Family Guy has been on air for so long that it's easy to forget just how bizarre it really is. Compared to other similar shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy kind of revels in just how absurd everything about it is.
From the random digressions, to the talking dog, to that chicken that comes out of nowhere to engage in a fistfight, Seth Macfarlane's cartoon is always looking to surprise its audience. However, that does come with its set of issues. The amount of insane stuff that's on this show can be so overwhelming that there are large chunks of it that just straight up don't make any sense whatsoever. It's easy to scoff at the writers for these huge oversights but, honestly, with the amount of gags and cutaways this shows has going on, you have to kind of feel a little impressed by their ability to keep everything (relatively) together.
Also, this show's been going on for nearly twenty years. It took The Simpsons much less time to achieve this level of confusing "jump the shark" moments. Anyway, looking at some of these nonsensical Family Guy moments can be a pretty interesting peek behind the curtain of a show that may have gone on for a little too long.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Family Guy.
20 Stewie gets stage fright for no reason
Stewie has never really been one for shyness. The masterminding, diabolical infant has basically made a name for himself for his outsized personality.
Aside from constantly coming up with diabolical schemes, Stewie also has somewhat of a penchant for showmanship. Not only are his plans over elaborate, he also has put on several musical performances. Even the opening credits of the show have him signing and dancing with a top hat. Wearing a top hat in public basically shows that you have a sense of confidence that's virtually unshakeable.
That's why the episode "Peter-assment" makes no sense. One crucial plotline involves Stewie putting on a musical number for the school's talent show. However, he finds himself unable to do so because of his stage fright.
How exactly is someone who is constantly singing and dancing whenever he gets the chance suddenly overcome with a neurotic fear of judgement?
The answer? Probably just because Seth MacFarlane loves singing. This is actually why there is so much singing on the show. MacFarlane, who voices nearly all of the characters, wants to give himself as many opportunities as he can to sing. And honestly? He's pretty great at it when he isn't doing a cartoon voice. The guy's actually made some really great original music.
We wish he could stick to that instead of forcing his music into his TV shows.
19 Brian is apparently psychic
One of the most popular dynamics in Family Guy is the one between Stewie and Brian. The two are basically polar opposites, with Stewie being the unpredictable wild-card and Brian being the responsible straight man. It's the kind of dynamic that's straight out of a buddy cop movie.
In season 8, episode 8, the ever erratic Stewie burns down a liquor store and ends a dog. Later, Brian confronts Stewie about this, understandably more than a little ticked off. The only problem? There was no way for Brian to know about the event. When the firefighter discusses the event with Lois, Brian is nowhere to be found.
Sure, there might be some logic gymnastics one can do to explain this away, but the simple matter is is that it is impossible for Brian to know what happened. So what can explain this plot event? Well, basically, lazy writing.
Listen, the show's been going on for nearly 20 years. The writers should be cut some slack, right? Well, not really. See there one thing to have massive leaps of logic in an over-the-top cartoony way. That's just typical Family Guy. But a silly plot hole like this? That's just an oversight of the highest order.
18 Peter may not be Meg's biological father
The central family in Family Guy has its own fair share of issues. Most cartoon families do. Homer literally strangles Bart in nearly every episode of The Simpsons, Kyle's mom has an interesting hobby in South Park, and the family in American Dad has an alien for a member and everyone seems to be cool with it.
In regards to Family Guy, one bizarre aspect of this particular family's dynamic revolves around Meg. In an episode titled "Screw the Pooch", it is revealed (in a cutaway gag no less) that Peter may not actually be Meg's biological father.
In fact, that role may actually have been for a man named Stan Thompson.
Who is Stan Thompson? We don't know. In fact, the show never touches upon this idea ever again. Sure Family Guy is known for its constant cutaway gags, but these are usually just non sequiturs, not important bits of backstory. Doesn't this completely reshape our view of this entire family? Why bring up a bombshell like this and decide to just sweep it under the rug?
This is a real jumping the shark moment, almost as if the writers couldn't think of a proper joke and just decided to show something really shocking in hopes of getting a laugh.
17 Brian dates human women
One of the most common types of joke in Family Guy revolve around ridiculous, cartoony things to be played completely straight. A good example of this? The talking dog, who would normally be the wackiest character on any other show, is probably the most "normal" character on the entire show.
