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    A-C 
  • Accidental Aesop: If there's one thing that can be learned from Quagmire and Brian's feud, don’t be a complete dick to someone you don’t like just because you don’t like them. It doesn’t give you a moral high ground and the person you hate will start hating you back.
  • 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, spoiled 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?
  • 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.
  • Arc Fatigue: The reoccurring stories about Brian's obsession with Lois. It always comes to the same conclusion, Lois isn't interested and loves Peter.
  • 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 constantly 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.
  • Awesome Art: The Disney universe in "Road to the Multiverse". 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 earlier seasons. 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 Griffin: 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 Griffin: 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 (initially, it was from fighting The Grinch on Christmas Eve, but in a later episode, this was retconned so it was said to have happened when he was shot during a drug sting). That aspect of him returned in Season 9, however. Like Stewie, his old characterization seems to come and go. In "Herpes, the Love Sore", he gave up after someone tripped him out of his wheelchair. Old Joe wouldn't do that. That being said, Joe is still a Nice Guy, and the only character who is the most consistent with his original characterization despite his Badass Decay.
  • 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.
  • 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 better than what the TV version has, but most are a little too disgusting or in bad taste.), and you get commentary and deleted scene reels on what was originally supposed to be in the episode.
  • 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, especially since Brian has started hating Quagmire back.
    • Season 4. Is it part of the show's classic era or the beginning of its decline?
    • Season 9. Is it an improvement over seasons 7-8 or hated for being slower-paced?
    • Was it a good idea to kill off Brian in "Life of Brian"? And then bring him back three weeks later in "Christmas Guy"?
    • 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? It already didn't help that the remaining two episodes dealing with the plot only had it as the subplot meaning that it wasn't even the main focus, and Brian might not have moved back in with the Griffins at all. What's worse was that both the supporters and detractors of the idea were in agreement that its continuation as shown in "Petey IV" would've been better off being left on the cutting room floor. Lastly, the detractors point out how its conclusion in "Crimes and Meg's Demeanor" could've very easily taken place with Brian still living with the Griffins especially since the scene where he is welcomed back into their household (by being claimed as a local hero for unintentionally busting Principal Sheppard for stealing food from the high school cafeteria) feels very tacked on.
  • 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.
  • Crazy Awesome: Mayor West, who punched the constellation of Orion ( revealing it to be Orion Pictures), among other things.
  • Catharsis Factor:
  • Critical Dissonance: Extraordinarily popular with regular viewers and some critics, but most 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 later seasons.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Though the show wasn't that controversial during its early seasons, the fourth season and beyond have gone 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 
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A logical consequence given how the continued Flanderization has rendered all the main characters utterly unlikable for being overall jerks to each other and other people while getting away with it. The later seasons toned it down, though not by a whole lot, as the Griffins and everyone else around them are so deeply dysfunctional and have no real chance of growing past this in any way because Status Quo Is God. This also has the unfortunate side-effect of making all the show's attempts at being dramatic/emotional either fall flat, come across as hypocritical and insincere, or head straight into narm territory.
  • 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, etc).
  • Discredited Trope: Many, especially Meg's role and how gays are characterized.
  • 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.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: For a Sadist Show, a few characters qualify.
    • Stewie. Yes, he did become nicer in later seasons of the show, but fans forgot that he originally started off as an evil baby who was willing to murder his own mother.
    • Lois may qualify. Some of her defenders usually try to excuse her abuse towards Meg by saying that because other characters are cruel to Meg, that justifies her abuse. While it's true that other characters are cruel to Meg, the only reason Lois is vilified for it while Peter isn't is because she is the smarter of the two. Not to mention she's Meg's mother.
  • 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 Catch Phrase) 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.
  • 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 as he calls it "The Sulu Show" because Sulu is his favorite character, and he beats up Peter by way of Street Fighter II
  • Fair for Its Day: In "The Fat Guy Strangler", Peter starts an organization that advocates the promotion of fat men and the episode deconstructs his idea to do so. Years later came the fat acceptance movement which would denounce the negative portrayal of his organization's members.
  • Faux Symbolism: Sometimes it is implied that Chris is some sort of Messianic Archetype - his name, his disposition as the kindest and most innocent member of the family and his blond hair all go towards this. Sometimes the jokes are pushed a little further, such as when he was cast as Luke Skywalker when Peter parodied the story of Star Wars, and when he dressed up as Optimus Prime from Transformers, both of whom are messianic archetypes themselves. Of course it's all a gag.
