When I think back to the best parts of my childhood, there always seems to be a familiar presence in the background of my memories. This familiar presence is the television show, Family Guy. It always seemed to be on the TV whenever I was at my best friend’s house, and we lost countless hours just watching the episodes on a loop. I remember at one time we even had two televisions set up, and they were both tuned in to Family Guy! Now that’s living!
Family Guy has had a long and storied history, especially compared to other late night cartoon shows. It’s up there with the best of the best, including The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Futurama, and others, even including classics like The Flintstones or The Jetsons. However, no other show really encapsulated the nineties for me quite like Family Guy.
A show with as long a run as Family Guy has had is bound to have many minute and interesting details that even the most dedicated fan has never heard of. So in this list, we will be covering some of these details. Most of these are ones that had no idea about while I was researching the list and ones that I found incredibly interesting. Hopefully, this list will have the same effect on you as well.
So please get ready to learn a few new things about one of the best grown-up cartoon shows of all time, and definitely one of my favorites.
25 Can't Understand The Baby
In many of the early episodes of the show, it seems that the family can understand exactly what Stewie says, although the basically ignore most of it and still think he is a cute little baby. However, this is not the case with later episodes of the show.
In later episodes, it’s hinted that the Griffin family cannot understand Stewie at all and that they possibly just hear baby talk when Stewie is talking. And then sometimes it’s not made clear at all.
24 The Reason For The Star Wars Gags
Family Guy is famous for doing many, many gags about Star Wars. The gags they do usually make fun of the franchise in a playful sort of way. The main reason that the show is able to get away with this is because George Lucas gave the writers the go-ahead.
George Lucas is a huge fan of Family Guy.
And he told the writers that it was okay to make fun of Star Wars as much as they wanted. Those gags are some of my favorite moments in the show.
23 Meg's Real Name
Many fans of the show assume that Meg, Peter Griffin’s daughter, is actually named Megan, which would be pretty logical. But that’s really not the case. During one scene in the show, Lois hands Meg’s birth certificate to Peter and he alters it to read Megatron.
So Meg’s legal name is not Megan like everyone would assume. It’s actually Megatron. Which I find absolutely hilarious. It was a quick gag in the show, but it has big repercussions for Meg’s character.
22 Same Dinner Every Night
One detail that some fans haven’t quite picked up on in the show is that the Griffin family always seems to have the same exact meal for dinner.
Their dinner is always made up of mashed potatoes, peas, and three pieces of meat.
Perhaps this was a way to cut down on animation costs because the animators knew that pretty much nobody would notice or care about the meals in the show. Or perhaps it was an homage to other cartoons where the same thing happens.
21 The Old-School Reference
In the opening of the show, Lois can be seen playing the piano and singing with her husband, Peter. This little scene is actually a parody of the opening of another show. That show is All in the Family, which debuted in 1971 and is one of the most popular shows of all time.
The Family Guy opening spoofs the scene of Edith playing the piano and singing with Archie, which were the two main characters in All in the Family.
20 A Woman's Shirt?
One really funny detail that I definitely did not pick up on when I watched the show, is that Peter’s white dress shirt that he wears all the time, is actually a woman’s shirt! This is because the buttons on the shirt button on the right side, over the left, which indicates a woman’s shirt.
I did not even know that the layout of the buttons of a dress shirt dictates whether or not a shirt is for men or women, but now I do. You learn something new every day! I wonder if the animators knew that, or if it is just a mistake.
19 The Reason Why Meg Is Treated That Way
If you watch the show you’ll notice that the Griffin family spends quite a lot of time being mean to Meg on many different levels. It is a running gag in the show that has been going on pretty much since the show’s inception.
Seth MacFarlane has stated that the reason the family makes so much fun of Meg all the time is because the writers just had no idea how to write a teenage girl, so they defaulted to making fun of her.
18 Why Brian Just Doesn't Believe
During the show, Brian, the family’s dog, has actually personally met several deities through various storylines. However, even though this is the case, he is still a non-believer, which is a source of comedy throughout the show.
The reason Brian is an atheist is because Seth MacFarlane, the show’s creator, is also a non-believer, and basically uses Brian as a stand-in for himself. This is also why Brian speaking voice is the same as Seth MacFarlane’s speaking voice.
17 This Character's Based On A Popular Sitcom
One fun fact about Family Guy is that Peter’s boss, Angela, is based on another fictional workplace boss from the 1990s. Angela is actually based on Rachel Green’s boss from the show, Friends.
Looking back, you can definitely see the resemblance.
I definitely did not notice this when I first watched the show, but maybe that was because I didn’t watch Friends until a bit later in my life. Either way, this is still an interesting fun fact that not many people know about.
16 A Surprise Reference
During season eleven of Family Guy, the writers got a bit creative with the opening of the show. They changed the opening of the show for a few episodes to resemble and parody King of the Hill’s unique opening.
King of the Hill was another extremely popular adult cartoon in the 90s and early 2000s, which was in direct competition with other shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons. These three shows are generally considered the “holy trinity” of grown-up cartoon shows.
15 The Surprise About Brian's Prius
Since the fourth season of the show, Brian Griffin has driven a Toyota Prius. This is a detail that many fans probably missed, because it is really not that important to the show, even though it is used for comedy on some occasions.
Brian’s license plate says BRI DOG.
The fact that a talking dog can also drive is pretty funny, but his license plate is funny as well, using "dog" as a slang term while also referencing the fact that Brian is a dog.
14 The Barrington Connection
One small detail about the show that is definitely miss-able by fans, is the fact that every high-end hotel in Family Guy has “Barrington” in the name. No matter what high-end hotel is in the show, the writers make sure that it has Barrington in its title.
