Family Guy has made more than a few shots in return for all the abuse that it has taken. It's also open for debate whether its frequent skewering of popular culture and society constitutes various forms of Take That, Affectionate Parody, Non-Affectionate reference or some combination thereof.
- In The Teaser of "North by North Quahog", Peter listed off all the shows that Fox had tried to air between the time Family Guy was cancelled and resurrected - 29, to be exact.
- They once took a shot at Courtney Love. Let's just say that Kurt Cobain quit taking drugs and never committed suicide.Cobain: Oh, you remember my wife, Courtney Love?
- In a Naked Gun-style opening sequence, Stewie runs Homer down in the Griffin family garage. Peter walks in and says "Who the hell is that?"
- Again with Homer in "The Juice is Loose". Adam West is talking to someone off the screen, "We don't want you in our town Simpson. We don't love you like we did back in 1993!" We think he was talking to OJ Simpson, but the screen cuts to Homer yelling "D'oh!" Adam's quote references the public's love of OJ before his crime exposure in 1994 and 1993 was considered to be the heyday and peak of The Simpsons.
- Robot Chicken is very similar in that respect. Which led to the hilarious ending of "Blue Harvest". And it gets even better when you realize exactly which two people do the voices for the characters involved... Echoed in "Road To The Multiverse", where Stewie and Brian's Sliders-parodying universe tour includes a brief stop in the Robot Chicken world.Chris: Look! G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thunder Cats, He-Man! Yay! Those shows existed!
Stewie: How's it feel to be on a major network for 30 seconds?
Chris: FUCK YOU!!!
- Made even funnier by the fact it was actually only 20 seconds.
- "The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz" had Peter, Brian, and Peter's stepdad spend a whole three minutes bashing Madonna. In the DVD Commentary, they admit that it was filler.
- A cut scene from "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)" had Quagmire abducting and seducing Marge Simpson, before being discovered by Homer and being forced to kill the entire Simpson family with a shotgun. Matt Groening was pissed off about that episode, to the point where he actually stopped speaking to Seth MacFarlane for a while. Seth later realized that he had probably gone too far and ultimately had to apologize. It didn't help that when Fox refused to air the sequence, Seth responded with a long rant on the DVD commentary for the episode where he said The Simpsons was awful and Fox was showing unfair favoritism toward it, but Fox actually refused to air the bit because it features Quagmire murdering kids.
- In "Mother Tucker", Brian accuses Stewie of selling out. Cut to Stewie holding a Butterfinger bar and saying, "Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger... D'oh!" Ironically, Peter would go on to do advertisements for Subway, and a Stewie parade balloon would appear on a Coke commercial during the 2008 Super Bowl.Peter: Beat that, Jared!
- Note that the rivalry between Family Guy and The Simpsons is a friendly one, and Matt Groening has even told Seth MacFarlane that he likes the show.
- A deleted scene from "Lois Kills Stewie." "There's the guy who watched The Simpsons back in 1994/And won't admit the damn thing isn't funny anymore."
- In "PTV", Peter, Brian, and Stewie have an entire song dedicated to how they feel about the FCC (or rather, he, since Seth MacFarlane voices all three). When the FCC reviewed the episode, they actually found it quite hilarious, showing even they can laugh at themselves.
- And Family Guy probably got the greatest Take That of all time, in "Boys Do Cry", where Peter concluded the episode by speaking directly to all the people complaining the show is encouraging children to mimic bad behavior.Peter: If you're watching a TV show and you decide to take your values from that... you're an idiot. Maybe you should take responsibility for what values your kids are getting. Maybe you shouldn't be letting your kids watch certain shows in the first place if you have such a big problem with them, instead of blaming the shows themselves. Yeah.
- There were a few shots at the Entertainment Weekly magazine earlier in the show's run. One scene had the magazine as a suggestion for toilet paper, and another one had a character beat up a reporter from it. This was possibly done in response to the negative reviews that the magazine gave Family Guy in its initial run (even calling it the "fifth worst show of the year" during the second season). They called it the "worst show of the year" in its first season.
- Stewie lambasted the comic strip B.C. at one point, leading to a memorable "takes Juan to know Juan" cutaway gag, followed by Stewie sarcastically shouting "Hahahahaha" at the viewer in derision.
- In a similar vein to The Simpsons Halloween episode "The Ned Zone," in "Meet the Quagmires" regarding an alternate universe where Quagmire married Lois instead of Peter, Lois mentioned that Osama bin Laden was captured and that he was hiding out among the cast of MADtv, to which Quagmire remarks that MADtv's the "only place that no one would think to look." Doubles as both a Hilarious in Hindsight and a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment for the former obviously because of Bin Ladin's (later) death in 2011, and the latter because of MADtv's being cancelled in 2009 without even a finale.
- The opening scroll of The Empire Strikes Back parody "Something, Something, Something Dark Side" contained multiple Take Thats to Fox, with the scroll rambling about how stupid the executives were because, collectively, they had so little faith in both Star Wars and Family Guy being successful that they gave George Lucas international merchandising rights for the former, cancelled the latter twice, and didn't pay attention to the fact that the episode spent a ridiculous amount of money to animate a random elephant for no reason other than because they could. On the DVD commentary, they do give credit to the top execs at Fox for allowing the scroll, especially since it mentioned the stockholders.
- The DVD for that episode also includes a bonus feature that pops random facts up on the screen while you watch the show. Most of these are tongue-in-cheek gags related to what's happening on-screen. During the scene where Peter as Han Solo mocks his line "I thought they smelled bad....... on the outside" by breathing heavily for a very long time during the pause, a pop-up appears with the words "Take that, Harrison Ford."