  • First Installment Wins: Fans generally consider the first three seasons to be the best.
  • 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.
      • Critical Dissonance: Though most critics after season seven have blasted the show for not being as funny as it used to be and writing off seasons 8, 9, and 10 as Seasonal Rot.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Turban Cowboy" focused on Peter unwittingly joining a terrorist organization that planned on blowing up a bridge. That episode contained a cutaway gag about Peter winning the Boston Marathon by driving through the racers and killing them. That episode aired three weeks before the Boston Marathon Bombing.
    • Brian:
      • "Road To The Multiverse" ended with Brian's alternate-universe counterpart being hit by a car after returning from his journey. This ends up happening to the real Brian at the end of "Life Of Brian", killing him; however, this managed to be stopped later on, possibly erasing two-and-a-half episodes.
      • In "Dog Gone", Brian ends up accidentally running over and killing another dog with his car...but his family doesn't care whatsoever.
      • Any episode where Brian laments his mortality ("Brian Sings and Swings", "Brian and Stewie", etc.) or someone laments it for him ("Wasted Talent", etc.) becomes this after Brian ends up dying in "Life of Brian".
      • This particular line, from "Wasted Talent", is gut-wrenchingly prophetic:
        Peter: Beer that never goes flat. Do you know what that means, Brian? This beer will still be carbonated long after you die of old age and we buy another dog to help the kids...you know, forget about you.
      • In other media, Brian's death can be really uncomfortable to those who know about the popular Dead Bart Creepypasta. Why? Because of the story's eerily similar premise to "Life of Brian", both of which feature a typical start to an episode, only for unthinkable to happen when one of the main characters suddenly dies in a horrifying, gruesome manner, followed by the remaining characters grieving at said character's funeral. Though not official, all you can say at that point is....."Simpsons did it first!" indeed.
      • In the episode "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", Peter receives a bone surgery after losing his bones and also finds out that most of them came from his family. We see the results of what happen to the other Griffins, especially Brian who ends up with a shriveled nose. Cut to thirteen years later in "Brian the Closer" where Brian has that exact shriveled nose as he did in previous mentioned episode after getting his teeth smashed. Suddenly not so heartwarming now...
    • In "Road to Rhode Island"'s surreal commentary where Family Guy is apparently some sort of reality show, Stewie and Brian trade insults after Stewie notices Brian's chubbier-than-normal looking character model, which leads to this prophetic little jab:
      Stewie: You know, you're so in-tune with other people's faults, yet so oblivious to your own. Webster's has words for people like that. Asshole!
    • Early episodes took a lot of potshots at Ted Turner, particularly "Screwed the Pooch", which paints him as Too Dumb to Live and willing to have sex with a dog. Kinda awkward now, considering that Cartoon Network was instrumental in saving the show from cancellation (the DVD sales helped too, but the reruns on Cartoon Network showed that the show can get big ratings), though less-so due to the decline in quality after the uncancelation.
    • This cutaway gag featuring a sex tape with Bill Cosby considering Cosby's eventual arrest and indictment for sexual assault.
    • Peter Robbins, the original voice actor of Charlie Brown, being arrested and given a five-year prison sentence for threatening a local sheriff makes the future Charlie Brown sketch now disturbing.
    • The second part of the USO show joke in "Lottery Fever" is sort of awkward now that Jenner has had sex-reassignment surgery.
    • The idea of an "evil James Woods" no longer feels like a work of fiction given the real Woods' actions in recent years. Especially as these episodes have him as a creepy stalker, which Woods has been accused of in real life. This might've even been part of the impetus for changing the name of the high school from James Woods High to Adam West High in Season 17's finale of the same name.
    • Phyllis Diller's death meant the death of her character, Thelma Griffin. In the episode that has the family find out, "Mom's the Word", Peter gets a visit from his mom's friend Evelyn, who was played by Lauren Bacall. A double example in that the character dies at the end, and would turn out to be Lauren's final role, as she died 5 months following the airing of the episode.
    • The Season 18 episode "The Movement" has Peter accidentally making a kneeling pose trying to hold in diarrhea while coaching a baseball team during the national anthem. This is taken by Quahog as a police brutality protest. This aired in March 2020, two months before the death of African-American man George Floyd which triggered worldwide protests against police brutality.
