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Family Guy is an American animated television series about a dysfunctional family in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island. It was created by Seth MacFarlane for FOX Broadcasting Company in 1999. The show uses frequent cutaway gags, jokes in the form of tangential vignettes that do not advance the story. The show is criticized for using story premises and humor similar to those used in episodes of The Simpsons, another animated series on the FOX network. Numerous writers associated with The Simpsons, such as Matt Groening, Al Jean, David X. Cohen, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Joel H. Cohen have made fun of Family Guy during public appearances, in interviews, and on DVD commentaries.
- “You know, it's funny. Matt Groening and I actually have a great relationship. We've talked several times in the past few weeks and joked about this. One day out of nowhere this rumour pops up in papers and magazines. Actually, it was probably one comment that was taken out of context in Blender. Matt's just a cool guy, and fortunately neither of us was ruffled by any of that stuff. We just laughed it off.”
- ―Seth MacFarlane
- “The rivalry is very affectionate. Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is a good guy and he does great work, and I certainly have no problem with the perceived competition. If anything, we have the same kind of competition that Pugsley Addams and Eddie Munster had in the old days. They duked it out a few times, and so did Seth and I, but that's probably before your time. I think Family Guy and American Dad have definitely staked out their own style and territory, and now the accusations are coming that The Simpsons is taking jokes from Family Guy. And I can tell you, that ain't the case.”
- ―Matt Groening
According to the DVD commentary in the Family Guy episode "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", FOX cut the scene which makes an extended reference to The Simpsons. FOX refused to air it on the basis that they wanted "the feud" between him and Matt Groening. The scene can only be seen on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Seth goes on to say that there is no feud, and claims it's only when Family Guy does a joke about The Simpsons, not the other way around, it gets cut and that FOX are afraid of James L. Brooks. According to him, both Al Jean and James L. Brooks were angry about the scene, but Matt Groening apparently liked it, and FOX cut it from the final version, ruining the end of the first act of that episode. The full version of the scene was shown on Adult Swim, TBS, and on DVDs.
In The Simpsons Game, when you play as Bart in Matt Groening's level, you hear him say "I wish I invented Family Guy" and Homer mistakes Matt Groening for Seth MacFarlane as TV's most-beloved animated visionary.
Peter Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), is the patriarch of the Griffin household, an Irish-American blue-collar worker. He is a lazy, immature, obese, laid-back, dim-witted, outspoken, eccentric alcoholic. Peter's jobs have included being a toy maker at the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory, an independent fisherman for on his own personal yacht, and a brewer at the Pawtucket Brewery, (though due to the recent passing of his boss's voice actor, he'll probably need to move on again)
Lois Griffin (voiced by Alex Borstein), is Peter's wife and the mother of Meg, Chris, and Stewie. She is a Jewish/German/Scots/Anglo-American housewife who cares for her kids and her husband. Though she's generally a stay at home, woman, she has the job of teaching children how to play the piano. Lois is also very flirtatious and has slept with numerous people on the show. Being ignored by her husband to the extent she's been, it's not justified, but at least understandable, why she commits occasional acts of adultery. Most of the time, Peter is well aware of her lack of treachery, but seems not to care, given her constant apologize, Peter's failure to differ right from wrong, and the fact that Peter hasn't been 100% true to her either.
Christopher "Chris" Griffin (voiced by Seth Green), is Peter and Lois' 14-year-old son. He is obese, irresponsible, and emotionally effusive. Chris tries fitting in with his peers, but fails due to his social awkwardness. He fails tests with great persistence and has been deemed "the dumbest kid in school", by the school faculty in "No Chris Left Behind". Sometimes, Chris tries to prove he's no dummy and follows through with it. A notable example would be "Space Cadet". One thing is safe to say, and that's that he's at least smarter than his father, proven in various episodes. A recurring gag is that an evil monkey lives in his closet which he finds out is not evil in the episode "Hannah Banana".
Megatron "Meg" Griffin (voiced by Lacey Chabert in season 1, Mila Kunis since season 2), is the Griffins' 18-year-old child and only daughter. She is a self-conscious, somewhat unattractive teenage girl with severely low self-esteem, being portrayed as generally soft and non-rebellious. Meg is the least respected member of the family, falling victim to insults, neglect, and mild instances of child abuse, that manage to just barely avoid crossing the line. Meg has a bizarre, messed up love life, having only been able to date guys with bodily dysfunctions, criminal histories, mental illnesses, etc. Add to that, she's had a handful of main/major characters, including Brian Griffin, Mayor Adam West, Tom Tucker, Glenn Quagmire, and Joe Swanson.
Stewart "Stewie" Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), is the Griffins' one-year-old child, but often behaves in adult ways such as speaking in an upper-class British accent. He is a child genius who frequently aspired to murder his mother Lois and take over the world but has since mellowed out considerably. Stewie built a time machine with which he and Brian have traveled through time.
