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25 Most Popular Family Guy Characters Ranked Worst To Best

The television industry is going through a seismic change at the moment. Passionate and vocal online fandoms have given a new dimension to how divisive shows can still find success. However, it wasn't always like that. In the ancient times of 10 to 20 years ago, a show that did not immediately appeal to a large swathe of its potential audience, and maybe even alienated some viewers, likely didn't have a bright future ahead of it.    

That is what makes the success of "Family Guy," which kicked off back in 1999, all the more impressive. Created by Seth MacFarlane and David Zuckerman for Fox, "Family Guy" was initially seen as a clone of "The Simpsons." Instead, "Family Guy" managed to carve out its own identity with a brutal, no-holds-barred approach to adult humor that made "The Simpsons" look like a kids' show.

Throughout its years of getting canceled and brought back to air after fierce petitioning from fans not just once but twice, "Family Guy" has built up an elaborate cast of compelling characters. Some of these characters are only used for brief side gags, while others take center stage in most stories. Let us take a look at some "Family Guy" characters who deserve most of the credit for keeping the show going so long while ranking them from worst to best.    

25. Consuela

Consuela De La Morrela is the Mexican cleaning lady who shows up in many cutaways and minor gags across "Family Guy." She is usually shown dressed in a maid's outfit with glasses, and her trademark utterance is a low and labored "No, no, no," as she refuses to take responsibility for any number of things.

At first glance, it might seem like you can't do much with such a one-dimensional character. However, the trick to the effective usage of Consuela is utilizing her as the cherry on top of a joke instead of the whole cake. Consuela rarely gets to set up the bits she appears in, but she does often get to deliver the punchline simply by being the person who says a quiet but firm "No" to anything she finds even slightly inconvenient.

Over the years, Consuela has been given larger storylines on occasion and a basic backstory. She likes to make herself very comfortable in the homes she cleans, has twelve children, and occasionally crosses the Mexican border to spend time with her beau. All in all, Consuela seems to lead a reasonably happy life and doesn't overstay her welcome in most jokes she's a part of.

24. Principal John Shepherd

Authority figures have a hard time being interesting in comedy shows. They usually play the straight man to the actually funny character in a scene, preferably someone they have power over. Principal John Shepherd walks a fine line on "Family Guy" between being a boring straight man and someone with deeper, darker depths that occasionally come to the surface. 

Shepherd is the principal of the school that two of the show's main characters, Meg and Chris Griffin, go to. As the head of the establishment, Shepherd is often seen in an adversarial role, even though he is not an out-and-out evil guy. Not much is known about Shepherd's personal life beyond the fact that he went through an ugly divorce in the fifteenth season and then got back together with his ex-wife. 

While Shepherd works well enough on occasion with the right punchline, he doesn't have much of a personality to stand out in a particular manner from the rest of the background characters on "Family Guy." Shepherd's characterization also suffers when compared to another school principal created by Seth MacFarlane, the far more interesting raging lunatic Principal Lewis on "American Dad." Still, Shepherd's presence works on the show when, much like Consuela, not too much time is spent focusing on the character during jokes and gags.

23. Mayor Wild West

The world of "Family Guy" witnessed a tragedy with the passing of actor Adam West, who had long played the iconic role of Mayor Adam West on the show. Over time, West's namesake character had become a bizarre highlight, and it did not seem possible to have a new character fill in for Mayor West who would be able to reach the same heights of popularity.

The creators of "Family Guy" made an interesting attempt with the introduction of Mayor Wild West, a distant cousin of the late Mayor Adam West. Unlike the old mayor, the new one appears to be a calm and sensible person and is voiced to gruff, world-weary perfection by actor Sam Elliott. Mayor Wild West has proven over time that he also has his own set of peculiarities, from a powerful mustache that appears to have a mind of its own to a mysterious ability to levitate. 

Since the new mayor made a late debut on the show in its nineteenth season, it is still too soon to tell whether he will reach the ridiculous heights of Mayor Adam West. But Mayor Wild West's appearances on "Family Guy" have been entertaining so far, and Elliott seems willing to lean into the silliness of the series without losing his trademark grounded, no-nonsense acting persona.    

