trying to get her baby back, to which Chris asks "so this is where babies come from?", implying he hasn't had The Talk... until, after Brian sarcastically tells him he's correct, Chris points at Lois and shouts "you told me I came out of your vagina!"
  • Bait-And-Switch Performance: In "Deep Throats", Peter and Lois form a two person band called Hand Full of Peter. Seeking inspiration, they take copious amounts of marijuana until they are ready to perform at the local talent show. They perform a song called "In God's Eyes" complete with Unicorns and rainbow visuals, but are shocked to find out they actually bombed, mainly because all they actually did was scream "Aaaaah, Aaaaaah"
  • Balcony Wooing Scene: A Say Anything... spoof in the episode "Once Bitten" has Neil stand under Chris' window holding an old boom box up. It's his way of apologizing for sacrificing their friendship for a fling with Chris's sister Meg. Ironically, Neil doesn't play a tape but the radio news because he doesn't own any cassettes. Then he asks if he can put the boom box down because the D batteries make it so heavy.
  • Bed Full of Women: At the end of "Valentine's Day In Quahog", Brian ends up in a bed with all his exes.
  • Bedmate Reveal:
    • There's a cutaway where Stewie wakes up to find an ugly girl his age in bed with him.
    Stewie: Oh God, please tell me we didn't do it.
    • When Peter tampers with the past and finds himself waking up in the present next to Molly Ringwald.
  • "Begone" Bribe: Lois' father tried to make Peter leave her by offering him a generous amount of money. It didn't work.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Chris throws a temper tantrum whenever someone mocks Robot Chicken. This is a reference to the fact his voice actor has worked in said show.
    • As part of a Running Gag, Brian has the infallible (and usually accidental) talent of finding one whenever he talks to Quagmire.
    • It's a very bad idea to give Peter an expired coupon, since he's been fighting Ernie the giant chicken for decades over it.
    • 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 (turns out Lois was Not Quite Dead), which results in his death. Then 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.
  • "Best Of" Anthology: The Freakin' Sweet Collection is a DVD with five episodes chosen by series creator Seth MacFarlane.
  • 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.
  • Bicolor Cows, Solid Color Bulls: Bulls are always depicted as black or brown, and cows are almost always depicted as black-and-white, with the one exception being Mr. Cow in the episode "McStroke", although it's likely that he was actually meant to be a steer since he has no udder.
  • 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.
    • When Brian informs Quagmire that he slept with two Filipino women... and a man:
    Quagmire: You mean three Filipino women!
    Brian: ...
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: There is a reason why the Griffins provide the image on this trope's page. Peter is an unempathetic moron, Lois is a passive-aggressive Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Meg is a suicidal Tsundere, Chris is an even bigger idiot than his dad, Brian is a hypocrite and a bigot, and Stewie is an Enfant Terrible whose violent tendencies seem to stem from his own repressed sexuality.
  • 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?!":
    • 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?!?!?
    • A Running Gag has the characters being told something shocking, to which they respond with a calm, rambling speech before realizing the severity of the situation and interrupting themselves with a drawn-out "Whaaaat?".
  • 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."
  • Bigot with a Badge: One episode has Joe show off a new high-tech police van which includes a mechanical arresting machine. When Peter tests the machine, robot arms place handcuffs him and reads him his Miranda rights, but when Cleveland tests it out, the arms start clubbing him, saying "Warning! Minority suspect! He has a gun!", and places a gun on the ground next to him.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In "Breaking Out is Hard to Do", 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.
    • Two Cubans fall out of a crashing plane and speak in Spanish, with gratuitous subtitles in Korean.
    Cuban 1: (Oh my god, We're gonna die!)
    Cuban 2: (Do you remember if I closed the garage door this morning?)
    • Santos and Pasquel speak Portuguese to each other.
    • 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.")