Brian Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), is the family's anthropomorphic talking white Labrador Retriever and the best friend of both Peter and Stewie. He and Stewie are often at the center of the show's most critically acclaimed episodes, most notably the "Road to..." episodes, where he and Stewie go on road-trips together. Brian is portrayed as an intellectual—a Brown University attendee—who often serves as the family's voice of reason, pointing out how ridiculous Peter's ideas are. He is not-so-secretly in love with Lois and is an unsuccessful, unemployed writer.
Glenn Quagmire (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), is sex-addicted, bachelor life living, next door neighbor of The Griffins and one of Peter's best friends. He is an airline pilot for Spirit Airlines, but is best known for his extreme sexuality and always saying "Giggity" or "Alright". He is attracted to nearly every woman, especially Lois Griffin, though he'd never tell Peter that.
Cleveland Brown (voiced by Mike Henry), is Peter's mild-mannered friend who formerly owned and ran a deli. He is a heavyset, mustached African-American male who is very polite to everyone and has a unique laugh. He is the father of Cleveland Junior. A running gag in the series is the front of his house being damaged, usually as a result of one of Peter's shenanigans, while Cleveland is in the upstairs bathtub. The tub always falls into the front yard with Cleveland exclaiming, "What the hell?! No, no, no, no, no, no!!!" Following his departure from Quahog, the character became the star of his own spin-off series The Cleveland Show, during which he lived in Stoolbend, Virginia.
Joseph "Joe" Swanson (voiced by Patrick Warburton), is the Griffins' neighbor and Peter's friend. He is a paraplegic police officer who suffers from impotence and incontinence. Joe still proves to be an extremely skilled police officer, as he is constantly seen pursuing criminals or rescuing victims with the aid of his wheelchair and even goes so far as to abandon his wheelchair to complete his work. When he first debuted, Joe mentioned that he was crippled stopping the Grinch from stealing Christmas from an orphanage. He is usually shown as being very tactful, but he also has severe anger issues. He is married to Bonnie Swanson, who was once pregnant for many years. They have a son named Kevin who staged his own death in Iraq. He also has an infant daughter, Susie.
Family Guy references in The Simpsons
|At the end of "Missionary: Impossible", Betty White entreats viewers to help keep "this crude, low-brow programming" on the air, while the television next to her has the Family Guy logo.|
|In Replaceable You, Mr. Burns says "What the deuce?" in a similar fashion to Stewie Griffin does.|
|In "Treehouse of Horror XIII", Homer creates clones of himself that mostly look and act exactly like him (except for being dumber). When the clones create an army of themselves, variations begin to appear, and one of the "variant" clones is Peter Griffin, reflecting the common criticism that Peter is too similar to Homer Simpson - in other words, a clone of him.|
|In the ending credits for "Treehouse of Horror XVI", Al Jean is credited as Al "Family Guy" Jean.|
|In "The Wandering Juvie", when fighting with Bart, Gina calls Bart a "family guy".|
|In "The Italian Bob", swipes are taken at both Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane other show, American Dad!. In trying to identify Sideshow Bob, the Italian police look through a book of criminals, in which there are pictures of Peter Griffin (accused of Plagiarismo, Plagiarism implying that Family Guy is a ripoff of The Simpsons) and Stan Smith (accused of Plagiarismo de plagiarismo, Plagiarism of Plagiarism implying that American Dad! is a ripoff of Family Guy, which, in turn, is a ripoff of The Simpsons).|
|In the credits for "Homerland", families from other Fox shows can be seen, including Family Guy, American Dad!, Bob's Burgers and The Cleveland Show.|
The Simpsons references in Family Guy
|In "8 Simple Rules of Buying My Teenage Daughter", Stewie criticizes the babysitter's boyfriend for downloading "Mr. Plow" (an episode of The Simpsons), saying that everyone else has watched it and he is not special for watching it, too.|
|In a special Police Squad!-style opening in "PTV", Stewie runs Homer Simpson over with his toy bike in the garage. His attempt to run away is analogous to running away from the car. Here, he does not crash through the door, and is knocked out unconscious. Peter then asks Stewie "Who the Hell is that?".|
|In "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", Brian mentions Stewie selling out, cueing a cutaway of Stewie being in one of the infamous Simpsons Butterfinger commercials. Stewie quotes "Nobody better lay a finger on my butterfinger" and then adds "D'oh!".|
|Marge Simpson and Glenn Quagmire are seen together in a fake promotion for the show in "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)". After enjoying their time together, Marge brings Quagmire to Springfield to have more fun. After a long night of sex with Marge, Homer catches them in the act. The Simpson family is then killed in one-by-one a chain reaction shooting by Quagmire. This scene was omitted from all FOX broadcasts at the insistence of Simpsons producers, who did not allow the voice actors to reprise their roles for the scene. It is only available on Adult Swim prints, TBS prints, and DVD.|
|In "Lois Kills Stewie", one of the society offenders from the DVD-exclusive song, "I've Got a Little List", is "the guy who watched the Simpsons back in 1994 and won't admit the damn thing isn't funny anymore". The Simpsons fan in question can be pointed out by his Bart Simpson t-shirt.|
|Homer appears in "The Juice Is Loose" at O. J. Simpson's "Welcome to Quahog" party, as the Simpson Mayor Adam West was referring to. He uttered his catchphrase "D'oh!".|
Peter pitches a cartoon to a TV network and promises that the show will be the next Simpsons in "FOX-y Lady".
