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‘Family Guy’ Crash Course: 20 Must-Watch Episodes From Every Season

By Shantanu Sanzgiri 16 November 2022

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Every edgy teenager has a rite of passage—sitting on the couch with red eyes and getting hypnotized (see what I did there?) by the on-the-nose and oftentimes crude (I mean… The Aids Song) humour of Family Guy. At least it was for me. 

Seth MacFarlane’s brainchild, the adult-cartoon series kicked off its 21st season in September. And while it has lost its charm over the years, the hard-hitting, meme-giving, button-pushing show has attained cult status and rightfully so. Going up against The Simpsons was never going to be an easy task but our favourite Quahog family—consisting of Peter (MacFarlane), Lois (Alex Borstein), Chris (Seth Green), Meg (Mila Kunis), Stewie (MacFarlane) and Brian (MacFarlane)—won us over with their cutaway gags, long drawn-out jokes and (once upon a time) great political commentary. 

So, as someone who has watched Family Guy’s entire filmography more times than I would like to admit, I’m going to list down one episode from every season you HAVE TO watch. Cause let’s face it, there’s a lot to go through. And I’ve also heard people have these things called lives or something. Strange.

1. Mind Over Murder (Season 1, Episode 4)

This season one classic is the recipe for most Family Guy episodes. Bizarre events, weird consequences, dumbest solutions. Well, tell us we’re wrong. Peter has to find a way to get drunk at home with his friends because… get this… he punches a masculine-looking pregnant woman. On the sidelines, Stewie invents a time machine which results in the perfect ending. 

There’s a lot of story in the middle. It’s best if you watch it with your own two eyes. 

Death Is A Bitch (Season 2, Episode 6)

One of the most memorable cameos from the show’s run, this one is going to be bittersweet for comedy fans. Comedy legend — the late Norm Macdonald plays Death and he totally steals the show with his trademark sarcasm and nonchalance even while voicing the Grim Reaper. 

Well, the episode is all about the Griffins entertaining their new houseguest because he sprained his ankle while getting Peter’s soul. So what happens then? Peter is subbed so people know that death still exists. Yes, that makes absolute sense.

Note: This is listed as Season 1, Episode 13 on Hotstar

The Thin White Line (Season 3, Episode 1)

Brain, the family’s anthropomorphic dog has evolved as a character over the years. The Democratic writer with a taste for philosophy and art also likes to indulge in some taboo substances from time to time. In this one, he is looking for a larger meaning in his life. So he joins the police force as a sniffer dog. And gets addicted to cocaine. Yes. 

The Fat Guy Strangler (Season 4, Episode 17)

In my opinion, an episode gets infinitely better when Peter takes up a social cause. In this one, he establishes the NAAFP (National Association for the Advancement of Fat People). While Peter is off finding pride in being fat, Lois reunites with her brother Patrick Pewtershmidt who has been admitted to an insane asylum. And who is he played by? Robert Downey Jr. Yes, Iron Man. 

Check out the full episode for a murder mystery that could be solved by Ravi Shastri after his 4th drink but Lois takes a minute. 

Note: This is listed as Season 4, Episode 18 on Hotstar

Chick Cancer (Season 5, Episode 7)

Sometimes an episode just ticks all the right boxes to give us the perfect episode. The two parallel storylines are equally hilarious—one where Peter discovers his love for chick flicks and the other where Stewie explores the intricacies of being in a relationship with his friend Olivia. Peter makes a film called Steel Vaginas. Stewie lets us in on the truths about dating. 

This is the perfect dose of stupid-smart comedy. You’re welcome. 

Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie (Season 6, Episode 4)

For the longest time, Stewie’s entire existence revolved around one singular motive—killing his mother Lois. A recurring gag that has been sidelined in recent seasons, Stewie finally acts on all his threats in this two-part episode. 

Even though there’s tons of cinematic action the jokes are always front and centre. There is memory loss, a white supremacist boyfriend and a police chase in the mix as well. Here’s one hour of amazing television you must witness.

Note: This is listed as Season 6, Episode 5 on Hotstar.

420 (Season 7, Episode 12)

Ah, every stoner bro’s favourite episode. This “make marijuana legal again” episode is what the show used to get right so often in its earlier seasons. Sticking it to the man while delivering some laughs. 

Brian campaigns to legalize the devil’s lettuce after he’s arrested for drug possession. Throw in an incredibly catchy song aptly titled Everything Is Better With A Bag Of Weed and you’ve got a classic. (We don’t endorse the song but it might help the viewing experience). 

Road To The Multiverse (Season 8, Episode 1)

Family Guy has always loved time travel. The Stewie and Brian-centric episodes where they put the little one’s time machine to the test are an inseparable part of the series. This one takes it one step further and showcases the sheer genius of the writers, giving us a sense of an infinite number of possibilities in a 20-minute episode. 

Check out this masterpiece now! 

New Kidney In Town (Season 9, Episode 10)

Peter has many dumb ideas but… this one deserves its own award. He gets addicted to Red Bull and tries to invent his own energy drink. But what’s the secret ingredient in his concoction? Yes, you guessed it right. It’s kerosene. 

Cue kidney failure, a transplant and Barack Obama visits their city because of the… wait for it… kidney crisis.

