Photo: 20th Television
The first episode of Family Guy aired on January 31, 1999 and the show has since released 290 episodes. The brainchild of the multi-talented Seth MacFarlane, the show introduced some outrageously funny moments and memorable characters like the absent-minded Peter, baby-genius Stewie, alcoholic talking dog Brian (all voiced by Seth) and others. With the 16th season currently going strong, let’s take a look at some of the best Family Guy episodes we got to see over the years. These are the episodes that we feel define the series and capture its exceptionally inappropriate humor. Take a look and check if you agree with our list.
I Dream of Jesus (Season 7 Episode 2)
Family Guy is a show that’s not constrained by reality and realistic plots. If the talking dog didn’t make it clear, the personification of Death, the Kool-Aid guy, and others probably did. Well, in light of that, in season 7, Peter has an encounter with Jesus himself who is working at a records shop. The plot follows Peter’s attempts to reintroduce Jesus to the world with some hilarious consequences. However, it’s not the plot of this episode that makes it one of the best Family Guy episodes. It’s actually the introduction of a recurring joke where Peter sings about the “bird is the word.” It quickly became one of the most memorable jokes in the show and you can’t but laugh at its absurdity.
Petarded (Season 4 Episode 6)
Well, even the title of this episode is enough to put it on the list of best Family Guy episodes ever. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s the one where Peter is officially declared mentally retarded and he uses it to his advantage to act as recklessly as possible. Of course, this leads to some dire consequences, but it’s Peter’s unrelenting nature that’s the absolute winner in this episode. The writers showed the world that political correctness does not really go with humor and we’re so glad they did. At one point, the social services take away the children because Peter is unfit to be a parent and, instead of working on himself to bring them back from their caretaker, Cleveland, he simply decides to ruin his reputation by bringing in seven prostitutes. It’s this kind of writing that put the show on top.
PTV (Season 4 Episode 14)
Season 4 was obviously a golden time for this show as they created some of the funniest Family Guy episodes. PTV is a great example of the absurdly beautiful plot lines they came up with back in the days. In the episode, Peter gets angered by the unnecessary censorship of some of his favorite shows on TV and, in spite of that, decides to create his own censorship-free television called PTV. The show enrages the FCC so much that they come to Quahog, shut down his TV and start censoring real life around town. This means that whenever someone is nude or cursing, the FCC people are there to hide it. The episode’s message is quite clear and so beautifully put.
Back to the Pilot (Season 10 Episode 5)
Besides Peter, the strongest point of the show lies in the relationship between Stewie and Brian, which goes from hate to love in a matter of seconds. The point, however, is that they still need each other to function properly. Stewie, being a genius, has already invented the time machine and used it a couple of times, but in “Back to the Pilot” things get far more chaotic. The duo goes back to the first episode and we get a lot of great meta jokes throughout. The idea is for Brian to stop the 9/11 attacks, but it all goes wrong as one might expect from messing with time.
Brian & Stewie (Season 8 Episode 17)
Now, the reason why this is one of the best Family Guy episodes lies in its infamous nature. The critics have both praised and, well, criticized this episode for its content but it’s still extremely popular among the show’s countless fans. In this bottle episode, Brian and Stewie get locked inside a bank vault and need to make it till dawn. The reason why this episode was so criticized was its gross humor that included, among other things, Brian eating feces. On the other hand, there was also some serious, character-building dialogue in there that put to shame many other “serious” shows at the time. Family Guy showed us that its writers were capable of creating something profound in this outrageous, animated universe.
Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (Season 8 Episode 20)
Considering how the show’s writers are enormous movie and TV nerds (which you can see by countless references in the show), it was only a matter of time before they dug into one of the most popular franchises in the world – Star Wars. In their parody of the sci-fi giant, Stewie is the Darth Vader, obviously, Brian is Chewbacca, while Peter is Han Solo. The episode is full of memorable jokes and various references, but overall felt like a real story that didn’t depend on gags and usual, Family Guy cutaways. There have been two more episodes parodying Star Wars, but this one is probably the greatest and most popular.
Da Boom (Season 2 Episode 3)
Then we go back to some of the early episodes as we remember this gem which can easily be placed among the best Family Guy episodes ever. In Da Boom, the family survive a nuclear holocaust brought on by the Y2K bug (it was released back in 1999) and try to find their place in the post-apocalyptic world. The family manages to find an abandoned factory of Twinkies that, apparently, never go bad so they found a new town around it with Peter as the chaotic mayor. One of the reasons why this episode is so popular is that it introduced Peter’s lifelong feud with Ernie the Chicken known for their lengthy fight montages that come out of the blue.
Road to the Multiverse (Season 8 Episode 1)
Although it’s quite debatable which episode should top the list of best Family Guy episodes, Road to Multiverse is certainly a viable candidate. This is yet another one of the episodes focused on the adventures of Brian and Stewie. This time, they use Stewie’s device to visit various parallel universes and meet different versions of themselves. It’s a beautifully made episode that fortified the duo’s place in the hearts of Family Guy fans and started off 8th season with a bang.
What do you think are the funniest Family Guy episodes? Do you agree with our list?