Seth McFarlane is en route to having two animation shows make history the way The Simpsons did. Family Guy and American Dad have been on the air for over 10 years and the shows still manage to shock people with their perverse jokes, offensive characters and cringe-worthy take on life. It is natural for fans of these shows to be divided on which one is funnier and why.
Seeing as both shows have the same elements it’s often hard to distinguish why one is funnier than the other. No doubt American Dad has had a tougher time than Family Guy but both shows have managed to hang onto their respective fanbases. Which team are you on? #teamfamilyguy or #teamamericandad?
10 American Dad Has Better Characters
The characters on American Dad are more complex than those on Family Guy. American Dad shows the dynamic of a middle-class family that is basically dealing with first world problems. Even when they move to Saudi Arabia, the family complains about all these situations that have taken a toll on them but in such a delicious and ignorant way.
Steve runs out of gas in the desert, Hayley falls for a fake jihad and San can’t figure out which wife he likes best. They are certainly more entertaining than the cast of Family Guy who now seems to be recycling storylines already done by American Dad.
9 Family Guy Paved The Way For American Dad
Without Family Guy, there would be no American Dad. While the latter has become the more popular, Family Guy was the show that allowed for all those taboo-type dirty jokes to be said on TV. The shock and excitement that people felt watching it were real and great for a while.
Even after American Dad found it’s footing, Family Guy was still dominating them ratings-wise. Without Family Guy being the guinea pig, American Dad may not exist. So, is one funnier than the other or do they offer two different perspectives on joke-telling?
8 American Dad Pets Add A Flare Family Guy Is Lacking
Klaus and Roger are the resident pets on American Dad and these two normally play off one another very well. They fight for the family’s attention but the best part is they are actually treated like pets. Klaus, like many fish, is often forgotten about. It’s amazing he is still alive and Roger gets tucked away to his attic where he gets up to his own mischief some the family doesn’t even know about like the dive bar.
In Family Guy, Brian is the main pet but he isn’t seen that way because he walks and talks and can basically take care of himself. He does human things more than he does dog things and this takes away from a lot of jokes that could be made about a dog’s life.
Hayley has become a fan favorite and unlike Meg fans actually like her. She can also be the butt of jokes but she always gets her revenge whereas Meg just takes her hits and the one time she does stand up for herself in "Seahorse Seashell Party" the family makes her seem like the bad person.
Whereas, it’s empowering to see Hayley be a bum but still stick up for herself. Hayley being College-age also adds a lot to the show. Having kids in two different stages in life makes for more storylines that don’t become repetitive.
6 Family Guy is Formulaic
Family Guy follows a particular formula. One that has worked for years. Present a problem, solve it and throw in a few jokes. A great example of this is the episode "North By North Quahog" when enter and Lois want to spice their sex life. They go on what can be called a late honeymoon and instead of solving their intimacy issues, they find the final cut of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ 2.
After watching it they turn their attention to never letting the world see this bad movie. In the end, the adventure makes a change in their sex life but then, later on, we still have to hear about Lois not being happy with their intimacy. There is no followthrough just a bunch of in the moment situations.
5 The Character Pairing In American Dad Rocks
Wheels and the Leg Man, Hayley and Stan’s random adventures, Francine and Roger’s personas as best friends. Pairing characters matter so much because you're building a story around those two people. The only character pairing that has nailed it on Family Guy is Stewie and Brian.
Mostly because Stewie constantly calls Brian out on his crap and when he doesn’t listen (which is every time) Stewie goes to extremes to embarrass him. However, the pairings need to be broader we can’t only rely on a dog and a baby when the show is so much more than that.
4 Females Are Funny
In American Dad, the female characters are truly utilized. There have been plenty of opportunities for fans to laugh at a Francine episode or a Hayley adventure. Even a lot of Roger’s female personas are hilarious. On Family Guy, Lois isn’t funny she is more annoying than anything. She could be too busy being a pissed off housewife to make light-hearted jokes.
Meg is used as the butt of many jokes and the writers set a negative tone for the show when they say things like “yes, this is a Meg episode”. It just makes fans assume that we aren’t in for anything fun for the next 20 minutes.
3 The Shock and Awe Is Different
Family Guy is used to saying things that are shocking and getting instant gratification. On American Dad, the shock and awe are there but it’s more subtle. It isn’t an offensive comment or physical act like those long-winded, overdone chicken fights.
Most of American Dad’s shocking parts come from Roger who in addition to saying offensive things also looks physically offensive depending on his persona(s) that episode. The excitement of the shock and awe lasts longer on American Dad because it isn’t a moment it is usually the whole episode.
2 The Story Archs in American Dad Help A Lot
American Dad keeps fans coming back because their recall is amazing. The show offers story arcs that stay intact. Stan hates his father but secretly wants to have a bonding moment with him. This is how it always plays out they are showing true depictions of what forced relationships look like. The same thing with Francine’s sister, they have a love/hate relationship that is an uphill battle to get perfect.
Something that happened day back in season 3 could pop up in season 6 and it just keeps rolling. Because of this they are able to recall funny situations and have character exacting revenge way later when it actually will have an effect on another character. On Family Guy, it's a bit different. Normally when a character is introduced they are never spoken of again or killed off like Peter's sister.
1 The One-Off Specials
American Dad has managed to make their on-off episodes matter. Storylines like "Tearjerker" and "The 200" had fans rolling with laughter. Family Guy used to be in the same boat. Their "Wish Upon A Weinstein" Christmas special was so offensive (and funny) that they couldn’t play it on TV.
The same goes for the episode where Lois has an abortion. Both shows in the one-offs manage to hold their own, American Dad’s will give you more laughs whereas, Family Guy’s is usually some form of a politically incorrect statement that gets resolved in the end