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: Stewie and Bertram end up in a playground war which ends when Bertram infects Stewie's side with Chicken Pox.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: One brief gag has Peter noticing a pigeon has pooped on his car, so he sets out to do the same to the pigeon's car.
  • 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 evolved into a genuine jerkass, despite usually putting up a caring mother façade. In "Cat Fight", she bad mouths Chris while the boy is asleep, then tells him she was complimenting his appearance when he wakes up. This event causes Meg to view her own mother as a monster.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • A cutaway gag has MacFarlaneadmitting he prefers Adult Swim over Fox, since the former doesn't censor as many jokes.
    • Stewie and Peter often say that Adult Swim "isn't a real network" and treat it as though barely anyone has heard of it.
    • Peter lampshades the show's cancellation by saying FOX has to "make room for quality programs such as..." and then listing every other show that FOX had cancelled between Family Guy's own cancellation and its return.
      Lois: Is there no hope?
      Peter: Well I suppose if all those shows go down the tube then we might have a shot.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: In "Meg Stinks", Brian gets sprayed by a skunk and takes a bath in tomato juice. Unfortunately, it is completely ineffective.
  • Black Comedy:
    • "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."
    • A cutaway shows a baby being abandoned in a dumpster shortly after his birth. He then performs a Broadway-style musical with other rejected infants as they take a stroll in the empty street.
    • From "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.
    Super Death: "Girl?"
    Death: "Girl."
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty:
    • Downplayed with Brian, who is a dog with human qualities, but still gets frequently injured in many episodes. A Running Gag in "Patrioy Games" involves Stewie brutally beating him up.
    • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a hand razor, but ends up killing him.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • In "Prick Up Your Ears," Lois pounces on Peter after Peter declares that he's abstinent.
    • Lois rapes Peter in "Lethal Weapons", with him reacting as such and whimpering "Last night...Lois, was, THE MAN!"
    • In "Dial Meg for Murder",Peter is raped by the breeding bull. Later on, it's implied Meg sexually assaults Peter with a Luffa.
  • Blaming the Victim:
    • In "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", Quagmire stages an intervention for Brenda, who's been abused by her boyfriend, Jeff. He gives her a tearful speech, saying that she's chosen to make her life a living hell by staying with Jeff and that she's not a "woman" since he believes a woman wouldn't tolerate this kind of treatment.
    • In "Partial Terms of Endearment", the family debate the subject of abortion with a newly pro-life Peter.
    Brian: What if the woman was raped?
    Peter: She should have thought of that before asking me for directions.
  • Blatant Lies: The theme song's lyrics clamour for "good old-fashioned values", but the show is about an abusive dysfunctional family and is built on Black Comedy.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: In "Blind Ambition", Peter goes blind due to nickel poisoning. Following this, he starts wearing sunglasses.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • Chris is blonde and Meg is brunette, while Lois is ginger. The disparity in their hair colours is a leftover from the prototype pilot, in which Lois' hair is coloured yellow.
    • 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: Early episodes were built on cartoonish slapstick violence, though the show became increasingly graphic and shock oriented in its portrayal of violence and bodily harm following its revival. In season 2, a scene where a mobster is executed with several gunshots is completely devoid of blood; whereas season 9's premiere has several members of the supporting cast being gruesomely murdered, with their injuries being shown in graphic detail.
  • 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: In "Hell Comes to Quahog", Peter blows 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 "Lois Kills Stewie". 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.
    • Stewie and Lois are hiding a dead body when a cop happens across them. Stewie climbs into the man's suit, leaving his head sticking out the collar, and pretends to be an alive person who just happens to be lying down on a bridge.
  • Blunder-Correcting Impulse: Joe Swanson gets a leg transplant in order to be able to walk again. Becoming as athletic as he ever was, his cockiness rises until he is convinced to abandon his old friends (who can't keep up with him in his newfound interests) and 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.