- In "Blue Harvest," in the scene where Luke (Chris) finds Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen killed by the Empire, and John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra burned as well, he also complains that they'll have to listen to Danny Elfman music for the remainder of the movie. Cue Danny Elfman conducting his orchestra through the Desperate Housewives theme - or that of The Simpsons, depending on what version you see - only for Chris to proceed to decapitate him mid-song. (By the way, Elfman doesn't conduct.)
- In "Perfect Castaway" Chris says, "This is just like that sitcom where there's two dads, except no one's laughing. No, wait. It's the same."
- Speaking of "Road to the Multiverse", the same episode takes a jab at The Flintstones. At one point, Stewie and Brian visit a Flintstones-inspired world with Peter and Lois dressed as Fred and Wilma respectively. We get a few awful rock puns before an annoyed Stewie and Brian decide to get out of there.
- There are quite a few slams at John Goodman as well, mainly concerning his weight.
- "420" takes slams at The Rocketeer (claiming that stupid people rent it when they need a thrill) and Doctor Who (ratings for the show go up after marijuana is legalized).
- In one of the Fan Mail episodes Stewie shows a machine that plays canned laughter. Brian asks where he got it.Stewie: I borrowed it from Dharma & Greg.
Brian: I'm surprised there's anything left in it.
- "Foreign Affairs" features a cutaway that is the music video of "Dancing in the Street" featuring David Bowie and Mick Jagger (which Peter declares to be the "gayest music video of all time") in its entirety.Peter: That happened, and we all let it happen.
- The ending of "Stewie Kills Lois" concludes with a dig at the infamous way The Sopranos ended. After it's revealed that it and the previous episode were All Just a Dream (technically, a simulation), Brian comments that a copout like that would really tick people off, to which Stewie retorts how it's still better than the way The Sopranos ended, cutting to black midsentence (cue Stewie being cut off midsentence as things cut to black). To top it all off, this had just aired a few months after the 2007 Emmy Awards, which featured an animated musical number performed by Brian and Stewie to the tune of the show's FCC song and had a similar knock. Seth MacFarlane must have really hated the series finale.Brian: "Now The Sopranos is a show I'd recommend."
Stewie: "Because you never know just how it's gonna-" *the song cuts to black*
- In "German Guy" Chris has two puppets reenact Twilight.Edward: I'm a vampire, and I'm in love with this unattractive girl.
Jacob: I'm a werewolf, and I am also in love with this unattractive girl.
Edward: Boy, she sure can act though, can't she?
Chris: The end!
- In "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", when Peter and Stewie go to Disney World, Stewie is captured by security and told to sing on an attraction. When he initially refuses, another boy warns him that the alternative is starring in a Christmas movie with Tim Allen, who had starred in three Christmas movies, the only one well-received by critics being The Santa Clause, and coincidentally would go on to star in another dud a year later.
- "Brian The Bachelor" was supposed to be a huge one towards ABC and parent Disney after their disastrous 2003-2004 television season, where Bachelor \ Bachelorette and football were the only things from ABC in Nielsen Top 30. There was going to be a big Peter's "The Reason You Suck" Speech in the end, bashing Michael Eisner for his betrayal of Disney shareholders. While the episode was in production, ABC made a huge comeback with Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, landing on second place overall behind Fox. So most of the episode ended up on the chopping block save for original setup (Brian participating in The Bachelorette) and some general gags.Michael Eisner: On behalf of ABC, I'd like to give you this parting gift.
Brian Griffin: A bill for the mansion?
Michael Eisner: [running away] No givesies-backsies!
- The Cold Open of "He's Bla-ack!" is one for sister series The Cleveland Show, with the guys roasting Cleveland about everything that was wrong with his show, from Joe saying that the show's logo looks like a penis to Quagmire saying that Tim (Cleveland's talking bear friend) was so bad that Seth MacFarlane stopped voicing him midway through the latter series's run.Cleveland: It's hard to make a talking bear funny.
Quagmire: It worked out okay in movie form!
- An earlier jab at The Cleveland Show comes at the end of "It's a Trap!", doubling as one to the Star Wars prequel trilogy: When Meg asks about parodying those movies, Peter says that The Cleveland Show will cover them, suggesting that not even Family Guy wants to tackle them and would rather relegate them to the spin-off. Of course, Peter's comment was most likely sarcastic as the prequels were never parodied by either show.
- It's easier to list what the episode "Trump Guy" didn't take any jabs at.
- In "Regarding Carter", after having several lab monkeys watch the film Vikings for 66 hours, Carter wants them to watch the show Divorce. When a scientist objects, Carter says that he needs the monkeys to watch Divorce because having humans watch it would be inhumane.
- For some reason, Family Guy has it out for Matthew McConaughey, as evidenced in "You May Now Kiss the...Uh..Guy Who Receives"note , "The Former Life of Brian"note , and "Back to the Pilot."note
- In "Three Directors", the Decepticons in the Michael Bay parody segment look nothing like what they're supposed to. This was almost certainly done intentionally as a jab at the Transformers Film Series' handling of redesigning the canon characters, as Family Guy has had accurate depictions of Transformers characters before.
- In "Adam West High", Peter, Quagmire, Cleveland and Joe give a brutal roast to Sean Hannity. Highlights include "The richest man in Rite-Aid", "A fish that inflates to scare off predators", "Fred and Barney's son" and "The inside trader who kills himself the day his prison sentence is to start".
- In "The New Adventures of Old Tom", after Chris swallows the engagement ring that Brian bought, Stewie and Brian take him to a fast-food roast beef restaurant that will give him diarrhea so he'll pass it. There are two lines; one for people who need to poop, and one for people who need to throw up. While no names are said and Stewie says to the viewers that they know which restaurant they're talking about, the restaurant is clearly an Arby's.