Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Family Guy

Go To

Aw, jeez, this is getting worse than that time I visited that place where nerds go to disagree on things!

The following have their own pages


Other examples:

    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:

    A-C 
  • Adorkable:
    • Meg's social awkwardness and how warm-hearted she is comes off as very adorkable.
    • Patty, Esther, and Ruth all share Meg's social awkwardness.
    • Chris' spotlight usually depicts him as a kind-hearted, hyperactive Kiddie Kid who's insecure, doesn't have many friends, and shouts out random things at the most unexpected of times.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Brian's massive ego and selfish tendencies earned him a lot of hate in later seasons, but his death is utterly tragic and without doubt the single most tearjerking part of the whole show, despite being quickly undone with a retcon.
    • Vinny was a Replacement Scrappy for taking the place of Brian for a couple of episodes. Despite not actually dying, he gets a touching send-off when Stewie realizes that saving Brian's life means that the Griffins will never adopt him.
    • Quagmire is a polarizing character due to being a lecherous pervert, but even his detractors felt sorry for him in "Quagmire's Quagmire", where he finds himself in an abusive relationship with a woman who repeatedly humiliates and rapes him.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Does Lois genuinely try to do the right thing for her children and husband or is it just a façade to hide the fact she is a horrible woman who is just as bad a parent as Peter is?
    • Peter Griffin: a well-meaning idiot who doesn't know any better, or a dangerous sociopath (though given the episode where he's declared intellectually disabled, it might be both)
    • Meg Griffin: Is the family's mistreatment of her actually resentment that's been building over the years from back when she was whiny, mean and selfish in earlier seasons, or is that Meg merely lashing out of frustration for being in a family of Jerkassses? Is she staying with her family out of concern for their well being or is she suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?
    • Did Bertram think Stewie was bluffing before he killed Leonardo Da Vinci or believe that Stewie was telling the truth? He said it was Worth It but was it to take a risk on his bluff or was it a case of Taking You with Me?
    • Brian taking a level in jerkass after "Life Of Brian". Was it mere flanderization of the character's more selfish traits from earlier seasons, or did Brian's knowledge of the fact that he died in the old timeline cause his true colors to be revealed?
    • Was Dylan choosing to forgive Brian in "Brian's A Bad Father" out of love or pity for his father?
    • Does Brian really care about Peter? Nearly every time Peter puts himself in danger or nearly kills himself, all Brian does is give a warning but doesn't actually try to physically prevent the act. It's been long established that he has feelings for Lois and when Peter was assumed dead, Lois married Brian after he picked up the pieces. Does Brian want Peter to kill himself so he can remarry Lois?
    • Meg and Chris have had multiple Brother–Sister Incest jokes by now. Is Meg taking advantage of her brother's idiocy to deal with her own loneliness, or are they equal partners in the weirdness?
    • Quagmire's hatred of dogs. Did Brian shape his opinion of the whole species, or was it vice versa and getting talked down to by a "filthy mongrel" of all things is the line for him?
    • There's some fans theorizing that Susie Swanson may be a lesbian due to her immediate dislike of Stewie, her beating him up for taking her Barbie doll, her not responding to Stewie's (or any other boys') advances and Peter calling her a lesbian at one point. Considering that her inner voice is played by Patrick Stewart, she might also be either non-binary or transgender.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The show is unpopular in France with some people blaming the poor European French dub where it was given. Despite this, Family Guy is still shown on MCM in France, and their dub is still going.
  • Anvilicious: The show at its most serious, which a lot of fans don't like about many episodes of the Post-Uncanceled seasons. This is exacerbated by the fact that it tends to preach about important and controversial topics such as politics and religion.
  • Archive Panic: It hit this by about 2011, at which point it had reached its 150th episode. Despite a comment that year from MacFarlane about ending the series, it's still in production, already reaching 300 episodes as of January 2018. Doesn't help the fact that several episodes are hour-long.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After the backlash Season 7 got for portraying Brian's ultra-liberal preaching in the right, following seasons will usually have characters point out the absurdity of a dog lecturing people about politics.
    • After Quagmire was rewritten into a Take That, Scrappy! avatar who loathed and called out Brian on a regular basis, some fans complained it was overdone or skewed due to Quagmire's own shortcomings. Later episodes Took a Third Option and made Brian hate Quagmire back, with both characters trading equal blows and calling out each other's hypocrisies, usually with neither character portrayed as particularly more moral than the other and mutually screwing each other over by the end of each feud.
    • One of the show's most contentious running gags is the family's poor treatment of Meg, which many have felt comes across as overly mean-spirited and disturbing. Starting around season 14, jokes about Meg being abused were almost entirely phased out, with the family becoming far more sympathetic and caring towards her. When she is occasionally shown to be mistreated by people, she is just as likely to fight back against them (sometimes even initiating the conflict). In "Pawtucket Pat", Meg randomly throws her shoe at Peter's face; in "Hefty Shades of Grey", she mischievously ignores her father's pleas for help after the latter is locked in the basement; and in "Fecal Matters", she pulls painful pranks on the family after being granted Super Speed.
  • Awesome Art: The Disney universe in "Road to the Multiverse" perfectly mimics the art style of classic Disney films and is gorgeously animated. It's widely considered the best part of the episode.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Stewie is considered to have undergone this by many during the show's later seasons. A quick example is "Halloween on Spooner Street," wherein Stewie not only cries after some bullies steal his Halloween candy, he also wonders if he's gone too far promptly after shooting a rocket at them. This is in complete contrast to his characterization in the season 3 episode "The Kiss Seen Around the World", in which he kidnaps and gleefully tries to torture his bully. He occasionally lapses back into his old characterization, but it's quickly dropped afterward each time. Another example is "Patriot Games" where Stewie goes from mercilessly beating Brian to get his money to whining lamentfully about Brian beating him up. Occasionally this gets lampshaded.
