Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is not a sensitive man, let’s face it. He does however, create characters and scripts that make people laugh often at the expense of others. On the plus side he mocks pretty much everything and anyone as the show knows no boundaries. You can be old, young, male, female or handicapped. It does not matter, the man will make fun of you and audiences will laugh, proving that even stereotypes that many thought left our culture, are still funny. Unlike the show’s biggest rival for attention among adults, The Simpsons, heartbreaking moments are few and far between on Family Guy. When they do appear on Family Guy, they are usually counteracted by a funny insult that will steer audiences back to what makes this show so great and popular for many. It is also very hard to feel sorry for characters like Peter Griffin and Quagmire. Nonetheless, the audience is comprised of human beings, and most human beings, whether they want to admit it or not, do have a soft spot, even for the two aforementioned characters. And after 269 episodes and 14 seasons, one can definitely find 15 moments that just broke our hearts.
15. Life of Brian: November 24, 2013
You know we had to get this one out of the way first. The one character that annoys many is the overly self righteous, overly critical, Brian. The dog is extremely condescending in the manner in which he believes that his overtly liberal morals are so far superior to everyone else’s. But did they have to kill him? In this episode, Stewie once again creates havoc with his time machine. Once he fixes his mess, Stewie, tired of all of his close calls, destroys his time machine and sends it to the junkyard. It is in the junkyard that the duo find a hockey net.
When Brian sets up the hockey net in front of their house, he gets run over by a car and dies in the hospital. Of course in true Family Guy fashion, a squirrel present at the scene of the accident kicks Brian’s head uttering the words: “That guy sucked!” Nevertheless, poor Stewie lost his pal and tries desperately to fix his time machine to undo the damage that was done; but he has no parts. At this Stewie laments: ”Oh, dear, Rupert. Without those capacitors, it’ll be completely impossible to build a functioning time machine. I guess that means Brian is… really gone for good.”
14. Brian and Stewie: May 2, 2010
The dynamic duo get locked in a bank vault over an argument about a sweater for virtually the entire episode. When the vault door closes, Stewie pulls a number two in his pants, and the duo try to figure out how to get rid of the ensuing mess. The remaining details are a little too grotesque to mention, but they include Brian eating the young kid’s poop. So where is the sad part?
At one point Stewie claims that he uses Brian, that Brian has no purpose in life and that he only wanted Brian to eat his poop in order to see just how low he could go. The next day, Brian, who had a gun with him, tells Stewie that his gun was intended to help him commit suicide. After this revelation and the ensuing discussion, Stewie tells Brian: “I like you lot. I guess you could say I… really like you. I would… even dare to go a little further, perhaps. I… care a great deal about you. Very great deal. Maybe even… deeper than that. I… I… I love you. I mean, you know, not in like a, ‘Hey, let’s, you know, let’s have an underpants party’, or whatever grownups do when they’re in love, but I mean, I mean, I love you as one loves another person whom one simply cannot do without.” As the bank door vault opens, Brian carries Stewie out and all is well with the two best friends.
13. Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows: January 17, 2002
Brian and suicide just go together it seems. But in this episode it was not Brian who tried to end it all. Brian gets drunk after realizing that he’s never going to get the intelligent girl he always dreamed of. On his way home he gets arrested for drunk driving and has to perform community service as his punishment. He is directed to care for the elderly and is assigned to a mean tempered old lady named Pearl Burton. After a while, Pearl’s constant abuse forces Brian to release his own storm of abuse on the old lady as he says: “THAT’S IT! I have had it with you, you old hag! You’re just a miserable, dried-up shut-in trying to make everyone else feel as bad as you do! Why don’t you do the world a big favor and drop dead?” He then walks out on her.
