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Flanderization / Family Guy

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Various characters of Family Guy, due to the writers usually taking one joke that was successful before and building on it in future episodes:

  • Peter himself has always been a Jerkass, but in the earlier seasons he was shown with a genuine good side and actually cared about his kids, even Meg. Peter's intelligence also drops from 'idiot' to 'legally mentally disabled'. His original flanderization came after "Petarded" where he started to rip on Meg and often make jokes about her, but at the same time, was actually well-intentioned and a little intelligent deep down.
    • Peter's Lethally Stupid tendencies were more a case of Innocently Insensitive behavior in early seasons, and, akin to a standard Bumbling Dad, being too arrogant and idiotic to quite get what he was doing was wrong. Even at that Peter usually was handed An Aesop and saw the error of his ways. Around mid-Season 4 (and completely around Season 7 onwards), however, he evolved more into a Psychopathic Manchild, completely apathetic to the misery he causes, and in some episodes, outright sadistic and amused by it.
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    • Peter also was arguably more racist and sexist in early episodes like "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" and "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar" as Archie Bunker was one of his primary influences.
  • And let's not even go into what happened to her... Meg has "developed" from an ordinary, level-headed teenage girl with teen problems into an outrageously hated and despised punching bag whose desperation for happiness and love often makes her insane. At one point she even snaps and beats up a passing car driver who is picking on her, and stalks Brian after he goes to the prom with her out of pity.
  • During season 3, Stewie started to become a bit effeminate and show some glimpses of homosexuality, and became more fond of Brian as time went by. From season 4 onwards, he lost much of his former Enfant Terrible traits, and started to crossdress on a daily basis, dates other guys dressed as a girl, openly wants to have sex with Brian and blatantly hints that he's gay every five seconds.
  • Lois' sexuality has become greatly Flanderized over time. Originally she enjoyed a healthy sex life with her husband, yes, but it's gotten to the point where in at least four different episodes (when Peter became abstinent, when Peter became gay, when Peter got a vasectomy, and when "real life was censored"), she's been shown to be unable to properly live her life unless she can have sex with Peter.
    • Aside from her sexuality, Lois also started off as being a legitimately caring mother who even attacked a group of girls for making fun of Meg. Unlike the other characters, her flanderization came much later. Since Season 7, she's been consistently shown to be extremely abusive to Meg, even going so far as to suggest Meg commit suicide because she doesn't want to put up with her daughter's depression anymore. Her callousness seems to be exaggerated outside Meg. By the eight season what were merely a few out of character moments to remind she was Not So Above It All slowly eclipsed her original more logical persona to the point she was a Distaff Counterpart for post Flanderization Peter, a childish, self centered heckler constantly bullying her family and friends for kicks. Half the time she is shown giggling or joining in on Peter's antics, something she showed nothing but disdain for early on. In later episodes it is revealed that she has often tormented the kids over the years. And her voice has gotten higher in pitch and more nasally as the seasons go on.
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  • Chris has also gotten a small, but noticeable flanderization, abruptly insulting others for no reason and gaining a cynical edge to him. His relationship with Meg has taken a strange turn also. It has been revealed that Chris and Meg practice kissing on one another, unknowingly made out with each other at a Halloween party and are implied to take baths together. Even Peter himself was shocked!
  • The supporting cast has fallen into this trope as well. Joe Swanson went from just a handicapped character (who in fact was greatly competent despite this and admired by everyone because of it) to everything involving him leading to a "Get it? Because he's a cripple" joke with rage tendencies, and Cleveland lost his quiet, boring personality to become the butt for black jokes.
    • Cleveland originally was the calm, soft guy. However when he got his own show, his personality morphed into the abrasive, crude and cynical sitcom father character (to fit in the role of leading male having a personality more similar to that of Peter and American Dad's Stan Smith).
    • Joe Swanson got even worse as time has gone on-his rage issues are more or less gone and now he's just a sad sack whose completely inferior at everything because he's handicapped. He can't even use the toilet for god's sake!
    • Everybody noticed how Quagmire went from a generic hedonist to a pervert to a guy who has adapted his entire house to rape women more easily, but he suffered a second flanderization much more prominent and fast: in Season 8, it was revealed that he hated Brian. Before Cleveland's departure, Quagmire seemingly had no beef with Brian and even allowed him to stay at his house at one time, and even in the episode that revealed his contempt presented it as passive aggressive, more exacerbated by Brian's unctuous attempts to make him like him. Within less than half a season, Quagmire gained a tall order Hair-Trigger Temper towards Brian, having brutally assaulted him for unknowingly dating his transgender father, furiously ranted at him for things Brian didn't know, and ran him over with his car. This was evened somewhat as Brian started openly loathing Quagmire back and getting rises out of him intentionally, making his vitriol towards him far more justified in most later cases, but also causing another Flanderization of turning them into priggish Sitcom Arch-Nemesis for each other.