  • Boom in the Hand: While the Griffin family are playing with fireworks, Peter takes ten m80s, ties them together, and lights their fuses. As he explains what he has created, the m80s explode in his hand, blowing off his fingers. This little moment even provides the page quote.
  • 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: 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:
    • "Brian and Stewie" takes place entirely inside a bank's vault and features only the two titular characters, both of whom are voiced by the same guy, and no Cutaway Gags.
    • "Send in Stewie, Please" consists of a long therapy session between Stewie and his psychiatrist, with no cutaway gags or changes in setting until the very end of the episode.
  • 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 caused a store clerk and a camera guy to scream in fear, pour gasoline over themselves, light themselves on fire and jump out a conveniently placed window.
  • Brainless Beauty: Brian's ex-girlfriend Jillian and her friends are all very attractive young women, but have the mentality of an infant.
  • 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:
    • In "There's Something About Paulie", when Peter asks for a favor from a mob boss, he thinks that, in return, they'll ask him to "Whack a guy, off a guy, or whack off a guy."
    • In "And I'm Joyce Kinney", a throwaway gag sees the family watching what's described as Ellen Only Talks When Her Guest is Talking. She rambles about different things, including the fact that something's been bothering her cats, like "Smog, or pollen, or pollenated smog."
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • In the episode "Barely Legal", Meg becomes obsessed with Brian and starts doing things that creep him out, such as baking him a pie with an unusual ingredient:
      Brian: This is really good! What's in there?
      Meg: Oh, just some apples, and some cinnamon... and my hair...
      Brian: [Beat] ... what?
    • In "I Dream of Jesus", Peter goes to a record store and thinks he knows the clerk who's working there. He asks the man a series of questions:
      Peter: You look familiar. Did you go to North Providence?
      Man: No.
      Peter: You friends with Gary who owns the dry-cleaner's?
      Man: No.
      Peter: ... are you Jesus Christ?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • 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!"
    • In "Dial Meg for Murder", Peter uses the TV Guide to find out what will happen later in th episode.
    • 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!".
    • Stewie addresses the audience in "Saving Private Brian" after he murders Vern and Johnny with a gun, stating that they are now dead and won't show up again, lampshading the duo's unpopularity with fans.
    • In the Thanksgiving Episode, the studio executives don't have an appropriate cutaway gag for Peter's joke and panic. 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.
  • 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:
    • In "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: In "And Then There Were Fewer", the characters accuse Muriel of being a murderer, but she pledges innocence beforesuddenly noticing how unusual it is for Stewie to be wearing shorts.
    Muriel: And I am not saying another word until I speak to my lawyer, because why is he wearing shorts?
  • Brick Joke:
    • 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.
    • In "Family Gay", Peter buys a brain-damaged horse who eventually dies, so he flings his 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 forgets to roll the window down and as a result Brian is knocked out cold upon colliding with it. 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.
    • 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 then turns to the audience and says "See, we had a plan for that all along."
    • In "420", Peter, Brian, Cleveland, and Joe accidently kill Quagmire's cat while trying to shave him 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 him and the episode ends.
  • Briefs Boasting: Quagmire usually wears briefs to show how addicted to sex he is.
  • Bring It: In "Da Bomb", Joe dares a giant mutated rat to "bring it".
  • 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:
    • Meg and Chris accidentally do 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.
    • After Meg gives a The Reason You Suck speech to the rest of the family in "Seahorse Seashell Party", Chris shouts in her face "I FAKED ALL MY ORGASMS!" before storming off, leaving her and a still-pretty-stoned Brian in the room. At the end of the episode, everybody makes up because Status Quo Is God.
    • "Farmer Guy" involves Peter making a shameless set of rapid-fire jokes about Chris and Meg 'plowing in the fields', at the end of which they break the fourth wall and gesture to the audience.
    • "Hannah Banana" establishes that Chris and Meg have practiced kissing with each other on multiple occasions.
    • "Fresh Heir" indicates that Chris and Meg take baths together, much to Peter's horror.
