There’s a lot if things you don’t know about this show, trust us. The American animated TV series Family Guy can easily be compared to a juicy episode of a latin telenovela. Near death experiences, ongoing rivalries, cancellations and accusations of grand theft animation. Here is just a couple little known but interesting facts about Fox’s hit animated series, Family Guy.
1. Cartoon Network saves the show
It’s pretty well known that Family Guy was initially canceled by Fox, only to be brought back later. What’s less known is that it was the show’s own syndication on Cartoon Network that revived it. It seems that airing the reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup rebuilt a fan base for the show, and its ratings and DVD sales skyrocketed. Fox, realizing their mistake in canceling the show, quickly sought to revive it and create new episodes.
2. Cartoon Wars
Family Guy has always had a bit of controversy around itself, but the show actually went as far as to earn the ire of rival animated series. South Park released a two part episode entitled Cartoon Wars, in which Family Guy is relentlessly mocked for it’s cutaway jokes that have little if anything to do with the story. The episode actually coined the phrase “manatee jokes” due to South Park’s explanation that these jokes were written by a tank of manatees using balls with pop culture references written on them.
3. Cartoon Wars part 2
South Park isn’t alone for mocking Family Guy. The Simpsons has had a rivalry of their own with the show. Beginning when The Simpsons showed a picture of Peter Griffin on a wanted poster with the name “Plagarisimo” on it has started a back and forth between the two shows. Family Guy went as far as to have its resident lady’s man, Glenn Quagmire, hook up with Marge Simpson. The joke went on to have Homer discover the two and ended with Quagmire killing all five Simpsons. It probably goes without saying that the network didn’t let this scene go to air, although it is available on the DVDs.
4. The many voices of Meg
Meg Griffin is currently voiced by That 70’s Show veteran, Mila Kunis, but that wasn’t always the case. In the series pilot, she was voiced by actress Rachel MacFarlane, who is also sister the show’s creator. For the next several episodes, Meg was voiced by an uncredited Lacey Chabert (Party of Five, Mean Girls) before Kunis took the part.
5. Chris Griffin, aka Buffalo Bill
When auditions were being held for the role of Chris, many actors looked at the design for the character and gave him a “surfer” voice, according to MacFarlane. When Seth Green auditioned, however, he did something a little different. It seems that earlier that week, Green and friends were joking around by talking in the voice style of Buffalo Bill, the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs. Green auditioned using said voice and it won him the part of the Griffin’s slow-witted son.
6. Patrick Warburton’s mom is not a fan
Patrick Warburton, the voice of paraplegic cop Joe Swanson, has made quite a fan base for himself. Unfortunately, his mom isn’t part of it. Warburton’s mother, a devout Christian, has actually gone as far as to write letters to the FCC voicing her displeasure with the show and has been trying to convince him to quit for years.
7. MacFarlane survives 9/11
A much less humorous fact about the show is that its creator, Seth MacFarlane, came very close to being killed on 9/11. By his own admission, MacFarlane had a little too much to drink the night before an early flight and didn’t make it to the airport in time. That flight was later hijacked and flew into the north tower.
8. The Life of Larry
Before it was Family Guy, it was The Life of Larry. MacFarlane created a short cartoon called The Life of Larry that followed the adventures of Larry, a middle aged New Englander who went through life with his anthropomorphic dog, Steve. It was this short that was used to get MacFarlane a deal to produce a pilot for Family Guy, where Larry and Steve became Peter and Brian.
9. Stewie’s untold story
The homicidal and sexually ambiguous infant, Stewie, is no stranger to controversy, and that includes one that happened behind the scenes. MacFarlane has been accused of stealing the character from cartoonist Chris Ware, and his Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth series. MacFarlane claims he had never heard of or seen the comic when he created Stewie, but admits there are similarities. Both feature children with football-shaped heads, high IQs, and an eloquent speech pattern.
10. An honor just to be nominated
The Emmy awards have separate categories for animated television series, but the Family Guy crew set their sights a little higher. In 2009, Family Guy became the first animated series to be nominated for a best comedy series Emmy award since The Flintstones in 1961. Although they didn’t take home the trophy, the nomination itself was quite an accomplishment.