Much later on, the old lady listened to Brian and tried to hang herself, but luckily Brian, trying to atone for what he did, walked back into her home and stopped her just in time. It turned out that Pearl was a ‘jingle’ singer in the past who went into hiding after being mocked in her attempt to become a legitimate singer. Brian encourages Pearl to overcome her past and her agoraphobia, and as Pearl strides proudly onto the street, she is immediately hit by a truck. Nevertheless, on her deathbed she thanked Brian for giving her one day of happiness in her life.
12. Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows: January 17, 2002
This is not a mistake. This episode counts twice. We talked about Brian’s wallows, but what about Peter’s Swallows? Even Seth MacFarlane stated that this episode was his rare attempt at creating touching moments, and he came up with two of them. In the other half of the episode, Peter Griffin decided to grow a beard so big, that a rare bird mistook it for a nest and lived there. Initially irritated at his new friend, Peter is delighted when three young birds grow in his beard. Peter becomes a wonderful father to the birds, perhaps atoning for the fact that he was not a wonderful father to his own family. When the birds mature, he tries to keep them in his beard, but they eventually fly away and Peter becomes distressed.
11. Quagmire’s Baby: November 15, 2009
The man has two gags; his first gag is saying “giggity, giggity”, after everything. His second gag is being able to sleep with more women than any other human being known to mankind, because after all, he is a catch. The character has always assumed that he has at least 20 children out there in the world, but in this one, he actually met one of them, and for once he showed a third side to him. At Quagmire’s home, Quagmire and Peter see a basket with a baby in it. After the child says “Giggity”, Quagmire realizes it’s his, adopts the child and names the baby Anna Lee.
Even though he grows fond of her, the baby ruins his s*x life, so he gives her up for adoption. In a fit of remorse, Quagmire decides that he misses his child and he desperately needs her back. He gets his friends to help him steal the baby back, but when he visits the adoption family’s house, tears almost roll down his eyes as he sees how happy his child is in her new home. So he leaves her there.
10. Screams of Silence – The Story of Brenda Q.: October 30, 2011
Quagmire is allowed a couple of touching moments, isn’t he? Fine, he slips drugs in women’s drinks and keeps a doll of Lois under his bed, but there must be more to this guy. Men like Quagmire tend to have different feelings towards their sisters and mothers, as those types become very protective of female family members. In this one, Quagmire almost dies in a self pleasuring act gone wrong and gets sent to the hospital. His sister visits him, along with her physically and verbally abusive boyfriend. In an attempt to get her out of the relationship, he tells his sister Brenda, the following: “Brenda, the fact that you are being abused has affected my life in the following ways. The sister that I knew and loved growing up no longer exists. The person I see before me right now is just a punching bag. And I call you ‘person’ and not ‘woman’, because a woman is a strong, beautiful vibrant creature. A woman embraces life, a woman makes choices to make her life better. Sadly, the fact that you are with Jeff proves to me that you have made a choice to make your life worse. I… I want the girl who I grew up with back. I want… I… I want my sister back.”
9. Amish Guy: November 27, 2011
In earlier episodes, Peter was relatively nice to his daughter. As time moved on, his daughter Meg, became the butt end of so many jokes, it is hard to believe that any father would treat his daughter that way. Nevertheless, it was all meant to keep audiences laughing. In this episode, Peter Griffin actually shows a soft side to his daughter that was unexpected. The family’s car breaks down in Amish country, where they are forced to stay for the night. Meg becomes attracted to an Amish boy (Eli). The boy’s father (Ezekiel) tells Meg to stay away from his son, which understandably makes Meg cry. Even Peter got angry at the Amish man for making his young girl cry. So what does he do? He actually tries to make nice with Ezekiel in order to make his daughter happy. It almost worked until Peter introduced Ezekiel to rock music, at which point the Griffins were asked to leave the Amish town. Eli hides in Peter’s trunk in order to get closer to Meg, and ends up in Rhode Island with the rest of the family. This creates a bloody feud between the Amish and Peter’s friends. In the end, Eli realizes he can’t live with Meg and bids her goodbye, and everyone is sad.
