When it first premiered back in the late ‘90s, many critics dismissed Family Guy as a cheap knockoff of The Simpsons. But one of the main things that set Family Guy apart from The Simpsons – the fact that the pet dog could talk – was also one of its focal points, at least in the early seasons.
Peter and Brian used to be the show’s main characters. In the years since, Brian and Stewie have gone on adventures across the spacetime continuum and across the Earth’s surface, so they’ve sort of taken over. Here are 5 Reasons Brian & Stewie Are Family Guy’s Best Duo (And 5 Why It’ll Always Be Peter & Brian).
10 Peter and Brian: They’ve been the focus of the show since the beginning
Family Guy grew from a couple of animated shorts that Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed, and starred in at the beginning of his career. The Life of Larry was his thesis film at the Rhode Island School of Design, about a middle-aged slob named Larry and his cynical talking dog, Steve.
Hanna-Barbera later funded a sequel called Larry & Steve, which showed the backstory of their relationship, as Larry adopted Steve from a dog pound. These two shorts eventually formed the basis of Family Guy, meaning that the foundation of the entire show is the relationship shared by Peter and Brian.
9 Brian and Stewie: Babies and dogs get along in real life
It’s often said that dogs are a man’s best friend, and every show with a dog has a man to be their best friend. Family Guy is no different, with a friendship quickly blossoming between Peter and Brian. But something that doesn’t often get explored in sitcoms is that babies and dogs get along in real life also.
They bond over their reliance on the homeowners and their inability to properly communicate with them, and dogs’ “pack drive” compels them to protect babies. So it makes perfect sense for Stewie and Brian to be the best of friends in the show.
8 Peter and Brian: They have more conflict
In drama – which is a blanket term that, in this case, also applies to adult-oriented animated sitcoms featuring an abundance of fart jokes – stories and relationships between characters are all built on conflict. Aside from Stewie having a lot more scientific knowhow than Brian, they’re mostly on the same page.
What makes Peter and Brian’s relationship interesting is Brian’s unrequited love of Lois. A couple of episodes have dealt directly with the fact that Brian is in love with Peter’s wife, and the effect that that’s had on their friendship. They’re easily the Family Guy pairing with the most conflict.
7 Brian and Stewie: They star in a series of special episodes
Although Peter and Brian could be said to be the stars of the show, they don’t have any special episodes dedicated to them. Brian and Stewie have starred in the series of “Road to...” episodes, most of which feature no other characters and focus entirely on those two characters going on an adventure.
These episodes are among the most popular of the show. Often, when a series does an episode missing a large chunk of the main cast, fans of that show will be disappointed, but, as long as Brian and Stewie are around, Family Guy fans are happy.
6 Peter and Brian: Stewie scientifically proved that they were best friends
In the season 10 episode “Forget-Me-Not,” Stewie puts Peter, Brian, Joe, and Quagmire into a virtual simulation in which they’ll all wake up in an empty hospital with no knowledge of who they are, in order to determine whether or not Peter and Brian are actually best friends. Stewie had suggested that Peter isn’t really friends with Brian, and just hangs out with him because he’s his dog, and Brian contested it. So, Stewie put it to the test.
In the simulation, they didn’t know each other, so if they became friends, it was because it was truly meant to be. Brian sacrifices himself to save Peter and Peter weeps over Brian’s corpse, proving that they are really friends.
5 Brian and Stewie: They go on sci-fi adventures
Peter and Brian have a fun rapport, but they haven’t put their lives on the line to save the entire universe quite as many times as Stewie and Brian have. Thanks to Stewie being enough of a genius to invent time travel, interdimensional travel, and proportional shrinking, he and Brian have been on a litany of sci-fi adventures.
In “The Big Bang Theory,” they accidentally wiped the world from existence and then fix it again. In “Yug Ylimaf,” they reversed the flow of time and Brian managed to fix it before Stewie was un-born. And in “Back to the Pilot,” Brian told his past self to prevent 9/11, unwittingly caused the apocalypse, and went back in time to set the timelines straight.
4 Peter and Brian: Their relationship hasn’t changed since season 1
In the first season of Family Guy, Brian and Stewie weren’t really on each other’s radar, and if they did speak, it was just to insult each other. When they started getting acquainted, it was just as contentious, with Stewie making fun of Brian’s drinking and Brian making fun of Stewie’s size.
Eventually, it grew into the relationship we see today, with Stewie being a scientific genius and Brian being the failed writer and misinformed liberal that Stewie can’t take seriously, but ultimately loves. But Peter and Brian’s relationship has remained the same since season 1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
3 Brian and Stewie: Stewie is the only one who calls out Brian’s B.S.
Brian pretends to be politically informed, he pretends to be an intellectual and he pretends to be a tortured artist as an excuse to drink every day. Stewie is the only one who’s willing to call him out on any of it. (Or, at least, the only one who pays close enough attention to notice.) Conversely, Brian is the only one who pays close enough attention to Stewie to be aware of his many astounding inventions.
So, they can only really talk to each other about most of the things going on in their lives. Neither Brian nor Stewie is the primary lead of Family Guy, but this unique dynamic with Stewie arguably makes their relationship the most important on the show.
2 Peter and Brian: They have a straight man
Every good comedy duo needs a straight man. Peter and Brian’s relationship is marked by Peter saying idiotic things and Brian dryly pointing it out. For example, when Peter said, “I read a book about this sort of thing once,” Brian sharply replied, “Are you sure it was a book? Are you sure it wasn’t nothing?” And then with pitch-perfect comic timing, Peter said, “Oh, yeah.”
Occasionally, Peter even gets a chance to be the straight man, when he points out that Brian can’t stand up in a moving van or thinks that his reflection in the mirror is another dog.
1 Brian and Stewie: They’re the only two characters who get each other
What makes Brian and Stewie’s relationship really special is that they’re the only two characters in the show who really get each other.
Brian is a dog with human qualities and, as a result, he struggles to fit in and find his purpose in life. He isn’t accepted by dog society and he isn’t accepted by human society. Stewie is a baby, but his intellect is far superior to anyone in his family. However, he’s restricted by his young age. He’s too mature to hang around with other babies, but most adults can’t comprehend him. Brian and Stewie need each other because they understand each other and relate to each other.