Leggo My Meg-O (Season 10, Episode 20)

If you’ve seen more than 5 episodes of this show, you know there’s only one character who is the butt of all jokes. Meg. But this is one of those rare occasions where Stewie and Brain take pity on her and go out of their way to save their sister. From whom you might ask? Human traffickers in Paris.

If you’re confused about how they got there, you should be. Watch to unfold the mystery. 

Bigfat (Season 11, Episode 18)

A crossover cold open that will go down in television history, the Griffins meet American Dad! and King of the Hill in the opening scene. And the episode to follow is just as strong as the first 2 minutes. 

With a tribute to the underrated gem that is King of the Hill in the opening credits, the episode opens with Quagmire flying his friends to Montreal to check out the strip clubs. Yes, that’s as Quagmire as it gets. But Peter lands them in trouble as usual by crashing the plane. (We’re surprised there were no 9/11 jokes.) 

All of this leads to Peter being stranded in the wilderness and having to play Survivor or Naked And Afraid or Alone. Man, there are too many survival shows nowadays. 

Vestigial Peter (Season 12, Episode 2)

Remember how I was talking about Family Guy making great political commentary with some intelligent jokes? Yeah well, this one is not it. This one sounds like a movie Adam Sandler would make for a lot of money. 

Peter finds out he has an underdeveloped twin under his skin. Cut to — he has a talking overgrowth coming out of his neck which wants to explore its sexuality amongst other things. It gets even more bizarre. Yes, it’s possible.

The Simpsons Guy (Season 13, Episode 1)

If you’re an adult animated show, there’s no escaping the comparisons to the legendary Simpsons. And Family Guy lived in its shadow for years before setting itself apart. But that did not stop people from calling it a less inspired, community college knockoff of the Springfield family. And those people need to watch the first episode of season 13 to realize just how different the two shows are. 

A crossover everyone dreamed of, the Griffins are entertained by the Simpsons. Peter and Homer get into a brawl over their favourite beers. And a lawsuit regarding intellectual property rights follows. I feel like I’m losing my mind as I write some of these summaries. 

Peternormal Activity (Season 14, Episode 4)

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what this episode is a play on. Peter and his gang decide they can write a horror movie. But in a turntables moment, they find themselves in one when they do something… horrific (sorry I couldn’t resist). 

Anyway, this horror within a horror within a horror is a great episode from an otherwise dull and lacking season. There is a “horror mein horror, Parag horror” joke somewhere, but we’re not making it.

Chris Has Got A Date, Date, Date, Date, Date (Season 15, Episode 5)

We don’t get to see Chris as the champion of too many episodes, but when he is, it’s a romp. The slowest of the Griffin kids is looking for a prom date and who better than Taylor Swift, amirite? There’s tons of drama between Chris and Tay Tay. 

The B-side storyline includes Peter becoming an Uber driver. Yes, he causes just as much confusion as the, “Location pe pahuch gaya hoon aap kahan ho?” guy. 

Emmy-Winning Episode (Season 16, Episode 1)

The show loves to get meta and when they do, they get it right. In this one, the family is watching Vedder Call Saul (yes, it’s a show about Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder singing all his problems to a lawyer) when Peter gets angry that they’ve never won an Emmy. Since 1999! 

And so their campaign begins. Full of references to shows including Modern Family, Game of Thrones, The Wire and Breaking Bad this episode is a laugh riot. 

Special mention to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia which has never won an Emmy award either. Blasphemy!

Throw It Away (Season 17, Episode 18)

“Bro read Robin Sharma, he changed my life.” Yes, we’ve all been recommended a self-help book by a friend, family member, co-worker or a random stranger on the street. Well, in this episode where Lois is the main focus, the matriarch of the family is taken in by Quahog’s very own news-anchor Trisha Takanawa’s publication. 

The episode is a parody on Marie Kondo’s Konmari method which encourages people to get rid of belongings that “don’t spark joy”. And that’s exactly what Lois does. 

Undergrounded (Season 18, Episode 12)

Yeah, expecting Peter Griffin to understand the intricacies of economics and how money works is a big ask. Well, in this one Peter gains access to a credit card. Not fully understanding the concept of “paying back”, he goes on a spending spree that gets him grounded. 

Now there’s only one logical solution to getting a cold one with his friends. Digging a tunnel. But he gets stuck in a 127 Hours-esque situation. Check out the episode to know what we’re talking about! 

The Marrying Kind (Season 19, Episode 14)

Wedding fever is a legitimate thing. People see their friends and family get married, they’re in awe of how special the bride and groom are made to feel and now they want it for themselves. This is exactly what happens with Stewie. Yes, you read that right. The baby Stewie. But what happens when his wife cheats on him with his best friend? You gotta find out. 

On a side note, Peter and Chris are busy breaking into the fanciest hotels for their breakfast buffets. But soon, the cops catch on to their little scheme. (Yeah we know it’s insane, just go with it.) 

The Fatman Always Rings Twice (Season 20, Episode 9)

Yet another concept episode but it’s done so well. From the show’s 20th season, when things had been dull and boring for a couple of years, came a breath of fresh air reminding us of what this show could do. A take on noir detective films of the 1930s and 1940s, the aesthetic accentuates the episode’s humour.

Not to forget the convoluted storyline, twists that will make you eye-roll and Peter’s detective name… Mac Bookpro. 

If I’ve convinced you to go binge on this Family Guy starter guide, the show is available to stream on Hotstar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Shantanu Sanzgiri

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