      Brian: All right, I think you're going soft. I mean, when was the last time you tried to blow something up, or take over the world, or even used the phrase, "Damn you"?
      Stewie: Hey, I got a lot on my plate, man. I'm learning to use the toilet, I'm learning what shapes are. I spent half an hour laughing at my own feet yesterday.
    • Joe has pretty much been reduced to a joke about the handicapped with rage issues. Few people seem to remember he was a pretty efficient cop who just so happened to be in a wheelchair after getting paralyzed while on duty. In "Herpes, the Love Sore", he gave up after someone tripped him out of his wheelchair, something that old Joe would never do.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Stewie, post-Villain Decay. One side hates him for being a pathetic shadow of his former self, while the other loves him for being the most likable member of the modern Griffin family and for providing a good chunk of the series' humor.
    • Meg. She is either the biggest woobie ever or a lame Flat Character who deserves her Butt-Monkey status. Her abuse is either funny ("Shut up Meg" is Memetic Mutation) or the worst thing about the show (for her fans).
    • Brian. People either like him for being the Only Sane Man and his friendship with Stewie, or hate him for being a self-absorbed Author Avatar.
    • Peter is either loved because his random and stupid antics keep the show entertaining or hated for being a Psychopathic Manchild and abusing his daughter for his own amusement.
    • Fans seem divisive as to whether turning Quagmire into a Self-Deprecation avatar counts as an Author's Saving Throw or the complete destruction of his character.
    • Consuela: Half of the fandom thinks she's an utterly hysterical Ensemble Dark Horse and a Fountain of Memes ("No... no..."), while the other half looks at her as being the Ethnic Scrappy who's only there to be obnoxious and troll the Griffins.
    • Principal Shepherd. While some fans like the addition of another authority figure that isn't a complete idiot, others feel his increased appearances are unnecessary and that he's a poor man's substitute of Mayor West, even to the point of unfavorably comparing him to Gil Gunderson (who is also looked at as a Replacement Scrappy for a beloved retired character whose voice actor died in real life).
  • Better on DVD: The DVD version (at least for the episodes made after the show came back after being cancelled) is not like the version you see on TV (not even the Adult Swim version). Words like "fuck" and "shit" aren't bleeped, there are alternate scenes and lines (some of which are arguably better than what the TV version has), and you get commentary and deleted scene reels on what was originally supposed to be in the episode.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Brian Sings and Swings" opens with Peter awakening and preparing to go to work. Halfway through the segment, the scene suddenly cuts to a mysterious machine placing Chris' hair on the boy's bald scalp, to the sound of Star Wars' "Imperial March". This has no bearing on the main plot, is not lampshaded by any character, and is immediately forgotten once the episode goes back to Peter's storyline.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Da Boom", the episode with the nuclear explosion due to the Millennium Bug. The Griffins try to find a lost Twinkie factory, and decide to form a new town, with Stewie turning into an octopus. (It all makes sense in context.) At the end, a Dallas character wakes up from a dream and tells Bobby about this weird episode. Bobby doesn't understand what Family Guy is, which freaks her out even more. And it was the first episode to feature Ernie the Giant Chicken and his fights with Peter. Since its one of the most well loved episodes this is probably a case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Broken Base: As far as the general public's opinion of the show goes, you're in one of three camps: "Family Guy Is The Best Show Ever," "Family Guy Sucks Because It's A Rip-Off of The Simpsons and/or South Park," or "Family Guy Used to Be Good Until [insert Seasonal Rot scenario here: "They Revived It In 2005," "Brian Became a Preachy Liberal", or "I Found Out American Dad! Was Funnier"].
    • Brian and Quagmire fans are quite divided over their recurring rivalry. While some have come to like it since Brian has started hating Quagmire back and evolved it into a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis dynamic, several still dislike the feud (and the increased spotlight it gets) as it revolves around the two characters' Flanderization of their most unlikeable qualities (namely being vindictive Holier Than Thou Straw Hypocrites).
    • Season 9. Is it an improvement over seasons 7-8 or just as bad (if not worse)?
    • Which Stewie is better: The evil Diabolical Mastermind Stewie of the earlier seasons or the nicer Camp Gay Stewie of the later seasons?
    • Brian's death is either the best thing to ever happen to the show (for those that hate him for being said self-absorbed Author Avatar), or the absolute worst thing to happen to the show (for his own fans).
    • The storyline of Brian being kicked out of the Griffin household that lasted for three episodes ("The D in Apartment 23", "Petey IV" and "Crimes and Meg's Demeanor") Was it a great way of showing that the show continues to be Growing the Beard after several lackluster seasons earlier, or was it pointless to drag out an idea that's clearly better off only being a single episode?
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Parodied in the episode "I Dream of Jesus", where, after Peter loses his "Surfin' Bird" record, he goes on a rant and lets slip the fact that he had sex with it.
    • Also, this, from the end of the "Li'l Rascals" parody:
    Peter: I'm going to go microwave a bagel and have sex with it.
    Quagmire: Butter's in the fridge!
    • Peter and a cardboard cutout of Kathy Ireland.
