Top 5 Best Family Guy Episodes
The Fox megahit Family Guy has been entertaining (and offending) audiences for over fifteen years. Although the show wasn't always at the top of the ratings, and was even cancelled and renewed, Family Guy has found a huge audience in the past decade. From a college thesis project in 1995 to a network series four years later, the Simpsons on steroids provides an insane version of the classic American sitcom family that can't be found anywhere else (and probably shouldn't be, anyway!).
After 200+ episodes, Seth Macfarlane's masterpiece of animation has featured plenty of amazing episodes. Here are the top five best Family Guy episodes of all time, by ranking on TV.com and IMDB.
5) Death Is A Bitch
Episode - 206
Original Airdate - 3/21/2000
TV.com Rating - 8.5
IMDB Rating - 8.3
When Peter finds a lump, Lois makes him go to the doctor in case it's cancer. Fortunately, he is healthy, but when he sees the bill, Peter writes that he is deceased in order too avoid payment. The next day, Death himself comes to the door to take Peter. After a bit or arguing, Death injures his ankle and can no longer be Death, making everyone immortal. Peter, of course, takes advantage of this and Death then demands that Peter take his job to show the world that death is still possible.
This is a funny episode with a lot going on. Watching Peter deal with the possibility of being deathly ill, Stewie befriending Death while he heals, Peter doing stupid things and not dying, and even Peter being called upon to kill the Dawson Creek kids are just a few of the best moments. Norm Macdonald as Death adds a great, snarky wit to the character. Overall, a fun episode that fit the show really well.
The Life Of Larry / Larry And Steve
In 1995, Seth Macfarlane produced an 11 minute thesis film / animation titled The Life Of Larry. Formatted like a series pitch to TV, Macfarlane pitches his series about a fat, middle aged loser and his crazy antics. The short features tons of cutaways and even Macfarlane pitching the show from a mansion-style room, being served by his butler who wanders into frame randomly. This is the first iteration of Family Guy. This thesis film led to a job at Hanna Barbera, and Macfarlane creating another short for Cartoon Network, titled Larry and Steve. This short follows the story of Larry (from the original short) and Steve (his newly adopted talking dog). The two go about their errands while Larry absentmindedly stumbles through the day while Steve saves them from danger over and over again. The short got attention from Fox, who asked Macfarlane to pitch the series. Two years after the airing of Larry And Steve, Family Guy premiered on Fox.
4) Da Boom
Episode - 203
Original Airdate - 12/26/1999
TV.com Rating - 8.5
IMDB Rating - 8.3
In Da Boom, all of the world's worst tech fears come true on New Years Eve 2000. Fortunately, many members of Quahog survive, thought most become deformed. Peter leads the townspeople to rebuild civilization miles away where they can find the only food that can withstand the apocalypse: a Twinkie factory. As they rebuild society, Peter becomes a dictator and the town over throws him.
Family Guy used the Y2K apocalypse trope better than anyone else on television at the time. This episodes manages to not only show what life would be like if Peter Griffin ran the town, but also allows so many great characters to shine. The idea of the whole town migrating to a town because of the Twinkle factory is priceless! Stewie as a nuclear-infected squid-baby is too hilarious. For such an insane way for the Y2K apocalypse to play out, only Family Guy could do it this well.
Cancellation And Renewal
Family Guy premierrd strong in 1999, but ratings came and went during the first three seasons. By 2002, the show was cancelled by Fox. To make a little cash on the series, Fox sold sydication rights to Adult Swim and the show was an instant hit. DVD sales also hit big, and basically proved that full seasons of TV shows can do great on DVD. By 2005, Family Guy was green lit again with an order of 35 new episodes.
3) Blue Harvest
Episode - 601
Original Airdate - 9/23/2007
TV.com Rating - 8.5
IMDB Rating - 8.0
When the power goes out at the Griffin house, the family becomes bored. To make the time pass easier, Peter gathers the family for a fun little story called "Star Wars". In this hour along season premiere, the characters of Family Guy portray the many characters of Star Wars, telling the story of episode IV.
