In the year 2022 and the recent times before it, the animated series genre has only become more and more saturated. Whereas now the likes of BoJack Horseman, Rick and Morty, and Big Mouth are considered among the best, this certainly wasn’t the case in 1999.
Realistically, there is only The Simpsons that can outmatch Family Guy when it comes to longevity, with Seth MacFarlane’s creation now into its 20th season. Over those two-plus decades, Family Guy has earned itself a reputation for never being afraid to say exactly what it wants.
This has come in many forms, from shock value jokes, often about the likes of racism, sexism, or even rape, to making entire episodes just to spite or take a shot at someone or something in particular.
There is no shortage of these episodes, and while the quality certainly varies, with some making the desired point but failing to actually be particularly funny or entertaining, the audience was left with no doubt when the closing music played that there was definitely a specific target in the writers’ crosshairs.
10. The Father, The Son, & The Holy Fonz (S4E18)
There are countless times Family Guy has taken its shots at organised religion since 1999, with Jesus Christ even becoming a semi-recurring character on the show. There is one episode that stands out however as feeling like a real slap in the face to the very idea of religion.
Though he was raised as a Catholic, Seth MacFarlane is now a proud atheist, and would have a lot to relate to with Peter Griffin in this episode. Francis, Peter’s father, was a devout Catholic, and hated anybody who disagreed with him. He wanted Stewie baptised, and wouldn’t even let the Protestant Lois sit at the same dinner table as him.
It wasn’t until Lois told Peter that he was a grown man and could choose whatever religion he wanted that he realised he didn’t have to follow his father’s faith. In real life, this was where Seth MacFarlane renounced religion altogether, but in Quahog, Peter decided to set up the First United Church of the Fonz.
The point of this episode came from Brian, in that really this was no different to any other religion, it was still based around the exploitation of the ignorance of others through singing songs and telling tall tales.