  • Catharsis Factor:
  • Critical Dissonance: Extraordinarily popular with casual viewers and some critics, but a decent amount of critics and fans feel it’s very lowbrow, formulaic and just rips off other franchises under the moniker ‘parody’ while much of it just feels more like ‘plagiarism’, especially in the middle seasons.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Though the show has always been a source of controversy since its premiere, the early seasons were noticeably a lot tamer compared to the rest of the series. The seasons from 2005 onward have become infamous for going out of their way to make the most offensive, downright nasty jokes possible.
    • One episode has Stewie's class perform in Terri Schiavo: The Musical, where the woman is referred to as "the most expensive plant you'll ever see". Schiavo's family openly expressed their disgust towards the episode, calling it cruel and bigoted.
    • In "Airport 07", the news report on the plane crash contains three simulations: what would have happened if the plane crashed into a school, if it crashed into a school for bunnies, and if it crashed into a school for bunnies and a surviving passenger took his anger out on his wife.
    • Peter's pitch for a 9/11-themed screwball comedy in "Back To The Woods" is intentionally as tasteless and offensive as possible. Until he says "The voice of the plane is David Spade," at which point it becomes hysterical.
    D-I 
  • Designated Hero: Peter, Brian and Lois at their worst, and even Meg in some episodes when she grabs the Jerkass Ball (for example, making constant passes at Brian, who was dating Jillian at the time, and then attempting to rape him, blackmailing her brother (and continuing to blackmail him even after he completes the list that she gives him) and having Bonnie arrested just to be closer to Joe.
  • Development Heaven: The Disney segment of "Road to the Multiverse," which was animated in-house as opposed to outsourced, and completely redesigned the characters to match Disney's Signature Style.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: For a time, Brian's liberal atheist viewpoints and his need to constantly preach them to characters/the audience (most notoriously in "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven") were taken to such levels that it even began to annoy the show's Democratic viewer base, many of whom agreed with the general message but thought the execution simply made him look bad.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • There are Facebook groups based on one-off characters such as Sneakers O'Toole and Mayor Bee.
    • Ernie the Giant Chicken, Death, the Evil Monkey, Ollie Williams, Seamus, Herbert, Greased-up Deaf Guy, and Bruce (the Performance Artist that has "Oh no!" as a Catchphrase) are all popular among fans. They were also one time characters before cancellation but due to their popularity they became Recurring Extras soon after.
    • Matt Groening has said he's quite jealous of Ernie, and wishes he'd come up with the idea. You don't get much more dark horse-y than that.
    • Elle Hitler. Despite her last name and being a bonafide Glurge Addict, many love her sweet, easygoing nature and for being one of the few recurring characters that isn't a jerk or an idiot.
  • Ethnic Scrappy:
    • Jerome, who has gone from a Nice Guy who simply dated Lois in the past to nothing but a bunch of black stereotypes rolled into one. Ultimately, with Cleveland back, he's just redundant.
    • Mr. Washee Washee literally has no character outside of being an Asian stereotype who owns a dry cleaners, speaks in an overdone Asian accent, has a very short temper, watches Star Trek (or as he calls it, "The Sulu Show", because Sulu is his favorite character), and he beats up Peter by way of Street Fighter II.
    • Mort, who gradually devolved into a walking Jewish caricature (which is rather ironic considering he started out as merely Ambiguously Jewish). Over time, he became a nebbish, money-grubbing, easily-spooked whiner who writes angry letters demanding compensation for the most minor of inconveniences (on multiple occasions, he's written to Ritz over some broken crackers in boxes he's bought). Lampshaded in the episode "Road to Germany", when an anti-Semitic caricature in Nazi Germany looks exactly like him.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: In the episode "Sibling Rivalry", Lois gains weight when Peter gets a vasectomy, up until she becomes as obese as Peter. The show treats this as one of the worst things ever, though some fans (and Peter himself) believe she looks sexy while she was pudgy.
  • First Installment Wins: Fans generally consider the first three seasons to be the best.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • The pre-uncancellation seasons already showed many of the traits that would fully manifest once it came back, including Cutaway Gags, Overly Long Gags, and the main characters bordering on Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists. In the earlier seasons these were balanced out and broken up enough that it wasn't as much of a problem, and the formula was new enough that they were still genuinely surprising when they happened and not expected as they are now.
    • The criticism of religious people seen in the series can be spotted as early as Season 2, with "Holy Crap" focusing on Peter's Catholic father Francis who comes and makes things worse for the Griffin family while living in the family's house. However, Francis is balanced out by the Pope who is a Reasonable Authority Figure and grows impatient with Francis’s nastiness, implying the issues with Peter's father are more linked to zealotry and a general mean attitude rather than completely stemming from Catholicism. This is to contrast with the infamous Season 7 episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", which operates on the idea that Belief Makes You Stupid altogether.
    • The cast’s horrific treatment of Meg is now one of the most frequently criticized aspects of the show, provoking many appalled reactions from fans; despite the show’s attempts to play her treatment for Black Comedy, quite a few people have pointed out that it often crosses the line into outright emotional abuse. But in some ways, this can be traced back to the earliest episodes, where Meg was a considerably different character. While her family certainly didn’t hate her in those episodes, one often got the sense that the writers didn’t particularly care for her: she was the least developed of the Griffin children by a pretty wide margin, and didn’t really have her own comedic gimmick like her parents and siblings did. In later seasons, the writers never really gave her Character Development, but they did give her the "gimmick" of being despised and/or ignored by her entire family — which many fans liked even less. If you compare Meg’s appearances in Season 1 to her later appearances, you’ll notice that she isn’t exactly less of a Flat Character in those early episodes, but she at least wasn’t just the object of other people’s hatred.
