Is violence in movies and sex on TV
But where are those good old-fashioned values
On which we used to rely?
Lucky there's a Family Guy!
Lucky there's a man who positively can do
All the things that make us
Laugh and cry!
He's... a... Faaam-ily... Guuuuuuy!"
It presents us with four main characters — slow-witted blue-collar jerk Peter Griffin (voiced by MacFarlane), who is basically a crueler, more imbecilic, and often more cheerful Al Bundy; his smart and efficient (but neglectful and wild) House Wife Lois (Alex Borstein); insecure teenage Meg (Mila Kunis); and good-hearted but moronic son Chris (Seth Green) — and puts them through a series of misadventures usually sparked by Peter's selfishness and/or idiocy. In addition to these somewhat cookie-cutter characters are two more unusual ones; Brian (also MacFarlane) the martini-sipping intellectual dog and Stewie (MacFarlane again) the laser-toting megalomaniac baby, although they've gotten much more screen time in recent seasons.
Chaotic and somewhat out of the ordinary, the show is notorious for its cutaway gags, as well as targeting literally every subject under the sun with a million gags per minute. Depending on who you ask, it's either sloppy, unstructured and tasteless, or unorthodox and acceptably simple entertainment. With later seasons, the randomness increased and character dynamics shifted, with Stewie becoming less of a mad conqueror and more of a showman with homicidal, homosexual, and/or violent tendencies, Meg becoming a Butt-Monkey (supposedly due to the fact that the writers felt her too bland a character) and Brian becoming more and more of a pompous loser. The animation style became stiffer, and the show as a whole became more mean-spirited. It's drawn flak for this, but its fanbase is as loyal as any other.
The fourth-longest running animated TV series in the United States (behind The Simpsons, South Park, and Arthur), Family Guy premiered in 1999 on Fox, and then the show made history for American network television for being uncanceled — twice. Fox announced the show's cancellation after its second season in 2000 when it was beaten in ratings by shows like Frasier on NBC and especially ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, but the show was given a last-minute reprieve and Fox ordered another 13 episodes. However, its ratings suffered as its time slot changed constantly and it competed against the ratings-behemoths of Survivor on CBS and Friends on NBC. After the third season in 2002, Fox cancelled the show "for good," but in 2005, the show was resurrected yet again due to popular demand, impressive ratings for its reruns on [adult swim], and unusually successful DVD-set sales.
Family Guy has since become one of the network's most successful franchises, promoted by its suits with the same fervor given to The Simpsons as well as American Idol and 24 in their heydays. This made Seth MacFarlane the highest-paid Hollywood writer for a few years after its second revamp, and allowed him to produce the sister series American Dad! (which was actually made to replace Family Guy) and The Cleveland Show, both under the same studio, along with the Star Wars spoof Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball.
Further media ventures in the wake of the show's pop culture phenomenon status include:
- Seven games — Family Guy Video Game! in 2006; a Licensed Pinball Table released by Stern Pinball in 2007 (click here for details); Family Guy Online, a browser-based MMORPG which ran from 2012-2013; Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse in 2012; Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, a mobile village simulator akin to The Simpsons: Tapped Out and My Little Pony in 2014; and Family Guy: Another Freakin' Mobile Game, a Match-Three Game akin to Candy Crush in 2017. And this is in addition to Warped Kart Racers, a Mascot Racer exclusive to Apple Arcade which features characters and stages based on the show. In addition, it's also a crossover game with other 20th Century Studios cartoons such as American Dad, King of the Hill, and Solar Opposites. As of Chapter 5's release in 2023, Peter can now be used as a skin in Fortnite.
- Six books ranging from stories written in select characters' POVs to recaps of episodes to essays exploring the connection between the show and historical philosophers. A coffee table book titled Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History was released in 2019 to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary.
- A film, first announced informally in 2007 and most recently confirmed to still be in development in 2019.
- Has its own wiki
- Episode Guides and the tropes associated are here.
- The "Just For Fun" Drinking Game.
But where are those good, old-fashioned tropes...on which we used to rely?:
- Tropes A to C
- Tropes D to I
- Tropes J to P
- Tropes Q to Z