  • 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 by Stewie going back in time to prevent his death ever happening.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The multiple Take Thats against Disney are this in sight of Disney buying out the rights to 20th Century Fox's movies and shows, including Family Guy itself.
    • Stewie pleading to FOX to at least let them stay on long enough to be syndicated in "The Road to Rhode Island", which, thanks to its 2005 revival and being rerun on TBS and Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block, it has exceeded its goal.
    • In "If I'm Dying, I'm Lying", Peter tries to get a cancelled TV show, Gumble2Gumble back on the air. Family Guy itself would later be cancelled twice just to be brought back.
    • 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 Lauren Conrad" has Stewie refer to Bruce Jenner as a beautiful woman. In April 2013, 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".
    • One of the cutaways makes fun of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, with the narrator (voiced by the late, great trailer announcer Don LaFontaine) unsure just what ethnicity he was (in real life, Dwayne Johnson is black and Canadian on his father's side and Pacific Islandernote  on his mom's side). After that episode aired, he went on to voice a white guy in Planet 51 and he sounded pretty white to the point where you likely wouldn't have guessed it was him.
    • 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.
    • Interestingly enough, more recently (as of 2015), one frequently featured guest voice actress on the series (and friend of MacFarlane's) is Miley's ex-Hannah Montana co-star Emily Osment.
    • 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.
    • In "Don't Make Me Over," The Griffins become musical guests on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Jimmy Fallon. The episode first aired around the time that FG was returning from cancellation (around 2005-ish). Fallon wouldn't host an actual episode of SNL until six years later (in 2011), and unlike how the episode depicted him, Fallon never once ruined a sketch by cracking up (he almost did during the "Beethoven's Band" sketch, but he caught himself, and he even admits that his cracking up ruined a lot of good sketches he was in in the actual episode's monologue), but he did make out with a girl who looked younger than he did (it was Rachel Dratch, who is middle-aged in real life but can pass for a teenager eerily well because of how short and girlish she looks. Also, unlike the FG depiction, it was part of the sketch, as Fallon and Dratch were reprising their roles as the Boston Teens). Also, for all the jokes Seth MacFarlane has made about SNL cast members and the show itself (not just on Family Guy, but The Cleveland Show had a fictional SNL episode hosted by Tyne Daly and on the American Dad! episode "Ricky Spanish," Steve said that facing your fears is like watching an episode of Saturday Night Live: the cold opening may suck and the monologue may be terrible, but once Kenan Thompson does his "What Up With That?" sketch, it's actually worth it), it's funny (and a bit hypocritical) that he even would agree to host the first episode of the 38th season — and do a fairly good job of it.
    • 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 an early episode, Peter mentions that he hates the later seasons of M*A*S*H when Alan Alda made the show preachy and dramatic, which is what arguably happened to Family Guy (though Family Guy is making an effort to turn itself around, or — at the very least — be less preachy, but have a good point to make about certain prejudices or ways of thinking, even if the audience doesn't agree with what's being said. In short, some of the later episodes are trying to be like what The Simpsons used to be from seasons one to four).
    • 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).
    • Remember Peter's dad Francis (not his biological father from Ireland, but his Bible-thumping father who hated Lois because she was Protestant, mistook Chris's pooping in the bathroom for masturbating, whacked Brian with a Bible when Brian criticized baptism, and criticized Meg for having a crush on Joe's son)? That strict religious guy who went to work with the Pope John Paul II? Well, nowadays, the new Pope is called Francis I.
    • In "Barely Legal", Meg's friends tell Brian he looks like Ben Affleck. Then, in the "Superfriends" parody opening "Family Goy", Brian is Batman. Then, in 2013, guess who was announced to play who in the Man of Steel sequel?
    • 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.
    • In 2014, a Wheel of Fortune contestant guessed a complex answer off the top of his head just like Peter (although in his defense, he did not first guess "the Batman symbol.")
    • In "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High," Brian is forced to teach a class of thugs and the like. In order to teach them Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet), he tries to speak "their language". Come 2013, and we have the YouTube channel "Thug Notes".
    • 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.
    • The "Rocky VI" cutaway gag from "Petergeist". Said sixth Rocky film (titled Rocky Balboa) came out just a few months later.
