Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things You Forgot Happened In Family Guy Season 1

Since its initial airing in early 1999, Family Guy has been funny, offensive, frustrating, and annoying, depending on who's commenting. But almost everyone has heard of it, most have seen several episodes, and there is enough of a dedicated fan base that the show came back from cancellation — thanks to the DVD sales – and was a powerhouse in network animated shows for several years. New episodes are still coming out to this day and its legacy will live on much longer.

For those who may not know, Family Guy is about the Griffins, a "typical" television family in the vein of The Simpsons – where creator Seth McFarlane took inspiration from – who live in Quahog, Rhode Island with their talking dog and evil genius toddler, alongside an assortment of other eccentric characters. The show has its more normal plotlines, but even within these, crazy antics and ludicrous cutaways ensue while the show does its best to touch every corner of television history (with some now outdated and obscure references) and offend all parties equally. Most fans agree that the first few seasons still provided good stories, solid character moments, and a lot of laughs, but there are so many episodes now that it can be hard to keep up.

Family Guy had a strong first season and many people have forgotten just how much was packed into it. These are some of the things viewers may have forgotten about that initial foray with Peter, Lois, Chris, Brian, Stewie and...oh yeah, Meg.

Big thrills, short ride

Maybe due to it being quite a while ago, or because it's packed together with season two on the Volume One DVD set, most people have forgotten, or never knew, that Family Guy's first season consisted of only seven episodes. The show premiered right after Super Bowl XXXIII and impressed many, but soon fell victim to time slot changes on Fox, making it harder to find for some viewers.

Even though it only offered a handful of episodes, almost all were seen as solid outings that helped to establish characters and tone immediately for the show. Many of the "classic" Family Guy jokes, zingers, and cutaways — before they became overused — were from this season. The only episode that might not live up to this praise is "The Son Also Draws." It's possibly the weakest story and ending, but still mostly amusing and not bringing the rest down too much. The limited number of episodes may have caused some to lose interest while they waited on more, but the first run for the Griffins was impressive enough that the following season would be three times as long.

The many voices of Meg Griffin

At some point in the show, Meg went from the slightly odd and neglected child of the family to default punching bag. It's a shame, because she's a fun character and is now expertly brought to life by the talented Mila Kunis, but that wasn't always the case. Most people know that Meg was originally voiced by Lacey Chabert, famous for her work on Mean Girls and Party of Five, but a small mistake in her contract and the desire to focus on school — as well as Party of Five — found her leaving shortly after the first season. This is hard for some to have spotted, as Chabert isn't even credited on most episodes she's in, but the actress is said to have left on good terms.

Even more women have been tied to the character. Some were brought in on special episodes to provide Meg's singing voice, like Tara Strong for example, as well as a couple that never made it to air. The creator's sister — Rachel McFarlane, who would go on to a starring role in American Dad! – portrayed Meg in the original pilot episode, but what may surprise some is that voice acting legend Cree Summer was originally given the job, to the point of even recording lines for episodes, before being replaced. Meg got swapped around a lot in the early days, but she is still given a few shining moments in that first season.

Peter gets arrested in the first episode

The show that would eventually become Family Guy almost began in several different forms — one of which would have been a segment on MADtvBut most notable was Larry and Steve, which was a version of Peter and Brian aimed at a younger audience. It's fun to track McFarlane's progression with the characters, even if some have developed way more than others. What wound up becoming the first episode of the series, "Death Has a Shadow," needed to introduce the audience to the Griffin family and make a memorable impression while showing what the family from Quahog was like.

The episode focuses a bit more on Peter and doesn't try to be subtle. Early in the episode, his defense to keep Lois from uncovering his lies is to call her fat, he loses his job due to drinking 37 beers, and Brian hits him on the head with a newspaper like he's the bad dog. Just this first half shows Peter's stupidity, while he eventually becomes welfare rich, flies a blimp over the Super Bowl, and lands in jail. It's a lot, quite the journey for a main character in a first outing, and the conflict is resolved with a mind control device after the Kool-Aid Man bursts through the wall. It's an episode that shows what viewers can expect from Family Guy and how far things are going to regularly go.

