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- Quit Your Whining: In the episode "Lethal Weapons", while the family is in the car, Meg complains about Chris putting his foot on her side.Stewie: Meg stop your whining. Chris stay on your side. Lois, for God's sake, get off your ass and do some parenting!
- Raiders of the Lost Parody: The show usually throws in an Indiana Jones parody (or two), but season fours "The Courtship of Stewies Father" takes the cake by dedicating the entire final act towards the final minutes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
- Raised by Humans: In "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows", a bird makes a nest in Peter's beard before being frightened away. The bird had laid eggs in said beard which hatch and Peter ends up taking care of them until they are old enough to take care of themselves and fly away.
- Random Passerby Advice: Meg is continually trying to attract her hunky new neighbor, Kevin, throughout his first appearance; however, he seems completely disinterested. Eventually a police officer (long story) suggests that she stop talking about herself and ask something about him. Meg asks Kevin what kind of music he likes and he immediately becomes a chatterbox.
- Rant-Inducing Slight/Law of Disproportionate Response: "No... PAPER TOWEEEEEEEELS?!?!?"
- Rapid-Fire Comedy
- Rash Equilibrium: Stewie and Bertram's first confrontation.Stewie: You came unarmed?
Bertram: As we agreed.
Stewie: Admirable - but foolish! (pulls out a gun)
Bertram: (immediately pulls out his own gun)
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: The reason why Straw Feminist Gloria Ironbox disliked Lois was because she seemed to be happy as a housewife, and not having a "real" job. Lois then replied saying that feminism is about women being free to choose what they want to be, then beats Gloria up when Gloria implies that her mothering is what screwed up her children—which, sadly, would be considered true now.
- Reality Ensues: It's as if the writers flip a coin to decide which situations will run to cartoon logic and which will have real-world results.
- Watching a Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs Bunny's "What's up Doc?" is answered by Elmer shooting him down and then snapping Bugs' neck.
- A version of Home Alone has the burglars easily evading the childish traps and shooting Kevin dead to avoid witnesses.
- A take on Dirty Dancing has Johnny's "nobody puts Baby in the corner" speech interrupted by Baby's father having him arrested for being a 41-year old man sleeping with a teenager and sent to jail.
- A deleted scene from one episode has the family watching "Sassy Sitcom Secretary in Real Life" where the title character makes a smart-ass insult to her bosses...who are totally thrown and fire her on the spot.
- A parody of The Shawshank Redemption has Andy waiting for Red to meet him in the small Mexico town he talked of. It takes months for Andy to realize that when you only mention a town once in what seems to be a random conversation, there's a good chance the other person will never realize it was meant as a serious meeting place years later.
- Finding the man who crippled him, Joe shoots him in the kneecaps. He tells the gang he didn't want to kill the guy, just give him a small taste of what he did to Joe and when he recovers, he'll understand. When Joe turns around, he finds the man has bled to death.
- When Peter and the gang pretend to be The A-Team, they tell the construction workers at a site that they're only going to have their vehicles crashed and they'll be able to walk it off. The workers point out how even a minor accident tends to leave long-term damage to your neck and nerves.
- Winning the lottery, Peter decides to jump into a pile of gold and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck, and breaks half his body on the hard gold bars and coins.
- When Quagmire loses his pilot's license, Peter drugs the pilots of a plane so Quagmire can land it and be a hero. It does work (though not how he actually planned) but Peter is then arrested for hijacking and public endangerment.
- Not to mention how Peter and Stewie are responsible for the deaths of people because of dumb accidents than in another cartoon are just played for laughs.
- Peter strings a bunch of firecrackers together, holding them in his palm as if expecting a boom that will just leave his face looking smoking. When they go off earlier than expected, Peter loses all his fingers.
- Losing his hearing from being a DJ, Peter thinks his other senses will now be heightened. A deaf woman tells him he'll be lucky if he's not run over by a bus within three months.
- Peter is thrown he's still suffering bad health after quitting smoking. His doctor tells him that if you've been smoking for years, the effects aren't going to just magically vanish when you stop.
- In a parody of Cinderella, Peter points out that Cinderella and the Prince entered in an "ill advised long-term relationship" and points out it only lasted 7 months as they got married before even getting to know each other.
- When Peter gets kidney failure, Brian offers his own kidney to replace his. Just as the surgery is about to take place, Dr. Hartman steps in to offer his own kidney. When asked why, he matter-of-factly points out that Brian is a dog and thus it's completely impossible for him to be the organ donor to a human being without both dying.
- In "Screams of Silence", the guys are ready to isolate and take out Jeff Fecalman, but as Quagmire plans to take a pistol to him, Jeff takes out a shotgun at the ready. Real life domestic abusers aren't all cowards who just beat women; but they can be just dangerous and crazy enough to go after a man who stands up to them too.
- Two instances in "Road to the North Pole". First, when Stewie and Brian get to the North Pole, they discover that it's a dystopia. The demand for presents from billions of children every year has driven Santa and the elves to madness, the reindeer eat the elves because there's no other food for them, and the elves are forced to inbreed, resulting in severely deformed children.
Second, when Brian and Stewie are Subbing for Santa on Christmas Eve, they completely and epically fail. They struggle to get the reindeer to even fly, then they crash land on the roof of their first house. When they go down the chimney, they forget the presents outside, then lock themselves out while retrieving them. They're forced to break back in to put the presents under the tree, at which point the father of the home discovers them and Stewie beats him within an inch of his life with a baseball bat before he can call the police. Then his wife and daughter enter the scene, and it only gets worse from there; Stewie bludgeons the woman with the bat and ties up the little girl. And then the police arrive.Stewie: This was one house! We've been here for an hour and a half! First of all, we're not even Santa anymore; this has been a home invasion, but an hour and a half, Brian! It's gonna be light in six hours, and we have to deliver to the whole rest of the world! There's two apartment buildings on this block alone!
Brian: No wonder Santa lost his mind. This is ridiculous, we can't do this!
Stewie: Nobody can, it's inhuman!
- In "Road to India" Brian attempts to win money on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, only to fail because the questions are about Indian culture, which Brian has no knowledge of.
- Really Gets Around: Quagmire, Brian, and Lois before she married Peter.
- Rearrange the Song: During season 3, the end credits music (an instrumental version of the opening theme) was rearranged with a big band motif. It was rearranged again during season 4.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- In "Play It Again, Brian", Brian delivers one to Peter regarding of how bad a husband he is. However, Peter countered with another one regarding Brian's inability to hold a relationship.
- Quagmire delivers one of these to Brian in "Jerome Is The New Black."
- Brian is once again on the receiving end of one from Bill Maher, Dana Gould, and Arianna Huffington in "Brian Writes A Bestseller", when he completely dismisses what he said in his own book in a desperate attempt to impress Bill when Brian guest stars on his show.
- In "Seahorse Seashell Party", Meg gives one each to Chris, Lois, and Peter.
- In "Valentine's Day in Quahog", Stewie calls over all of Brian's ex-girlfriends in order to find out why all of Brian's dates go wrong. While the speech is very brief, all the women tell Brian that he's egotistical, pretentious, insecure, and has a tiny penis. Naturally, Brain denies all the claims and fires back by telling all the women how flawed they are and then tells Stewie that he acts like a woman the most of out everyone in the room. This gets Brian chased by Stewie and all the women down the street.
- Red Shirt: Spoofed with "Ensign Ricky".Capt James T. Kirk: All right, men, this is a dangerous mission, and it's likely one of us will be killed. The landing party will consist of myself, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, and Ensign Ricky.
Ensign Ricky: Aww, crap.
- Inverted when William Shatner is the one who dies later in the episode, with Ensign Ricky coming out of nowhere and stating he "did not see that coming".
- Red Shirt Reporter: Most of the reporters frequently find themselves in deadly situations.
- Reference Overdosed
- Relationship Reboot: Played with when Quagmire lets slip one of his fantasies about Lois to Peter:Quagmire: Is it possible she's a whore? ...You know, like on weekends, just to pay for her mom's dialysis? ...Like in my fantasy? ...Y'know what, let's start over. Hi, I'm Quagmire! (offers his hand)
- Religious Robot: Apparently Optimus Prime is Jewish. And Soundwave met his wife in a Christian chatroom.
- Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe, New Brian is this to Stewie.
- Repeat Cut: Played straight to the point of being mocked in "Peter's Daughter" with Stewie, Brian, and the exploding, run-down house.
- Repeated Rehearsal Failure: In "Dog Bites Bear", Lois sends Peter out for groceries and, in a direct parody of the Sesame Street sketch, his memory of her instructions devolves.
- Resentful Guardian: Lois Griffin has been shown to have feelings of contempt towards her daughter Meg for being unable to have an abortion and therefore getting disqualified from participating in the Olympics. Instead she is now stuck raising her.
- Reset Button: Lampshaded.Peter: Yeah, everything'll go back to normal next week, so who gives a damn?
- The revelation that Peter's biological father is not Francis, but an Irishman named Mickey McFinnigan.
- Also the revision of the founding of Quahog and mythicalization of the earlier Magic Clam story.
