Airdate: May 2, 1999
Peter meets his new neighbor, a wheelchair-bound cop named Joe Swanson, who wins everyone over with his athleticism and harrowing tales of being a police officer. While Peter sets out to be as big of a hero as Joe, Stewie thinks Joe is a cyborg and deduces that his wheelchair is the secret to his powers and Meg tries to flirt with Joe's son, Kevin.
"A Hero Sits Next Door" contains example of:
- Aesop Amnesia: Averted in this exchange at the end:Peter: I guess being a hero isn't always about saving lives and catching bad guys. It's also about just being there for the people you love.
Old woman: Help! Someone just stole my purse!
Peter: Who cares? I don't even know you.
- It seems like it's being played straight but considering Peter almost died trying to stop a bank robbery it would show that he learned nothing if he took off after a possibly armed criminal for someone he just met considering the lesson he learned was "you can be a hero to your family just by being there for them". That and there would still be police around so that would be their job to handle this.
- Always Someone Better: Joe outdoes Peter on the baseball field, foiling the bank robbery, and even when making toy suggestions.
- Bank Robbery: Peter tries to outdo Joe by foiling one. He actually manages to get the gun away from the robbers, but because the family isn't outside to see it, he gets distracted and becomes a hostage.
- Characterization Marches On: When Meg hits on Kevin, he's slow to respond, but that's because she was so awkward. By the end of the episode, he seems to genuinely enjoy her company. Compare to present day when boys will do anything to stay away from her, like commit suicide or murder a sibling so they can be too busy with an upcoming funeral.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In this episode, Peter cares what his family thinks about him and Joe has self confidence and doesn't let his disability get to him. Plus, he's popular around town, as opposed to being treated like a joke for his disability.
- Bonnie also has brunette hair instead of black.
- Flashback: Joe explains that he lost the use of his legs while trying to bust The Grinch. note
- Hollywood Tourette's: Peter's cover for why he got upset at Joe asking to borrow a screwdriver. note
- Tongue-Tied: "Holy crip, he's a crapple!"