    • One of the most frequent criticisms is despite the show's supposedly progressive slant, the show is reliant on offensive stereotypes to the point of outright bigotry. The show has always had stereotypical characters, of course, but in earlier seasons nearly all of these stereotypes mocked the stereotypes themselves far more than it did the minorities they represented. It was such a successful formula that many of these stereotypical characters were widely praised by the same ethnicities they seemed to mock. However, over the years, the writers seem to have gotten the idea that this means people like having their ethnicity and sexuality mocked, and that they can indulge in racial humor and still come off as progressive. More and more, recurring characters are intended to be sympathetic despite being increasingly exaggerated stereotypes. This also hasn't gelled well with the show's increased use of religious and political strawmen, since the show depicts those stereotypes as being true and expects the audience to take them at face value, at least from an in-universe perspective. The resulting implications that the writers genuinely believe non-straight, non-white, non-cis people only ever behave a certain way have driven many fans away.
    • For people who hate Brian, a lot will be surprised to learn that a lot of his worst character traits were fully on display in the early seasons and were the reason the character was generally liked. However, they were either far more restrained, or the show acknowledged that they made him a bit of an asshole. For example, he still acted as a mouthpiece for the writers, but this was normally limited to quips, and other characters commented about how it could get annoying. In later seasons these short quips turned into full-blown character filibusters, and anyone not holding the Strawman Ball either agreed with Brain or got out of his way.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The show is more popular in the United Kingdom than in America. In America, the show is very firmly polarizing. In Britain, where Gallows Humor and the kind of "random" Monty Python-esque vignette is better appreciated, this show is loved no matter what (except for the occasional bad episode). Britain even aired an episode that America wouldn't ("Partial Terms of Endearment") because abortion isn't as hot-button an issue in the UK as it is in America. It's popularity there is to the point that Seth MacFarlane was able to showcase his side gig as a jazz/swing singer on tours in the UK and got his own TV & radio specials.
    • It's huge in Hungary, where it's the top watched show on Netflix. The local dub is also held in very high regard. Hungarians love adult oriented animated comedies in general, the more vulgar and lowbrow the better — with even Brickleberry being hailed as a top ranking classic by many. In fact, this mentality even influenced their profanity-laden dub of King of the Hill, though that one never caught on due to its cultural differences and more laid-back humor. Family Guy on the other hand is still a comedy juggernaut with a very vocal and protective fanbase.
    • In addition, it also has a surprisingly huge dedicated fandom in Japan as fansubs of the show on YouTube regularly get hundreds of thousands of views, with some videos even getting over a million views.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • "Road to Rhode Island" is considered one of these for the development of the comedy team of Brian and Stewie. At first, Brian was intended to be Peter's sidekick, while Stewie was a loner who aimed to kill his mother and take over the world. This episode established the Brian-Stewie relationship that has become one of the show's hallmarks.
    • Season 8, especially when compared with Season 7. For example, "Dog Gone" which shows that the show can indeed have emotional depth (something that it hasn't had since "Brian Wallows and Peter Swallows"), and "Quagmire's Baby" showing that, while the show can bring in a few Crowning Moments of Heartwarming, the show still has its tasteless magic.
  • He's Just Hiding!: A lot of people were saying this after Brian's death. Well, he wasn't hiding, but Brian came back just two episodes after that thanks to Stewie going back in time to prevent his death ever happening.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Stewie pleading to FOX to at least let them stay on long enough to be syndicated in "Road to Rhode Island", which, thanks to its 2005 revival, being rerun on TBS and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, and eventually reaching off-air syndication, it has exceeded its goal.
    • In "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," Peter expresses how badly he needs help from a Jewish person. Later in season 8, in the episode "Family Goy," it's revealed that Lois is Jewish on her mom's side, and had to hide it so Carter can get into a country club that's notorious for banning anyone who's Jewish.
    • The season seven episode "We Love You Conrad" has Stewie refer to Bruce Jenner as a beautiful woman. In April 2015, Jenner came out as transgender, and two months later, got gender reassignment surgery and is now known as Caitlyn Jenner. Stewie knew her true gender identity six years before anyone else did and even funnier when Brian tries to correct him saying "Bruce Jenner is a man." This gets lampshaded ten years and ten seasons later in the season seventeen episode "Hefty Shades of Gray".
    • Miley Cyrus is revealed to be a robot in "Hannah Banana"; her 2010 album Can't Be Tamed actually features a song called "Robot". The lyrics just make it even more funny.
    • In the episode "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", Peter tells Diane and Tom Tucker to "Make like a Siamese twin and split, and then one of you die." Diane was Killed Off for Real in the ninth season premiere.
    • One cutaway gag features Katie Holmes escaping from Tom Cruise, In June 2012, Katie announced she was divorcing Tom because he was too controlling.
    • In "Screwed the Pooch" after finding out Brian didn't impregnate Seabreeze, he says he was looking forward to being a dad. Later in "The Former Life of Brian", it is revealed he has a human son (and in "Jerome is the New Black," one of the reasons why Quagmire hates Brian is that he never cares for Dylan, having only seen him once and bonded with while smoking weed).
    • A 2007 episode contained a joke in which Carl Sagan's Cosmos was "edited for rednecks" by dubbing over an explanation of the Big Bang. In 2014, an Oklahoma City Fox affiliate just happened to interrupt Neil deGrasse Tyson's mention of evolution on the updated Cosmos. Not to mention that Seth MacFarlane is actually involved with the Cosmos reboot.