    Peter: ...I don't have the parenting skills necessary to deal with this.
    • In "Nanny Goats", Natalia bursts in on Chris and Meg playing 'Doctor' as they are about to kiss.
    • In "Brian Sings and Swings", Meg pretends to be a lesbian, and at one point Chris is revealed to have been hiding in her closet with a video camera.
  • Brutal Honesty: The episode "Movin' Out" features one of many gags that depict Brian's novel as the worst thing ever created. When Brian describes the premise to Lois, she verbally tears him to shreds while laughing the entire time, saying that "Faster Than the Speed of Love" is the worst title she's ever heard and that its premise is a rip-off of Iron Eagle.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Loretta returns in the season 7 episode "Love Blactually", after not making any appearances since season 4.
    • The bus even survived a crash, as evidenced by Kevin Swanson's return in season 10.
    • Cleveland and his new family move 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 make a return since the former's apparent death in "Chick Cancer" and the latter's disappearance in "Christmas Guy".
  • Butt Brand:
    • In "Boys Do Cry", Peter brands the BDSM-obsessed cow from "Jungle Love". He even tells Peter to wait a second to puts a ball gag over his mouth.
    • In "Dial Meg for Murder", Peter trains himself for the rodeo by hogtying Meg and branding her, but it turns out Mayor West beat him to it.
  • 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 "Back to the Pilot", 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.

  • 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 is a gay dog who is flamboyant and exhibits exaggerated feminine mannerisms. Peter adopts the same personality when he is injected with the gay gene in "Family Gay".
  • Canine Confusion: "Screwed the Pooch" had a moment of Brian the dog getting fat from overeating chocolate, even though that much should kill him. However, a few things to keep in mind is that this is a fantasy sequence (Peter's at that) and Rule of Funny is in effect. Brian also makes it clear in later episodes that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, even projectile vomiting when he eats a few handful for real in "Valentine's Day in Quahog".
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality:
    • 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 knocks Brian out, ties him to a chair and tries to force herself on him in "Barely Legal".
  • Car Fu: Quagmire kills Jeff by running him over and smashing him against a tree with his car.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the early seasons 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 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.
  • Cat-apult: Mayor Adam West defends his home with a crossbow that fires cats, who 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
  • Catchphrase:
    • 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 her 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:
    • Stewie's head retains the same, familiar football-like shape from virtually all angles, despite the fact that the shape should change slightly depending on where he is in relation to the camera. Lampshaded in a conversation between "Griffin Peterson" and "King Stewie" in a flashback:
    Griffin: Hey, you're the guy whose profile's on all the coins! You know, your head looks really weird from the side.
    Stewie: Yeah, we didn't... think that through when we started...
    • Brian is rarely ever seen from any angle other than 3/4 (especially from the front), which keeps his large muzzle prominently visible at all times.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Church of Happyology: When Tiny Tom Cruise rescues Stewie and Brian in "Big Trouble in Little Quahog", Stewie asks Cruise how they can repay them, with Tiny Tom Cruise replying that they can make a sizable donation to the "Church of Spaceship Beep Boop". Stewie then excitedly says that they can't get in trouble because they didn't use the actual name, which leads to this:
    cut to exterior of Church of Spaceship Beep Boop Headquarters
    Church Official: What did he just say?! We are about love and spaceships and beep boop! Get my lawyer on the phone!
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Clingy Child: In "Stewie Loves Lois", Lois repairs Stewie's beloved teddy bear and cooks him his favourite meal, causing him to become overly attached to her. Stewie is later seen clinging to Lois' face as she takes him to his crib, suggesting that his demands for attention have left her too exhausted to carry him with her own arms.
  • Clone Degeneration: In "Quagmire's Baby", clones of Brian and Stewie grow unstable and melt into a puddle of blood.
  • Clueless Aesop:
    • "Family Gay," which manages to be incredibly homophobic while supposedly promoting gay rights. In fact, almost every 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.