- Joe lied about a fight with the Grinch being the reason he's paralyzed. He was actually shot in the legs by a heroin dealer named Bobby Briggs who then went on the lam for 15 years.
- Retroactive Wish: "Imagine Lindsay Lohan naked and doing a backwards crab walk!"
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: From "Chick Cancer":Stewie: I can't hide from this relationship. It's my responsibility to deal with it. I mean, what kind of man would I be if I just left my family and all my responsibilities like that?Brian: Well, you'd be a black man.Stewie: (shocked) Whoa, what was that?!Brian: (realizes what he said) Agh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, that was my father talking.Stewie: You, uh, you gotta work on that, man. Bad dog.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Carter Pewterschmidt.
- Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: In Rocky VI (which came out before Rocky Balboa did) Rocky goes to Mars for a fight.
- Rising Water, Rising Tension: "A Griffin Family History" where the Griffins hide in a panic room when burglars break in, and are trapped inside when the sprinklers go off, causing the room to slowly flood. To pass the time while they wait to drown, Peter tells the story of their ancestors (and caps it off by telling his family that he didn't like The Godfather). Luckily, they're rescued by Joe before the room is completely full.
- Road Sign Reversal: Subverted in "Chitty Chitty Death Bang". In order to get the circus parade to come to Stewie's birthday party, Peter looks as though he's going to do this, then he uses the sign to knock out the parade leader and take his place.
- Room Full of Crazy: Patrick, Lois's traumatized brother, came to live with the Griffins. His room (actually Meg's) is decorated with photos of himself strangling fat people. And a dead fat guy and a half dead fat guy who then eats the dead fat guy.Stewie: So we're just gonna look the other way on this one, huh?
- Rousing Speech:
Joe: If I couldn't catch a two-bit criminal, how am I supposed to win a race?Peter: Hey, what kind of talk is that? It's un-American! Did George W. Bush quit even after losing the popular vote? No! Did he quit after losing millions of dollars of his father's friends' money in failed oil companies? No! Did he quit after knocking that girl up? No! Did he quit after he got that DUI? No! Did he quit gettin' arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct at a football game? No! Did he quit...
- Peter gives one to Joe in "Ready, Willing, and Disabled" to build him up during the Special People's Games. Typically of Peter, though, he quickly gets off-track.
Joe: I get the message, Peter.
Peter: This country used to welcome our kind with open arms. But men like Carter Pewterschmidt use us for cheap labor, and then-and then try to punish us when we demand to be treated like human beings. Well, no more! Immigrants built this country, and I say it's time for us to take it back! Who's with me?!
- When Peter finds out he is an illegal immigrant in "Padre de Familia."
Immigrant: Could you say whole speech again in Spanish?
- Rule 34: Reversed with Quagmire in "Family Goy," where he the sexual deviant who always tries to corral a woman into bed with him, especially if they are older teenage girls has no concept of Internet pornography, and is teased because of it. By mid-episode, it is played straight, as he gets a huge muscular left arm from masturbating for a few weeks straight.
- Rule of Funny
- It's good to know this before criticizing the show for inconsistencies. Seems that many have taken everything ever said in this show as official canon (of some sort) and call "plot hole" whenever a serious-plot moment crops up that contradicts an otherwise one-time gag.
- Rule of Three:
- In "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci High", the teachers introduce the various classes at the school. For each class, Peter says, "Ah I love dodgeball/bundt cakes/trombone!" The first two times, he picks up the object in question, shouts "Heads up!", and throws it at a random person, knocking them down. The third time, he grabs the trombone, the guy he kept hitting earlier flinches, but then Peter actually plays the trombone and gets applause... only to then shout "Heads up!", throw the trombone and hit that guy again after finishing.
- In the Black Eye Griffin segment of "Untitled Griffin Family History", three of Black Eye Griffin's short films end the same way: With the character getting hit in the eye and shrugging at the camera while smiling widely, while "wah wah wah waaaaaaaahh" music plays.
- Running Gag
- Ollie, with the Blac-u-weather forecast. Originally a one-off (e.g. the Weather Mime), but used more and more since then.
- Play me off, Johnny!
- In the episode "Saving Private Brian", Stewie terminated this gag with extreme prejudice by shooting Vern and Johnny and proclaiming they will never be seen again. Ironically they were seen again as ghosts in a later episode "Back To The Woods" with Johnny appearing in Hell because, as Vern puts it, "Johnny liked little boys."
- Cleveland: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO-- * bathtub breaks*Tim the Bear: I don't get it.
- Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Conway Twitty.
- Someone saying "What the hell?" to someone else Once per Episode.
- Peter's Giant Chicken Fistfights.
- Every time "Surfin' Bird" is played, after "I Dream of Jesus".
- In the earlier seasons, every time Chris did something creepy or questionable Peter or Lois would flatly say "Go to your room."
- The idea of Quagmire getting his own spin-off.
- Nearly every episode, a character (most likely Peter) would waste an entire minute or two doing something mundane repeatedly (like making 'Dad noises') while any other character nearby would just watch with an unamused looking expression on their face.
- Stewie trying to kill Lois. He would have succeeded once, if Death wasn't on vacation.
- Brian inadvertently offending Quagmire via some misunderstanding, leading to a drawn out rage attack from the latter. Possibly Running Gagged since this gag has disappeared for almost a season with only occasional more subdued disagreements between the two afterwards.
- A brief one with Stewie in seasons 4 and 5. "WHERE'S MY MONEY, HUH?!?"
- Adam West's love affair with everything Eighties and his increasing child-like behavior.
- Someone (usually Stewie) will recount something shocking happening, but nobody pays attention.
- Running Gagged: Quite a few examples.
- The evil monkey gag ended in Season 8 when he decided his time in Chris' closet has been enough, and leaves to live in Jake Tucker's closet.
- Vern and Johnny get killed about a season after they were introduced. They come back as a Continuity Nod in ghost form.
- The Giant Chicken fights. The last time they fought, they made amends (since they had completely forgotten why they were even fighting in the first place) and decided to go out to dinner, and they only continued fighting because they were arguing who would pay the check. Every few episodes, a Call-Back is made to their dilemma.
- Sadist Show: When the show was uncancelled, cheerful bullying of mentally ill, disabled, or terminally ill constitutes an awful amount of the jokes in the series. If someone is in intense pain to the point of suicidal it will almost invariably be mocked and worsened to the extreme.
- Samus Is a Girl: In the fourth episode of the series Peter punches out a "guy" who badmouths his son once too often, not knowing "he's" a pregnant woman. Justified as she looks like this◊.Boy: Hey, you hit my mom!
Peter: No, I hit your dad.
Bystander: Whoa, stand back! Give her some air!
Peter: Y-you mean, give him some air.
Bystander #2: Call an ambulance, she's going into labor!
Peter: (clearly confused) You mean he's going into labor! (baby crying) ...Whoops.
- Sarcasm Failure: Brian in "Excellence in Broadcasting".
- Sassy Black Woman:
- Saving Christmas/Subbing for Santa: In the episode "Road to the North Pole", Stewie and Brian attempt to do this, because Santa is exhausted to near death due to the increasing demand for presents. Predictably, they fail catastrophically.
- Scratch Damage: This is all Meg is capable of in "Viewer Mail."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In "Into Harmony's Way," Peter and Quagmire start a two-man band, but Quagmire's frustration with Peter comes to a head during a live performance on The Conan O'Brien Show, when Peter drops his pick into his guitar's sound hole and spends nearly a minute trying to get it out. Quagmire promptly grabs the guitar out of his hands and smashes it before storming off with "I quit!"
- Seadog Peg Leg: Parodied with the character of Seamus. He's a fisherman with a typical pirate getup who has pegs replacing all his limbs, including his arms. A cutaway in one episode reveals his entire torso is a peg as well, causing Peter to question how exactly he's still alive.
- Second Person Attack: In "Stuck Together, Torn Apart", the singer on stage who says the next song is for all the ladies out there is given a punch by Peter, seen from the singer's viewpoint.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Often appears in conjunction with an Overly Long Gag.
- In the second half of the two-part season 3 premiere, "Brian Does Hollywood", we get to see the nominees for best score at the Adult Movie Awards. Some of the recipients for this particular Woody include John Williams and long-time Family Guy composer Walter Murphy.
- One episode centered around Brian's attempts to befriend Quagmire. When he asks why he dislikes him so much, Quagmire goes off on an incredible tangent, obviously voicing the reaction some fans had toward Brian's Author Avatar status, including his religious and political biases.
- Combining this with when Quagmire thought he was getting the spinoff and when he was trying to make an improv show, it seems that Seth MacFarlane is using Quagmire as a Self-Deprecation avatar as much as he uses Brian as an Author Avatar.
- In the 100th episode special, Seth MacFarlane interviews several people about Family Guy (who don't know who he is). They all say that the show is terrible.
- In the 150th episode special, when Brian and Stewie are talking about "Peter's Two Dads" where Peter visited Ireland:
- A meta example is that one of the writers is Jewish, and in the commentaries he admits most of the Jewish jokes are his.