    • Possibly deliberate; eight years after a cutaway joke about the implausibility of Liam Neeson playing an American cowboy because of his Irish accent and being in more UK movies than American ones, Seth MacFarlane cast him in his sophomore directorial effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West as an outlaw American cowboy (and, is considered by some, to be the only good part of the movie).
    • "What Really Grinds My Gears" from Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is very similar to You Know What's Bullshit?. Peter even kind of looks like a fatter James Rolfe.
    • One cutaway gag had Iceman's wife catching him going to a gay bar. Nine years later, Iceman canonically came out as gay.
    • In "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey", a cutaway of "The Thing dating Lorena Bobbitt" features somebody finding The Thing's rocky penis. In Fantastic Four (2015), it was revealed that The Thing doesn't have any pants on and appears not to have any genitals, which makes this scene ironic.
    • During the "post-movie" scene of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Peter mentions that an episode he directed caused backlash because it centered on incest, which is exactly what happened in the season 12 episode "Fresh Heir" (only it had Chris about to marry Peter, not Chris having sex with Lois and Brian ranting, "Wrong! It's wrong!").
    • In "North by North Quahog" Peter and Lois find a fictional sequel to The Passion of the Christ in Mel Gibson's home. In June 2016, it was announced that Mel Gibson would be making a sequel.
    • In "The Tan Aquatic With Steve Zissou", Peter grumbles about getting Mega Bloks instead of bonafide LEGOs. Much later, Mega Bloks (since renamed Mega Construx) released an official Peter Griffin collectable figurine.
    • The plot of "A House Full of Peters" makes Peter's Suspiciously Specific Denial about his having unwittingly fathered another child in "Don't Make Me Over" much, much funnier. For bonus points, the former episode took place after Peter's vasectomy, and the latter took place before.
    • "Brian Sings and Swings", in which Brian meets Frank Sinatra Jr. and begins to perform on stage with him (and they are shortly joined by Stewie), has Peter mistakenly believe that Frank Jr.'s mother is Mia Farrow, even becoming a Brick Joke at the end of the episode when Farrow spanks Frank Jr. in front of an audience. In 2013, Mia Farrow raised speculation that Frank Sinatra could have been the biological father of Ronan Farrow, her son with Woody Allen.
    • The episode "Patriot Games" had Peter join the New England Patriots and get fired after only one game. More than one person compared this to what happened to Antonio Brown in the real 2019 football season.
    • "Meet the Quagmires" featured Brian's out-of-nowhere performance of "Never Gonna Give You Up", which predates the Rickroll by only a few months!
    • One of the alternate realities seen in "Road to the Multiverse" is a pastiche of Disney's Renaissance Age, which delights Stewie to the point he wishes to be a part of that world. With Disney's acquisition of Fox in 2019, his wish has come true.
    • The episode where Kevin Michael Richardson voiced a talking zit is more amusing when you realized he voices another talking zit in Animaniacs (2020) 15 years later.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Fans of the show from when it was a short-lived cult show occasionally aired on late nights felt "betrayed" when its final uncancelation turned it into the pop-culture behemoth that it is now. Seth MacFarlane, by his own admittance, never understood the logic behind this mentality.
  • It Was His Sled: It's hard to hide the events of "Life of Brian" when a video titled A Farewell To Brian Griffin is on the front page of YouTube.

    J-P 
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Brian is commonly portrayed as a condescending weasel who shows complete intolerance and apathy for anything that he considers to be below him. However, he tends to suffer much more abuse than most of the show's other, much worse Jerkasses, and is frequently mocked and treated as subhuman for being a dog.
    • Peter is a self-centered sociopath, but this is because he has the mentality of a child and is trying to fit in with the rest of society the only way he can. It's also heavily implied that he grew up in an abusive household: his real father was never there for him, his mother was neglectful (as seen when she pitches a glass of wine at a young Peter after he complains about a sore tooth), his stepdad is a religious fanatic who constantly berated him for the smallest mistakes, and his sister is a vicious bully who frequently choked and humiliated him.
    • Stewie, particularly after season 6, where he Took a Level in Kindness. He's still an unfiltered, wisecracking smartass, but there are some episodes, such as "Brian Writes a Bestseller", "Killer Queen" and "Be Careful What You Fish For", where he shows a more vulnerable side and goes through a ton of hell, usually at the hands of Brian. He also has abusive, sociopathic parents who put his life in danger on a regular basis (Lois mentions accidentally putting him in the oven several times in one episode).
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: Stewie is introduced as a homicidal Villain Protagonist who wants to kill his mother and Take Over the World, and this made him the most popular character on the show since the beginning. In later seasons, Peter, Lois, and Brian all Took a Level in Jerkass, with Peter and Lois becoming Abusive Parents and Brian being flanderized into a pretentious hypocrite. As a result, all three become controversial characters, with many fans complaining about their unlikable personalities, especially Lois and Brian, who are often accused of being examples of the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing trope. Ironically, the fans who complain about the characters who Took a Level in Jerkass are often the same fans who miss Stewie's evil Card-Carrying Villain personality after he mellows out.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: It's hard to name a female character on the show that Lois HASN'T been shipped with.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: When it was announced that a member of the Griffin family would be Killed Off for Real, the audience felt that Brian, what with being Seth MacFarlane's Author Avatar, would be the last character to be killed off. And sure enough, one episode afterward, yeah they were bluffing. "Christmas Guy" brought Brian back. MacFarlane himself lampshaded this. It didn't help that Vinny's voice actor wasn't stated to appear in the Simpsons crossover.