    • This clip from "Barely Legal" in which black people celebrate the absence of police officers is this (or a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment) due to the NYPD's 2014 work slowdown due to a racially charged feud with Mayor De Blasio.
    • One cutaway gag had Iceman's wife catching him going to a gay bar. Nine years later, Iceman canonically came out as a homosexual.
    • "Boys Don't Cry" features a DVD-exclusive scene where Christie Brinkley's character in the car in National Lampoon's Vacation gets hit by a semi and Lois brushes off her death with, "Ah, ya marry Billy Joel, it's gonna happen one way or the other". The scene of the sexy female driver getting plowed by a semi while flirting with another driver happens in the trailer for the 2015 reboot/sequel Vacation.
    • 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.
    • There was a cutaway gag poking fun of John Goodman's weight and eating habits to the point that the rest of his family are all Nothing but Skin and Bones. As of 2015, he lost a lot of weight.
    • 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.
    • Family Guy's version of William Shatner - and by extension Captain Kirk - is played by Seth himself. Years later he'd go on to make The Orville, a Star Trek parody in which he also plays the ship's captain.
    • In the episode "Inside Family Guy", Peter dresses up as Little Lotta on the Hollywood Walk of Stars - the joke being that while most performers would choose to dress up as pop culture icons like Spider-Man or Mickey Mouse, Peter went for an obscure character that nobody would recognize. Less than two years later we'd see the debut of Harvey Street Kids, and now Lotta and her friends aren't quite so obscure anymore.
    • 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!
    • A parody of Malcolm in the Middle (with Bryan Cranston voicing Hal) has Hal murder Lois. This was before he would play the role of a drug-dealing killer in "Breaking Bad".
    • One of the early episodes "I Never Met A Dead Man" parodied Scooby-Doo. Sixteen years later, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! would use a similar art style to that of Family Guy.
  • Idiot Plot: The conflict of "Quagmire's Mom" would have been resolved much sooner if somebody pointed out that the teenage girl Quagmire slept with lied about her age, meaning she should have also been on trial. Lampshaded by Chris when he asked for the teenage girl's wherabouts twice!
  • 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: You could make this case for almost every regular in the show.
    • Brian is (or, rather, has become, as the early episodes had him as Peter's sane half who liked to drink) a condescending weasel who a frequent amount of times shows a complete intolerance and apathy for anything under him. He provokes the endless abuse he gets each episode a lot less than most of the other borderline sociopaths in Quahog, however, and is frequently mocked and treated as sub human for being a dog.
    • Peter. Yes, he's a self-centered sociopath who gets away with virtually anything he does, but unlike the above three who are intelligent and aware to a certain degree, violence is probably all Peter knows when dealing with something he can't handle, and when he tries to do another method he usually screws up badly or find himself in a more difficult situation. Also unlike Lois, Quagmire, and Brian who live with the knowledge of how much their parents love them, Peter's own parents are implied not to be so good to him. It's implied, but never stated outright, that Peter's abusive personality may have came from his own troubled background:
      • His real father was never there for him, his mother is implied to be emotionally abusive or at least neglectful towards him (as seen as where a young Peter has a sore tooth and she responds by pitching a glass of wine at him), his stepdad yells at him a lot, and his peers mistreat him daily. Apparently, he's been used as a sex-slave when he was younger for 8 years, unlike others who enjoy or are even motivated by sexual thrill, Peter doesn't enjoy being sexually harassed or being raped, so he's always out to fend for himself. Perhaps Peter's attitude in later episodes is just him finally snapping.
    • Stewie, particularly in the later seasons, where he Took a Level in Kindness. Yes, 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).
  • 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:
  • Memetic Molester: Quagmire. One particularly memorable joke involved him raping Marge Simpson and then murdering every member of The Simpsons family. As you might expect, Matt Groening was so appalled that he threatened never to speak to Seth MacFarlane ever again as a result. Seth himself eventually realized that he'd gone too far with that one.
  • 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 was a Bojack Horseman ripoff where a horse version of Peter briefly appears and say "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.
  • 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.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • "Who Wants Chowder?". Made even worse in "Yug Ylimaf" when the reversal of time forces the vomit back up their mouths.
