Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
The Best (And Some of the Longest-Running) Family Guy Jokes of All Time
Since originally airing over ten years ago, Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy is an adult cartoon that has become something of a cultural phenomenon, often igniting debate with its abrasive and bold sense of humor.
But look past the fart jokes and the jabs that have the most uptight of people condemning it as an abomination, and you’ll find that Family Guy is actually a witty and intelligent show rife with ingenious parody, super-quotable quotes and clever social commentary. In fact, it’s the subtleties and nuances of the show’s writing that has made it one of the most influential and important shows of our generation.
Not to toot our own horns, but Blake and I have taken up the mantle of being some of the most diehard Family Guy fans out there. Okay, we’re totally tooting our own horns, but since we’re lucky enough to have a forum to express our shared love of all things rude and comedic, we’ve decided to pay homage to the show by picking out the best recurring jokes in Family Guy. Have any picks we missed? Share them in the comments below!
(NOTE: Some of the videos here are NSFW. And some of them are not the best quality. Blame YouTube!)
Peter (Or Anybody Else) Skins Their Knee
Cassidee: “SSSSSKT! Aaaaaaaaah…” love this. Even though it sometimes borders on getting on your nerves, it’s still funny, because we’ve all been there; we’ve all skinned our knee, stubbed our toe, or banged an elbow and have tried the deep breathing technique to get rid of the pain. That’s what makes this joke (and its multiple forms) so endearing.
Blake: Aaah, one of the classics. This is a classic example of Family Guy taking a joke almost too far, while squeezing every last drop of humor out of it. Some of my favorite variations of it are Lois taking up the “SSSSSKT! Aaaaaaaah…” mantle, and the picture of Peter with a Skyrim helmet and, of course, an arrow to the knee.
The Vaudeville Guys (Play me off, Johnny!)
C: One of Family Guy’s favorite things to do is poke fun at the trends of different time periods. And, like pretty much any subject matter on the show, nothing is safe from scrutiny, including the hammy jokes and stage acts of decades gone by. The whole “play me of, Johnny!” line is amazing, only to be eclipsed by the brutal (yet hilarious) shooting that led to the duo’s ultimate demise.
B: This joke was so perfect because it worked anywhere. Literally any scene could be ended by shooting it to the Vaudeville guys and letting things get awkward. Thankfully, the amazing writing team realized that Johnny was becoming something of a crutch, so they had Stewie take care of them. Even death couldn’t stop the magic of vaudeville though, as we see their ghosts later on awkwardly getting played off in heaven.
Cleveland Spills From The Tub
C: Perfectly summed up by a Youtube commenter: “He should really stop taking baths during Peter’s shenanigans.”
B: Another classic, I laughed so hard the first time I saw this. I have seen poor Cleveland de-bathed by a tank, a giraffe, a hot-air balloon and a Russian missile. They saved the best for last however, when Peter’s antics with a dinosaur skeleton sadly end Loretta’s life. No, no, no, no nooooooo!
Everybody Hates Meg (Random Meg Violence)
C: Ever the scapegoat for the family, Meg serves as one of the most interesting characters in the show. She’s treated with such insensitivity we don’t expect that the humor around Meg is hilarious and, in a way, shocking. And Mila Kunis is awesome. The end.
B: Meg, who let you into this article?
Kool-Aid Man Gags
C: As a kid from the 90’s who remembers seeing these ads every Saturday morning in between cartoons, having a good riff on the Kool Aid Man is genius. Well played.
B: OH YEAH! I’m constantly amazed at the many different ways Family Guy can make the Kool-Aid Man cause me to bust out laughing. My favorite instance was when Kool-Aid got his own house busted down. You, know, from the other side that’s kind of annoying.”
C: Pretty sure I have a permanent wrinkle in the corner of my mouth from laughing at the “Ooh! Piece of candy!” line over an over again. So, thanks for that.
B: I was a little disappointed they unflinchingly repeated the “top men” bit, but man I love James Woods. I agree with Cassidee, the piece of candy schtick gets me every time. One of the most quotable lines there is.