  • Love to Hate:
  • Misaimed Fandom: The line "We have a saying in radio: if you play that on the radio, people will listen to it!" from "Mother Tucker," was used as a soundbite on a handful of the kind of soundbite-heavy radio shows that episode is mocking.
  • Misblamed: In "Disney's The Reboot", Peter and Disney executives show a focus group a number of potential Family Guy reboots. One of these includes a Bojack Horseman ripoff where a horse version of Peter briefly appears and says "Normal words, but a horse guy!" only to be quickly rejected for being terrible. This scene was taken out of context on social media and made it look like Family Guy was taking a shallow jab at the popular Netflix show, which wasn't the case.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The "public radio" gag can trigger ASMR in some people.
  • Narm Charm: It may seem ridiculous to cry over a teddy bear, but the "Rupert's funeral" cutaway from "Road to Rupert" will leave a tear in your eye due to how perfectly the gag parodied Spock's Funeral.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • In "Secondhand Spoke", Chris traps Stewie in his backpack for days, telling him that he would die in there and daring him to name one person who loves him. By the end of the episode, Chris is riddled with guilt and asks for his brother's forgiveness, and the siblings' friendship is restored. Though subsequent episodes show that the two remain on good terms with each other, fans were so disgusted by Chris' behavior that he came to be seen as a Big Brother Bully.
    • Neil Goldman is largely benign compared to the rest of the cast, but fans like to play up his jerkassery by pointing out his actions in "Follow the Money", where he shockingly tells his late mother that she can burn in Hell whilst apathetically dumping money on a park bench dedicated to her.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A cartoon using "Surfin' Bird"? Family Guy had to be the first, right? Nope. Try CBS's short-lived 1998 cartoon Birdz, which used it… as the opening theme, no less. Or even earlier, the very first episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! titled "The Bird! The Bird!" in 1989.
    • In "Hell Comes to Quahog", the "Do you remember [X]? Pepperidge Farm remembers." joke had also been done in the Futurama episode "A Fishful of Dollars" seven years earlier, which makes some say "They Copied It, So It Sucks!."
    • In "Ratings Guy", Peter tells Homer Simpson "Looks like this is one we beat you to!" after the latter came in telling he broke television. Funnily enough, this episode isn't the only one Family Guy beat The Simpsons to. The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror XIV" segment "Reaper Madness", whose plotline has Homer taking over as the Grim Reaper, was beaten to the punch by the plotline of Family Guy's "Death Is A Bitch" three years earlier.
      • Another overlooked example is in "Let's Go to The Hop" from 2000, where Peter tries to turn on a jukebox but ends up cutting his hand on the glass and bleeding. The Simpsons reused this gag a year later in "Homer the Moe", where Homer looks after the tavern and does the same thing (albeit when Homer does it, it's much bloodier).
    • In "Seahorse Seashell Party", pointing one's finger like a gun and going "bang" is a referred to as a fingerbang. This was the subject of the South Park episode, "Something You Can Do with Your Finger", from 2000.
    • In "The 2000 Year Old Virgin", Peter tries to get Jesus laid. The thing is, the concept of Jesus starring in a The 40-Year-Old Virgin parody was already done years earlier in a Robot Chicken sketch.
  • Parody Displacement: Quite a bit of older pop culture is only familiar to younger generations because it was referenced here. One odd example is that the a lot of viewers aren't even aware that "welcome to the world of feline AIDS" is a spoof of a lurid urban legend from The '80s.

    Q-Z 
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Vinny, the dog the Griffins adopted in the Deleted Timeline after Brian's death. This has since been changed, however, so that it has never happened.
    • Ironically enough, Brian has become this for Vinny ever since he was brought back, as he Took a Level in Jerkass after his revival while Vinny was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and one of the nicest characters on the show.
    • Joyce Kinney is this for fans of Diane Simmons. While fans were Rooting for the Empire in her debut episode, her overall lack of appearances and bland personality made her pretty forgettable compared to the previous reporter.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Later episodes have Brian's status as an Author Avatar be more flawed and have everyone respond to it with annoyance as opposed to everyone admiring him as the Only Sane Man, and his friendship with Stewie has won over some fans.
    • Vinny won a lot of people over when he helped Stewie go back in time to save Brian. Even though he never knew Brian, he knew that Stewie really loved and missed him, and was willing to give up meeting the Griffin family so that Stewie could have Brian back.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Brian's cousin Jasper, for being a rude conglomeration of nearly every offensive gay stereotype. Ironically, Seth MacFarlane stated in an interview that Jasper was supposed to appeal to the gay audience.
    • Conway - You Can Take A Bathroom Break Now Twitty. The fact that he hasn't appeared since the episode which he had a nearly three-minute long scene (in a 23 minute long ep no less) and it was rated the worst episode in the series probably states that the writers got the hint. This was eventually acknowledged in "3 Acts of God" when God tells Peter "Oh, by the way, Conway Twitty says, 'Cut it out! Just write a joke!'".
    • Vern and Johnny, who were two vaudeville actors placed in the show as a gag, were severely hated by fans for being very annoying and bland. They got so much hate that the creators of the show eventually decided to kill them both off and treated fans to seeing them meet their demise at the hands of Stewie in "Saving Private Brian", only for them to appear one last time in "Back to the Woods" (Vern as a ghost and Johnny in Hell, because he was attracted to underaged boys). These two characters were also wearing out their welcome with the writers: on the DVD commentary for "Saving Private Brian", it's stated that one of the reasons they were killed off is because the writers felt they were becoming overly reliant on Vern and Johnny, cutting to them whenever the writers couldn't come up with anything better.
