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Family Guy Fan Theories That Change Everything

Since its introduction in 1999, "Family Guy" has become a landmark animated series, one known for being both clever and crude. Centering on the Griffin family, the series follows the hijinks of Peter, Stewie, Brian, and the rest of the family as they go about their lives in Quahog, Rhode Island. Now having reached 20 seasons, the show has earned 12 Emmy Awards and widespread critical acclaim, despite attracting plenty of controversies over its dark humor and frequently provocative content.

With so many seasons and hundreds of episodes, "Family Guy" has built up quite a collection of stories and lore over the years. There are so many characters and events that it can be hard for even dedicated fans to keep up with everything. It should come as little surprise, then, that Seth MacFarlane's series has become popular fodder for fan theories, with viewers coming up with elaborate explanations for things that happened in the series but were not been properly addressed by the writers.

These theories range from the obvious to the oblivious, truth to tall tales, insightful to idiotic. Here are some "Family Guy" fan theories that would change everything.

Family Guy takes place in Stewie's head

Stewie Griffin is not only one of the main characters in "Family Guy," but he's also one of its most confusing. He is an ultra-smart baby who can not only talk, but is also capable of incredible feats of ingenuity and scheming as if he's an arch villain. But not everyone can understand what Stewie is saying; Brian is capable of communicating with him, for instance, while Lois and others are inconsistent (and typically non-responsive) when he speaks.

One theory posits that the events of "Family Guy" take place in Stewie's head, and are being told from his own personal perspective. This makes some sense, as it explains why only certain people can talk with Stewie, and other oddities of the show like strict Lois being depicted as his ultimate arch-nemesis, playful Peter being seen as a fool, and other such conceits. According to the theory, Brian communicates with Stewie because they are both making nonsensical sounds, with the child spending much of his time non-verbally playing (and imagining) alongside the family dog.

Brian was once a human

The world of "Family Guy" is filled with strange goings-on, perhaps none more bizarre Brian, the family dog seen not as a pet but rather as a literal member of the family. He has relationships with women, drives around in a car, and acts as if he is a human in almost every way.

A theory suggests that the reason Brian acts like a human is because he really is one. As part of a genetic experiment, the CIA transplanted a human brain into a canine, and now that dog is walking, talking and drinking martinis every chance he can get. 

Although it isn't quite clear why the government agency would do this, it does go some way towards providing an explanation for Brian's abnormal (for a dog) behavior. Not only does this explain Brian, but it also perhaps explains the existence of other anthropomorphic animals in the "Family Guy" reality, such as that giant chicken who keeps feuding with Peter.

Lois wants to leave Peter

Peter and Lois have been through a lot over the years, and he has often been derelict in his duties as a husband. Yet, Lois has mostly been a loving wife and attentive mother, putting up with Peter's outlandish antics while keeping the family running smoothly. There's an intriguing theory that addresses the shifting tone of "Family Guy" in more recent seasons, where Lois seems to have changed significantly. These days, it seems like she nags more frequently and rarely defends her husband like she once did.

The theory is that Lois is preparing to leave Peter; the pair, supposedly, will be separating in the near future. As evidence, the theory points out that "Family Guy" has become more of a comedic drama in latter seasons, and a divorce is exactly the sort of storyline that would fit with the stylistic change the series has recently embraced. 

One thing in favor of the theory is that Lois has been showing less blind loyalty to Peter in recent seasons, cheating on him with other men and constantly questioning him and his actions. Perhaps this could be laying the groundwork for a possible divorce as the next big event in "Family Guy." 

Family Guy shares two different universes

Although "Family Guy" would go on to become a hugely successful adult animated series, in its early years it had trouble getting off the ground. In fact, the show was canceled by Fox after just two seasons before being brought back at the last minute. It was then shelved again in 2002, revived in 2004 (following cult success via DVD sales and Cartoon Network reruns), and finally on the air to stay. Looking back on this period, some fans have noticed that the revived series was notably different from the previous three seasons, with drastic alterations made to the characters and overall tone.