Brian doesn't even really act like a dog at all. He mostly just does regular, boring, human things - one of which is dating. Sure, Brian's gone out with his fair share of canines, but one of the most bizarre things on this show is the fact that he dates human women.
What's even weirder is that the show never acknowledges how weird this is. Is cross-species dating just a commonly accepted thing in Quahog? What kind of other sick stuff to they get up to there?
The strangest part of all is that these women don't even react that much to dating a dog - not even so much as a raised eyebrow. Is Brian really that smooth that he manages to date across species without so much as a hitch?
Honestly, the real answer is probably that stuff like this fits into the surreal atmosphere of the show perfectly.
16 No one cares that the Pope gets kidnapped
In keeping with the spirit of a show that wants to push people's buttons, Season 2, Episode 2, involves Peter stealing the Pope's car - with the Pope in it- and makes a run for it. Why? Because Peter wants to impress his father. Don't ask us how he came upon this solution, because we can't figure it out for the life of us.
The episode ends on a heartwarming note, with the Pope himself mending the relationship between Peter and his father. Only, one thing seems to be a little bit off. No, it's not the fact that Peter was able to kidnap the Pope so easily. Nor is it the idea that the Pope would be somewhat chill about the fact that he's being held against his will.
No, it's the realization that the Pope has been kidnapped and nobody seems to care.
Seriously, do you think that if Pope Francis so much as stubbed his toe that people wouldn't go insane?
The fact that the head of the Vatican has mysteriously disappeared apparently has caused zero media uproar. Did the press have more interesting things to worry about? Then again, in a city where Jesus seems to casually visit every once in a while, maybe people just lost interest in some run-of-the-mill Pope.
15 Brian has a 13 year old son
It's pretty much a given that many long-running TV shows are going to have a loose relationship with time, so to speak. The Simpsons has been on since the Prehistoric era and all of the characters are still the same age. This isn't because they are omniscient, immortal gods sent down to destroy us - although with the amount of times the show has jumped the shark, that might actually be a legitimate plot point - they're just a product of TV logic. Family Guy is no different.
Again, when the show's been going on for about 20 years, it's understandable that viewers don't exactly want to see the adventures of a geriatric Peter. However, one of the sloppier ways the show deals with the passage of time involves Brian's son.
Brian's son is, of course, a human - presumably the doctors never questioned the scientific validity of this. He also happens to be 13 years old, while Brian is 9 years old.
Now, if we're talking in terms of dog years Brian would be about 50 years old - but we aren't talking about dog years, we're talking about physical, human years. In that case, it would be literally impossible for Brian to have a thirteen year old son, even if he is 50 at heart.
Did the screenwriters think of the implications of this, or did they think it'd just be funny if Brian's kid was an adolescent boy?
14 Everybody mistreats Meg
Has anybody ever really stopped and considered why Meg is such a punching bag? She isn't nearly as stupid as many of the characters, nor is she particularly mean spirited. So why does she always find herself on the receiving end of everyone's abuse?
The show makes a kind of cruel joke out of this idea.
Basically, every single problem can be traced back to Meg, no matter how improbable the explanation. Remember the "shut up, Meg" meme? Is there some aspect of Meg's personality that we just happen to be missing? Because we honestly can't think of any reason why she would be treated the way that she is.
There is a writing device that basically turns a character into a punching bag. Basically, if you're writing a comedic show that's filled with irredeemable characters, the stories become easier to swallow if there's one character that's the worst of the lot. In doing so, that character makes everyone else seem much better in comparison.
Futurama has its version of this with Bender. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Dennis stand out from a cast of psychopaths. So it seems like Meg is the version of this type of character. The only problem is that she doesn't really do anything particularly awful, like Dennis and Bender.
Sure, she's got her faults, but nothing that makes her look worse than Peter - or even Stewie, for that matter. In fact, this writing device implemented this way makes every other Family Guy character look even worse in comparison.
13 It's legal to marry dogs
Yes, believe it or not, there is an episode where a character marries a dog. This is the episode called "Perfect Castaway", which is about Peter coming back after being stranded on an island before coming back, showing him returning home only to find Lois marrying Brian.
It's kind of a great reference to the Tom Hanks movie Castaway, turning the original's gut punch of an ending to yet another joke fixated on inter-species relations. But we have to wonder if it really is a joke within the messed up rules of this show's world.