    • Loretta Brown as some fans noticed that she only existed on the show just to be Cleveland's wife. Her day in the limelight episode even involved her cheating on Cleveland with Quagmire just because her husband's laid back personality didn't provide her any passion. She is even considered to be a Scrappy by her own voice actress, Alex Bornstein, as she found the character to be too difficult for her to voice.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • A decently large portion of fans tend to argue that Season 7 was the beginning of the show’s decay due to a lot of the characters being flanderized into one-note characters, episodes focusing on Brian's views (the most notable one being the infamous "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven") and poor plotlines.note 
    • Season 10 is considered one of the weakest ones due to a string of controversial episodes: "Seahorse Seashell Party" is reviled for having Meg accept her family's abuse; "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" portrays domestic violence in a disturbing, totally straight manner; "The Blind Side" pokes fun at blind people's vulnerabilities; "Be Careful What You Fish For" has Brian taking a level in jerkass as he pursues a relationship with Stewie's abusive teacher; and "Tea Peter" contains a joke about autism being an excuse for kids to act ill-mannered.
    • Season 12 is considered another low point for the series, due to Brian getting killed off in "Life of Brian" only to be brought back three weeks later in "Christmas Guy". Other episodes that play a big part in why the season is so reviled include “Peter's Problems” (for the one-minute long scene of Peter accidentally killing a whale while trying to push it back into the ocean with a forklift), “Brian’s a Bad Father” (the main plot being Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and the subplot ending with an overly-gory scene of Quagmire shooting Peter in the head), “Fresh Heir” (for being comprised almost entirely of incest jokes), and “Herpe, the Love Sore” (Brian intentionally gives Stewie and Chris herpes).
    • Season 13 has many characters acting at their most unlikable, with Brian swindling Quagmire in "Brian the Closer", Jesus tricking Peter into letting him sleep with Lois in "The 2,000 Year Old Virgin", and multiple jokes about rape and obscene sex acts in "Quagmire's Mom". The negative reception was further exacerbated by episodes that had downright bizarre premises ("Stewie is Enceinte" has Stewie giving birth to human-dog hybrids) and by the notable increase in Peter-focused episodes, leaving almost every other major character Out of Focus.
  • Shallow Parody:
    • The Quentin Tarantino portion of "Three Directors" doesn't really have much to say or offer other than "Tarantino movies are violent as shit!". As a result, the whole segment is very off-putting thanks to it being the most pointlessly violent and graphic the show has been since Season 13 note .
    • "In Harmony's Way" has a scene of the Griffins watching an episode of Muppet Babies (1984) where Kermit and Miss Piggy look over their son Kermie Jr., who is shown to be a horrific pig/frog hybrid loudly begging to be killed so as to end his agony. Anyone who's only seen the opening theme of Muppet Babies would know that the cartoon was about the Muppets as children rather than the children of the Muppets.
  • Song Association: Due to becoming something of a Running Gag, it’s hard to listen to Surfin Bird by The Trashmen without thinking of Family Guy.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general response to those who don't outright hate the newer seasons. While the later seasons in question have received negative reviews from fans, some fans find them to be at least a little watchable.
  • Squick:
    • Peter breastfeeding Stewie on "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar".
    • The morbid humor of keeping Stewie's severe head injury a secret in "Brian Griffin's House of Payne".
    • Chris and Meg unknowingly making out with each other on the episode "Halloween on Spooner Street."
    • The ipecac drinking contest on "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenaged Daughter." Then "Yug Ylimaf" went and made that scene even worse.
    • Brian shaving all his fur off and going around bald to get back at Peter.
    • Brian's mangled appearance after being run over by a car.
    • Stewie's herpes.
    • Stewie's pregnancy and the birth of his and Brian's deformed hybrid babies.
    • The fact that the women in this show apparently see no problem with having sex with Brian despite him being a dog.
  • Starboarding: Though the two of them have never shared a scene together, Meg's friend Ruth letting slip that she has a crush on Lois was enough to get fans to ship them.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • When Brian is forced to move out in "The D in Apartment 23" due to the racist tweet he sent, he questions why it is that Peter is still allowed to stay in the Griffin household in spite of all the crap he's pulled over the years.
    • Also, when Brian goes on his rant in "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven". He's been demonized for half the episode and strung along by Meg and the rest after he gives in, right up to her trying to get him to join in burning books. Belief in a higher power is good, fundamentalism is not.
    • In earlier episodes of the show, Meg is portrayed as a selfish person who craves popularity. It seems shallow, until you realize that people who aren't popular are often mistreated and humiliated by their popular peers. It also helps that she was a victim of many cruel, humiliating pranks.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Brian gets it with Quagmire's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
      • Another notable instance is, of course, Brian's death, in the now Deleted Timeline it occurred in. Played seriously for the most part, but right after being hit by the car, a squirrel comes down, spits on him, and states that he sucked. This could also apply for the fans who hate him as much as Quagmire does.
      • Pretty much anytime he gets his ass handed to him in any episode where he acts as a major douche, such as the episode "Brian the Closer" where Quagmire knocks all his teeth out after smacking him in the face with a lamp, and "Peternormal Activity" where he gets smacked in the face by Stewie with a baseball bat, thus causing the broken glass in his glasses to cut his eyes.