22. Ernie the Giant Chicken

As the title suggests, Ernie is a character on "Family Guy" who happens to be a giant chicken. We don't know a lot about Ernie. We don't know if he is a mutant experiment or an alien or a higher life form or something Dr. Hartman cooked up in his lab one day. What we do know is that Ernie hates the lead character of the series, Peter Griffin.

The history behind their feud is a long and confusing one. It might have started after Ernie gave Peter an expired coupon once. Or it might have something to do with Peter's time-traveling shenanigans that included punching Ernie at a school dance. The reason is not important. What matters is that at some point, Ernie will wander into the plot of an episode and have a prolonged, surprisingly well-choreographed fight with Peter. 

Over the years, the two sworn enemies have fought each other across the town of Quahog, in space, and anywhere else the writers can think of. While the fights are funny at first, and extremely well-made, they tend to drag on near the end. Ernie also does not have much personality beyond his bizarre appearance and habit of fighting Peter for the stupidest of reasons.     

21. Barbara Pewterschmidt

Barbara is the mother of Lois Griffin and the wife of the wealthy industrialist (and Lois' dad) Carter Pewterschmidt. Like many other characters on the show, Barbara walks a dangerously fine line between being an actual character and a twisted parody of the "wealthy old lady" archetype in fiction.

Her life has not been an easy one. Barbara grew up in a profoundly misogynistic time and is a Holocaust survivor. She gets used to being mistreated by her husband physically and emotionally from an early age and copes with her mental trauma through sleeping pills and alcohol. Despite her problems, Barbara puts up the façade of a stereotypically rich and refined lady to the outside world.

Barbara's relationship with the Griffins is also much better than her husband's. She is often a secondary character in the storylines revolving around Lois' heritage as a Pewterschmidt. While not having much of a personality on her own, Barbara's pairings with her husband and the fact that they belong to a different, more regressive era have allowed for some of the darkest jokes in the show's history.

20. Tricia Takanawa

The world of "Family Guy" gets most of its news from the Quahog 5 News team, and their chief field reporter is Tricia Takanawa. She is a Japanese-American journalist who can be relied upon to tell the most interesting news items in the detached, monotone voice that has become her trademark on the show. The only time Tricia loses control of her monotone composure is in the presence of David Bowie

Due to her role as a commentator for the news, Tricia often gets to set up or deliver the punchlines on "Family Guy." Over the years, Tricia has interviewed Jason Voorhees, gone undercover to bust Carter Pewterschmidt's illegal businesses, and tripped on acid in the middle of a news segment. Although Tricia is usually shown as an emotionless professional, it has been hinted that she has her own set of family problems in the form of a "tiger mother" who constantly berates her and criticizes every aspect of her life. 

19. Seamus

Every town needs a kooky, grizzled old coot with a few marbles missing, and Quahog has that coot in the form of Seamus Levine. The first thing you notice about Seamus is his eye patch. The second thing you notice is that he is missing both arms and legs, with four peg appendages taking their place. It is also shown in some scenes that Seamus' remaining torso is also wooden.

At times, Seamus has joked that he is an incomplete version of Pinocchio who wanted to become a real boy, but the spell only worked on his head. However, flashback scenes on the show have indicated that there was a time in his youth when Seamus did have real arms and legs. The circumstances under which Seamus lost his arms and legs and got the wooden ones in their place are never specified. 

Being a parody of the sinister sea captains of fiction, Seamus can be a hilarious character in a gag but is rarely the center of an entire storyline. Seamus works best when he warns the other characters about the dangers of the sea in old-timey nautical terms or shows a surprisingly sensitive side underneath his gruff exterior upon being rejected by others. 

18. Dr. Elmer Hartman

There is only one doctor of note in the entirety of "Family Guy," and that is Dr. Elmer Hartman. Not that it's a good thing. Hartman often seems like someone who wandered into a hospital when they were giving out free lab coats and decided to take up the profession on the spot. 

As a result, most of what Hartman does at the hospital turns out to be dangerous and terrifyingly wrong. Like the time he left his cell phone in Joe's back during a surgery. Or when he declared that since it was such a beautiful day, all surgeries will be outside today. Or when he started to examine a patient's foot to ascertain her wrist injury. 