C: “Who’d like to hear a story about a bridge?” Buzz Killington is easily one of my favorite cutaway gags, and the nose-pinching groan of agony is the first thing that pops into my head whenever someone asks me about the weather or a distant relative whips out the photo album of their kids to show me at a family reunion. Classic.
B: Lol. Buzz Killington. That guy. The term Buzz Killington has been entered into personal lexicon whenever somebody, well, pulls a Buzz Killington. How many other shows can boast something like that?
Al Harrington Sells Everything (Including Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men)
C: Thanks to the wacky waving inflatabe arm-flailing tube man, I can never again drive past a car dealership and not exclaim the tongue twister with the same gusto as Mr. Harrington himself.
B: And let’s not forget about the Crudely Painted Not So Funny Plywood Cutout Folk Art. Crudely Painted Not So Funny Plywood Cutout Folk Art. Crudely Painted…
Old Man Herbert Likes Chris
C: Whether he’s watching the Little League World Series or mimicking John Cusack in “Say Anything”, Herbert is a creepy, yet truly unique character. We’ve all met the weird, unsettling old man that we were never quite comfortable around, and because of that, it’s all too easy to laugh at the absurd creepiness of Herbert the Pervert.
B: I have never been that big on Old Man Herbert, giggity, but every now and then that creep will say something that really just hits my funny bone…something I’m sure Herbert would love to do to Chris.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty
C: As one of the most random and unique cutaways Family Guy has ever seen, Conway Twitty has become easily one of my favorite parts of the show. And fun fact: it’s because of Family Guy’s incessant cuts to Mr. Twitty that I actually dug into a Wal Mart bargain bin and gave a friend of mine Conway Twitty’s greatest hits for Christmas two years ago. So, Conway won $5 off of me, and I won a priceless amount of laughs. Everybody wins.
And as an aside, there’s nothing cooler than a cowboy with 60’s hair who looks like he’s got an entire packet of Big Leauge Chew in his mouth while singing. Nothing, I say.
B: I grudgingly applaud Seth MacFarlane for sticking with Mr. Conway Twitty, but at the same time, dude. They showed a whole video one time. One of my favorite things about Family Guy is that they will absolutly “go there”, but that was the longest three minutes of my life. Yet some people, not naming any names here *glances upwards*, love it. Some people are weird…
The Giant Chicken and Peter
C: I hate the giant chicken fights. They’re long-winded and take out a significant chunk of the episode. They serve as a parody of classic films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and always feel like MacFarlane and co. are giving viewers a massive middle finger by shoving violence into the forefront of the episode and making us take it in like the fat kid had to eat the chocolate cake in Matilda.
Of course, I’m speaking ironically. The giant chicken fights are hilarious, and nothing if not an integral part of Family Guy as a whole.
B: See, this is what I’m talking about. The chicken fights are awesome! The premise is awesome, and the animations usually showcase the best they have to offer. I really love it when they downplay the Giant Chicken and show him reacting to something without a fight.
Peter Gets A New (And Expensive) Ride
B: How does he afford these things!
C: Of all of them, my favorite ride of Peter’s is the Petercopter. It crashes and tear’s Joe’s lawn up…oh man. Just…too funny. It’s a nice throwback to the ridiculous rides of cartoons and films gone by, paying homage to them the way only Family Guy could.
B: Consuela is, hands down, one of my favorite characters on the show. Seriously. “No, no, Superman no home.” Another quote that has taken a life of its own. Oh, kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty.
C: Of all the secondary characters on the show, there’s none that gets me more than Consuela. Ever since her first appearance as head of the maid’s union, demanding more Lemon Pledge in court, her iconic “Nooo…..” is one line that gets me every time, no matter how often I’ve seen it.
B: I remember, early on in Family Guy’s life, when Stewie’s matricidal tendecies were more focused. He hadn’t yet found his niche as a character, so he put a lot of work into his crazy gadgets. I wish he would get back to that. It’s like Brian said, he’s going soft. Some of my favorite inventions include the Multiverse Generator, his assortment of time portals and Bitch Stewie.