    • Quagmire gets his own just desserts when a hardened Chris, a 13 year old boy, beats the crap out of him just so he can take his car.
      • Brian has also started requiting Quagmire's hatred of him, appeasing those who thought the latter was a hypocrite, conning him out of his money in "Brian The Closer" and calling him out over his own self righteousness in "Tiegs For Two" and "Quagmire's Mom". Even fans who hate both of them can now get gratification from them both never giving the other a break.
      • Come season 15's "Bookie of the Year", Quagmire gets a taste of his own medicine when he gets his arm broken badly from getting hit by a baseball accidentally thrown by Chris, who got his arm broken due to Quagmire, Cleveland, and Joe (all dressed as teenagers in disguise) beating him up to keep him from playing in the finals to win a bet prior to that scene.
      • Again happens in "The Unkindest Cut" when a shark bites off Quagmire's penis, breaking him to the point where he actually tries to kill himself in front of an audience.
    • Lois in "Seahorse Seashell Party" where she breaks into tears when Meg calls her out for being a horrible mother. Peter even more so moments later when she calls him out for being a waste of a man.
    • Peter gets it in "Stewie Kills Lois" and "Lois Kills Stewie". He gets framed for murdering his wife, Stewie beats him up so he can give out what he thinks of his macaroni art, and people start throwing apples at him. And in "Dial Meg For Murder", he gets raped by a bull and gets beaten to a pulp by his ceaselessly mistreated daughter.
    • Peter is on the end of giving one in "Peter's Daughter" where he absolutely obliterates Connie D'Amico after she bullies Meg in front of him, slamming her face into a fire extinguisher 18 times.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: From day one, the show has been incessantly compared to The Simpsons for its vaguely similar family dynamic (father, mother, boy, girl, baby, dog) and humor. While Seth MacFarlane has said that The Simpsons was a huge influence on him, the show's peak period aired while he was in college; the two shows actually have very little in common with the most notable difference being that The Simpsons has always prided itself on deconstructing sitcom cliches during its peak of quality while Family Guy openly embraces them.
    • Acknowledged in-universe too with the crossover episode, in which Fred Flintstone points out that a cartoon about a family was hardly a unique concept even when The Simpsons did it, and comparisons are pretty pointless with such a common idea.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • A lot of people felt that Vinny's potential as a character was severely underused, and felt bad that he was written out of the story after three episodes. Some of his former haters even opined that he wasn't that bad a character and wouldn't mind seeing more of him, just as long as he was not used as a replacement for Brian.
    • Mickey Mcfinnegan, Peter's biological father. He never shows up after his introduction episode or meets Peter's family or anything.
    • Fans felt that the Esperanza, the Target cashier from one of the Cutaways in the episode Prescription Heroine, could have had potential as a love interest for Lois if she hadn't been killed off and disreguarded.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:
    • Diane Simmons' short movie Lint invokes this.
    • Stewie's music video he made for Susie.
      Brian: I'm not following the storyline here.
      Stewie: Shut up!
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Peter gets fired from the news in "Stewie B. Goode" because his infant son got drunk and crashed a car into the Drunken Clam, even though it was Brian who was looking after Stewie and got him drunk in the first place.
    • Meg. At first, the Running Gag of her being The Un-Favourite was more about how a character who literally did nothing was somehow blamed for everything, but it only worked because she shook off the pain in a typical cartoon fashion. Showing her gradually being affected by her Abusive Parents' increasing cruelty (deteriorating mental stability and suicidal tendencies) made the whole thing too sad to take in stride, despite still being played as a joke. Following the backlash against "Seahorse Seashell Party", however, the writers seemed to take the hint and eventually began to phase out the abuse.note 
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Early on, Meg wasn't a fan favorite due to being a rather bland, typical teenage girl character. However, she became popular with fans when the writers turned her character into an exaggerated Butt-Monkey and the rest of the cast started treating her like crap for somehow being considered so ugly, people have committed suicide by setting themselves on fire. Due to her Woobie status, she has lots of fans, many pictures of her on DeviantArt, and lots of stories of her in fanfiction.net, which tend to revolve around her getting revenge on everyone who's ever wronged her.
  • The Un-Twist: Even before "Christmas Guy" aired, there were several people who had already guessed its plot of Stewie finding a way to repair his time machine so he could head back to the past and save Brian's life.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Starting somewhere around 2006, multiple episodes focus on Joe feeling sorry for himself because he feels like his disability is affecting his life in one way or another, only for him to accept his disability before the episode's end. It also got to the point where he's portrayed as much weaker than he used to be, not being able to fight if he gets tipped off his wheelchair or even being shown needing Quagmire and Bonnie to change his DIAPER.
  • The Woobie:
    • Some people feel sorry for Meg because of her extreme Butt-Monkey status.
    • There's also Death, is this and a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. The poor guy is despised and treated like shit by everyone for doing his job and can't form a good human relationship. Even Peter takes pity on him.
    • Stewie Griffin definitely entered Woobie territory in the episode "Life of Brian". He witnessed the death of his only best friend (Brian) and seems unable to overcome it. He can also dwell in this territory in episodes such as "Killer Queen" and "Be Careful What You Fish For".
  • Writer Cop Out:
    • "Lois Kills Stewie" ends after the titular event happens... Only to reveal that it was all just a virtual reality simulation. Of course, this gets lampshaded to Hell and back as part of a Take That! against the ending to The Sopranos.
    • A more controversial example would be Brian being resurrected two episodes after his death. A lot of people were expecting the writers to spend more time on the plot thread than they did.

Top