As we've established, Brian has dated human women in the past and nobody batted an eye. The fact that humans can date dogs is pretty weird. Humans marrying dogs? That's just inexplicable. How does this law even get passed? Was there literally zero pushback? Who was the brave Congressperson who campaigned for the right to marry dogs?
This also brings up the question: is it allowed for humans to date other animals? Like, would a cat be acceptable but an iguana be too out of the ordinary? All we do know is that the writers of the show have some interesting views on animal rights
12 Chris is blond
Seth MacFarlane is a multi-talented man. He's a showrunner, producer, writer, voice actor, and a pretty dang good singer. However, a geneticist he's not. In a family filled with people who either have red or brown hair, Chris sticks out as being the only blond in the group. This is something that's literally never explained.
The writers just expect us to accept that Chris is blond, and that's that, and stop questioning things - despite the fact that parentage has been used as a punchline on the show before.
Here's the thing: the fact that Chris is blond isn't even the result of an ill-conceived joke.
The show literally makes zero mention of this weird discrepancy, so we assume that this aspect of him was just written in without thought.
This wouldn't be as big of a deal if the writers hadn't already stumbled upon a solution to fix this problem. Remember the weird cutaway gag we wrote earlier about Meg's biological father being somebody else? Why not just swap out Meg with Chris? Wouldn't that make so much more sense?
It's not like this majorly disrupts continuity. At the very least, it would be just as confusing if this gag was about any member of the family.
11 Only Peter and Lois can't understand Stewie
The fact that Stewie can speak freely about his psychopathic impulses without any repercussions has been a long-running joke throughout Family Guy. How many times has Stewie plotting to end Lois right in front of her, only for her to obliviously go about her day?
The obvious explanation here is that Stewie is the only person who can understand what he's saying because his words just sound like baby talk to everyone else - except Brian. Okay, that still kind of makes sense. Brian is a dog after all, so he could just have some sort of dog powers? That let him understand babies? Look, it's a leap of logic, but it can be hand-waved away easily enough. Things start getting a little sketchy, however, when we find that everybody else seems to understand what Stewie is saying.
Stewie has full-on conversations with several adult characters throughout the show.
Putting aside the fact that adults don't question that a baby can hold a normal conversation, isn't it weird that Peter and Lois happen to be literally the only people who can't understand Stewie? Now it's clear that he isn't just speaking baby talk. He can form proper and complete sentences.
Maybe it's because the parents are so consumed by the need to take care of Stewie that they're just too exhausted to try to listen to what he has to say. Okay, that really doesn't make any sense.
10 Peter gets a liposuction and still has a double chin
Peter's weight is the subject of a lot of jokes on Family Guy. The large doofus of Quahog gets to be on the receiving joke of all manner of insults revolving around his weight. That's why, in season 2, episode 17, Peter decides to get a liposuction. As a result, he finally gets to lose all of his fat. No more jokes about his weight; no more physical gags revolving around how fat he is. He is about as thin as anyone else - for the most part.
See, while Peter does get a liposuction, he still ends up with a double chin.
It looks a little bizarre to see an otherwise thin person to have a double chin as prominent as Peter's.
If Peter was really that sensitive about his body, wouldn't it make sense for him to get surgery on every part of his body that hinted at his fat? It seems strange that his pronounced double chin would be spared.
All that being said, the episode does continue with Peter getting further plastic surgery as he gets progressively more insecure about his body image. But we still think that his double chin would be one of the first things to go.
9 Brian is an atheist who's met Jesus
Brian's atheism is actually a huge part of the show. It always feels like Brian is supposed to be the stand in for Seth MacFarlane. It makes sense - while he does goofy voices for all the other characters, he plays it relatively straight when he's voicing the level-headed pooch.
It stands to reason that MacFarlane, who is an atheist, would write Brian to have religious beliefs (or lack thereof) that parallel his own. Only one thing is the problem: plot developments in Family Guy constantly defy Brian's beliefs at every turn. One example is the amount of times he's met Jesus.
Yes, Brian, the steadfast atheist, has met Jesus, yet, he never really has a "come to Jesus" moment. In fact, even after meeting JC himself, he still decides that he's going to remain an atheist.
