A detailed history of the jokes, production and special touches that have helped shape Family Guy into the iconic longstanding comedy we know today.
Having burst onto our screens all the way back in 1999, Family Guy is an everpresent feature in the world of animated comedy and continues to push boundaries and test limits over 20 years after its inception. From the team behind the scenes to the various unique quirks that help make the cartoon so special, here’s a thorough rundown of everything you need to know about Family Guy.
Family Guy is ready for seasons 22 and 23
In the modern era of streaming, longevity is something most TV series struggle to achieve, with many shows facing the axe after just a season or two, or even after a few episodes in some instances. So it’s pretty damn impressive that Family Guy is still funny.
The loveable animated families that reside in Quahog, Rhode Island, needn’t worry about a sudden end or cancelation. At least not for another couple of years, anyway.
On May 7, 2023, Family Guy concluded its most recent season – a remarkable 21st offering of the show. The series saw Lois, Peter and the gang reach the impressive 400-episode landmark and featured guest appearances from the likes of Mario Lopez and Martha Plimpton.
And, thankfully, the Fox-produced show displays no signs of slowing down. The Griffin family is set to stay on their home network through 2024, and 2025, with seasons 22 and 23 of Family Guy due to air in the next couple of years. Though there are no official release dates as of yet, you can be sure of the fact that you haven’t seen the last of the show yet.
Family Guy cast and voice actors from season 1 to now
One can only imagine that having a strong relationship with your co-stars is key to enduring the long-term success of any TV show, so it’s no surprise to hear Family Guy consists of a small, tight-knit group of voice actors who have all worked on the show for a number of years.
Seth McFarlane as Peter, Stewie and Brian Griffin
The show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, does a fair deal of heavy lifting when it comes to the show’s iconic voices. Though each has their own unique accent, all of Peter, Brian, and Stewie is voiced by MacFarlane, who uses his own normal accent to give life to Brian, the talking family pet.
Alex Borsetin as Seth Green and Mike Henry
Voice actress Alex Borsetin handles Lois’ voice, as well as some re-occurring minor characters, while Seth Green is responsible for Chris. Until 2020, Cleaveland Brown was voiced by Mike Henry, a white voice actor, who stepped down from the role, stressing the need for a person of color to take on the gig. Henry has since been replaced by Arif Zahir.
Patrick Warburton as Joe Swanson and Mila Kunis as Meg Griffin
Local cop Joe Swanson is voiced by Patrick Warburton, whom you may know from the likes of Seinfeld and Rules Of Engagement, though the most noteworthy voice on the cast is that of Mila Kunis, who has voiced Meg Griffin since season 2.
Inside Family Guy’s most-famous controversies
Though loved across the world and celebrated by many it may be, Family Guy has not reached season 21 without its fair share of controversies. In fact, the list of scrapes the show has found itself in is so long, Family Guy has its own controversies page on Wikipedia.
To say the show is irreverent is an understatement, and various celebrities, charities, critics, parents, politicians, regulators, and viewers, (to name a few), have taken issue with various elements of the show in the last 20-plus years.
Whether it be ill health, death, or sexuality, Family Guy prides itself on its ability to tackle any issue with a sense of humor. In doing so, however, the show often attracts criticism for not handling such issues with the appropriate degree of sensitivity and is often perceived to ‘punch down’ in its humor, by laughing at the expense of various maligned societal groups.
The Parents Television and Media Council, a group with a membership believed to be in excess of 10 thousand, advocates for the promotion of family-friendly TV content in the US and is one of the most outspoken critics of the show, having lodged official complaints about Family Guy’s content to the Federal Communications Commission on several occasions.
The creative mind of Seth MacFarlane
From the dark and callous humor to the wacky storytelling and impeccably arranged musical numbers, MacFarlane is largely credited as being the driving force behind the unique creative direction of the show.
Hailing from an animation background, MacFarlane first created Family Guy back in the mid-90s and has gone on to envision the likes of The Orville, Ted, and A Million Ways To Die In The West in the years since.