A theory speculates that the pre- and post-cancellation seasons are actually two separate universes, not part of the same continuity. It claims that Stewie and Brian did not travel back in time during the events of "Back to the Pilot" (Season 10, Episode 5), but instead entered a parallel universe; this would explain why everyone suddenly hates Meg, why Peter goes from a bumbling but well-meaning dad to an obnoxious and selfish character, and why so many  bizarre events seem to take place in later seasons compared to the comparably mundane storylines of the early episodes.

Stewie is an adult actor playing a baby

Some fans find it odd that Stewie Griffin is not only the smartest of the Griffin kids, but also the most mature and possessing the deepest voice. It is almost as if the baby is not actually a baby, but a much older person playing the part. In this theory, based largely around the episode "Inside Family Guy" (Season 15, Episode 4) which reveals that the series is actually a "show within a show" with all of the characters played by actors rather than being genuine individuals, Stewie is a little adult playing a little kid.

The theory explains that the person playing Stewie is a height-challenged adult, and that the creators of "Family Guy" thought it would be funny to have such a person play a baby. That explains why Stewie has relationships, is so intelligent, and operates a number of side businesses — because the person playing him is much older and his actions are all part of the joke.

Avery Bullock controls Susie Swanson

Seth McFarlane's "American Dad" has multiple ties with "Family Guy," as the two shows share a similar animation style, some of the voice cast, and more — although, they have different tones when it comes to storytelling and jokes. Those similarities have led to a variety of theories about the two shows existing in a shared universe or being connected in some way. One theory believes there is a deeper, far creepier link between the two series.

Could Susie Swanson, the child of Joe and Bonnie, actually be none other than Avery Bullock? It sounds like something straight out of a daytime soap opera, but when you hear the evidence, it's enough to give you pause.

Avery, the eccentric CIA director from "American Dad," has been known to take the form of babies, as seen in the episode "Virtual In-Stanity" (Season 7, Episode 5). In "Family Guy," viewers get glimpses of Susie's internal monologue, which just happens to be voiced by the same actor as Avery, none other than Patrick Stewart. It's an easy jump, then, to a theory that proposes the voice-casting is not mere coincidence, and that Avery is actually using Susie as an avatar, all part of his strange behavior.

Peter spent all of Stewie's modeling money

One thing never satisfactorily addressed in "Family Guy" is how Peter is able to bankroll some of his more extravagant antics. In nearly every episode, he seems to require a never-ending supply of equipment and services, but money is rarely an issue. Peter has bought everything from tanks to helicopters, items that no average person could afford. So, how exactly is he always able to buy everything he needs to be the outlandish menace that he is? The answer might have something to do with Stewie, if one intriguing theory is to be believed.

Supposedly, Peter is using Stewie to fund his lifestyle. In "A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Bucks" (Season 2, Episode 11), Stewie became a model for Calvin Klein, and was shown to have earned some good money for his photographs wearing the designer underwear. It is never explicitly stated that he gave up on his modeling career, and Stewie is something of an ego-maniac, so it seems plausible that the youngest Griffin could still be pulling in big diaper dollars — and perhaps, Peter is using his son's modeling career as his own personal piggybank.

Lois and Peter had another son

The Griffin family is quite well-established in the world of "Family Guy." There's Peter (the lovable but dimwitted father), Lois (the voice of reason), Brian (the family dog), and three children in the form of Meg, Chris, and Stewie. In 20-plus seasons, this dynamic has changed very little — but if one theory is to be believed, the family might have been bigger at one point, including an extra son who is no longer alive.

A few brief mentions of another child in different episodes of the series provide the evidence for this theory. For example, in "Lottery Fever" (Season 10, Episode 1), Peter mentions another boy in the family when telling Chris that he will never be as good as "your older brother who died." He even goes on to say that the missing son was good at both sports and talking. Later, another episode had a throwaway joke depicting a different child who was not among the main three. This all points to the Griffin family suffering some form of tragedy — or at the very least, having their own equivalent of a Chuck from "Happy Days."