    • Stewie asking (and finally convincing) Brian to clean out Stewie's diaper when they are trapped together in the bank vault...by eating Stewie's shit. Which causes Stewie to puke, and then he asks and convinces Brian to eat that, too. It was the single grossest thing on Family Guy and pretty much the deal breaker scene for anyone who watches the 150th episode "Brian and Stewie" (which Seth himself has acknowledged).
    • Peter and Quagmire vomited in each other's mouth while kissing on the episode where Quagmire tries to convince a hooker he drunkenly married that he's gay.
    • Brian jamming Stewie's dislocated arm back into the socket in "Be Careful What You Fish For".
    • Brian's hairless body in "A Fistful of Meg".
    • Stewie's, Brian's, and Chris' sores in "Herpes, The Love Sore." The Grossup Closeups do not help.
    • Stewie giving birth in "Stewie is Enceinte". Even if the birth itself isn't shown, it doesn't help that the babies are birthed throughout various body parts of him, such as his mouth.
    • The testicle cutaway from "Fresh Heir".
    • Any time one of the bones pop out of the legs of the characters.
  • Never Live It Down: Some fans will never look at Neil Goldman the same way again after the scene in "Follow the Money" where he shockingly tells his late mother than she can burn in Hell whilst apathetically dumping money on a park bench dedicated to her.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Brian and Stewie's clones melting, then Brian wanting to eat their remains (this was on the TV version. The DVD version replaces this dialogue with Brian asking Stewie if he should search their remains because he left his bank card in one of the clones).
  • 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.
    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.
  • Scapegoat Creator: As can be seen on this very page, Seth MacFarlane is often blamed for just about everything wrong with the later episodes. With a few exceptions, he really hasn't written written or directed an episode in a long time. Of course, he is executive producer—he may not come up with a certain script himself, but he has to approve all of them (and voice about half the characters himself), so he's still responsible for deciding what does and does not get into the show. However, whether or not it's due to his apathy post-Seasonal Rot, there have been numerous jokes that Seth didn't care for that still managed to make it past the final cut, making one think he'd be a bit more mindful of what he puts out. He's also a voice actor for the show, so he could at least petition for dialogue changes.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Jasper is loathed with a hell-fire burning passion by LGBT fans (which would explain why he has only appeared in a cameo since "You May Now Kiss....Uh..The Guy Who Receives") and even ones who aren't. Maybe It's because he is a walking embodiment of every negative gay stereotype, even though the writers say they use him as an advocate for gay rights.
    • Loretta was disliked by the fanbase and show staff. Owing to her bland Sassy Black Woman personality and general nastiness to then milquetoast Nice Guy Cleveland. Combined with Alex Borstein hating the strain voicing Loretta caused her, and it's unsurprising that no tears were shed when she was written off and eventually killed on an episode of The Cleveland Show. It ended with a eulogy montage for her that only really showed off more of her unlikable traits (namely her constant nagging and her lack of remorse cheating on Cleveland).
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • A lot of fans tend to argue that Season 7 was the worst season note , due to 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 
    • There are also some fans who feel that this began to kick in as early as Season 4.
    • Season 3 also had this, but has since been Vindicated by History.
    • There was a time between the 7th and 12th seasons where many said that Season 10 was the worst (and to some still is). Episodes that are prime examples of this include "Seahorse Seashell Party" (for having the worst example of Status Quo Is God), "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" (portraying domestic violence totally straight on a show that makes a living out of doing it for laughs both before and since), "The Blind Side" (all blind people are gullible), "Be Careful What You Fish For" (mostly for the subplot with Brian and Stewie), and "Tea Peter" (the plot can easily offend anyone who's studied politics and containing a joke saying that Autism is an excuse for kids to act ill-mannered). There's another side of the fandom that does say that it is (or was before Season 12) the worst season but only because most of the episodes were completely forgettable.
    • Season 12 is the current low point for the series according to most fans, the main reason being Brain getting killed off in “Life of Brian” only to be brought back three weeks later in “Christmas Guy” It was a ratings grab so desperate and shallow that it caused several longtime fans to lose whatever respect that they still had for the show by that point. 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 using a forklift), “Brian’s a Bad Father” (the main plot being Exactly What It Says on the Tin according to some and the subplot ending with an overly-gory scene of Quagmire shooting Peter in the head), “Fresh Heir” (aka “Let’s See How Many Unfunny Incest Jokes We Can Force Down Your Throat in 22 Minutes”), and “Herpe, the Love Sore” (Brian intentionally giving Stewie & Chris herpes when he becomes blood brothers with them, which is not helped by the fact that this took place some time after Stewie saved Brian, and the subplot involving Peter, Joe, and Quagmire which has one of the worst Unfortunate Implications from the show, if not the worst Unfortunate Implication from Western Animation).