The creator of the show, Seth MacFarlane, has stated that the hotels in the show are named after Barrington, Rhode Island, which is a very upscale community. And since the show is located in Rhode Island, this makes sense.
13 Brian's Hidden Ink
Did you know that Brian actually has a tattoo? Well, if you didn’t, you just learned something! Yep, it’s true, Brian, the Griffin’s pet dog in the show, has a tattoo of the comic character, Ziggy.
Ziggy is the main character of the comic of the same name.
Ziggy made its debut in 1968, so it is a very old comic that has a long history. It is definitely a comic that was before the time of the target demographic of Family Guy, but that doesn’t make this detail any less interesting.
12 All The Robot Chicken References
There are some scenes in the show that make fun of another late night grown-up television show. There are many gags where Family Guy makes fun of Robot Chicken, which also airs on Adult Swim.
What many people don’t know is that the voice of Chris Griffin, Peter’s son, is Seth Green. Seth Green is the co-creator of Robot Chicken, which gives the joke an extra bit of meta-humor. Robot Chicken is also an extremely popular show in its own right.
11 Lois' Original Hair Color
One fun fact about the show that many fans don’t know about is that Lois, the matriarch of the Griffin family, was originally going to be drawn with blonde hair instead of red. The writers changed her hair to red after much debate.
This might explain where Chris Griffin’s blonde hair comes from. Neither of his parents has blonde hair, so it is a bit strange. But now knowing that Lois was originally intended to have blonde hair, it makes a bit more sense.
10 The Reason For Chris' Voice
Seth Green, the voice of Chris Griffin in the show, has actually revealed in special commentary that the voice he uses for Chris is based on a character from a horror movie. That character is Ted Levine’s portrayal of Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
Looking back on the show, you can kind of see how Chris’s voice is related to Buffalo Bill’s in a weird way, and I think it’s hilarious that Seth Green picked such a strange character to base the voice on.
9 Why Stewie Is British
While Seth Green based Chris Griffin’s voice on Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs, Seth MacFarlane based Stewie Griffin’s voice on a different inspiration. Seth MacFarlane, who voices Stewie in the show, based his voice on Rex Harrison.
Rex Harrison was a prolific English actor in movies and stage plays. Not many fans know that Stewie’s voice is based on him because he was active much earlier than the demographics of the show, so most of the fans of Family Guy probably don’t even know who he is.
8 The Inspiration Behind Quagmire
Speaking of inspirations, the character of Glen Quagmire, one of Peter Griffin’s closest friends, was actually based on Bob Hope. His character and personality were not based on Bob Hope, but the look of his face was modeled after the actor.
If you look at the two characters side by side, you can definitely see some similarities between their facial structures. It is a very unique look that suits Quagmire well in the show, and it is also a subtle resemblance.
7 Huge Fan Of Star Trek
One thing many fans of the show may not realize is that Seth MacFarlane is a huge fan of Star Trek. There have been many, many gags in Family Guy referencing Star Trek, which is explained by Seth MacFarlane’s love of the show.
Not only that, but MacFarlane had also appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2009 as well as creating a new show that is basically a love letter to Star Trek, called The Orville, which debuted in 2017.
6 Loving The Clams
Family Guy references clams a lot, which is a detail that many fans might miss on first viewing. The name of the town, Quahog, is actually the name of a clam. The bar that Peter and his friends visit all the time also has "clam" in the name.
This probably references the fact that the show is set in the northeast of the United States, which is famous for its seafood and especially the clams, including food like New England Clam Chowder.
5 The Struggling Novelist
Throughout the show, it is hinted at that Brian, the Griffin’s talking dog, is actually a struggling novelist. Many times, the family talks about Brian’s novel that he is working on, somewhat making fun of him for not finishing it.
In one episode, Brian reveals what his novel is about, and it turns out to rip off the film, Iron Eagle from 1986, to great comedic effect. The novel that he has been working on for most of his life actually rips off a movie!
4 The Common Opening
Here’s a little detail about the show that you might only pick up if you binge watch the show, watching many episodes back to back to back. Did you know that almost every episode begins with the Griffin family sitting on their couch in the living room?
Yep! That’s exactly how most of the episodes of Family Guy begin, with the Griffin family just sitting on their couch. Compared to the hijinks they get into on the show, that’s a pretty tame way to open each episode.
3 Hungry Eyes
Stewie, the Griffin family’s infant genius son, actually has a favorite song. Do you know what it is? If you guessed Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen, you’d be correct. That song is, in fact, Stewie’s favorite! Hungry Eyes was released in 1987 and is a very famous song.
The song is mostly famous for being featured in the popular movie, Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze. Any time I hear the song, I definitely think of that movie, and I can see why it might be Stewie’s favorite.
2 The Fateful Flight
Did you know that the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane, is actually lucky just to be alive? He was scheduled to fly on Flight 11 on a famous, fateful day in 2001. But he got the time of the flight wrong and also was feeling sick from the night before, and missed the flight. This flight ended up being historically famous for crashing. It's gotta be pretty tough knowing that you were almost on that flight that day.
1 That Time It Was Nominated For An Emmy
In 2009, Family Guy was nominated for an Emmy. It was the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and it marked the first time since The Flintstones, a show that debuted in 1960, that an animated show was nominated in this category.
It’s crazy to think that with all the amazing and funny cartoon shows out there, none had been nominated for this particular Emmy since The Flintstones. But I think Family Guy was deserving of their nomination, as it is one of the best comedies ever, in my opinion.