January 31st, 1999. The Broncos have just beaten the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII and immediately following the game we are blessed with the first episode of Family Guy. The show has survived 20 years, multiple cancelations, and everyone including myself asking “why do I keep watching this”, but always coming back.
Since the show premiered on Super Bowl Sunday, and the first episode featured the Super Bowl, I thought I’d post this in time for the half-time show. I don’t know about all of you, but for me nothing has topped Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2014, and I doubt Maroon 5 will blow my mind.
EDIT: called it.
Either way, here’s 20 facts about
Family Guy you probably didn’t know!
Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, started the show as a thesis film while at Rhode Island School of Design. The film, The Life Of Larry, was later turned into Larry & Steve which would evolve into the show we know today.
That thesis film was sent into Hanna-Barbera animation studio by MacFarlane’s professor, which prompted them to send him a job offer weeks before graduating. This lead him to work on shows like Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Cow and Chicken.
Taking a note from The Simpsons (like they took most things for the show), MacFarlane was intent on premiering his show on MADtv, like The Simpsons started on Tracery Ulman. But budget restraints didn’t allow it.
Family Guy was pitched head-to-head against King of the Hill at Fox. Fox was hesitant to order 2 new animated shows, so they only signed a deal for King of the Hill. But, that shows success lead them to have much more confidence in animation, giving MacFarlane a chance the next year.
Lois was originally blonde. Not a lot of backstory in this fact, but it’s weird looking at how the characters were originally drawn after watching them never change clothes for 20 years.
In the first season, Meg was voiced by Lacey Chabert, who is most known for her role in Mean Girls as Gretchen Wieners (heir to the Toaster Struddle fortune). Since the second season, she has been voiced by Mila Kunis.
Voice actor for Chris Griffen, Seth Green, has said his inspiration for Chris’ voice came from Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
Alex Borstein, voice of Lois Griffin, almost didn’t return after the pilot episode. She had to re-audition for her role and luckily won out. She has since earned 2 Emmys, one for Family Guy and another for Outstanding Supporting Actress in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
The main cast makes over $225,000 per episode. Which makes it a little more clear why some episodes will cut out characters like Chris or Meg every now and then.
Carrie Fisher voiced Peter’s boss at the Pawtucket Brewery for over 10 years. After her passing in 2016, the show paid a touching, while still goofy, tribute to her. Check it out here.
Family Guy has pissed off a few people over the years, but none stick out as much as when they pissed off their main audience. In 2013, they killed off main character Brian, and replaced him with another dog in the same episode. The new dog Vinny was not received well, and over a million fans signed an online petition to bring back Brian. As it turns out, this was all just a publicity stunt that the creators did not know would go over so poorly.
Family Guy has been called out a few times by other shows for lazy joke writing or copying other shows too much, but not a lot holds a candle to South Park’s anti- Family Guy episodes. A two-part episode shows Cartman traveling to find out the secret of Family Guy’s jokes (a large tank where manatees pick jokes at random). MacFarlane has defended his cutaway joke template, stating that it’s harder to come up with “a brand new premise, storyline, arc, all in just a few seconds.”
Family Guy is the first animated show to be nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the Emmys since The Flintstones.
The “Great Big Phony!” yelling character is named Holden Caulfield, after the main character of Catcher in the Rye, infamous for his whiney and bitchy personality. I hate that book.
Every episode contains the phrase “what the hell”. Kind of like “I’ve got a bad feeling” in Star Wars, or “what the fuck is this shit?” from someone in the audience of any Fast and the Furious movie.
Quagmire is 66 years old.
Meg’s legal name is Megatron Griffin.
Brian Griffin was named High Times’ “Stoner of the Year” in 2009.
The show has been named “Worst TV Show of the Week” 44 times by Parents Television Council.
Peter Griffin was actually inspired by a real person. MacFarlane based him on a security guard at RISD, who had “a big thick Rhode Island accent, everything was said at this volume, absolutely no self-editing whatsoever.” After finding out he was the inspiration, Paul Timmins said he was proud of his connection to the show.
H/T 1 & 2
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