The highlight of the Dr. Hartman character is the number of times during a consultation that he says dire things, only to reveal that he had been talking about something other than the patient's body. For instance, he tells a patient the test results are much worse than he thought before explaining that he is talking about his son's report card. Hartman's habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is one of the better running gags in the show's history. 

17. Carter Pewterschmidt

There is no one central villain on "Family Guy," but Lois' dad Carter Pewterschmidt comes the closest. Imagine Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons" only dumber and more physically violent. As a result of his wealth and relationship with the Griffin family, Carter often acts as a minor or major antagonist in some of the main characters' biggest challenges in an episode.

On the surface, Carter is a rich guy living in charmed surroundings. However, he has a pronounced disdain for the rest of humanity that keeps him from finding contentment. Most of Carter's ill will is focused on his son-in-law, Peter, whom Lois married after going against her father's express wishes. Over the years, Carter has been involved in all sorts of scams and illegal businesses, in addition to being physically and mentally abusive to his loved ones. 

That said, Carter occasionally shows his softer side, particularly towards Lois and his grandchildren. He even appears to have genuinely fallen in love with Tricia Takanawa when she is running a sting operation to expose his illegal activities. Carter's the kind of guy you love to hate, but he is responsible for a lot of the comedy in many "Family Guy" storylines   

16. Bonnie Swanson

Bonnie is the long-suffering wife of Peter's close friend Joe Swanson. An attractive, low-key character with a remarkably breathy voice, Bonnie spends a lot of her early days on the show being pregnant. After her daughter Susie is born, Bonnie quickly loses her pregnancy weight and, apparently, her patience with being Joe's wife.

It largely falls to Bonnie to take care of Joe in his paraplegic state, and it becomes increasingly clear that Bonnie is getting tired of being her husband's caretaker. She actively seeks to have an affair outside of her marriage on more than one occasion. It is also revealed that Bonnie's method of stress relief is going to the gun range to fire at a silhouette of Joe in his wheelchair.

Despite their problems, Bonnie comes back to Joe time and again, and their marriage is still working, at least to an extent. In recent years, Bonnie has also branched out from being Joe's caretaker to having her own adventures with Lois and the other women on the show. In a strange way, Bonnie is one of the nicest characters on "Family Guy" — when she's not being portrayed as a straight-up psychopath for the sake of a gag.

15. Cleveland

Peter has a close circle of friends that appear in almost every episode of "Family Guy," and Cleveland Brown is an important part of that inner circle. An easy-going guy with a family of his own and a job at the post office, Cleveland is something of an anomaly in Quahog as a Black guy and one of the few minority characters on the show. 

A deeply religious person, Cleveland is often the voice of reason in Peter's group but regularly goes along with their hare-brained schemes. One of the oldest running gags on "Family Guy" is an explosion or a crash caving in part of Cleveland's house, which reveals him in his bathtub before the tub also crashes out of the house while Cleveland yells, "No, no, no, no!" 

Cleveland became the first character on "Family Guy" to get his own spinoff with "The Cleveland Show." The series only aired four seasons, after which Cleveland returned as a series regular on "Family Guy." As the straight man of the group, Cleveland works best when setting up a joke or reacting as a normal person would to Peter's over-the-top shenanigans.   

14. John Herbert

Move over, Hannibal the cannibal. There's a new old man menace to society with a rhyming name in town, and that is Herbert the pervert. As his title suggests, Herbert is a man who lives on the same block as the Griffins and is strongly implied to be attracted to children, specifically Chris Griffin.

Herbert affects the mannerisms of a mild older man while secretly being a crafty and scheming human being who is always looking for ways to lure Chris into his house. Despite his highly advanced age, Herbert's libido seems to be firing on all cylinders. Thankfully, despite his lewd desires, the man is never successful in actually being able to trap Chris or any other kid. 

In fact, more often than not, Herbert is depicted as a minor annoyance, and in some rare cases, straight-up heroic, like the time he fought a Nazi that was also trying to prey on Chris. Due to his nature, Herbert is responsible for some of the darkest jokes and storylines on "Family Guy," and it is kind of fascinating to see the writers pulling off a tricky balancing act between making Herbert amusingly twisted and straight-up villainous.   