Sure, Seth MacFarlane is an atheist, but that's because he lives in a world where he can't just actually hit up Jesus for a beer (or wine). This is one of those instances where a writer starts bending the logic that they set up in order to make a self-insert character. In this, and most other cases, it just ends up being an unnecessary distraction.
8 Why Meg's voice actress was recast
One of the most surprising voice actors on Family Guy is Mila Kunis. The famous actress voices Meg and has been with the show for several years. Famous actors can do voices on animated shows, but it's usually for a cameo, a way to have fun and collect a quick paycheck. Why would an actress who's had as successful a career as Mila Kunis take on a steady voice acting job for a comedy animated serial?
In an interview with GameSpy, Lacey Chabert, the original voice actress, reveals what exactly led to her being replaced.
Basically, it seems innocuos enough. She says that she had to leave because she was in school while working on Party of Five at the same time. The workload was just too much and she had to make some sacrifices.
What's weird here is Seth MacFarlane's explanation of the whole event.
He says something along the lines of, "I dunno, weird contract stuff". He then goes on to lavish praise on Mila Kunis's performance, making it clear that he couldn't be more happy that Lacey Chabert has left.
Something even stranger about Meg's casting is that Lacy Chabert wasn't even the first actress to voice Meg. That job originally belonged to Cree Summer. And how exactly did she get fired? Well, according to the actress, she literally got a call that said that she didn't have to go to work anymore. They didn't even bother to let her down easy.
7 The floating police officers
Another famous example of cartoon logic is the fact that a lot of these characters tend to defy gravity. Think about it: how many times have you seen Wile E. Coyote sprint across thin air, only to fall when he notices that there's nothing beneath his feet? Or, for that matter, Tom from Tom & Jerry doing the exact same thing? However, Family Guy isn't exactly that kind of cartoon.
Sure, there are leaps in logic, but as far as character physics go, it's surprisingly realistic - at least, compared to stuff like Looney Tunes. In Family Guy, people don't exactly run across thin air - unless the plot needs them to do so.
In season 9, episode 1, "And Then There Were Fewer" , there is a scene that does involve the show's characters floating across thin air.
Specifically, this scene involves police officers somehow managing to float over an unbuilt bridge.
They are found parked right outside a building that's on the other side of the river with zero explanation. Do Quahog's cops have superpowers? Or did they just pull the Looney Tunes trick while having the foresight to never look down? Were the writers backed into a narrative corner and just hoped that nobody would notice? The world may never know.
6 It turns out that Avery does negotiate with terrorists
Another popular Seth MacFarlane show is American Dad. Following the family of a CIA agent, the show is pretty similar to Family Guy, with all of the wacky antics and random digressions that entails. The show is nearly as popular. In fact, many fans actually consider it to be superior.
It also turns out that the two shows take place in the same world. This is evidenced by one particular episode which involves Stan talking with his CIA boss Avery. Avery talks to Stan about his steadfast morals and how he never negotiates with terrorists. We're told to take this seriously too, as there's never really a moment where it's lamp-shaded.
In a different crossover episode, Stewie is shown breaking into the CIA office. And who happens to be there? Avery and Stan, of course. When Stewie starts making terrorist demands, who do you think is more than eager to negotiate with him? You guessed it: Avery.
Seemingly taking a severe 180 from his character that was established on his own show, Avery immediately collapses at the first sign of trouble. What's even worse is that Stewie isn't even a real terrorist. He's an infantwho happens to be particularly smart and diabolical, sure, but an infant nonetheless.
5 Stewie and Jimmy Corrigan are basically the same character
In a show populated by a rogue's gallery of wacky characters, Stewie stands out as being the most over the top. He's a fan favorite for a reason: the idea that an infant can also be a villainous mastermind is insanely twisted in the best possible way. Even when the show has dipped in quality, viewers can always count on the ridiculousness of the Stewie's adventures to hold their attention. Many people have given the showrunners props for think of such an original character - but is he really that original?
In 1996, a cartoon strip was created called Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. In it, we follow the thoughts and musings of a baby far too smart for its own good as it devolves into an existential spiral of despair and emptiness. Yes, it's as depressing as it sounds.
There are some clear similarities here: both are infants who are weirdly smart - oftentimes smarter than the adults around them.