C: Blake brings up a good point here. In the early seasons, they really tried to create this weird dynamic with Stewie as an evil genius that just really didn’t work out, and eventually ditched that to create the more sarcastic Stewie we’ve all come to know and love. But there’s still something to be said for all of Stewie’s inventions, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of a return to it, so long as they keep his current character intact.
Stewie and Gay Jokes
B: There was a pirate cutaway gag in one of the early seasons that all but confirmed Stewie’s homosexuality, but we also know he can have a soft spot for the ladies. My prediction: Stewie will end up with a woman. She just may have a manginus…and I would like to stress that that is perfectly okay.
C: I never know exactly what to make of the gay jokes thrown Stewie’s way. Is it simply for fun? Or does he really lean that way? Of course, it doesn’t matter one way or the other, but it’s still an odd occurrence in the Family Guy universe. Then again, so is the relationship between Brian and Stewie.
B: These have always been Family Guy’s bread-and-butter, and what really separates Family Guy from its contemporaries. I wouldn’t even know where to begin picking my favorite, but you have to acknowledge the beauty of the cutaway. They’re better than that time that Mitt Romney made me weed cupcakes….no cutaway? Hmm, thought we had a cutaway queued up for that.
C: Just like McDonald’s wouldn’t be McDonald’s without a Big Mac, Family Guy simply would not be Family Guy without its famous cutaway gags. It’s the ridiculous nature of them that makes the show so endearing. Of course you don’t actually believe that Peter was a clown during Vietnam, but it is so ridiculous that it works. It’s in the cutaways that the show really expresses a lot of its social commentary as well, such as the one that talks about writers in Starbucks. They capture that sort of “Yeah, that annoys me too!” sentiment that is so elusive, yet powerful once they capitalize on it.
And yeah. They’re just damn funny.
B: The best part about the musical numbers is that Seth and his team is truly talented is creating them. He has an incredible big band style voice, and their in-house orchestra has always been top-notch.
C: The coolest part about the musical numbers in Family Guy, I think, is that it borrows from so many classic moments in film and musical history, such as when Peter scores a touchdown for the Patriots and the entire crowd breaks into “Shipoopi” from The Music Man. On top of that, the original music in the show is well produced and clever. The song about the FCC in PTV is a classic that I still find myself singing from time to time.
Bird is the Word
B: What, you haven’t heard. I love busting this out and seeing who gets the reference…I’m often disappointed. A well a bird, bird, bird.
C: I was at work once, when one of my co-workers told me she purchased her pet Parakeet at a store called “The Bird is the Word.” I started laughing really hard, and nobody got it. Thanks, Family Guy, for ruining that for me. And for probably the most hated and annoying gag in the show’s history.
B: Does anything else really need to be said here? Suffix goo? But seriously, I love Quagmire. If anybody deserved a spin-off, it was him. The Quagmire Show anybody?
C: Quagmire is equal parts disgusting and hilarious, and the “giggity” phrase is used as a clever innuendo at times. And I couldn’t agree more; why Cleveland got his own show and not Quagmire is something I’ll never understand.
Joe Cripple Jokes:
B: I love that they always find clever and endlessly inventive ways to make fun of Joe’s terrible condition. Don’t laugh, it’s not funny. You have to love their commiment to try to offend as many people as possible.
C: I have to disagree here…I don’t think the purpose is necessarily to offend people. Actually, I think their point is to push the boundaries to try to get people to lighten up a bit. The beauty of Family Guy is that no stone is left unturned, and no one is safe from their humor. That’s why it’s such a divisive show. The fact that they make fun of Joe so much is a perfect example of this; we’re so conditioned with political correctness and sympathy that it’s often shocking to make jokes like this. But it’s an important voice to be heard, and one that not only makes Family Guy so unique, but so necessary as part of today’s pop culture. They’re bold and shameless, and I love it.