13. Death

Being a cartoon satire show, "Family Guy" has plenty of non-human characters as well. One of the most entertaining ones is Death, a Grim Reaper-like figure who wears a black shroud and carries a scythe which he uses to reap the souls of the dead to be taken to the afterlife. 

Despite the serious nature of his work, Death is a pretty chill dude most of the time. After he sustained an injury in his first appearance on the show, Death was willing to let Peter carry out his duties towards the dying while Death recovered in the Griffin's home. It has also been revealed that Death himself is capable of dying, in which case, his soul is passed into the hands of a being called Super Death.

Naturally, a lot of morbid jokes are made using the character on "Family Guy," allowing for some of the best black comedy bits in the history of "Family Guy."    

12. Joe Swanson

Another of Peter's closest friends is Joe Swanson, a paraplegic cop who lives next to Peter and is stuck in an unhappy relationship with his wife Bonnie and his adult son Kevin. Joe is known for his deep voice, prominent chin, and surprisingly buff physique, characteristics that once led Stewie to confuse Joe with the lead character of Seth MacFarlane's other popular cartoon show, "American Dad." 

Joe is usually depicted as a cheerful and reasonably content family man. However, some scenes show a starkly different side to his personality, like his habit of yelling at Bonnie in an overwrought manner over the smallest things. In later seasons, Joe is also shown to experience depression due to being paralyzed from the waist down, even once appearing eager for Stewie to shoot him and put him out of his misery.

Despite his troubled personal life, Joe tries to put on a brave face in public for the sake of his friends and family. A lot of the jokes center around Joe dealing with his failing marriage and the difficulties of living as a person with paraplegia. Joe remains one of the nicer characters on the show, whom you can genuinely feel sympathetic towards despite having his own set of vices, just like all the other "Family Guy" characters. 

11. Meg

We now arrive at a character who is ostensibly the most disliked individual on "Family Guy," Peter's teenage daughter Meg. It has repeatedly, and in great detail, been emphasized that nobody likes Meg, either within her own family or outside of it. In fact, everyone hating Meg is probably one of the longest-running major gags in the show's history.

Over the years, Meg has been physically threatened by Peter, belittled by Lois, made fun of by Chris and Stewie, and treated as an outcast at her school. The punchline is that there does not seem to be anything outwardly wrong with Meg. She's a reasonably intelligent, rather plain-looking teen who does not go out of her way to be unpleasant. Yet the universe seems to delight in making her life miserable through neglect and straight-up abuse. 

It can be difficult to watch every other character on the show eagerly pile on the Meg Griffin hate bandwagon. Fortunately, she begins to fight back in later seasons and is less likely to meekly take the abuse as she used to in earlier episodes. From being a one-note punching bag for everyone else, Meg has slowly evolved into her own person, albeit one who is just as twisted as the rest of her family.  

10. Chris

With the exception of Stewie, the Griffins are not an intellectual family, and Chris is the least intelligent of the bunch — an impressive achievement considering Peter is also on that list. However, while Peter does show occasional flashes of intelligence that explain which side of the family Stewie might have gotten his brains from, Chris' whole thing is being the "slow one" in the family.

Like any teenager his age, Chris' main preoccupation is with girls, school, and trying to fit in with his peers. Unfortunately, Chris' lack of brains often gets in the way of all three. It also does not help that Chris is self-conscious about his weight and prone to bouts of rage if he feels overwhelmed.

Still, despite all the things working against him, Chris is at heart a sweet and well-meaning kid who usually tries to do the right thing, at least so far as he can understand it. Over the years, Chris has traveled through time, dated Taylor Swift, and made his own girlfriend out of a mop. As often as Chris is the butt of the joke on "Family Guy," you can't help but root for him to improve his lot in life and hopefully become a better man.

9. God

Much like Death and other metaphysical concepts given a human character on "Family Guy," the creator of the universe, known as God, has also shown up in the series from time to time. Deities from other parts of the world are also referenced at different points, but they appear to be distinct from the being called God, who resembles popular depictions of the Judeo-Christian creator of the universe as an old man with a long, flowing white beard and robe. 

