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The Most Controversial Episode Of Family Guy

Fox's "Family Guy" has always been known for its envelope-pushing, boundary-nudging sense of humor. Yet underneath all of that controversy baiting, people love watching Peter (Seth MacFarlane), Lois (Alex Borstein), Meg (Mila Kunis), and the rest of the Griffin family battle each other and the slings and arrows of the modern world. Of course, their 20 season run hasn't been without some very notable episodes that pushed the limits to the extreme. Who could forget the time Lois embraced the anti-vaccine movement or the time Chris (Seth Green) became an alcoholic after he starts working at the brewery because he and Peter have traded places in life. Sometimes, these controversies are little more than fodder for the comment sections, but other times, they run quite a bit deeper.

But which among the show's nearly 400 episodes stands out as the most jaw-dropping during its multi-year run? Here's what we think is the most controversial episode in "Family Guy" history.

Partial Terms of Endearment was so controversial Fox refused to air it

Content warning: This article discusses sensitive topics, including abortion.

Since controversy and Family Guy go hand-in-hand, the show's most outrage-inducing episode can be hard to pin down. In terms of negative audience reaction, episodes like "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" or "Quagmire's Dad" may come up in conversations. But it's very hard to argue against the most controversial episode of the entire series being one that was banned from airing on Fox altogether. 

In "Partial Terms of Endearment," Lois Griffin (Alex Borstein) contemplates having an abortion after volunteering to be a surrogate for two college friends who die in a car accident. Of course, it seems that everyone in Quahog — and outside of it –  has an opinion about Lois terminating the pregnancy. And she ultimately does choose to go through with the abortion, as announced by Peter at lightning speed before the credits roll. Speaking to The New York Times in 2010, Seth MacFarlane reasoned, "There's nothing about that issue that should be any different than doing an episode about gay marriage or an episode about the oil spill." 

Unfortunately, Fox didn't see it the same way. The episode never aired on the channel, nor was it ever shown on TBS, FXX, or Adult Swim, and it currently remains the only "Family Guy" episode that is not available on Hulu (via TV Tropes). There is at least one place that did air the episode — BBC Three, which showed the episode in June of 2010, and continues to include it in the channel's replay rotation. If you don't live in the U.K. and want to see what the fuss is about, the episode can be found on DVD.

While there have been plenty of other embattled episodes of the series, the decision to never air "Partial Terms of Endearment" in the U.S. makes it the undeniable choice for the most controversial outing in "Family Guy" history.