Seth MacFarlane Has A Crush On Alex Borstein

Since the very beginning, Alex Borstein has been a significant part of the voice cast for "Family Guy," taking on the voices of Lois Griffin, Loretta Brown, Tricia Takanawa, and Babs Pewterschmidt and others. Outside of Seth MacFarlane, she may be the most irreplaceable member of the entire cast. So, our next theory deals directly with Borstein and Seth MacFarlane, arguing that the show's creator is in love with her — or at the very least, has something of a crush.

The evidence for this comes from the series itself. Practically all the characters MacFarlane voices in "Family Guy" have a crush on a character that Alex plays. Peter, Brian, and Quagmire, for instance, all have strong feelings for Lois. Stewie also has an unorthodox preoccupation with his mother that could be considered Oedipal. 

Further bolstering the theory, Quagmire (another MacFarlane voice) has slept with a number of women that Borstein portrays, such as Loretta and Tricia Takanawa. Could this obsession with Borstein's characters be a real-life indication that MacFarlane has a crush on her? While it's hard to deny all the coincidences, if MacFarlane has been harboring some secret feelings for twenty-plus years, that sure seems like an epic case of puppy love. 

Peter lost his mind and the show is completely imagined

Once only the realm of daytime soap operas, over the years it has become an increasingly popular trope for characters to be revealed as either dead or in a coma, imagining what we've seen as the audience. It's no surprise, then, that fans have also come up with dozens of theories about "Family Guy" arguing that the entire series is just a dream. Hey, they've done the same thing for "The Simpsons," too.

This theory starts with a very different Griffin family. Chris suffered from oxygen deprivation as a child and Meg, a beautiful and caring daughter, acted as his caretaker. One night, Meg was driving with Chris in the car and they crashed, killing them. Unable to cope with the loss of her children, a pregnant Lois committed suicide, leaving Peter completely alone. Since that time, this theory speculates, a distraught Peter has slowly lost his mind — and the events of "Family Guy" are the result of his imagination attempting to deflect the pain.

Yeah, this theory is a bummer. It could also be the reason Peter hates Meg so much, as he resents her for destroying his entire family. The theory also supposedly explains why Stewie appears to be so smart despite being a baby, as Peter never met him and only sees the potential of what his unborn child could have been. It's an intriguing idea, but watched through this prism, it sure does make "Family Guy" difficult to enjoy as a cartoon comedy show.

Family Guy is a TV show within a TV show

"Family Guy" has never been afraid of breaking the fourth wall or stuffing itself with inside references. There have been literally hundreds of such gags over the years, so many in fact that it can be difficult to tell just how much the characters are aware of their own existence, and whether they might even be aware they are part of a television show. There are lots of theories fans have created dealing with this subject, with all sorts of different takes. Some even think "American Dad" is set within the "Family Guy" universe and/or they exist in the same world.

Perhaps the most interesting of these theories contends that "Family Guy" is a television show within "American Dad." The Redditor who proposed the theory has a lot of evidence to back up this claim, such as Stan citing Brian as his favorite fictional dog during an episode of "American Dad." The episode "Inside Family Guy" (Season 15, Episode 4) also gave the audience a supposed "behind-the-scenes" look at the actors playing the Griffins. The theory would seem to explain the unconventional structure of "Family Guy," as it would need to be wackier and more off-beat than "American Dad" to make sense as a television show-within-a-show.

Meg is Stewie's real mom

Meg is quite likely the least liked main character in "Family Guy," with most other members of the Griffin family either hating or feeling completely indifferent towards her. An exception to this is Stewie, who has occasionally shown his sister some affection in certain episodes. Bolstered by other clues, this has led to a theory that Meg could be Stewie's biological mother, with the truth hidden from the rest of the family.

In the theory, which originated in 2016, Meg got pregnant via a teenage boy. When the father skipped town and left Meg alone, Lois and Brian conspired to convince Peter and Chris that the mother was Lois. 

While this may initially sound implausible, both Peter and Chris have shown themselves time and again to be dumb enough to fall for such a scheme. For skeptical fans, there's additional evidence to back up the theory: Every flashback to the birth of Stewie cuts away before the mother is shown, leaving the baby in the dark as to who his true biological mother is. Meanwhile, Lois even jokes about Meg being the child's mother in one episode, without Meg questioning it in any way.