|Originally in "Something, Something, Dark Side", Luke Skywalker (played by Chris Griffin) was going to decapitate a Darth Vader head, resembling that of Homer Simpson's. Due to copyright issues however, the head was changed to a regular Darth Vader head in the final cut.|
|In "Big Man on Hippocampus", Peter gets amnesia and forgets everything about him. When Lois introduces Meg as his daughter, he says "D'oh!" and Lois has to tell him that the phrase is not his catchphrase.|
|At the end of "Dial Meg for Murder", the ending credits were in the same font as the ones used in The Simpsons. However, the font used here is not the exact font used, but is in the Akbar font.|
|A reference to Butterfinger has been featured as a candy called "Notafinger", which was mentioned by Stewie Griffin in "Halloween on Spooner Street".|
|In "New Kidney in Town", Peter's skin becomes flushed and turns completely yellow. He claims that he is perfectly healthy and could go on for another 20 years. This is a joke on The Simpsons having yellow-skinned characters and how the series could continue on for an extremely long time.|
|Many of the characters appear in "Cool Hand Peter" as the jury for the trial of Peter Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, Joe Swanson and Cleveland Brown. At first, Peter is relieved to learn that it is a jury of their peers, but Joe points out that they don't see it that way.|
|In "Family Guy Viewer Mail #2", Stewie says that Family Guy is based off of an American sitcom called The Simpsons.|
|In "Ratings Guy", Peter Griffin goes to report how he messed up TV. Homer Simpson then shows up to report how he messed up TV. Peter then points out that this is a story they beat them to.|
|Bart Simpson is among the characters Stewie Griffin morphs in to when Peter Griffin fools with the remote in "Boopa-Dee Bappa-Dee".|
|When Peter gets drunk in "Save the Clam", he reminisces about all of his best memories. These memories, however, are not his. They are the memories of Homer Simpson. His memories are Maggie's first tooth, Mr. Plow, and Bart jumping the gorge.|
|The Griffin family travels to Springfield to meet the Simpsons in the hour long crossover episode The Simpsons Guy.|
|In "Guy, Robot", a drunken Peter admits that although they don't act like it, they stole a lot of their material from The Simpsons.|
|In "The Boys in the Band", Chris applies for a job working for Quagmire. When Quagmire asks him what his references are, Chris' references are literally references to movies and TV shows. One of which was Bart Simpson's catchphrase, "Cowabunga".|
|In "Inside Family Guy, there is a picture of Brian Griffin, waving to a bunch of excited fans, driving by. The camera then pans out, revealing that the fans were actually cheering about a giant promotional painting of The Simpsons in the episode. The family appears on the painting as well as (from left to right) Sherri and Terri, Moe Szyslak, Krusty the Clown, Charles Montgomery Burns, and Waylon Smithers, Jr..|
|In "Cop and a Half-Wit", Peter and Joe start unzipping people's costumes, and revealing them for who they truly were. One of the things Peter does is unzip the screen, revealing a clip from the couch gag of "At Long Last Leave", only this time, the Simpsons notice the viewers and the HDTV is not there.|
|In "Emmy-Winning Episode", the cast panders to the audience about The Simpsons winning more Emmys than they do. Lois brings up their crossover with The Simpsons, and Peter feels jealous, when noticing how the negative reviews of The Simpsons, are even better than their own negative reviews. Later, at the end of the episode, Family Guy finally gets a heart-felt message from one of their fans. However, as they read it, it turns out the fan got their show mixed up with The Simpsons. He also describes his favorite episode of the series, being "The one where Homer stays home from church." This was the plot of "Homer the Heretic".|
|In "Foxx in the Men House", Peter refers to himself as the "second best Homer".|
|In "Petey IV", Vladimir Putin says he has the second best versions of everything in his house. Peter then asks if he watches The Simpsons, and Vladimir says "No, I watch Family Guy."|
- Family Guy's Stewie Has an Untold Story TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. “You know, it's funny. Matt Groening and I actually have a great relationship. We've talked several times in the past few weeks and joked about this. One day out of nowhere this rumour pops up in papers and magazines. Actually, it was probably one comment that was taken out of context in Blender. Matt's just a cool guy, and fortunately neither of us was ruffled by any of that stuff. We just laughed it off.”
- Commentary for Movin' Out (Brian's Song)
- Simpsons in Family Guy crossover