    • Season 13, despite opening with the much-anticipated crossover with The Simpsons (and even that has its share of detractors as well), continues the rot with episodes like "Brian the Closer" (Brian screws over Quagmire), "The 2,000 Year Old Virgin" (All Men Are Perverts, including Jesus), "Our Idiot, Brian" (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), "Quagmire's Mom" (Quagmire here becomes Unintentionally Unsympathetic), and "Stewie is Enceinte" (Enceinte meaning "Pregnant", think about it). Not helping matters is the notable increase in Peter-focused episodes that season, which had some of the other Griffins (notably Meg and Chris) often going several episodes without speaking or even appearing, resulting with the Fan Nickname The Peter Griffin Show.
    • Season 16, mainly the episodes after the show returned from an over two month long hiatus. The episodes beginning with "Send in Stewie, Please" through the season finale of "Are You There God? It's Me, Peter" are noted by several as being the same kind of bland and generic episodes that one would've expected from Seasons 8 through 13 of the show filled with the same kind of problems that plague said seasons to boot (such as the roughly two minute long scene of Peter trying to properly park the boat into the water in "The Unkindest Cut" which has quickly gone on to become one of the show's most infamous Overly Long Gags, joining the ranks of the beached whale in "Peter's Problems" and Peter's karaoke bit in "Quagmire's Mom") That isn't to say the first half was perfect either (for example, this half of the season had the multi episode arc of Brian being separated from the Griffins which at best got mixed to positive feedback), but it was far less problematic and varying in quality when compared to the latter half of the season. In short, this season was seen by many as a disappointment when compared to the previous one but still as a whole has received generally positive reviews.
  • 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.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "Road to the North Pole": Be grateful with what you have and don't be selfish during the holiday season.
    • Rush Limbaugh telling Brian to actually give differing opinions a chance before passing judgment on them as heard in "Excellence in Broadcasting"
    • "Friends of Peter G.": Keep your cravings in moderation and don't let them control your life.
    • "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar": Feminism is about choice. Choosing to be a wife and mother doesn't make a woman any less empowered. Also: men need to realize that women are people too, and should be treated equally (or at least that was the moral they were aiming for).
    • "[i]f 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." (looks at the camera) "Yeah."
    • There's a reason why Jeffrey Fecalman was played straight.
    • From "Brian Writes a Bestseller,": Putting faith in your work is often more important than the quality of the work itself.
    • Controversial as it may be, "Extra Large Medium" correctly makes the point that simply having a mental disorder doesn't negate a person from being a rude Jerkass.
    • "Cool Hand Peter": If you're a Cop (or just somebody in a position of power), you have an obligation to be more ethically upstanding than average citizen, not less.
    • "Dog Gone": Animals deserve the same rights as humans.
    • "Baby Got Black": Being the victim of bigotry is horrible but allowing those past experiences to allow you to act the same way is wrong.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 bratty teenager 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 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. He slammed her face in a fire extinguisher 18 times and only stopped after Meg begged him to do so.
  • 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 peek period airing while he was in college, the two shows actually have very little in common, 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.
  • 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.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:
    • Diane Simmons' short movie Lint.
    • Stewie's music video he made for Susie.
      Brian: I'm not following the storyline here.
      Stewie: Shut up!
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Fat Brian.
    • Some fans see Stewie as this.
    • In "Stewie is Enceinte", two of the mutant "babies" that more closely resemble Brian and Stewie are actually adorable.
  • Uncanny Valley: This is more of a character animation example, but the modern seasons' animation falls into this. In every single episode, the exact same character poses and facial expressions for the characters are constantly reused in every scene instead of starting from scratch with variety like most cartoons do at the beginning of a new episode, which makes the characters feel very lifeless, stiff, and repetitive like robots. Many of people have caught on about this animation, and it's frequently the butt of a lot of jokes at animation.
  • 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," the writers seemed to take the hint and have toned it down, however.note 
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Meg. See below.
    • Chris to a lesser extent, due to similar reasons.
  • 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:
  • 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.

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