- Joyce Kinney's real last name is revealed to be Chevapravatdumrong in "And I'm Joyce Kinney". She mentions that her real last name would never be allowed on TV, so she changed it to 'Kinney'. A Co-executive producer/writer of the show is actually named Cherry Chevapravatdumrong.
- Self-Serving Memory: When Peter recalls his prostate exam, it is incredibly sinister, and totally wrong.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Stewie, at least early on.
- Sex for Services: In an early episode, Death comes for Peter, but twists his ankle and the Griffins nurse him back to health in the hopes that he'll spare Peter out of gratitude. At one point Death tells Lois that he might consider it if she does something for him. Lois sighs and starts unbuttoning her blouse; Death quickly interrupts, saying he just wanted more food.
- Sex for Solace: When Peter caught Loretta, Cleveland's wife, having an affair, he found Cleveland's lack of anger to be surprising. Lois suggested getting him to confront his emotions, but Peter instead insisted that Cleveland just needed a "Revenge Lay" in order to deal with the situation. Of course, they never quite got that far...
- Sex Sells: In "Baking Bad" this trope is the advice that Glen Quagmire gives to Peter when Peter and Lois open a up a cookie bakery that has trouble attracting more customers it works when Peter hires six female strippers with cookie-themed names, but, Peter being Peter, he ends up taking it to the extreme when he turns his and Lois's cookie bakery into a full-on strip club that merely distributes free cookies.
- Sexy Surfacing Shot: Parodied in "The Kiss Seen Around the World", with Meg fantasizing about newsreader Tom Tucker coming out of a swimming pool in Slow Motion a recreation of the Fast Times at Ridgemont High scene.
- Sexy Whatever Outfit: In the Halloween Episode "Halloween On Spooner Street", Meg wears a slutty cat costume. Lampshaded by Lois that gripes about how Halloween is nothing but this: "I'm a slutty nurse, I'm a slutty pirate, I'm a slutty cancer survivor." Followed by a cut-away with the last example (this scene is deleted in the Tv version).
- Shackle Seat Trap: A disturbing number have shown up.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story:
- "The Juice Is Loose", where Peter meets OJ Simpson, and, at first, attempts to prove that he murdered his wife and Ron Brown. But then, when he finds out, he despairs that he is innocent and can never get away from the accusations. So Peter lets him stay at his house, but the family is suspicious of him. The entire episode is set up as a twist on the normal narrative about OJ, with him actually being innocent. At the end, the town comes in an angry mob to kick him out, but then O.J. makes an emotional speech about how nobody is perfect, and we shouldn't judge people for making a few mistakes. It works, and the whole town is on his side. But then, he stabs and kills three people for absolutely no reason, and runs off. After which, Peter just nonchalantly says "Oh, I guess he did do it.", and the episode just ends.
- In "The Simpsons Guy", Pawtucket Patriots gets sued when it's discovered that the beer is just a rip-off of Duff. Pawtucket ends up losing the case, a big deal because the company is a huge source of income to Quahog's economy, but at the end despite losing Pawtucket stays in business because, as Lois says, "What are they gonna do, come here?"
- Shoot the Dog: Literally done by the Board of Directors of the El Dorado Cigarette Company in the episode "Mr. Griffin Goes To Washington".
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: "420" is essentially this: long story short, Brian manages to convince everybody in Quahog to legalize pot, but Carter doesn't like it (it had something to do with his business losing money), and bribes Brian with publishing his horrible novel if he convinces everybody to re-illegalize pot. Brian does, but in the end his novel doesn't sell a single copy. However, this episode was meant to deliver a message about how wonderful everything would be if pot were legal.
- Shout-Out: Aside from all the pop culture Shout Outs, there are several made specifically for viewers who live in Rhode Island, although these have gotten rarer since the show was Un-Canceled.
- The Show Goes Hollywood: "Brian Does Hollywood", in which Brian moves to Los Angeles to become a writer but ends up becoming a porn director.
- Shower of Angst: Stewie, after learning Rupert has "cheated" him, along with Sanity Slippage.
- Showgirl Skirt: The showgirl outfit in the opening, and in scenes with showgirls, all have the same design of a leotard and a headdress and skirt of feathers.
- Sideboob: Ptv's The Sideboob Hour.
- Silly Animal Sound: In a Cutaway Gag, Stewie plays with a European See-and-Say, getting baffled by the various unconventional sounds the animals make according to it.See-and-Say: The pig goes "Wank"! The cow goes "Shazoo"!
Stewie: It most certainly does not!
See-and-Say: The rooster goes "Dickeridee"!
Stewie: Where? Where does the rooster say that?
See-and-Say: The monkey goes "Macack"!
Stewie: No, no, no! It does not!
See-and-Say: The elephant goes "Thwoamp"!
Stewie: Yeah, kinda.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Peter vs Ernie the Giant Chicken. Brian also seems to be gaining a more mutual hatred for Quagmire as episodes progress.
- Sit on the Camera: in "Viewer Mail No. 2, Point of Stew" where a farting Polish kid lands on Stewie after going on a slide
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: All examples of physical comedy, from random abuse, to violent murder, and even rape, are Played for Laughs regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the victim.Lois: You can't hit me! I'm a girl!
Peter: Sometimes I wonder.
- Sleeping with the Boss's Wife: Joked about when Peter is doing a job interview.Boss: So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Peter: (thinking) Don't say "Doin' your wife"! Don't say "Doin' your wife"!
Peter: Doing your... *looks at the family photo on the desk* son...?
- Slow Clap: Subverted in "Brian: Portrait of a Dog." After Brian wins his freedom, one man claps slowly to tempt the rest of the audience to join... They are unswayed.
- Smart Animal, Average Human: Brian Griffin, the Deadpan Snarker and Only Sane Man who happens to be the family pet dog of the Griffin family. He is far more intelligent than the others in the family and the only one who competes with his intelligence is Stewie, the youngest boy in the family. But, Brian and Stewie leave this as a Zig-Zagging Trope. While Brian and Stewie are very intelligent for their age (and species for that matter), there are some differences between when they are paired up. Stewie is highly intellectual and can build many scientific inventions like time machines while Brian is a cynical but wise atheist who just loves to talk about what is wrong with the world to anybody. However, because Stewie is only a baby, he has a lot to learn about the world around him while Brian has lived much longer and has much more experience with the world than Stewie does and helps Stewie grow. In layman's terms, Stewie is smarter but more naive than Brian, however, Brian is dumber but wiser than Stewie. At best, their duo is "Wise Animal, Smart Human".
- Smuggling with Dolls: Mentioned in one episode where Brian becomes a drug sniffing dog. Although not seen directly, one day when he comes home from work and is asked how his day went, he is furious about the fact that he caught a man hiding drugs in his daughter's doll.Lois: How was your day?Brian: My day? Un-freakin-believable. First we nail this bastard who had the gall to hide his stuff in his daughter's doll— her doll, for God's sake!
- So Bad, It's Good: In-Universe, any movie, play, or book that Peter produces.
- Sock It to Them: After Meg gets out of prison, Connie D'Amico and her friends are teasing her in the school cafeteria. Meg ignores them and buys a bunch of soda cans from a vending machine. She loads them into a bag, and uses the bag on the group Batter Up! style.
- Sociopathic Hero
- Sold His Soul for a Donut: In "A Picture's Worth a Thousand Bucks", Peter says that he'd sell his soul to be famous. The Devil hears him and is eager to buy, but his assistant tells him that Peter already sold his soul in 1976 for Bee Gees tickets, and again in 1981 for half a Mallomar.
- Solemn Ending Theme: In "Wasted Talent", Stewie asks Peter to play the sad walking away music from The Incredible Hulk. During the credits, that music plays while Stewie is walking away.
- Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Quagmire with Brian in "Jerome is the New Black" (though granted the latter is a valid Butt-Monkey outside of this too).
- Sophisticated as Hell: In "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater":Peter: That [vase] would look simply smashing in Lois' crapper — I mean, crappiér.
Kitty: You're so right, Peter. Any woman would love to have that in her crappiér.
- Soulful Plant Story: Parodied in a cutaway gag where Peter is an apple in an idyllic orchard. He talks about how great life is, but then a maggot eats at him.
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Used occasionally in the pre-cancellation seasons to bleep out stronger swearing; used frequently when the show was revived in 2005.
- Soundtrack Dissonance:
- The classy, somewhat 50's-esque, Frank Sinatra-ish BGM playing during many scenes (mostly shots showing the Griffins' house from the outside, anyway) just doesn't fit what this show is about. For starters, it's an [adult swim] show. Do the math.
- Lampshaded in "Dog Bites Bear". An early cutaway depicts Peter as Deadpool from the 2016 film. Just as in the movie, (Peter-as-)Deadpool guns down a bunch of mooks on a highway while a slow, peaceful song punctuates the carnage. This time, however, the lyrics to the song are parodied:Singer: Just call me anus of the morning (anus) / Just touch my cheek before you leave me (anus) / This violence juxtaposed to music (anus) / Decapitation in slow-motion (anus)
- Space Whale Aesop: Don't get too greedy around Christmas time. If you do, Santa Claus will die.