That could just be a coincidence right? But take a look at their character designs. The literally look the exact same. They match nearly perfectly, from the football shaped head to the single strands of hair. Maybe the showrunners could have gotten away with the personality similarities, but the fact that the character designs are basically identical stands out as a major red flag.
4 The magical beer glasses
Here's more of a continuity error than a plot hole. Some discerning viewers have pointed out that one particular scene is a bit off. Specifically, one mug of beer seems to be filled while the other's empty. Honestly, it's hard to tell. Sure, one has the foam on top and the other doesn't, which leads us to believe that the mug is, in fact, empty. But the glass is the color of beer, isn't it? Unless the bar really wanted to go the extra mile for presentation and color the glass, it seems unlikely that the mug would actually be empty.
It's a brief, split-second mistakes that you'd miss if you'd blink. Now that it's been brought to attention, it's noticeably defying physics.
This is especially weird once you consider that it's an animated show. Continuity errors in live-action are more understandable. There's a lot of moving parts that go into filming something in live-action and errors like these are easier to miss. Additionally, filmmakers have to deal with the real world in all its unpredictability. But for animation? That is 100% completely controlled every single step of the way.
How do errors like these happen when a group of talented artists are meticulously constructing each and every frame from the ground up?
3 PETER'S UNBREAKABLE BONES
One of the things that you have to accept when watching a cartoon is that it has a weird sense of internal logic. Things aren't exactly realistic - and why should they be?
One of the staples of any animated show is a character's capacity for punishment. Whether it's Tom & Jerry or Mickey Mouse, cartoon characters might get hurt, but there's no chance at all that they're going to lose their life. The same thing applies to Family Guy. How many times is Peter going to fight that chicken before he perishes? Or, honestly, any of the insanely violent situations that Stewie and Brian find themselves in? This is cartoon logic, sure, but it's still logic.
All of that logic is upended in season 2, episode 6. In this episode all of the characters find that, magically, they are unable to perish. This leads to them doing all sorts of dangerous activities, not least of which involves Peter jumping off a skyscraper.
Now, obviously he doesn't perish, but when he hits the ground, all he suffers from are some minor wounds. In reality, he's be smushed into a vaguely Peter-colored puddle. Sure, he wouldn't lose his life, but that doesn't prevent him from ignoring the laws of physics.
2 The Simpsons crossover
What similarities do Family Guy and The Simpsons share? They're both cartoons made for adults. They both follow dysfunctional families. They both revolve around fathers who are as stupid as they are overweight. The major similarity between the two is that they have both long since run their course and are desperately looking for shocking ways to keep audiences attention. Case in point: the ill-conceived, ill-advised attempt at a crossover episode.
Named The Simpsons Guy, a title that was probably the result of a radical, inspired genius surely, the show follows the antics of these characters as they meet for the first time.
The whole thing is about as pointless and predictable as it sounds.
Bart teams up with Stewie, Peter teams up with Homer, etc. At the end of the day, the two sets of character acknowledge their differences and learn to appreciate their lives. Seriously, how is it possible for an episode of TV to be both confounding and boring at the same time?
Inherent continuity errors aside, this just smacks of writers running dry of ideas. This is more than just jumping the shark -this is doing a triple axle cartwheel over a Great White feeding frenzy, while omehow making all of this incredibly boring and predictable.
1 Family Guy is still on the air
Family Guy has now been on for 16 seasons. How does a show that's been live longer than some news stations stay fresh? Well, the short answer is that it doesn't.
According to many fans, the show hasn't been funny in a long, long time. And you can hardly blame the writers. At some point, it just becomes impossible to write new jokes for these characters without feeling like you're just beating a horse further and further into the ground. If it can happen to The Simpsons, it can happen to any show.
Hardcore fans and casual viewers aren't the only ones who've seen a massive drop in the show's quality. Alec Sulkin himself has gone on record saying that the show has "problems.
"There is kind of a burnout factor," the showrunner said. "Steve Callaghan was the showrunner before me, and I think he did a good job, but there is a clock on the show, and it can be difficult to get excited and stay focused."
When the guy running the show is saying that he and his writers are running out of ideas, it's pretty clear that there's a major problem going on behind the curtain.
Even the people behind The Simpsons haven't been this honest about their dip in quality, and that's a show that would probably live on long after society has collapsed in on itself.
What else doesn't make sense about Family Guy? Let us know in the comments!