In the first episode of the series after being Un-Canceled for good, Lois and Peter take a trip to rekindle their waning romance — and end up on the run from Mel Gibson, who is plotting to make a sequel to his controversial religious movie, The Passion of the Christ. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie are put in charge of disciplining Meg and Chris.
"North By North Quahog" contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: At the end of Peter's Long List of FOX shows, he glances at Chris as he says Greg the Bunny. Chris' voice actor, Seth Green, also worked on that show.
- Adam Westing: After Chris is caught drinking, Flint from the cartoon G.I. Joe gives an educational message, like he and others did on the real show. He is even voiced by his original actor, Bill Ratner.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Parodied after Chris is caught with vodka in the school bathroom. Flint (with Bill Ratner reprising the role) steps out of a stall to tell the kids about the dangers of alcohol abuse.Kids: Now, we know!
Flint: And knowing is half the battle.
Announcer: G.I. JOOOOOOEEEEEEE!
- Armoured Closet Gay: Invoked by Peter in a flashback cutaway explain how he convinced Congress to go to war. Peter warns that anyone who doesn't want to go to war is gay; every Congressman in the room stands up debating they want to go to war with one Congressman complaining he was the first who wanted to go to war.
- Artistic License Religion: Obviously Played for Laughs but, according to Peter, Christians don't believe in gravity.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the episode, the Greased-up Deaf Guy says "See you next week. Its good to be back, America," acknowledging the resurrection of the show.
- Cold Open: This was the first episode to return after Family Guy's second cancellation and the family has a little jab at Fox for this.Peter: Everybody, I got bad news. We've been cancelled.Lois: Oh, no, Peter, how could they do that?Peter: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We've just gotta accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That '80s Show, Wonderfalls, Fast Lane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, FreakyLinks, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Normal, Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Luis, and Greg the Bunny.Lois: Is there no hope?Peter: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: This was Family Guy's first episode after being Un-Cancelled. In the cold open, Peter announces that the show has been cancelled to make room for new Fox shows and proceeds to list three dozen of them, all of which had come and gone during Family Guy's hiatus. When asked if there's any hope, Peter says sarcastically that they might have a shot if all those shows get cancelled. Roll opening credits.
- Disney Villain Death: Mel Gibson.Lois: My God, he just walked right over the edge!Peter: Of course he did. Christians don't believe in gravity!
- Dude, Not Funny!: In the scene where the presidents' profiles on Mount Rushmore come to life, Jefferson calls Lincoln "Frankenstein". Lincoln replies with a sarcastic "Oh, ha-ha."
- Epic Fail: Peter apparently once forgot how to sit down.
- Freudian Slip: When Brian meets with Tom Tucker about Jake, his upside-down faced son, giving Chris alcohol at school:Brian: This whole situation has just turned his whole life upside-down face.
(Stewie slowly turns and glares at Brian)
- Ignore the Disability: Brian and Stewie go to the Tuckers' house to discuss alcohol belonging to Jake Tucker that Chris was found with, with Brian trying to ensure that Stewie will absolutely not say anything about Jake's upside-down face - and then goes on to accidentally let a reference to it slip almost immediately. Amusingly, Tom neither takes offense, nor even seems to particularly notice that it happened, as his response is to repeat the "upside-down face" line almost verbatim.
- Long List: The Cold Open shows Peter sadly telling the rest of the family that their show has been canceled to make room for more important shows, proceeding to list 30 or so short-lived Fox shows which had all come and gone while Family Guy was out of production, including That '80s Show, The Pitts, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Titus, Undeclared, Firefly, Dark Angel, Greg the Bunny, The Tick (2001), Wanda At Large, Andy Richter Controls The Universe and Action. He concludes that their show only has a chance to come back in the unlikely event that all of these shows go down the tubes.
- Non-Natural Number Gag: Two and a Half Men is portrayed as three guys, one of which has the lower half of his body missing, all screaming in horror.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Flint looks just like how he did in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero with a realistic appearance as opposed to the characters in this episode.
- Shout-Out: The episode is a homage to the film North By Northwest. The title, several scenes such as Peter being chased by a crop-dusting plane in a field and the final chase sequence across the faces of Mount Rushmore, Mel Gibsons cliffside house in this episode is an exact facsimile of Phillip Vandamm's cliffside house, and even direct quotations Were on top of the monument! is found both in the film and in this episode, both in the exact same context are taken from the film. More so, the show also utilizes the actual Bernard Herrmann-composed theme music from the film on several occasions. The closing credits theme is done in the Bernard Herrmann style.
- On finding a hotel to spend the night while their car gets fixed, Peter and Lois encounter a hooker, much to Lois concern. Peter reassures her by saying Keep absolutely still, Lois; their vision is based on movement, a reference to Jurassic Park in which the main protagonist has a similar line when they encounter a Tyrannosaurus, as well as a reference to the general concept of avoiding movement-based-visioned predators by remaining still.
- Lois remark about Mel Gibsons Nazi paraphernalia is a reference to the controversy over his fathers anti-Semitic views and the alleged anti-Semitic tone of The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson was later involved in a scandal where he let loose a string of anti-Semitic remarks after being pulled over for drunk driving by two officers.
- The scene where Peter drives through the mall pursued by Mel Gibsons goons is similar to a scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood Blues were being pursued by the police and took a reckless route through a mall in an attempt to lose them. The parody even uses the I Cant Turn You Loose music from the original scene.
- Two and a Half Men is parodied by literally having two and a half men - one man missing everything below his waist screaming for the other two to kill him as they just scream in horror.
- Take That!: When Meg asks Chris to turn the channel to The George Lopez Show, Chris says the show perpetuates the stereotype that George Lopez is funny.
- Was Too Hard on Him: Stewie asks Brian this when he spanks Chris after catching him with vodka, despite that Chris was framed by a student.Stewie: Do you think we were too hard on Chris tonight?
Brian: What? Oh, God. No, no. I don't...I don't think so. Do you?
Stewie: Oh, no, I just always feel badly when we have to be strict.
- Whole Plot Reference: The episode's main plot is one to North By Northwest, including the famous crop-duster chase and showdown at Mount Rushmore.
- Wrong Name Outburst: During sex, Lois blurts out George Clooney's name instead of Peter's causing him to get angry. The second during their second honeymoon, Lois yells out Mel Gibson's name, upsetting Peter more.