- Speaking Simlish: In "McStroke," Peter believes he can speak Italian because he has grown a mustache. However, he only produces a series of "beepity boppity"s.
- Sperm As People: Before his conception, Stewie used to fight with other sperm.
- Spin-Off: The Cleveland Show.
- Spit Take: Peter does this in "Peter's Got Woods", soaking a nearby Meg.
- Spiritual Successor: Wilfred, adapted by Family Guy Co-creator David Zuckerman. Though Family Guy was uncancelled 6 years before Wilfred premiered.
- Spontaneous Human Combustion: Played for Laughs in a Cutaway Gag in the episode "A Fish Out of Water," when Stewie imagines how his family would look if they were more cultured. Cue the Griffin men sitting in the living room wearing formal clothes, drinking wine, talking with British accents... and Peter spontaneously bursting into flames.
- Spontaneous Skeet Shooting: When Peter joins the NRA after finding out his son is more..."endowed" than him. He practices skeet shooting old Madonna and Janet Jackson C Ds.
- Spoof Aesop: Many of the early episodes ended this way with Peter or another character learning either something completely different from the events they experienced or bluntly admiring to learning jack squat like nothing ever happened. Commentary from Seth and the other writers state that this was their way of ending the episode without filling it with nonsensical bullshit with a mix ofthe writers not giving a damn how the story ended.
- Spot the Imposter:
- Done in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair" when Brian has to differentiate Stewie and Evil Stewie.
- In "German Guy", Chris turns the tables on an elderly Nazi who was holding him and Peter at gunpoint. Chris, however, can't tell them apart and doesn't know who to shoot. Peter remarks that they don't look anything alike, but it doesn't help. Chris shoots Peter when the old Nazi knows Chris' birthday, but Peter doesn't.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Stewie and Brian, for worse or for better.
- Spraying Drink from Nose: Peter doing this and hitting Brian and a blonde provides the page picture.
- Springtime for Hitler: In-Universe. Brian's second book, Wish It, Want It, Do It.
- Stable Time Loop: Stewie ends up outside of the space-time continuum and has to overload the return pad to his time machine in order to return to existence. This event turns out to have been the cause of the Big Bang.
- Stalker Shrine: Quagmire has one about Lois.
- Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male: Subverted with Meg usually stalking guys who are nice to her. She stalked Brian, Joe, and Kent. However, it came to a point that her stalking wasn't played for laughs and the police had to stop Meg from raping Brian. Kent once called her a psycho after she attempted to trick Chris into sleeping with him.
- Status Quo Is God: A few minor changes have stuck, such as Cleveland moving away (to get his own show) and Brian's relationship status. But for the most part, this is strictly enforced.
- Spoofed in "Da Boom", where things are set back to normal by recreating the infamous All Just a Dream ending from Dallas, complete with the original actors.
- Another ep has Chris being chased by poachers in Africa. It's never resolved, but during the end credits Stewie says to Brian that "the Chris thing was just a gag, he'll be back next week like always."
- Stealth Hi/Bye:
- In Consuela's debut episode, Peter goes to use the bathroom and closes the door behind him. Consuela then suddenly and soundlessly appears in the bathroom, asking Peter if she should clean the toilet.
- Peter makes an attempt in the episode "An App a Day":Peter: Well, I'm not about to make a Batman exit right now, but has that thing always been over there?
Joe: Over where? ... what are you doing, Peter?
Peter: [halfway out of the window] Ah, you looked back too fast.
- Stealth Pun:
Peter: She may be worth a million dollars to you, but to me, she's worthless!
- In "Death Lives", Carter offers Peter $1 million to stay away from Lois. Peter replies:
- In "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar", we have the ultra-feminist, possibly lesbian caseworker Gloria Ironbox.
- In "Life of Brian"' the Indians chase Brian and Stewie in Cherokee Jeeps.
- Stock Audio Clip: Every time Cleveland falls to the ground in his bathtub after part of his house is destroyed, the exact same vocal clip plays.Cleveland: What the hell?! No, no no no no NOOOOOOOO!!!
- Stock Superpowers: The Griffins each receive a superpower in the short Super Griffins.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: A lot of liberals, atheists, and such hate the show for preaching their beliefs with Anvilicious plotlines and Jerkass characters.
- The Story That Never Was: In the episode "Back to the Pilot", Brian asks for Stewie's help in finding a lost tennis ball. Stewie agrees to take Brian back in time so he can see the location, but Brian fails to listen ends up telling his past self about the 9/11 attacks. This results in an apocalyptic Bad Future from the result of nuclear attacks. After multiple trips result in dozens of Stewies and Brians from the future arguing it out on whether or not to prevent 9/11, one of the Stewies decides to hold a vote. Upon the majority agreeing to allow 9/11 to happen, this Stewie and Brian then travel one minute back in time to the very first point they arrived via time travel, before they made any changes. Stewie then draws a gun on the past Stewie and Brian and forces them to go back to the present. By doing so, Stewie managed to erase the entire timeline created by the time travel along with this version of Brian and Stewie.
- Straight Man: Brian originally existed simply as a foil to Peter's antics.
- Straw Character: Christians and Conservatives, the episode with Rush Limbaugh being the one exception, and even then only Limbaugh himself (who's voicing himself) isn't a straw man.
- Straw Loser:
- Arguably Peter. The entire universe consists of a bunch of brainless sociopaths, but nothing on this officially retarded Psychopathic Manchild with a dead end job who thinks hitting his daughter is funny. Arguably the largest reason Brian and Lois can still seem closer-to-Earth these days and his Memetic Molester and mentally depressed handicapable buddies can end up as Straight Men.
- Inverted by Derek Wilcox, Jillian's late husband, who's good looking, speak many languages, has superhuman reflexes and a huge penis, and repeatedly make Brian to look like a loser.
- And of course even Peter can stand tall against Meg, who the whole universe seems designated to hate.
- Stupid Question Bait:
- Stewie goes to a Star Trek convention because he wants to see the actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He finds a Q&A session where all the questions are completely unrelated to show. Stewie is annoyed because the questions aren't about Star Trek. Ultimately he decides to use his time machine to kidnap the cast and force them to hang out with him.Fan 1: Um, often times my household's sponges accumulate an awful amount of build-up. What can I do to prevent this?
Patrick Stewart: That's an excellent question. It's very important to thoroughly wring out your sponges after every usage. This will prevent the accumulation of grime and bacteria. A dry sponge is a happy sponge.Stewie: That's not a Star Trek question!
Fan 2: I have a question for Jonathan Frakes. I have this itch on the back of my leg. And I can't figure out if it's a bug bite or dry skin?Frakes: Do you take hot showers?
Fan 2: Yes.
Frakes: Dry skin.
Fan 2: Thanks.
Stewie: These aren't Star Trek questions, what the hell?
Fan 3: I have a question for Gates McFadden. I've got an artesian well on my property and the water pressure is lousy. Any suggestions?McFadden: I would check the point first, before re-priming it. But remember that the summer months take a particular toll on any region's aquafer, depending on the local climate.Stewie: This is horseshit!
Moderator: And that's the last question.
- Appeared in a Cutaway Gag to one time when Peter had cow udders. He's making a presentation to a business meeting.Peter: Any questions?
all hands go up
Peter: Not about my udders.
all hands go down
Peter: All right, looks like we have a deal!
- Stewie goes to a Star Trek convention because he wants to see the actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He finds a Q&A session where all the questions are completely unrelated to show. Stewie is annoyed because the questions aren't about Star Trek. Ultimately he decides to use his time machine to kidnap the cast and force them to hang out with him.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Cheesie Charlie's in "Chitty Chitty Death Bang".
- Suckiness Is Painful: In-Universe, Brian's novel, "Faster Than the Speed of Love". In one episode, his book wins an award by a special organization. Emphasis on special, much to Brian's dismay.
- Sudden Humility: Peter starts discriminating against Joe for being handicapped, until the feud leads to an accident that leaves him temporarily wheelchair bound. Despite his initial insistence that he will treat his problem with far more dignity than Joe, it takes 40 minutes for him to breakdown from his incapability and apologize to Joe.
- Suddenly Ethnicity: Subverted in "Halloween on Spooner Street", in which Quagmire convinces Peter and Joe that he's part Japanese as a set-up for a prank.
- Suicide Dare: Lois shrewdly hints to Meg doing this in an episode.
- Super Bowl Special: The show premiered after the 1999 Super Bowl followed by a Super Bowl themed The Simpsons episode.
- Suppressed History: trope quote. Brian and Stewie visit Germany, who has apparently subverted their own history, to omit Nazi action.
- Surprise Incest:
- Happens in the Halloween episode "Halloween On Spooner Street". Meg and her friends actually get invited to a costume party, and she goes dressed as a Slutty Cat, complete with mask covering 75% of her face. One game of spin the bottle/seven minutes of heaven later, she's escorted to the closet with someone in an all-concealing Optimus Prime costume. When they're in there too long, the door is opened to reveal it being Chris... While they're half-naked on the ground making out. They didn't take it well, and lines like "We did so much!" imply there was more than just lips involved, though they seemed to have gotten over it by the end of the episode, apparently realizing that (given who they are) they were lucky to hook up with anyone at all that night.