8. A Fistful of Meg: November 10, 2013
As mentioned before, Meg is thoroughly despised by her family and just becomes the butt end of all jokes. In real life, this could cause the child to develop serious psychological issues. But luckily this is cartoon land, and the purpose for all of these jokes is to make people laugh. Nevertheless it is hard to forgive both her parents in this episode for how they treated their daughter. In this one, a new bully shows up at Meg’s school and immediately makes his mark by beating up Neil Goldman. Later, Meg accidentally spills her lunch on the mean little kid, which prompts him to challenge her to a fight.
Meg is obviously terrified. She asks her mother for any type of help, including transferring her to another school. Her mother angrily scoffs at her daughter and tells her that this would cost money. Her father is of no help, as always. With no one to turn to at home, Meg tries to get help from her friends, but her friends shun her and refuse to help. The images of this terrified girl with nowhere to turn to are distressing to say the least. But there is a happy ending, as Quagmire comes to the rescue. Quagmire, who was bullied in his youth, teaches Meg how to focus all of her anger on her parents and teaches her how to use this anger and her own body as a weapon. During the fight she gets beaten senseless, but she never gives up and heroically grosses the bully out by kissing him. As the boy delivers the knockout blow, she flashes her breasts and the fight ends then and there. The scene ends with Quagmire and Meg walking away.
7. Christmas Guy: December 15, 2013
There are quite a few fans who love Brian the dog, and it only took a few weeks of angry protests to bring the dog back to life in this ‘heartwarming’ (for Family Guy) Christmas Special. At the mall, Stewie becomes depressed at the Christmas Carnival which is taking place, and tells the mall Santa that the only gift he wants is his dog, Brian. Vinnie, the new family pet, helps Stewie go back in time to save Brian. The first sad moment comes when Stewie and Vinny say goodbye to each other, as Vinny must disappear for Brian to come back.
Once this is done, Stewie goes back to the past just before the time of the accident. At the precise moment where the car that killed Brian was hurtling towards his friend, Stewie pushes Brian out of the way of harm and Brian is saved. Immediately the child is overcome with joy as he says, “You’re alive, my friend!” To which, Brian, who has no clue what just happened, responds, ‘What the h*** do you mean? Of course I’m alive.'” Even MacFarlane Tweeted at the end of the episode: “And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.”
6. “He’s Bla-ack!”: May 11, 2014
In this episode, Cleveland comes back to town after his television show got cancelled. But the main characters of The Cleveland Show had nothing to worry about, as they all came back to Rhode Island. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s wife and Lois get into a fight over parenting and forbid the men to see each other. The whole episode centers around the guys trying to get together behind their wives’ backs. Eventually the guys conspire to get the wives talking again. The plan fails. The show ends with Susie’s party, where a three legged race is held, requiring teams of two people. Lois demands that Peter be her partner. Both Cleveland and Peter defy their wives and race together. As Peter gets hurt, Cleveland tries to carry Peter to the finish line. However, Cleveland and Peter settle for hugging and rolling to the finish line, the sight of which makes the wives talk to each other again.
5. Brokeback Swanson: December 6, 2015
Things go from bad to worse in this one for Joe. The guys enter a bull run and desperately try to exclude Joe for obvious reasons (as he is bound to a wheelchair). However Joe doesn’t listen and decides to participate in the bull run, getting trampled, thus becoming paralyzed from the neck down in the process. Dr. Hartman confirms that Joe has become a quadriplegic. Bonnie (his wife) leaves Joe because in her own words, she felt that she “didn’t sign up for this.” To add insult to injury she takes their only daughter with her, far away to Europe. His friends however, do their best to take care of Joe, but transfer him to a home as they obviously lacked the capability to take care of him. In the end though, Joe’s paralysis was not due to the Bulls, but from Dr. Hartman’s cell phone which he dropped near Joe’s spine during surgery. The cell phone was extracted and Joe went back to his wheelchair, able to move everything from his legs up. Nevertheless, his family was gone.