  • Comedic Lolicon: Peter is convinced he is a medium in "Extra Large Medium", and says he needs to touch something that belongs to the kidnapped victim in order to pinpoint his location. He then 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.
  • 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."
  • Company Cameo: Frequent references are made to the network the show began on, Fox, with the characters mentioning Fox's influence on the show and even having Fox executives and employees occasionally make appearances in the series. One such example, used as a Take That!, is Peter bringing up Fox canceling their show before rattling off a list of nearly three dozen other shows that Fox Network ran and also canceled before un-canceling Family Guy.
  • 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 a 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.
  • Concussions Get You High: The show notably averts this, most anytime a character is hit in the head they usually get knocked out. This is taken to its most realistic outcome in "Cop and a Half-Wit" where Stewie, after being dogpiled by many bigger kids in a football game, suffers very real symptoms of brain damage. Among them are a swollen pupil, disorientation and hearing a constant ringing when one isn't present.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In "The Fat Guy Strangler", when Brian is instructed to hit Lois's murderous brother before he kills Peter, Brian ends up hitting Peter instead. Peter tells Brian he missed, but Brian says, "No, I didn't! That was for rolling up the damn window when I tried to jump into the General Lee!" in reference to Peter doing so in "To Love and Die in Dixie".
  • 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:
    • Craig Hoffman says that going out with Meg is about as likely as him playing by someone else's rules besides his own. Which he would never do. He plays by his own rules, nobody else's. Not even his own.
    • Rush Limbaugh (in a guest appearance) pointed out that Brian does this because he liked being the underdog.
  • Corny Nebraska: In "Breaking Out is Hard to Do", Stewie recalls his trip to Nebraska where the guys he was talking with at a diner had not seen anything interesting lately, but they had a lot to talk about regarding corn.
  • The Couch: The couch and furniture often move around for the sake of keeping a wide number of characters on the screen at once.
  • 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", when 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.
    • Also another great allusion in "Bango Was His Name Oh", when Quagmire purchases a Winnebago, with the express intention of driving across the country and having sex with a girl in every state. When he unveils it to Brian and Stewie, there's a large (mostly obscured) sign painted on its side:
    Brian: [reading] "Quagmire's Cross-Country Tour". Uhh, doesn't "country" have an "O"?
    Quagmire: Nope!
  • 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 videos 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: Starting around season 10, the show started to rely mainly on shock humour and cringe comedy for its gags. One of the most obvious examples is the episode "Fresh Heir", in which Chris manually stimulates his grandfather1s genitals, and later agrees to marry his own father.
  • 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.
  • Crossover: MacFarlane's three shows have crossed over with 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.
    • In the Season 10 episode, "Killer Queen," Barry Robinson from American Dad appears as one of the fat kids attending the fat camp that Peter and Chris get enrolled into.
    • Season 13 opened with "The Simpsons Guy", a proper crossover between Family Guy and The Simpsons.
  • 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.
  • Crying at Your Birthday Party: At Lois's birthday party in "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell", Peter gives a speech which boils down to him insulting her for getting old using unflattering metaphors. After the speech concludes, Lois bursts into tears and runs away from the party.
  • 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.
  • Cultural Personality Makeover: Peter has done this to varying degrees more than once, though usually to a more extreme and offensive end. He discovers a black ancestor and immediately changes from his "slave name" and wears African clothing. Less extreme were the times he discovered being technically Mexican or Irish
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
  • Cure Your Gays: One part of "Family Gay" has Brian and Stewie sending Peter to a straight camp to "cure" him.
  • 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.
  • Cutaway Gag: The Trope Codifier, and are so prevalent and persistent on this show that it has its own page. They usually number from few to many depending on the episode, although there have been distinctive episodes without cutaways ("Brian and Stewie", "And Then There Were Fewer")
  • Cyberbullying: