The 30 Best ‘Family Guy’ Episodes of All Time
With its 20th season set to kick off later this year, Family Guy has been a dominant force in comedy over the past 23 years. Alongside The Simpsons and South Park, it is one of the longest-running modern day animations. This is no mean feat. Even after a whopping 385 episodes, the series is still going strong. Somehow keeps on delivering the goods. There have been so many funny moments over the journey, it is hard to choose what the best Family Guy episodes are.
Anytime one of the main characters–parents Peter and Lois Griffin, their kids Meg, Chris, and baby Stewie, and pet dog Brian (who can talk)–gets into trouble or embarks on an adventure, you know the laughs are coming. Somewhat of an anti-Simpsons, Family Guy is a classic series that is well worth your time.
Whether you are a new viewer unsure where to start, or a longtime fan trying to decide what your favorite episodes are, we want to help you out by compiling this list of the 30 best Family Guy episodes of all time. Giggity, giggity!
30. PeTerminator (Season 19, Episode 13)
The most recent episode on this list and one of the best from season 19, PeTermiantor has everything you want from a Family Guy episode. Crude jokes, pop culture references, and the duo of Stewie and Brian are the driving force behind the plot. When Lois forces Stewie to eat broccoli, he plans on getting revenge by creating his own Terminator that looks like his dad Peter Griffin. He then plans to send this Terminator back in time to assassinate his mom. Things go terribly wrong when the PeTerminator returns to the present day to kill Stewie. Turns out future Brian invented the PeTerminator to kill Stewie, so the two have to team up to once again change the timeline for the better.
29. McStroke (Season 6, Episode 8)
It’s hard to know if Peter or Homer Simpson is the stupider cartoon dad. If you need proof of Peter’s idiocracy, just watch this episode. As the title suggests, Peter has a stroke after consuming 30 hamburgers in a row. With the left side of his body paralyzed, Peter decides to sue the burger shop, only to lose the case after being cured by a stem cell research center.
Still wanting his revenge, Peter somehow convinces Brian to help him and the duo pose as Asian businessmen and visit the headquarters of McBurgertown. Here they try and expose the company after finding a genetically engineered bull that can speak. If it all sounds rather weird, well, that’s because it is. The subplot is just as strange and finds Steiwie trying to become a popular high schooler which leads to pedophilia jokes. Yeah, Family Guy went there.
28. Quagmire’s Dad (Season 8, Episode 18)
Throughout the many seasons of Family Guy, Brian and Quagmire find themselves competing to be the biggest womanizer in the show. This episode takes it next level when Brian ends up shagging Quagmire’s dad! Recently transitioning from a male to a female, Dan Quagmire returns to Quahog and ends up sleeping with Brian. When Brian finds out, his response is to vomit uninterrupted for 30 seconds.
As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir when broadcast, and rightly so. If this episode was to air in the current climate, Family Guy would probably be canceled, if that is possible. The real payoff is at the end of the episode when an enraged Quagmire, who despises Brian, goes to the Griffin’s house and beats the shit out of him. As he is leaving, a bloodied Brain utters quite possibly the best line in the series; “Hey… I fucked your dad.” Genius.
27. Three Kings (Season 7, Episode 15)
Three Kings is a parody of three exceptional Stephen King stories: Stand by Me, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption. This episode is a great showcase of the pop culture humor Family Guy is filled with, while also getting slightly dark with some of the jokes. Each of the stories features members of the Family Guy cast portraying characters in King’s novels, with the pick of the three stories being Misery. Here a cross-dressing Stewie holds Brian hostage and forces him to write a novel just like the original. Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider, and George Wendt also star, with King apparently happy with the finished product and giving Three Kings his blessing.
26. Save the Clam (Season 11, Episode 19)
When the owner of The Drunken Clam dies during a freak softball accident, Peter’s local pub goes up for sale. When Peter and the crew visit The Drunken Clam and find it being readied for demolition, they stage a sit-in and refuse to leave until the bar is safe. There’s also a weird subplot about Meg becoming an undertaker and Chris Griffin stealing one of the bodies she is preparing. It’s a bit dark and disturbing, but then it wouldn’t be Family Guy if it was all nice, politically correct jokes!
25. I Dream of Jesus (Season 7, Episode 2)
Jesus working in a record store is exactly the type of thing you expect in a Family Guy episode. When Peter discovers the son of God selling albums, he befriends him and convinces him to make his second coming. This leads to Jesus becoming a public figure and neglecting his friendship with Peter. As well as their odd relationship, this episode is best remembered for Peter’s constant singing of Surfin’ Bird by The Trashman. If listening to Peter sing this song over and over doesn’t make you squirm then nothing will.
24. Emmy-Winning Episode (Season 16, Episode)
After 15 seasons without an Emmy win, Peter decides to take things into his own hands. In this meta episode, the Griffin family rips off other famous sitcoms that have won Emmys. Nobody is safe, with Modern Family, Breaking Bad, Girls, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and many more shows being incorporated into the Family Guy universe. Lousie C. K., Bill Maher, Sofia Vergara, and Julie Brown all guest star, while adult performer Asa Akira appears in live-action form. While it falls a bit flat towards the end, all the sendups of other shows make this episode a great watch.
23. The D in Apartment 23 (Season 16, Episode 6)
A look at the destructive nature of social media, The D in Apartment 23 finds Brian being canceled for an insensitive Twitter post about Kevin Hart. Forced to move into his own apartment to escape the controversy, Brian must deal with the fallout while trying to put his life back together. This episode is slightly ahead of its time, coming out just as the phrase ‘cancel culture’ was becoming prominent. While addressing a very important topic, the writers still manage to provide plenty of inappropriate jokes and comical scenes to keep viewers happy.
22. Rode To the North (Season 9, Episode 7)
Stewie’s murderous intentions are made clear when he forces Brian to accompany him on a trip to the North Pole to kill Santa. When they arrive they find things are in disarray, with Santa Claus on the verge of a breakdown. Taking pity on the fat man, the duo decides to help out and deliver that year’s Christmas gifts. As you would expect, things don’t go to plan and the twosome has to come up with a new way to get everyone their gifts. The solution isn’t what you might think, but in one of the more mature episodes, it shows the effects of greed and consumerism and makes you realize what Christmas is all about. Or something like that. The musical numbers are also fantastic.
21. Death Is a Bitch (Season 2, Episode 6)
Peter pretends to be dead to get out of paying a hospital bill, but this soon finds him confronted by Death. Realizing death is coming for us all, Peter strikes a deal with the Grim Reaper for a few more years by agreeing to kill the cast of Dawson’s Creek. As with most episodes of Family Guy, the premise is ridiculous but the jokes are hilarious. Norm McDonald as a whiney Death is casting gold while the appearance of a giant squid that is never really explained is quite surreal.
20. Stewie Love Lois (Season 5, Episode 1)
In a change of events, Stewie showers Lois with affection after she saves his teddy bear Rupert from attack by some dogs. While enjoying the treatment at first, Lois soon grows tired of the new and improved Stewie who is super nice. When she ignores him and he hurts himself falling down the stairs, she feels terrible and wants to comfort him, but Stewie is angered and goes back to hating her and wanting to kill her. The other major plot point is Peter getting a prostate exam and believing he has been raped. Now rape isn’t a laughing matter, but the show somehow manages to make it funny without being too offensive. Whether it would fly today is questionable, but the laughs are there and the Stewie/Lois storyline gets this one over the line.
19. Lois Comes Out of Her Shell (Season 11, Episode 6)
Lois takes center stage in this cracking episode. After suffering a midlife crisis, Lois decides to act like her younger self. While Peter is happy with the new Lois at first, he soon finds himself unable to keep up. When Lois goes to a Justin Bieber concert and attempts to seduce him, Peter must do everything he can to win her back, even if that means punching Bieber. There’s also a subplot concerning Stewie and a psychotic turtle that wants to kill him. Classic Family Guy.
18. Brain & Stewie (Season 8, Episode 17)
Brian and Stewie are arguably the two best characters in Family Guy, and any episode that focuses on the two is generally well-received. This is certainly the case for the episode Brain & Stewie. Finding themselves locked in a bank vault for a weekend, the two become closer than ever. After first trying to kill each other, they soon begin to question life and their purpose, bringing the two closer together. While there are plenty of jokes, this is one of the only Family Guy episodes not to feature music or cutaway gags. Not even Peter appears. This one is all about Brian and Stewie and shows what real friendship is about.
17. Whistle While Your Wife Works (Season 5, Episode 5)
Peter is in a fireworks accident and loses some of his fingers. Behind on his work, he convinces Lois to help him out but then spends his time trying to seduce her. This culminates in them having sex in front of a co-worker. The other major plot concerns Brian dating an attractive woman who also happens to be dumb, which is not normal for Brian. Relentlessly teased by Stewie, Brian attempts to break up with his new lady Jillian, only to give in and sleep with her, causing Stewie much joy. His singing of Gary Numan’s Cars is a clear highlight of this funny episode.
16. Peter’s Sister (Season 14, Episode 6)
Here is where we find out why Peter is so rough on Meg. The Griffin patriarch’s sister Karen comes to visit. Karen is a professional wrestler who it is revealed used to bully Peter mercilessly when they were kids. When she arrives for Thanksgiving, she still treats him badly, so Meg sticks up for him. This is a rare moment of bonding between Peter and Meg that is not often seen throughout the series. Together the two team up and take down the bully Karen. It is great to see them having a loving relationship for a change, although it doesn’t last long as Peter soon reverts back to his old ways.
15. Stewie Kills Lois (Season 6, Episode 4)
After five seasons of warning Lois he would kill her, Stewie finally takes out his mom in this laugh-filled episode. When Peter and Lois go on a cruise and leave Stewie behind, his murderous rage is activated and he puts in place a plan to assassinate Lois. With Peter set up to take the fall, Stewie’s plan seems to be going to plan until a year later when Lois appears and calls him out as the killer. Ending on this cliffhanger, the second part of this episode, Lois Kills Stewie, focuses on Lois trying to kill Stewie, who has managed to rise to power and take over America. There is a lot going on in these two episodes, with Stewie finally acting out his violent fantasies of killing Lois and taking over the world.
14. Meet the Quagmires (Season 5, Episode 18)
This one is a real trip. Instead of Peter marrying Lois, it’s Quagmire who becomes the head of the family. After Peter decides to go back in time and enjoy the single life, dirty dog Quagmire moves in and marries Lois. Peter must then change the past, this time with the help of Brian and Death. There are classic Back to the Future references in this one, particularly at the end. The new future created by Peter’s messing with time turns out to be much better than anyone could have imagined. But as is often the case, Peter does not care about anyone else but himself and forces Brian to help him change things back to how they were fo his own selfish needs.
13. Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (Season 8, Episode 20)
Family Guy meets Star Wars in this parody of The Empire Strikes Back. When the power goes out Peter tells another one of his great stories, this time the plot of The Empire Strikes Back. While not on the level of Blue Harvest (which is coming up later on this list), this is still a super fun episode with all the main cast portraying classic Star Wars characters, such as Peter as Han Solo, Brian as Chewbacca, Chris as Luke Skywalker, Lois as Princess Leia, Stewie as Darth Vader, and poor old Meg as a space slug. A lot of the jokes are Star Wars themed, so if you’re not a huge fan it might be a hard watch. For everyone else, this is another top Family Guy episode.
12. Road To Germany (Season 7, Episode 3)
This is the fourth episode in the Road to… series of parody episodes and easily the best. After Mort sneaks into Stewie’s room and unknowingly uses his time machine to go back to 1939 Poland, Stewie and Brian are forced to go after him. They just so happen to arrive on the day Poland is invaded by Germany and spend the episode trying to escape the clutches of the Nazis while finding a way back to the present. This one has a great Back to the Future gag, a chance meeting with Winston Churchill, and Stewie impersonating Adolf Hitler.
11. Da Boom (Season 2, Episode 3)
While some of the older episodes aren’t great, Da Boom is the exception. Airing a few days before December 31, 1999, the episode finds the Griffin family dealing with life after a nuclear holocaust destroys the earth thanks to the Y2K bug. In this post-apocalyptic world Peter somehow becomes mayor of the new civilization, Stewie interacts with nuclear waste and mutates into a squid, and Randy Newman is found wandering the wastelands. There’s even a bizarre real-life sequence at the end of the episode featuring Dallas stars Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy. While certainly strange, this episode has plenty of laughs and some unusual cameos and is one of the best episodes in the series.
10. The Simpsons Guy (Season 13, Episode 1)
The crossover everyone had been waiting for. The Griffin family finally meets the Simpson family in this epic episode of television. When the Griffin’s car breaks down near Springfield, they are forced to stay with the Simpsons. Somehow both shows come off great in this one, with all the main characters getting a decent look in. Stewie and Bart become best friends until Stewie starts taking violent revenge on Bart’s enemies. Peter and Homer get along at first but then come to blows, ending with a clever Roadhouse joke. It’s amazing that this show managed to come together successfully and is a one-off animation event that is yet to be bettered.
9. Petarded (Season 4, Episode 6)
Peter wins at Trivial Pursuit and declares himself a genius, bragging to anyone who listens. Not convinced, Brian challenges Peter to take the MacArthur Fellows Program test to prove he is as smart as he says. As expected, Peter fails badly and is classified as a borderline retard. This sends him into a spiraling depression until he realizes he can get away with almost anything due to his stupidity.
This one is chock full of offensive humor and might not go down as well today as it did in 2005. Many jokes didn’t even make it to the final episode thanks to the censors, and while the abrupt ending might throw a few people off, this is still a very funny episode of television.
8. Dog Bites Bear (Season 16, Episode 11)
The highest rating episode of the 16th season is much more emotional than most were expecting when it aired. Dog Bites Bear deals with the death of Stewie’s teddy bear Rupert. It is as much about Stewie’s grief and sadness as it is about the friendship between Stewie and Brian, a recurring theme throughout the series. The anthropomorphic white labrador is always there to help Stewie during his toughest times, as demonstrated in this episode. The highlight of this one is when Stewie and Brian scatter Rupert’s ashes and burst into an acapella version of Boyz II Men’s It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday. Just brilliant.
7. PTV (Season 4, Episode 14)
The Family Guy creators have never been ones to shy away from controversy, which is exactly what they conjured up with PTV. A big fuck you to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this episode finds Peter starting his own network after the FCC starts censoring shows. PTV becomes a success and the Griffin’s must travel to Washington to state their case to keep the network alive after the FCC attempts to shut it down.
The episode was in response to the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy (the nipple slip), with PTV featuring scenes previously cut or censored from older Family Guy episodes.
6. Yug Ylimaf (Season 11, Episode 4)
This time traveling episode was promoted as the 200th episode of Family Guy. Once again it is Brian stuffing up the timelines. Wanting to impress his dates, Brian starts using Stewie’s time machine and taking them back in time to visit historic events. This causes time to go backward, with Brian and an annoyed Stewie having to find a way to reverse things. This episode revisits many classic moments from serious episodes as Stewie begins to age backward like Benjamin Button. Brian, as always, steals the show with some of the best lines.
5. I Take Thee Quagmire (Season 4, Episode 21)
The unthinkable happens in season four. Quagmire gets married. After Peter wins a competition and gets the services of a maid for a week, Quagmire meets her and quickly falls in. He proposes after the second date, only to regret his decision immediately. Instead of breaking up with her like a normal person, he fakes his own death. Hilarity ensues. This episode really shows the depravity of Quarmire, with a necrophilia joke thrown in for good measure. The ending with Death appearing and taking the wrong body because they share the same last name is gold. This is a dark yet hilarious Family Guy episode.
4. Back to the Pilot (Season 10, Episode 5)
Another time travel episode focusing on Stewie and Brian, Back to the Pilot finds the duo traveling back to the very first episode of the show. This one has lots of meta-jokes and callbacks and finds Brian tampering with time. Again. He tells his younger self about the 9/11 terrorist attack, which he ends up thwarting. This results in a second Civil War that eventually causes a machine-driven nuclear attack on American soil that kills 17 million people. The two then have to try and put things right without re-damaging the future timeline.
3. Blue Harvest (Season 6, Episode 1)
The opening episode of season six is an hour-long epic spoofing Star Wars. This was a major event in 2007 and centers on Peter telling the story of Star Wars after the electricity goes out in the house. If you love Star Wars and Family Guy then this is the ultimate, with the jokes coming thick and fast. Quagmire and Cleveland as C-3PO and R2-D2 respectively are classic, while the guest stars are a varied lot, with Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Mick Hucknall, Rush Limbaugh, and Judd Nelson all lending their voices.
2. And Then There Were Fewer (Season 9, Episode 1)
The Family Guy crew really knows how to nail the first episode of a season. And Then There Were Fewer finds the citizens of Quahog invited to James Wood’s mansion hideaway where several murders happen. A parody of the classic flick Clue and taking inspiration from Agatha Christie movies, this is a thrilling episode with lots of red herrings, twists, and turns. You’ll be surprised when you find out who the murderer actually is.
1. Road To the Multiverse (Season 8, Episode 1)
This episode of Family Guy is universally loved by fans and critics. It is easily one of the of all time. When Stewie reveals to Brian that he has a remote that allows him to visit Quahog in different dimensions, the two embark on a wild adventure through parallel universes. They visit a world where Christianity never existed and humanity is 1,000 years more advanced. They also find themselves on a Disney-themed planet, a world where Japan won World War II, and a live-action world. The two eventually come across parallel universes where dogs rule and humans are subservient and Brain must decide if he wants to stay.
While there isn’t a great deal going on plot-wise, this is a hilarious episode with each different version of Quahog offering up nuggets of comedy gold. Arguably the best Family Guy episode of all time.
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