4. Peter’s Sister: November 15, 2015
It is sometimes a theory that bullies are sometimes the victims of bullying themselves. In this one, it becomes apparent that Peter Griffin is a bully because he was tortured by his sister Karen, as a child. Peter hardly ever mentioned Karen before, but when she arrived to Quahog for Thanksgiving, everyone realizes why. Karen is a professional wrestler, hence she’s a strong woman. During dinner she promptly embarrasses her brother to the point of making him cry. She then physically abuses him.
After seeing this, Meg, who is the victim of Peter’s abuse, realizes that her dad is taking his anger out on his daughter because he was a victim of abuse himself. She convinces her dad to stand up to his sister, which he promptly does, disguising himself as a female wrestler named “Maxie Patty”. He then takes on his sister in the wrestling ring. When Karen realizes that her opponent is her brother, she promptly wallops him. At which point, Meg, disguised as “Teen Laqueefa”, knocks Karen unconscious with a folding chair. Meg reveals herself to her dad, declaring that she will always stand up for her dad. Peter, in a rather heartbreaking moment, apologizes to his daughter.
3. Love Blactually: September 28, 2008
Cleveland was a man on the prowl, having been recently divorced from his wife. At the same time Brian met the girl of his dreams, who happened to be a fellow atheist. Stewie advises Brian to hold off on having s*x with this girl, convincing him that his relationships end in failure because he sleeps with his girlfriends too quickly. Brian heeds his advice, but this backfires as three weeks later, Brian catches his girlfriend doing the deed with Cleveland. To get his girl back, Brian and Stewie convince Cleveland’s ex-wife Loretta, to get back together with Cleveland. Loretta realizes how much she misses Cleveland, however Cleveland has moved on. When Loretta tells her ex, ”Oh Cleveland, isn’t there anything I can do to make you happy?”, Cleveland replies: ”Yes. You can live your life.”
2. Boys Do Cry: April 29, 2007
The episode itself was not sad in the least, but the extenuating circumstances surrounding the episode were. It centered around Stewie, who was forced out of Quahog when the Priest and the town thought the boy was possessed by Satan after he threw up the excessive amount of communion he consumed during mass. The family left Quahog until things settled down, ending up in Texas at Lois’ sister’s house. The family disguised Stewie by dressing him up like a girl in order to avoid detection. In Texas, Stewie, dressed as a girl, enters a beauty pageant which he wins. Where is the sad part in all of this? One of the beauty contestants was voiced by 12 year old Camilla Stull, who was fighting a three year battle with Leukemia. She was invited at the request of guest star Drew Barrymore. Camilla had always dreamed of becoming an actress and Seth gave her two lines on this one episode. Unfortunately, Camilla never got to see her work as she died 13 days before the episode aired.
1. New Kidney in Town: January 9, 2011
In this one Peter becomes addicted to Red Bull. When Lois throws out all of the Red Bull beverages in the house to combat her husband’s addiction, Peter does what any addict does, he tries to find a substitute for his drug of choice. Peter is not the brightest guy, so it was no surprise to anyone that he created his own Red Bull concoction with Kerosene, thinking that this was the fuel that gave him wings. He promptly collapsed and was diagnosed with kidney failure. Like any such patient, Peter underwent dialysis.
As his life went to heck, the guys cheered him up by convincing him to skip a single dialysis session. The plan backfired as Peter became jaundiced and was about to die. The patient had no time left to wait for a donor, and needed a kidney from his family. Brian was the only match, but a dog’s kidneys are small, thus Brian would have to give up both kidneys for Peter to live. Problem is, by doing so, Brian would die. Nevertheless, Brian, in the most selfless of all acts, decided to go through with the operation, giving up his own life in the process. At the last minute a donor was found and both the Dog and Peter survived.