Television and an icon

The second episode of the season, "I Never Met the Dead Man," holds a memorable moment for many diehard fans, one that borders between ingenuity and insanity. For those who have forgotten that far back, it is Peter's fault that the town has no cable television, and Meg is taking the blame for the incident. To cope with not being able to occupy his time in front of the boob tube, Peter gets creative and crafts his own set out of household scraps. This cutout television is connected to a harness as he walks around town, watching his neighbors' interactions and commenting on what he sees like they are different channels. These actions may be considered imaginative, or simply the signs of his extreme detachment from reality.

What most don't remember about this particular episode is that it was the first big celebrity cameo — not just for an opening gag or flashback — and the initial clue fans were given about MacFarlane's love of Star Trek. Peter begins palling around with none other than William Shatner, the OG Captain Kirk himself, who is shown as an over-exaggerated hilarious caricature. It's amusing to see the two interact, but thanks to Stewie's weather machine, Meg's bad driving kills their first real guest star. At least Peter pays for not teaching Meg to drive properly, by winding up in a full-body cast, stuck in the hospital watching television.

Meg joins a suicide cult

Everyone abuses Meg. It's a staple of Family Guy, but it almost seems tame in the first season, comparatively. So it isn't too surprising when the young Griffin daughter gets excited to make a new friend, Jennifer, even if she is a little odd and too bubbly. This new friend compliments Meg, unlike the cheerleaders, and even invites her to meet other people their age. It seems like a wonderful situation all around, even if the boys in the group are all castrated. It's cool!

Meg's either so happy to have people to finally hang out with or just really slow, but either way she misses all of the clues that this new group she's found is a cult. The blue jumpsuit crew is setting up to all drink some punch and die together, but thankfully, Peter shows up and unwittingly saves his daughter. There are some really funny jokes here with sharp comedic timing, and the morbidity adds to the cartoon in a humorous way, especially when juxtaposed with a child's birthday celebration. The kicker at the end is Peter's last line to his daughter, after the rest of the kids all dispose of themselves off screen: "Sorry, Meg, I guess that's another bunch of people who'd rather fake their own death than go to a party with you." The zinger makes it clear Meg has been through stuff like this a lot before, and that the abuse will continue.

Gilligan is a genius name

Stewie Griffin is a complex individual, especially after several years of development, but he was a little easier to follow when the character was simply a baby evil genius in the first season. Sure, his oddly shaped head and mysterious British accent might make him seem eccentric and out of place, but it's the wild inventions and plots to commit matricide that make him such a joy in those early episodes. Fans will hear the full name of this character a handful of times throughout the series, but most have forgotten it, or at least that we learned it so early on in a scene at the airport.

In "Chitty Chitty Death Bang," Stewie's plans to fly to Nicaragua and raise an army, as well as have an in-flight happy meal with no pickles, are thwarted when the airport staff believes him to be a lost little boy. At that point, it's a one way trip to an office where the infant believes he's about to be interrogated, and that the officer works for his enemy. After an airport security guard attempts to understand him and offers some sound advice about growing up, Stewie reveals his middle name by stating proudly, "Stewart Gilligan Griffin runs from nothing!" The evil genius comes out a little more after that, when he thanks the guard by freezing him in carbonite.

Peter punches a pregnant woman

Peter Griffin gets into a lot of fights, especially with people dressed in chicken costumes. Over the years, we've see the titular Family Guy lose his temper for various reasons and throw down with little thought given to his own well-being. The fourth episode, "Mind Over Murder," shows a great example of how his impulsive actions get him into a ton of trouble — but this particular incident has possibly aged the worst out of any of the main story gags in the initial run. Peter is upset that another parent is speaking ill of his son, Chris, calling him Moby Dick among other things. So Peter decides to let his frustration out with a fist after the beer is knocked from his hand, landing a single knockout punch.

It takes a minute for Peter to realize he's hit a woman, even though everyone is calling her one. The gravity of the situation doesn't fully sink in until she gives birth right there on the sidelines. It's a big plot point for the first half of the episode and returns later for a quick funny bit, but not until after he accidentally gives her a second black eye with a gift and there's another sour jab with the breastfeeding joke. It's easy to see why this particular spot might be tough for some people to laugh at, even if it's surrounded by other classic Family Guy elements.