- In "Valentine's Day in Quahog", Stewie decides to go back in time to the 60s to see what love was like. During the trip, he falls for a girl and kisses her, only to find out it is really Lois after she is picked up by Carl Pewterschmidt. Stewie ends up vomiting all the way back to the present.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Joyce Kinney, Diane Simmons' substitute.
- Take That!: Many cutaways consist of nothing but one of the characters telling an actor how much they suck. Some examples include Peter as Christina Aguilera's manager and Stewie trashing Matthew McConaughey, who doesn't seem to mind.Stewie: "That's not funny!!!"
- Family Guy had one at Rugrats in "Love Thy Trophy" when Stewie said he spent all of his money on a "insipid Rugrats video". Hilarious in hindsight when you think Cheryl Chase (voice of Angelica Pickles) is actually a fan of the show according to 100 Greatest Cartoons and was a person that contributed to the DVD sales.
- The first thing done once Cleveland returned back to Quaghog was Peter, Quagmire and Joe giving his show a verbal thrashing and how unfunny and unpopular it was despite a very decent four season run.
- Peter's vestigial twin Chip is a cheery optimist with something nice to say about everything, except ABC's The Middle.Chip: Wow! This is just a whole buncha loud garbage!
- Take That, Audience!:
- Peter, in "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story":Peter: You know what else grinds my gears? You, America. FUCK YOU! Diane?
- This exchange:Guy #1: Outrageous! How dare he say such blasphemy?! I've got to do something!
Guy #2: There's... there's nothing you can do.
Guy #1: Huh... well, I guess I'll just learn to develop a sense of humor...
- Another involving Brian and Stewie after they meet Brian's son, apparently directed at those who nitpick every little detail about the show:Stewie: How can you have a 13-year old son when you're only 7?
Brian: That's in dog years.
Stewie: I don't understand.
Brian: You know what, Stewie? If it bothers you that much then just go on the Internet and complain.
- It's probable McFarlane was doing this with the increasingly-longer Conway Twitty clips.
- Peter, in "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story":
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In one episode, Peter leaves a tape that tries to hold a conversation with Lois to convince her he's actually there. In a subversion, she figures it out when he starts to drift off topic.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Chris and Mrs. Lockhart, until she asked him to kill her husband for her.
- Tear Off Your Face: Peter does this to Chris in a Cutaway Gag.
- The Teaser: More common in the earlier seasons. It almost always featured a TV or movie parody that the family was watching, though there were a few exceptions. Examples:
- "Death Has a Shadow": The Griffins watch The Brady Bunch.
- "Brian in Love": In a dream, Stewie destroys the Neighborhood of Make-Believe before getting ready to kill Mr. Rogers himself.
- "Fifteen Minutes of Shame": Peter watches The Joy of Painting and paints the family from Family Ties.
- "The Story on Page 1": The Griffins watch "Sherry and the Anus".
- "Fore Father": The Griffins watched "Little House on the Prairie".
- "Brian Does Hollywood": A fake recap of the previous episode (parodying the TV Cliffhanger) opens the show.
- "North By North Quahog": Peter tells the family that they've been canceled and names off all the short-lived FOX shows that aired as replacements for Family Guy.
- "Excellence in Broadcasting": The family watch the widescreen version of The Brady Bunch (this was the first standard length widescreen episode).
- Teen Pregnancy: Meg exploits the trope in "Love Thy Trophy" by pretending Stewie is her son.
- A more closer example is in "Peter's Daughter", where Meg falls in love with a young doctor named Michael, and has been dating him for a good while, but when the recently overly-protective Peter, who became like this after Meg nearly drowned in the flood, keeps butting in, Michael breaks up with Meg, and two weeks later, Meg believes that she's pregnant with Michael's baby, leading to a Shotgun Wedding. It turns out that Meg isn't pregnant because she had her period.
- Teeny Weenie: Peter's been the butt of a few jokes of this nature, as seen in "And The Weiner Is...", "Christmas Guy", and "Peter Problems".
- Temporal Paradox: Brian telling his past self about the terrorist attacks on 9/11 causes George W. Bush in the present time to not only lose the 2004 election, but he also throws a fit and causes the Deep South to break off with the North and basically repeats the Civil War, but with nuclear weapons. This causes Stewie and Brian to go back in time where Brian is about to screw up the timeline and tell them not to do anything in the past. This doesn't go over too well.
- Tempting Fate:
"Excellent! These dominoes are set up exactly as I want them: right next to the good china. Now I'll just place this priceless faberge egg right in the center, next to my newborn, hemophiliac baby."
- Seen in the short "He's Quagmire". A stuffy upper class man said: "I do hope nothing happens to spoil our fancy dinner party." Immediately after, Quagmire jumped on the table wearing a leopard G-string and said "Giggity!" over and over.
- Also in "PTV", after the FCC shuts Peter's TV network down, he says that they can't censor the way people live in real life. Three guesses what happens next.
- Subverted in "Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure" when Peter launches himself with a catapult:
Peter lands right outside the window- "Hey, those yours?"
"Oh, those are all really nice things!"
- Terrible Pick-Up Lines: In the episode "Fore Father", Quagmire teaches Chris pick-up lines but Chris delivers it poorly on a test subject.Chris (to a girl on the street): You dropped something. My jaw. Ha ha ha ha.
- Terse Talker: Ollie Williams always speaks in Beige Prose.
- Thanksgiving Episode: "Thanksgiving". On the menu? Continuity Nods, complaints, and Kevin Swanson.
- That's All, Folks!: A parody of the famous Looney Tunes rings appears in "The Tan Aquatic With Steve Zissou" after Peter cuts himself shaving with a razor fan.
- That's What She Said: In "Mother Tucker";Brian: Uh, excuse I- I got to find a lost kid. Can I use your mic?
Butt: That's what she said!
Weenie: Whoa, you got Butt-slammed!
Brian: Listen, I could really use a hand here.
Butt: That's what he said!
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Billy Fin, a talking dolphin (played by Ricky Gervais) who stays at the Griffins until his wife takes him back.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Numerous characters, most notably Meg, have been killed at one point or another. One such instance being when Peter tries to prepare dinner in Lois' absence, and ends up cooking the kids instead.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: In "Blind Ambition", Peter, Cleveland, and Joe attempt to teach self-control to Quagmire by sticking a ceiling fan a few inches above his crotch. Quagmire desperately tries to avoid getting an erection by thinking of unsexy things. At first, his examples fail him (dead kittens, nuns, really old nuns), but he's finally able to keep it down by thinking of Renée Zellweger.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
Stewie: "Ah, bitch, you got jacked, bitch."
- Specifically in "The Perfect Castaways" when Brian breaks up with Lois:
- This Loser Is You: Being a satire, that's the entire point of the show. Peter in particular is supposed to carry this message, however whenever any character is being a hypocritical (uneducated) bigoted jerkass, you can bet the writers are winking right at you, or at least at the society we live in. It only gets more hilarious - or depressing - when a lot of people who watch and enjoy the show think all the gags and jokes are not meant to be funny because of the critique and irony that lays behind them, but just because they're actually funny per se.
- Three Shorts: Often, three shorter stories with a common theme are used to make up an episode.
- "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1": Three stories taken from suggestions made by viewer mail.
- "Three Kings": Three stories based off the works of Stephen King.
- "Family Guy Viewer Mail #2": Three mores stories taken from viewer mail suggestions.
- "High School English": Three stories based off of literature often read in high school English class.
- Three Directors: Three stories, each "Guest directed" by three Hollywood directors.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: While she still is picked on, the writers have started to tone down the Meg bashing in later seasons.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: This trope is pulled whenever Brian gets a human girlfriend.
- Title Drop:
Peter: I'm a family guy.
- Spoofed in "420" where Peter is shown being amused by various title drops in films ("The only way I can stop this crisis is by being Superman IV: The Quest for Peace!") Then later, a walk-on character says "I'm a family guy!" and Peter is thrilled.
- Brian said "Stewie loves Lois!", which is the title of that episode.
- Parodied in "The Simpsons Guy."
Homer: And I'm a The Simpsons.
- Title, Please!: Exceptions being the Brian & Stewie "Road To..." episodes and "Viewer Mail #1", which had three different title cards for each segment.
- Toad Licking: "Toad" becomes such a popular fad at James Woods High School, after a Colombian drug cartel's plane transporting the toads crashes near Quahog, that Peter winds up going undercover at the school as "Lando Griffin" to get the students to stop.
Kid: Mr. Toad, how many licks of you does it take to get to the center of a Rhode Island State Prison?
- There was even a hilarious anti-drug PSA directly spoofing the classic Tootsie Pop commercial with Mr. Owl.
[Jail Door Closes]
Voiceover: Just one.
- Toilet Paper Substitute:
- In "There's Something About Paulie", while Peter is using the toilet, a member of the Mafia appears to tell him that he has to see the Don to repay his favor. When Peter realizes that he's out of toilet paper, he uses an Entertainment Weekly magazine as a substitute.