This is far and away one of the best episodes of the series. They even did two follow up episodes for episodes V and VI, although this was their best work of the trilogy. All of your favorite main and secondary Family Guy characters manage to show up somewhere, ready to fit a Star Wars role perfectly. It's also a rare opportunity to see Chris take the lead, playing Luke Skywalker. An instant classic for the series.
Controversy And Criticism
For a show like Family Guy, it's no surprise that some viewers tend to dislike the content. Many television critics have called the show "sophomoric" and claimed that its content is barely original. South Park even did a two-part episode where they made fun of the show 's creative process, portraying it as a tank of manatees randomly choosing idea balls.
Many watchdog groups, such as the Parents Television Council, have labeled the show as one of the worst on television and very unsuitable for families. Some specific episodes that led to controversy were PTV, Extra Large Medium, and Episode 420.
2) Death Has A Shadow
Episode - 101
Original Airdate - 1/31/1999
TV.com Rating - 8.6
IMDB Rating - 8.0
In the series premiere, Peter is laid off from his job after coming in hungover and falling asleep. After trying a series of odd jobs, he applies for welfare and receives a much larger check than he is supposed to get. He tells Lois that he got a raise and allows the welfare checks to keep coming in until the government catches on and he goes to court.
For a show to start with the classic "laid off" storyline can be a bit cliche, but Family Guy ran with it to create the first of hundreds of insane takes on classic sitcom storylines. Every moment of the premiere is hilarious, from Peter's over drinking to his sad attempts at new jobs to the ridiculous things he buys, all the way to the Kool-Aid man busting into the courtroom! Seth and the gang came out swinging for their first big break, and with the Superbowl as a lead in, nonetheless. What a way to start a series!
Seth Macfarlane's Other Works
Seth Macfarlane is a busy guy. Check out what else he has done.
American Dad - Green lit with the return of Family Guy in 2005, American Dad is an animated sitcom that follows CIA man Stan Smith as he deals with secret missions, killing terrorists, and handling family life. The show now airs new episodes on TBS.
The Cleveland Show - Green lit in 2009, The Cleveland Show is a spin off of Family Guy that follows Cleveland Brown in his new life with his new family in Virginia. Initially gaining rave reviews from everyone, the show had a two season order before it premiered, but would only run for four seasons.
Ted - Seth's first foray into live action film, Ted tells the story of a grown man who still hangs out with his anthropomorphic teddy bear. The guys binge drink, party, and cause all kinds of trouble for each other. The 2012 film spawned a sequel in 2015.
A Million Ways To Die In The West - Another live action film, A Million Ways told the story of a cowardly man in the old west having to defend himself and his friends against a ruthless outlaw. The 2014 film didn't gain the attention it was expected to gain and only made $86 million at theaters.
Flintstones Reboot - Rumors have been swirling for years about Seth Macfarlane rebooting The Flintstones as an animated prime time series. Details are few and far between, but it sounds like it's on the back burner for now.
Jazz Albums - Macfarlane has even released three Jazz albums, Music Is Better Than Words (2011), Holiday To Swing (2014), and No One Ever Tells You (2015). Macfarlane recorded with fellow animation composers and actors for all three albums. Although critical acclaim has been mild, the first album garnered a grammy nomination.
Episode - 414
Original Airdate - 11/6/2005
TV.com Rating - 8.6
IMDB Rating - 8.4
When the FCC starts over-censoring everything on television, Peter decides to launch his own network, PTV. He airs uncut, unedited content, along with lewd and crude original shows from Stewie, Brian, and Quagmire. Lois thinks Peter has gone too far, and reports the channel to the FCC, who shut it down. After they do, however, the FCC starts censoring every aspect of life in Quahog, so the Griffins head to Washington to demand a censorship balance be found.
One of the funniest episodes of the series, PTV does a fantastic job at poking fun at censorship, right at the height of the Janet Jackson Superbowl incident. The shows put on by PTV are hilarious and right in line with the Griffin family's sense of humor. Great lines and funny scenes make for a hysterical episode, especially when the FCC starts censoring people in the bathroom, taking showers, and having sex. And the episode even has a song! Bonus points!