MacFarlane also co-created the much-loved American Dad, though his talents do not stop there. The Connecticut-born creator is quite the singer and has released several albums under his own name.
MacFarlane has long drawn comparisons to the late Frank Sinatra, and his cover of My Way for the animated kid’s movie Sing was rather popular online last year, racking up over 30 million streams on Spotify. MacFarlane also picked up plaudits for his Sinatra-esque style on the track Self Medication on rapper Logic’s most recent album, College Park.
The best guest episodes and celebrity impersonations
Over the years Family Guy episodes have featured guest appearances from a number of high-profile celebrities.
From comedy stars like Chevy Chase and Rainn Wilson to Hollywood A-listers like Ryan Reyolds and Drew Barrymore, making a cameo appearance as a side character or simply as themselves has become something of a right of passage for various high-profile stars.
And when such celebrities are not available, or the show’s creators perhaps aren’t the biggest fans of somebody, Family Guy is prone to doing the odd impersonation, many of which could be described as somewhat unfavorable.
A recent example that will spring to the mind of many is the show’s 2019 depiction of Donald Trump, which painted the then-president in an even more orange light than usual, and concluded with an over-the-top fight scene between him and Peter.
The iconic Family Guy theme song
“But where are those good old-fashioned values, on which we used to rely?!”
Clocking in at just over half a minute long, the instantly recognizable Family Guy theme tune is the kind of theme song that everyone knows at least a couple of lines to, even if they don’t watch the show themselves.
Written in 1999 by Walter Murphy, Family Guy’s Main Title features solo lines from Lois, Peter, and Stewie, and is performed alongside an elaborate dance routine in a title sequence that has remained largely the same for over 20 years.
The creators of the show do like to toy with the audience on occasion, and have broken the fourth wall during the title sequence more than once. During a season 4 episode intro, Peter famously fell down the stairs mid-song, ceremoniously crushing a backup dancer in the process.
An iconic cutaway style and some amazing memes
Arguably the most distinct feature of Family Guy’s style is the cutaway gags.
Each one more ridiculous than the last, characters on the show are prone to referring to ridiculous scenarios in a “This is like the time that X did Y” format, before cutting away to a depiction of the scenario described.
Whether it be childhood heroes like The Muppets being reimagined as violent, swearing adults, or scenes from the bible being crudely brought to life, the cutaway gags are generally regarded as hit or miss, and, though they tend to add nothing to the plot, can often separate an average Family Guy episode from a great one.
There have also been numerous memes associated with the show, such as the so-called Family Guy death pose, an iconic slump used repeatedly by the show to indicate when a character, (usually Peter), is in a great deal of pain.
Has there ever been a Family Guy movie?
While they did do a spin-off straight-to-DVD movie about Stewie back in 2005, Family Guy has never done a major The Simpsons-style theatre release.
Though a feature-length movie starring the whole cast would likely be a hit with fans, two of the show’s producers recently explained why this is yet to happen.
Speaking to the Emmys in an interview in April 2023, Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel explained that the simple reason why there has never been a Family Guy movie is time or lack of.
“We haven’t made a movie yet because Seth [MacFarlane] will be an active part of that, starting with the script. And right now, between the Ted TV series and book club, he just doesn’t have the time,” Sulkin told the award organization.
Cult favorite Star Wars episodes and a long-awaited Simpsons clash
Of the various special episodes that Family Guy has done, the reoccurring Star Wars tributes are undoubtedly the favorite among fans.
Having released three in-depth episodes paying homage to the sci-fi series, Family Guy has covered the original trilogy, as well as The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, in episodes that acted as an introduction to the iconic movie franchise for many.
Unable to escape the comparisons to The Simpsons ever since its inception, Family Guy paired with the Springfield legends for a long-anticipated crossover episode back in 2014.
With Homer and Peter bonding over beer and Stewie and Bart trying out their most daring prank calls, the episode was generally well-received among fans, many of which doubted it would ever happen in the first place.