The God who shows up on "Family Guy" is just as flawed as the other characters on the show. He seems to have a genial nature in general but also doesn't seem interested in improving the world he created in any appreciable manner, like when he gets an emergency notification from Africa but chooses to ignore the call. It has also been shown that God created the universe after borrowing his roommate Chuggs' lighter to ignite a fart. 

At other times, God has interacted directly with Peter and his family in various ways. At one point in Season 16 episode "Are You There God? It's Me, Peter," Peter, who was in a coma, spends time with God in an elevator. There, the creator of the universe tries to make up his mind whether Peter deserves to go to heaven or hell after death. In the end, God decides to prevent Peter from dying for the time being.      

8. Mort Goldman

Over the years, "Family Guy" has come in for repeated complaints about the supposedly anti-semitic nature of its comedy and depiction of Jewish caricatures from outlets including Haaretz, The Jewish Chronicle, and The Sydney Morning Herald. Defenders of the show, as seen in one response printed in the St. Loius Jewish Light, have often pointed out that "Family Guy" is an equal-opportunity offender that brutally makes fun of every cultural group, not just any particular one. 

No matter which side of the argument you fall on, Mort Goldman is the most prominent example of how "Family Guy" uses Jewish stereotypes for humor. Mort is depicted as physically weak, mentally neurotic, chronically hypochondriacal, and eternally stingy. Stewie once followed Mort for an entire day waiting for him to open his wallet, and it never happened. 

Despite his less-than-flattering depiction in just about every aspect, Mort manages to lead a reasonably happy life with his first wife Muriel and second wife Rachel while operating Quahog's pharmacy. The kindest thing that can be said about Mort is that he causes less active harm to other characters on the show than most others and is usually depicted as a victim rather than the instigator.       

7. Mayor Adam West

A strange city like Quahog would need a pretty weird mayor who would allow for all the lunacy to take place in the town on a regular basis. For 18 seasons of "Family Guy," Mayor Adam West rose to the occasion by being progressively weirder than any other person who lives in Quahog.

A complete rundown of all the weird things Mayor Adam West has done over the years would be longer than this article. In a hot dog eating contest, West somehow produced hot dogs whole from his mouth with the bun and meat intact. He once wasted a $100,000 grant of taxpayer money trying to find out who had been stealing his water. He even married his right hand once. 

Despite his many strange and downright criminal activities, Mayor Adam West was a popular figure with his town's constituents. Unfortunately, the passing of the character's voice actor, legendary Batman actor Adam West, forced the creators of "Family Guy" to retire Mayor Adam West from the show. The character has been replaced by his distant cousin Wild West as the new mayor of Quahog.  

6. Brian

Brian is the Griffin family's pet dog who has been with them since the start of "Family Guy." Unlike other cartoon pet characters who are meant to be non-verbal, Brian is an eloquent speaker and ostensibly the most mature member of the Griffin household, who likes to think of himself as the voice of reason on the show. 

Unfortunately, Brian's true nature is far removed from his self-perception. At the start of the series, Brian is genuinely highly intelligent, well-read, and cultured. Over time, that characterization changed to make Brian into a faux-intellectual who is secretly vain, self-centered, and not well-read at all. However, he still likes to pretend to be a true intellectual to feel superior to others. 

Apart from his hypocritical moralizing and political posturing, Brian is also remarkably selfish and surprisingly callous about the plight of others. While he is occasionally shown in a better light, the modern incarnation of Brian is usually held up as an example of a guy who desperately wants everyone to believe he's smart. This is in stark contrast to his constant companion Stewie, who is an actual genius but doesn't feel the need to rub that fact in everyone's face.

5. Tom Tucker

Some supporting characters on "Family Guy" get a lot more screen time than most based on their status in Quahog. Tom Tucker is one such character. As the town's leading newsman, Tucker shows up frequently to inform the main characters and the audience about the latest developments in Quahog relating to whatever the main storyline for the episode happens to be.

As the anchor for Quahog 5 News, Tucker gets some of the funniest lines and reactions on the show. He is also an entertaining character in his own right, as he is a pompous, entitled pseudo-celebrity who loves being the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. He also has a seedy private life that he tries to keep hidden for the sake of his public image. 