Time travel comes at you fast

Many shows resort to time travel, but that's usually when the stories are drying up and the show is jumping the shark. Family Guy decided to deploy it in its fourth episode, just in case the first three hadn't cemented that there were no rules. Typical to the show's humor, time travel would be used later on to tell full stories and set up bigger events. But in its first appearance, the science fiction element simply serves to undo all of Peter's mistakes. It all began with a teething baby Stewie, who figured the best way to fight the pain would be to speed up time.

Things progress as expected, with Peter punching a pregnant woman, being put on house arrest, and choosing to build a bar in his basement instead of spending time with Lois. This sets up an issue with his wife, and other local housewives, who think she's taking the attention of their men — this part is also Peter's fault — by singing to them at the bar. To top it off, Quagmire gets bored, accidentally starting a fire on his way out of the establishment. This all leads to Stewie's time machine saving the house from burning down by turning back the clock and altering the past — where Peter never makes it to the soccer game to punch the woman. There are certainly worse uses of this trope, but this one comes across as a bit lazy.

Joe Swanson's disabled origins

Out of Peter's friends, Joe Swanson is arguably the most interesting of the bunch. He's a police officer, a father, superb athlete, and husband to an almost constantly pregnant woman, Bonnie. Joe does all of this as a disabled individual, a man in a wheelchair, a fact that is hidden until the big company softball game in his debut episode. Joe is regarded as a legit hero, one who seems to get everything right and has plenty of stories to tell, but the main one he shares in the fifth episode, "A Hero Sits Next Door," is the origin of how he lost his mobility.

It was a snowy Christmas Eve in the big city, and some presents had been stolen from a local orphanage. Officer Swanson had climbed to a rooftop to find a figure with a large sack, but this particular dirtbag would look familiar to everyone as the familiar Dr. Seuss character, The Grinch. The two fought atop the snow covered roof, and just as Joe thought he'd retrieved the children's presents, the fiendish foe threw a skate, tripping up Joe and sending him off the building. The fall crippled him, but he was still able to give little Timmy a Christmas present. Wounded in the line of duty, epic battle on the roof with a literary villain, and all for the children — how much more heroic could a story get?

Lois has a gambling addiction

Lois has an odd past, but most of those aspects aren't revealed until later on and only in little bits. Before things like her rich parents or illicit affair with a member of Kiss were brought up, fans mostly saw her as the consummate housewife, the person who had to cook, clean, take care of the kids and put up with Peter's crap. It makes sense that she's not perfect, and we were already shown her being close to the breaking point previously, but there was no way Lois was in this family without some greater flaws.

In "The Son Also Draws," there's a convoluted plot centered on Chris being kicked out of the Boy Scouts that sends the family on a road trip. That, of course, goes awry and they end up at an Indian casino, giving Lois the chance to gamble and become addicted. It all happens quite fast and sets up the conflict for the second half of the episode, after Lois bets and loses the car, stranding the family at the casino. The rest of the episode deals with Peter's scheme to get their property back. This sends the father and son duo on a vision quest with no food, but Lois' addiction is overlooked for the rest of the episode, minus a brief scene when they return. Also, for some reason, the big resolution is done with a hallucination of the Fonz from Happy Days.

Brian was a stray

A heat wave and broken air conditioner is a dire combination, which means that the Griffins need money. Peter finds out about a local dog show, and figures that winning might be the answer to their problems. Brian's against the idea, but does it for the family, acing the obstacle course until it's time for the finale: begging for a treat. His refusal to perform this last trick, in an attempt to keep his dignity, upsets Peter and is the catalyst for a huge argument between the two. These issues get worse, especially after Brian is picked up by the police for not having his license or a leash, and the two former friends begin trading hurtful comments.

This is when the audience learns where Brian came from. Peter reminds the family dog that he was a stray, and the resulting flashback reveals more about their first meeting. Brian was homeless, waiting at the stop light with a sign that read, "Will sit for food," and cleaning windshields for spare change, complete with a scruffy beard. Peter felt bad for the talking animal and invited him home for dinner, beginning their friendship. This is similar to the prototype show, Larry and Steve, where the dog character is rescued from the pound. Which is close to how the "Brian: Portrait of a Dog" episode ends also, but with a trial and a reference to the 1974 television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman tacked on for good measure.