- In "Spies Reminiscent of Us", when Peter tries to use the bathroom in Cleveland's abandoned house, he finds out there's no toilet paper. Peter runs offscreen to Joe's house and asks him if he can borrow something from him, Joe allows it, unaware of what Peter is doing. When he runs back onscreen into Cleveland's house, he's carrying the American flag.
- Token Good Teammate: Brian and Lois initially before they Took a Level in Jerkass. Arguably Meg in recent episodes, par Bratty Teenage Daughter and occasional Yandere qualities. To an extent the evolution of the show has led "Good" to be defined as "slightly less of a Jerkass".
- Token Minority:
- Two in the main cast, Cleveland and Joe; lampshaded by Asian Reporter Trisha Takanawa and "Black-u-weather forecaster" Ollie Williams.
- As well as "Hispanic Reporter Maria Hee-Ji-Jiminez?"
- Toll Booth Antics:
- In the episode "Screwed The Pooch", Peter hangs out with Carter and his rich friends Bill Gates and Michael Eisner. At a toll booth, Peter asks them if they have a spare quarter, to which they are unfamiliar. Peter notes they have to give the guy something and the gang resort to mooning at the booth.
- Another episode has Peter wearing a Middle Eastern costume at the toll booth, with the guard checking his skin tone whether he's "Okay".
- Tonight, Someone Dies: The plot for the season 9 premiere "And Then There Were Fewer" said that many characters were going to die. However, only one of them was relatively important.
- Too Hot for TV:
- A lot of Family Guy episodes (particularly those aired after the show was Un-Canceled in 2005) have a lot of scenes and lines that FOX censors won't air or were cut due to time constraints. Cartoon Network airings partially restore some of the scenes and lines that were edited on FOX, but the DVD has all of the scenes and lines that were rejected by censors (either in the episode proper or as part of a deleted scenes reel)
- Also, two episodes were banned: "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein" (was banned out of fear that Jews and Catholics would find the show's take on religion offensive. The episode aired years later with a line change and some light trimming of one scene) and "Partial Terms of Endearment" (banned for dealing with the hot-button topic of abortion. The episode did air on a UK TV channel and was released on DVD, but FOX is never going to reverse its decision not to air the episode and Cartoon Network might not air it, either).
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Highly debatable that the main cast have become this as of late.
- One episode had Joe regain the ability to walk, which boosts his confidence level tenfold. However, he gets a little too overconfident and starts to berate his friends for not meeting his high demands to improve in whatever activity they are doing. He even ditches Bonnie (who is still pregnant) and his friends to be with friends that he says are not lazy and can keep up with him. It takes Joe losing his ability to walk again to bring him back down to humble levels.
- Meg had become less of a brat and became more humble due to the entire world treating her like crap. However, in "Chris Cross", Meg witnesses Chris stealing money from Lois' purse and decides to blackmail him by forcing him to do all her chores and other tasks while she acted like a smug jerk throughout it all. After Chris had enough and decides to run away, Meg tells Chris that he's a fat loser with no friends and he has nowhere to run away to. Compared to the childish insults that the rest of the family dishes to her, Meg's comments to Chris is quite harsh.
- Speaking of Chris, he's been like this since season 11. See "Secondhand Spoke" and "Herpe, the Love Sore" as a shining example.
- Happened to Quagmire around season 8. He's been portrayed as very non-emphatic is many of his appearances who suddenly despises Brian for petty reasons.
- Ross Fischman was friendly and down-to-Earth in his first appearance. When he returns in "Into Fat Air", he's a smug jerk who brags about how much better his family is than the Griffins.
- Took a Level in Kindness:
- In contrast to the majority of the cast's increasing sociopathic tendencies, original Token Evil Teammate Stewie has evolved more and more into Jerk with a Heart of Gold (or at least Affably Evil) territory.
- Similarly Meg, originally a Bratty Teenage Daughter that was ashamed of her family's antics, has become more docile and friendly, if only in her desperation for her family's love.
- Touch of Death: When Death Takes a Holiday and Peter needs to fill in for him, simply wearing Death's shroud causes anything Peter touches to instantly die, even without intending it. He learns this the hard way.Peter: Note to self... do NOT go go the bathroom.
- Totally Radical: In "Hot-Pocket Dial" Lois tries to talk like a teenager:Quagmire: Hey, before you two leave, let's take a photo.
Lois: Yeah! Selfie! [laughs] I just learned that word!
[after they take a group pic]
Lois: See ya tomorrow, hashtags!
Peter: You're not doing that right.
- Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: Played with in a "What If" episode. When a truck carrying nuclear waste crashes in front of the Griffin household, each family member is imbued with a different superpower, which they use to cause mayhem. To combat them, mayor Adam West rolls in toxic waste... causing him to contract lymphoma.
- Trade Your Passion for Glory: Happened to nearly all the main characters at least once.
- Train Job: Subverted. Peter and his father-in-law, Carter, try to do this, but the ticket taker tells them that no one rides the trains anymore.
- Tranquillizer Dart: In an early episode, Peter's boss devises a contest for the company picnic, which involves taking shots at the employees with a tranq rifle and seeing who can last the longest. Most of the employees drop like stones the moment they get shot... except for Peter, who ends up with more than a dozen tranquillizer needles stuck in him, and still manages to stay conscious long enough to win the contest. It would seem that this is either due to his relatively high body mass, which (in theory) would require longer for the chemicals to spread through his body, or due to the increased amount of fatty deposits, which would help isolate the venom from his bloodstream.
- Transgender: Handled with all the tact that a character vomiting for 28 seconds straight can bring to a topic. Although the show does deserve credit for Quagmire adamantly claiming that being a trans woman who is interested in men does NOT constitute being a gay man; it constitutes being a straight woman born into a man's body.
- Trapped in a Sinking Car: In "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", Peter and Stewie do this to Lois as a prank. Fortunately, Lois survives, and when she gets back home, she is not happy with them at all.
- Trash of the Titans: When Lois went to jail for stealing, the house became a wreck.
- Trial Balloon Question: In one cutaway, a toilet seat phoned a woman he dated:Woman: You know, I had such a great time with you last night.
Toilet: Listen, there's something I have to tell you. I just got back from the doctor. I have herpes. I think you should get yourself checked out.
Woman: Oh my God!
Toilet: Will you stay?
Toilet: Will you stay with me, even knowing that I have herpes.
Woman: [beat] Yes, I will.
Toilet: I don't have herpes. I just needed to know that you'd stay.
- True Love Is Boring: Zig-zagged. Lois and Peter have had numerous ups and downs (including infidelity at one point), but they are still together.
- Trust Me, I'm an X: "Relax, I be a doctor."
- Truth in Television: The way Domestic Abuse is portrayed in "Screams of Silence" is 100% realistic!
- Two Decades Behind: A lot of the references on the show are to 80s-90s stuff, even though quite a bit of their fanbase are college age, meaning they grew up in the late 90s-early 2000s. Specifically:
- In "Peter's Sister", Karen, a pro wrestler, is shocked when Peter addresses her by her first name. The days of wrestlers' true identities (such as real names, personal lives, etc.) being widely unknown passed after the early 90s at the latest, despite the episode airing in 2016.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Many episodes have a main plot and a "sub-plot" that happens during the main one. A notable aversion of this is the special episode "Brian & Stewie".
- T-Word Euphemism: Subverted Trope.Brian: [referring to a mole on Stewie] I think it could be... the c-word.
Stewie: What does that have to do with anything?
Brian: No, I mean cancer.
Stewie: Oh, oh! Cancer, oh no!
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Peter and Lois. A news report once described them as "a fat man inexplicably married to an attractive redhead", along with an artist's sketch of what they might look like - Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
- Ultimate Authority Mayor: Mayor Adam West. Being Family Guy (and Adam West), he's insane, but no one seems to care. Lois defeated him in an election, but he got the job back in the end.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Mort and Muriel Goldman look a lot like each other.
- Un-Confession: Played for Laughs; in keeping with the show's increasing reliance on shock value, it normally involves Peter being a total Jerkass when inappropriate, or Lois admitting to some past (wild) indiscretion. She learned that from her father, who also does it often.
- Understatement: Lots. Chris's deaf classmate Bill who is "uhhh... kinda conservative" comes to mind.
- Underwater Fart Gag: When Meg and Stewie have to take a bath together, they fart in the bath as a joke. Then, Meg queefs (i.e. air comes out of her vagina) and Stewie runs away screaming.
- Undiscriminating Addict: One joke showed the Cookie Monster trying to freebase cookie dough in a bathroom stall with a spoon and a lighter, all while anxiously mumbling that it's taking too long.