Over the years, Tucker has gone from being an occasional bit-part player to occasionally getting a significant storyline in an episode. For instance, in the Season 14 episode "The New Adventures of Old Tom," he is replaced by a new reporter and works with Peter to get his job back.

4. Lois

As the mother of Chris, Meg, and Stewie, Lois is the matriarch of the Griffin household. She's also Peter's better half — most of the time. Some of the time. Occasionally. The truth is, Lois frequently competes with Peter for the "worst parent" award. Other times, she can be seen catching up with her budding alcoholism or actively making life more difficult for her loved ones.

Lois initially belonged to a super-wealthy family but had to give it all up to marry Peter and start their life together. While Lois and Peter are generally shown to be in love with each other, there is plenty of animosity between the two due to past differences and disagreements. While Lois tries to be a conscientious parent to her three kids, she has admitted, on occasion, that the responsibilities of motherhood are not a particularly important part of her life.  

Lois has grown increasingly bitter over the state of her family through the years while at the same time denying any responsibility she might have for the state of chaos that always seems to exist within the Griffin household. Lois is far from perfect, but she is also one of the most compelling characters on the show, with more personality than cartoon wives are typically afforded. 

3. Glenn Quagmire

Quagmire is the third and most interesting of Peter's inner circle of friends. While other characters on long-running shows often become worse over time, Quagmire seems to have improved somewhat. When "Family Guy" started, his aggressive pursuit of women was problematic, to say the least, as he would do anything to get into a woman's pants with or without her consent. 

Things got so bad that showrunner Rich Appel said at a San Diego Comic-Con panel that the character's past predatory behavior would be dealt with directly on the show, as reported by The Huffington Post. In the past few years, the focus has shifted from Quagmire's almost uncontrollable libido to other aspects of his personal life, like his relationship with his transgender father and his long-running feud with Brian

From starting as a full-on sleaze and a pervert, Quagmire has evolved into one of the show's most sensible (relatively speaking) characters who is often the voice of reason whenever Peter wants to embark on another hare-brained scheme. Bits and pieces of the old perpetually horny Quagmire still pop up occasionally along with his famous catchphrase "Giggity!" but thankfully there's a lot more to the character than that these days.  

2. Peter

By his own admission, Peter Griffin is sometimes seen as a knock-off version of Homer Simpson who tries to be more gross, stupid, and lazy in every way. Yet over the years, Peter has evolved into his own personality. Not necessarily a better one than Homer, but an important figure in the history of cartoons for adults nonetheless. 

As the lead character of "Family Guy," Peter is responsible for most of the chaos that unfolds across the series over the years. Peter cheats on Lois, bullies Meg to the point of an emotional breakdown, belittles Chris, ignores Stewie, and treats his friends like garbage. Peter also commits larger crimes against society and refuses to ever own up to his mistakes or change for the better.    

Yet despite his many, many shortcomings, Peter remains a compelling protagonist, perhaps because Peter's misguided adventures and deeply troubled temperament are a starkly satirical reflection of the real world itself. The problems Peter deals with in every episode are related to society as we know it, and Peter's behavior in his adventures is a black parody of the way real men and women respond to the same problems. Like Homer before him, Peter's true importance lies not so much in what he does but what he represents as the satirical face of the modern everyman.

1. Stewie

Even if you've never seen "Family Guy," chances are you have seen a photo or clip of Peter's youngest child Stewie Griffin at some point on the internet. In a show filled with interesting characters, Stewie is a breakout favorite among fans and a big reason for the show's long life. 

Stewie starts as an infant genius who is obsessed with killing his mother and conquering the world. Affecting a strange, faux-British accent, Stewie is responsible for some of the most hilarious rants on the show. He is also a living deus ex machina, capable of creating any gadget the plot requires, from devastating weapons of war to time travel technology. 

As Stewie's popularity grew, his genocidal qualities receded into the background, becoming a more sensitive and even heroic character. Nowadays, Stewie's adventures are more personal than simply plotting humanity's downfall. His relationship with Brian and the rest of his family is, in many ways, the emotional center of the entire show. It's little wonder that Entertainment Weekly choose Stewie out of all the "Family Guy" characters to be a part of its "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years" list, and it's no surprise that he makes it to the top of our list.