      • Quagmire's overall wackiness and perverted tendencies have been toned down in a favor of making him a Self-Deprecation avatar in the Steve Callaghan seasons, and effectively displaced Brian as the show's voice of reason. Even when Brian isn't around, he seems a lot more down to earth and rather prudish and cynical on occasion. Whether this counts as Flanderization or subversion is hard to say.
      • For the first few episodes of Season 12, Quagmire's personality reverted back to the way he was in the Zuckerman and Goodman and Sheridan era. Until "Life of Brian".....
    • Bonnie slowly shifted into a long suffering woman who was bitchy and unhappy with her marriage around the time Joe started turning into a one-dimensional cripple joke. Some recent episodes have even gone as far as implying that she wants Joe dead by this point (while others imply Joe himself wants it too).
  • In earlier episodes, Brian was cast as the intelligent, witty one in the family. When the show was uncancelled, he started to voice his left wing views and contempt for religion, and later Brian's character was swallowed by his political views, much to the fans' frustration.
    • The political facets itself have also been dumbed down. In its initial form, Brian was originally your average cliche left wing caricature (i.e. condescending and self righteous but still well meaning and earnest in his beliefs), he slowly just devolved into a sleazy Straw Hypocrite, flip flopping views to give himself moral superiority, and often babbling pretentious rants even he barely understands in a desperate ploy for attention and dignity.
    • Infuriating given his statement in the very first episode that he didn't vote, and in "The Thin White Line" when he thanks God for blessing him with his nose.
    • His insisting that "God! Is! Pissed!" when Peter's blasphemous behavior causes the ten biblical plagues to descend on the family. In that same episode Brian immediately interprets a power outage, fleas, and blood as three of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, a response you wouldn't expect from a staunch atheist.
    • More than his politics became Flanderized. Originally he was a very smart and cultured character, even if he did drink from time to time and had trouble getting women to go out with him because most of the women he dated were airheads with hot bodies. Now, he's a full-blown alcoholic, he's not very sophisticated (he even thinks Portnoy's Complaint is about a man filing a noise complaint about a port), and a lot of his plotlines now revolve around him trying to get a date, always one with a human woman, and yes, many of them were bimbos.
    • Brian's tendency to date stupid women with hot bodies was originally played as something that frustrated him because he was really in love with Lois. Over time it became that he dated dumb women so he could feel smarter than them. On the other hand his love for Lois has just been made it almost an obsession and is very creepy. Both these aspects were brought up by Quagmire in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed at Brian.
    • On top of this, Brian's flanderization when it comes to meeting women was turned up a few notches when he goes to date Stewie's preschool teacher, a woman who is clearly unqualified for the job, ignoring their injuries and even a dead child. This is driven further when Stewie comes home with his arm out of the socket and tries to tell Lois when Brian shuts Stewie up just so Brian can keep dating the teacher. Brian eventually turns the teacher in to the police but only because the woman had a boyfriend already (naturally with an ever-hypocritical "there's a special level in Hell for people like you" comment as she's dragged off by the police).
    • Brian's failures in dating women was also brought to light when Stewie brought him every single woman Brian dated and had them explain to him why they broke up with him (jealous, callous, insecure, pretentious, and has a small penis). Rather than taking what the women said to heart, Brian tried to flip it around by pointing out why all the women he dated were flawed instead of actually taking responsibility for his own actions, a trait that seems to have stuck to Brian's character.
    • In a case of a de-Flanderized trait, Brian was also extremely deadpan in early episodes, to the point of bordering The Stoic. By the end of the pre-cancellation run, he is a fully emotional character and more prone to neuroses.
  • Lois's father, Carter, used to be an intelligent and rich businessman, even if his views were stuck in the 1950s. As the seasons went on, Carter's behavior is almost comparable to Peter's Flanderization where he will say the stupidest things or perform the most ridiculous acts (mostly to Peter) and allows ongoing misery just because he is rich and powerful and needs a quick giggle. The point is driven further home whenever Carter loses his assets and it's shown that he cannot function in life without his fortune. He gets Flanderized even further into a downright monster in "The Old Man And The Big C" as it's revealed that his company developed a cure for cancer several years ago but he refuses to release it to the public all so he can increase corporate profit by making money off of sick people who have to rely on medication. Even after Lois lectures him about it Carter still refuses to release the cure, throwing him straight into Corrupt Corporate Executive.


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