- Unexpected Inheritance: Aunt Marguerite to Lois.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- Happens quite often, given the random Cutaway Gag nature of the show, but Meg is killed for the sake of a joke more often than most, but is fine in the next scene. For example, in "Space Cadet", the whole family gets trapped in space on the space shuttle. Stewie looks on the monitor to see Meg poking around the cargo hold, and tells Brian he's going to give her a scare. Stewie hits a button, opens the cargo hold, and Meg gets blown out into the eternal depths of space. Without making another sound, a look of horror slowly creeps across both their faces as they realize just what happened, and Brian closes the cargo hold and turns off the monitor. In the next scene, she's back to normal without mention. Among other methods that she's been killed were being shot with poison darts while running from a tribe of natives, having her heart ripped out for interrupting a Jewish prayer at dinner, and being shot in the face by Peter just for casually walking past him and saying hello.
- In "The Boys in the Band" it's not explained how Olivia survived the fire. They just mention that Stewie left her in a burning cardboard box and that's the last we hear about it.
- The Unfair Sex:
- Lois, despite often proving to be a terrible human being and a hypocrite on top of it, is generally given moral superiority over Peter in just about everything.
- Brian is also depicted as a vile, terrible lover in later episodes. While this is hardly a false statement, it rarely acknowledges that half of his girlfriends are also hypocritical Jerkasses who barely deserve any better.
- The Unishment: In "Business Guy" Peter forces Carter to throw a The Big Bang Theory Viewing Party at his house. Not a single co worker is interested, but Carter finds the show Actually Pretty Funny.
- Universal-Adaptor Cast: The Star Wars specials, "Peter's Progress", and "Three Kings".
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: The exterminators in "He's Too Sexy For His Fat".
- The Unpronounceable:
- Brian has trouble pronouncing "Donald Nguyen" in "Model Misbehavior".
- Don LaFontaine had trouble pronouncing "Jim Caviezel" in the trailer for The Passion of the Christ 2, and finally just calls him "the guy from the first one".
- "Kim... Bassenger? Basenger? Basinger?"
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: "You mean three filipino women!" *Beat* "NOOOOOOOOO!"
Joe: Um, Quagmire, Taylor Hanson's a guy.
- The episode "Quagmire's Dad" where Quagmire's father gets a sex change and becomes Ida and Brian later has sex with Ida. He isn't too pleased when he finds out.
- In another episode, when "the guys" are discussing their preferred woman:
- Subverted on Diane's talk show when a man reveals he's not a man but a woman, then not a woman but a horse, and then not a horse but really a broom.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In "Airport '07", the plan to get Quagmire's job back is explained (with a dramatization even) before it's carried out. Guess how well the original plan went.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Peter of course. And when another character gets A Day in the Limelight, they are usually this as well.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Seriously, when is someone going to find it weird that a dog can do things that normal people can do like talk, drink, smoke, and have sex with human females... that and the baby can talk.
- Uptown Girl: Lois and Peter, as shown by an early episode where Peter is at odds with her tyrannical father in order to gain his approval, which he never does. She marries him despite her father's insistence that she doesn't really love him or his covert attempts to kill Peter.
- Vehicle Vanish: Subverted. "It would probably have been a good idea to get on that truck."
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Mrs. Lockhart hid everything in her boobs, including a whole class' worth of tests. She even had a machete in there.
- Lois's father Carter keeps quite a few of these, for any situation that might come up...including Death by Chocolate.
- Villain Song: In "Lois Kills Stewie", after successfully taking over the world, Stewie sends a broadcast out to the entire population on various (and gruesome) forms of punishment he will administer to those who irk him. The song is essentially the entirety of his Enemies List, and is put to the tune of The Mikado's The List Song.
- Vinyl Shatters: In the episode "I Dream of Jesus", Brian and Stewie break Peter's Surfin' Bird record; Stewie stomps on it with his foot and Brian smashes it further with a baseball bat.
- Violation of Common Sense: In "Stewie Goes for a Drive", Ryan Reynolds is very obviously attracted to Peter that he becomes insulted when Peter tells him he is gay for him...by arguing he "feels attracted to him like a guy is attracted to a woman" and "he wants his essence in him."
- Vocal Evolution: Stewie had a lisp with his accent, and Brian, Quagmire, and Meg all had much higher voices in the pilot episode, "Death Has A Shadow". Lois' voice was notably lower in pitch and less nasal. Also, Chris's voice constantly shifted as though he was going through puberty. Meg's voice actress changed from Lacey Chabert to Mila Kunis sometime in the second season, which explains the change in Meg's voice.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Used every time somebody throws up, which is not rare.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Quagmire's Dad" where Brian vomits for almost 30 seconds straight without stopping.
- Used to the extreme in "8 Simple Rules For Buying My Teenage Daughter" where Peter, Chris, Brian, and Stewie drink medicine that induces vomiting and have a contest to see who can be the last guy standing before vomiting. Nearly a minute or two of this gag involves nothing but the four guys vomiting constantly all over the living room.
- "Who wants clam chowder?"
- War Memorial: Mayor West commissions a war memorial to honor Quahog soldiers who perished in the Gulf Conflict. Unfortunately he chooses a solid gold statue of Dig 'em the Sugar Smacks mascot, which is completely inappropriate and drains the town's coffers, leading to protests calling for his resignation.
- We Want Our Jerk Back:
- "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar": Peter is sent to a sensitivity camp to deal with his outrageous sexism. When he returns with a more sensitive and mature (albeit comically feminine) understanding of how to treat people, it makes his friends and family very uncomfortable and they try to figure out how to turn him back into a misogynist again.
- "I Never Met the Dead Man": Peter is forced to cope without Cable TV throughout Quahog, and as a result becomes a happier, active person who genuinely enjoys family life and just living in general. Even though this was Lois' idea, she tries ineffectually to get him out of it. The solution appears nigh when William Shatner's car breaks down in front of the Griffin's house on his way to a conference on how television is great for people's lives...but then Peter gets Shatner to come with him to the Bavarian Folk Festival instead, where Shatner renounces the emphasis TV has had on their lives. Don't worry, Peter's still turned back to a TV-watching slob by the end of the episode.
- Welcoming Song: "This House Is Freakin' Sweet", when the Griffins inherit a mansion, all the mansion's staff sings a song welcoming to their new lifestyle. The song's a parody/Suspiciously Similar Song to the welcoming song "I Think I'm Going to Like it Here" from Annie.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Chris in earlier episodes.
- Well, This Is Not That Trope: Played straight in "Three Kings":Peter: (introducing the final segment for the episode) Remember that movie with the creepy twins, and the guy running around with the axe, and that kid talking to his finger? (laughs) Can't you see Stewie doin' that?! Well, here's The Shawshank Redemption.
- Wham Episode:
- The premiere of season 9 kills off no less than three recurring characters, one of whom had been around since the beginning of the series.
- The hurricane crossover. Meg gives most of the family a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, particularly towards Lois. This was similar in tone to "Brian and Stewie".
- Wham Line: From "Brian and Stewie", when Stewie asks Brian has a gun in his safety deposit box.Brian: I keep it in case...I ever want to commit suicide, okay?
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Neil Goldman. Okay, he was sort of Demoted to Extra at first, but the entire Griffin family got invited to James Woods's mansion...and yet only the Goldman parents were invited? A few episodes later, in "Road to the North Pole", we see Mort Goldman making some remarks related to him being Jewish in the context of a song about what the characters want for Christmas...with Neil nowhere in sight. Where the hell is he?
- Quagmire's Littlest Cancer Patient niece (whom Brian mistook for a boy, and further cemented Quagmire's resentment for Brian) in "Road to the North Pole". She was hospitalized somewhere around the start of the third act and that was the last we heard of her.
- The Campbells, the nudist family. They appeared in two episodes early in 2002, and then they completely disappeared except for a short cameo eight years later.
- Although he was never given a name, there's the conspicuous absence of Carol's son, whom she conceived with her eighth husband. Lois and Peter were the only people present at his birth back in the early seasons (discounting an unconscious Dr. Hartman) and this event in turn inspired them to want to have more children of their own for a short while. Fast-forward a few seasons, and Carol's married and divorced her ninth husband, leading her to move in with the Griffins — and yet her son, who couldn't be that much older than a baby, is nowhere to be seen. Then she marries and moves in with Mayor West in a record amount of time and STILL her child isn't even referenced, let alone taken along. Was he adopted? Did he die? Does anyone even CARE that Lois and Peter's nephew has melted into thin air?
- Quagmire was revealed to be bald and his friends even took him to a doctor for treatment, but ever since Brian saw Carter stricken with cancer, the plot focused on that and completely drops Quagmire's story without any explanation.
- Given the show's love of reusing bit characters, it's a surprise that Peter's drunken Irish dad has never made another appearance.
- Brian's (would be) killer is never revealed, the recklessly speeding car that runs him over in the erased continuity is never explained nor is the driver, seemingly nothing more than a Diabolus ex Machina.
- It turns out Olivia survived Stewie's attempt to burn her and her friend Victor alive, but there's no mention of whether Victor survived or not.
- White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: In "The Son Also Draws", Peter shows Chris a family of WASPS; not the animal, but a family of White Anglo Saxon Protestants who make passive-aggressive remarks towards each other at dinner.
- Who's Laughing Now?:
- "Dial Meg For Murder" has Meg Take A Level In Badass and deliver a rather violent retribution on her abusive family and classmates.
- "Stewie Kills Lois"/"Lois Kills Stewie" may also count, at least in Stewie's perspective even if it was all a simulation.
- Whole Plot Reference: Back to the Future, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Poltergeist, Tootsie, And Then There Were None.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Stewie occasionally crossdresses and nobody has a problem with that, except of course for the straw queer-o-phobe of the week.
- William Telling: In "Herpe the Love Sore", Peter tries to whip a cigarette out of Meg's mouth. The whip knocks Meg to the floor, but the cigarette stays perfectly in mid-air.
- Wire Dilemma: In the opening to "Brian Does Hollywood", Meg's trying to disarm a bomb.Meg: What do you mean, "cut the blue wire"? They're all blue wires!
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Stewie is one year old but can build multi-verse transporters, time machines, and laser weaponry.
- Women Are Wiser: Initially at least, Lois was far more rational and intelligent than her husband. As the shows Comedic Sociopathy kicked in however, Lois became more hypocritical, self righteous and out and out sociopathic, though still tends to be given higher moral ground than Peter (who is usually even worse).
- Inverted in 'Forget-Me-Not' Where Peter, Brian, Joe and Quagmire all try investigating what happened after they wake up in a deserted Quahog with no memory and only resort to violence when they find evidence saying Peter killed everyone else. While Meg, Bonnie and Lois are put into the same scenario but immediately start fighting each other without saying a word.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Meg in the episode "Dial Meg For Murder," when she returns from prison and gets revenge on everybody who bullied her by dishing two No Holds Barred Beatdowns to Peter and the popular kids at her school(by filling a bag with unopened soda cans and hitting them with it). Brian snaps her out of it by showing her an issue of Teen People Magazine and describing her as "Far sweeter and kinder than the average teenage girl."
- Working on the Chain Gang: In the episode "Holy Crap," Peter has kidnapped the Pope by posing as his driver and he drives the Pope Mobile past one of these. The Pope doesn't realize anything is wrong and keeps waving at everything, including a chain gang, parodying Cool Hand Luke:Luke: (takes his shirt off) Taking it off there, boss.Guard: Take it off there, Luke.Luke: (wipes sweat off his face) Wiping it off there, bossGuard: Wipe it off there, Luke.Luke: (waves at the Pope) Waving at the Pope there, boss.Guard: Wave at the Pope there, Luke.
- World of Ham: Ever since the revival, out-of-control volume and behavior have become common traits of practically everyone to an excessive degree.
- Worth It: Quoted by Bertram in "The Big Bang Theory". Apparently it is worth destroying the whole time space continuum if it means erasing Stewie from existence.
- Would Hurt a Child and Would Hit a Girl: Bread-and-butter tropes in the series. Most often employed by Peter, who has no qualms hitting Lois and/or Meg on many occasions, and he has put Meg in extreme danger on several other occasions, such as in "Peter's Daughter," where he forced her to go into the flooded kitchen to get a can of beer from the submerged refrigerator.
- Peter's assaulting children should get him arrested, convicted and a lengthy prison term. However, he is allowed on at least one occasion to beat Lucy Van Pelt (from Peanuts) to an inch of her life when he kicks her head and slaps her repeatedly ... all for the "felony" of moving a football out of the way before Charlie Brown can kick it. Peter finally knocks her unconscious when he gives her a roundhouse kick to the back of the head for the capital crime of ... not being a licensed therapist! (Both the football and therapist gags were recurring stories in Peanuts.)
- Wrong Parachute Gag: At one point in the second season, Brian is going skydiving. Right before he jumps out the instructor stops him and points out he grabbed "the one with silverware" in it. He tosses Brian another parachute... that clearly contains an anvil."That one's probably fine. ..."
- Wunza Plot: Parodied in the cutaway with Stewie and The Rock as partners. Also parodied in a deleted song (seen on the Vol. 5 DVD set) about a fictional sitcom called "Hope and Rape", about a former model and a former rapist living together.
- Meg in the fifth season episode "Barely Legal". Meg in general for the last couple of seasons, really. Completely justified though.
- Also Quagmire's wife in the episode "I Take Thee, Quagmire".
- Meg again in "The Hand That Rocks The Wheelchair", this time towards Joe, even going so far as to attempt to cripple herself for him.
- Stewie, too, in the episode "Chick Cancer", where he burns his "wife" and her male friend alive in his playhouse.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Peter names the bar in his basement "Ye Old Pube" after mistaking which word was supposed to have the "e" at the end in Old English.
- Yes-Man: Lampooned in "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington" when Peter gets his own company suck-up.Suck-up: Morning, nice day!Peter: It's a little cloudy...Suck-up: It's absolutely cloudy, one of the worst days I've seen in years! So, good news about the Yankees.Peter: I hate the Yankees.Suck-up: Pack of cheaters, that's what they are! I love your tie!Peter: I hate this tie.Suck-up: It's awful, it's gaudy, it's gotta go.Peter: ...I hate myself.Suck-up: I hate you too, you make me sick, you fat sack of crap!Peter: But I'm the president.Suck-up: The best there is!
- You and What Army?: Because Peter's house wasn't in the town's map, he turned it into his own nation and named it "Petoria". Wanting respect from others at the United Nations, Peter invaded the United States. Namely, taking over a neighbor's pool. In retaliation, the United States forbade any Petorians from entering American territory. When Chris told Peter a man didn't let him go to school, Peter asked he and what army and Chris answered it was the United States' Army. Peter said it was a good army.
- You Monster!:
Brian: You son of a bitch, I could KILL you for that!
- Said to Peter after he tricks Dr. Hartman into giving him a flu shot that was in short supply and needed for the elderly. He responds with a reference to "Frampton Comes Alive."
- Also by Brian when Peter tricks the Make-A-Wish foundation into bringing back "Gumble to Gumble" by pretending Chris has a terminal disease.
- Brian to Stewie in "Brian & Stewie" when Stewie reveals that he made Brian eat his poop for a cheap thrill.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Attempted by Lois when a gun is pointed at her to get Peter to realize that something is wrong. Peter wonders why he is trying to comprehend this when he could be listening to his tapes in the car.
- You Say Tomato: Stewie pronounces 'Cool Whip' as 'cool-huwip'. Brian tries fruitlessly to explain that it sounds weird, leading to Stewie using other w-silent-h words with the same weird pronunciation, totally unaware that he's doing it.
- This becomes a minor plot point in one episode when Brian gets replaced by New Brain. Stewie begs Brian to come back and uses the "cool-huwip" shenanigans to get Brain to correct him, which Stewie missed a lot since New Brian is sickeningly sweet and doesn't hate anything.
- Meg gets into it too, with the words "awhile" and "weird". The second is lampshaded by Brian: "Oh come on, that one doesn't even have an H in it!"
- "It's all been 'ruweened'."
- "Oh come on, Brian! Don't be cruwell!"
- Stewie's shenanigans with words that have an "H" in it could also be chalked up to him doing it on purpose to get a rise out of people since he has said words like ruined normally.
- "Will HUEETon."
- Another moment inverted this, with Peter making fun of Lois for pronouncing "nuclear" correctly, claiming "it's 'nukular', dummy, the S is silent".
- "You!" Squared: played for laughs between Brian and his estranged son:"My pot! (beat) "Your pot?"
- You Will Be Spared:
- Sort of. Stewie tells Peter that his death will be quick and painless when he changes the channel after Stewie got distracted by Teletubbies.
- Flappy the pancake man. "Flappy, good news! I've decided not to kill you!"
- Your Cheating Heart:
- One episode has Lois sleeping with Bill Clinton and she claims that he was so influential that she couldn't control herself. Lois apologizes to Peter for her affair and wants him to cheat on her in order to make things even. Peter tries to go through with the plan, but ultimately backs out and says he can look past Lois cheating and that the two of them can work out their problems. He then goes off to confront Mr. Clinton... and winds up sleeping with him.
- Lois cheats on Peter again in the episode "Into Harmony's Way", which is Played for Laughs and she gets away with it.
- Played in the episode "Call Girl" where Peter cheats on Lois with a phone sex girl who actually is Lois herself. She dresses herself up and meets Peter at the Quahog Motel where he opens up and tells her she is beautiful, which almost makes Lois happy until he goes ahead and has sex with her, still unaware that she is Lois. Eight hours later, Peter finds out the truth and Lois is angry, but Peter admits that he somehow felt they were true soulmates and really did love her.
- Loretta cheats on Cleveland with Quagmire.
- Your Mime Makes It Real: "Foreign Affairs" uses this in a gag regarding "mime on mime" violence in Paris; one mime holds up another, his finger pointing like a gun. After taking his victim's wallet, he "shoots", causing a wound to appear in his chest. After the victim drops, the crooked mime "shoots" him in the head twice, blowing it to bits.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: What, did you really think the world would end by black hole 15 minutes into the episode?
- Your Television Hates You: When Peter feels sexually violated after his prostate exam, Brian tries to console him by turning on the TV, but every channel is about fingers and fingering.
- Zero-G Spot: Peter once masturbated in space.