25 Best Family Guy Episodes, Ranked



Though it is hard to narrow down the best Family Guy episodes, some stand out above all the rest. Originally debuting in 1999, Family Guy is one of a select few adult-oriented animated series to have lasted for more than two decades. While shows like Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty have since captured much of the spotlight, Family Guy remains a staple of after-hours television. Though newer seasons aren’t quite as revered as the series’ older outings, Family Guy remains an enduring enterprise. After surviving multiple controversies and cancelations, it’ll be quite some time before Family Guy is forgotten.

And the show keeps going as one of the longest-running animated series. The best episodes of Family Guy highlight the irreverent humor, pop culture gags, and colorful characters fans have come to love. With 21 seasons under its belt and more to come, it doesn’t seem like Seth MacFarlane is letting up on the gas for his hit animated series. With so many great episodes to choose from, fans of the show have plenty to laugh about, regardless of which season they happen to come upon.

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25 “Emmy-Winning Episode” – Season 16, Episode 1

A promotional image from the Family Guy episode "Emmy-Winning Episode."

It’s no secret that, despite its popularity, Family Guy was never destined to be an award-winning series, something on which the show comments in the incredibly meta Season 16 premiere “Emmy-Winning Episode.” In a bid to finally win an Emmy for best comedy, the characters of Family Guy rip off other popular series like Modern Family, Cheers, and Transparent. Blatantly critical of the overly-dramatized nature of most modern-day comedy series, “Emmy-Winning Episode” is hugely entertaining even for fans of the shows they are skewering.

24 “North By North Quahog” – Season 4, Episode 1

North by North Quahog

Two years after Family Guy was canceled, the show returned in spectacular fashion with this Alfred Hitchcock-inspired episode. The episode follows Peter and Lois attempting a second honeymoon, but when Peter poses as Mel Gibson to gain access to the actor’s hotel suite, they find themselves targeted by the Oscar winner. As much fun as it is to see the show doing a big exciting adventure like this, the funniest parts of the episode involve Stewie and Brian taking over as the parents of the family. Their dynamic as they deal with Chris misbehaving cements them as the show’s best duo. The episode also has the added pleasure of seeing Family Guy return and firing on all cylinders.

23 “PeTerminator” – Season 19, Episode 13

Brian driving Stewie in a car.

In “PeTerminator,” Stewie wants to get revenge against Lois for making him eat broccoli. As with all Stewie plans, this one goes way overboard as he decides to create his own Terminator robot that looks like Peter to set out and kill Lois. The problem is that it all backfires, as an actual PeTerminator returns to the present day to kill Stewie. Even as a simple parody of Terminator, the episode lands some hilarious gags recreating the movie’s most memorable moments.

22 “The Big Bang Theory” – Season 9, Episode 16

Stewie and Brian together in a room.

This episode of Family Guy had nothing to do with the rival sitcom of the same name. Instead, “The Big Bang Theory” is another Stewie and Brian-centric episode, this time with the two changing world history. Stewie used his time machine, which is always good for a laugh, and his evil half-brother Bertram was even here, as he tried to keep Stewie from being born. By the end, Stewie was responsible for creating the universe. He also happened to be related to Leonardo da Vinci. It is a surprisingly high-stakes episode that delivers on the fun of Stewie and Brian pulling an Avengers: Edngame-like time travel mission.

21 “Forget-Me-Not” – Season 10, Episode 17

Brian talking to the guys in a hospital in Family Guy.

In “Forget-Me-Not,” Peter and Brian set out to escape family night and go to play laser tag with Joe and Quagmire. This was one of the rare episodes where it focused on Peter and his friends, but it ended up being quite entertaining. It took a turn for the weird when the three friends and Brian got into a car accident and woke up in the hospital as the only individuals left in Quahog. It was a fun episode that offers a surprisingly heartfelt message about the bond between Peter and Brian while still being the typical goofy show.

20 “E. Peterbus Unum” – Season 2, Episode 18

Peter Griffin digging a hole in his yard in Family Guy.

This is the episode where Peter Griffin decided to declare himself the ruler of a new and independent nation called Petoria after he decided to declare his home had officially separated from the United States. There have been a lot of Family Guy episodes that feature political satire, but this was one of the best. It’s mostly all funny and not heavy-handed, as well, from Adam West’s reaction to the response from the UN and United States to the new nation of Petoria. Peter even got other dictators to support him and come over for a pool party.

19 “Stewie Love Lois” – Season 5, Episode 1

A still from the Family Guy episode "Stewie Loves Lois."

Stewie’s hatred for his mother grew to be a fairly played-out plot point by season 5, but the episode “Stewie Loves Lois” turns this on its head. After Lois rescues Rupert from a dog, Stewie fosters a newfound affection for his mother. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to sue his doctor for sexual harassment following a prostate exam. It’s a fairly meat-and-potatoes Family Guy episode that hits all of the regular notes, but it has some standout moments that have become popular, like Stewie’s unrelenting attempts to get Lois’ attention.

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18 “The D in Apartment 23” – Season 16, Episode 6

A still from the Family Guy episode "The D in Apartment 23."

The sixth episode of season 16, “The D in Apartment 23,” sees Brian accosted by Twitter users after posting an insensitive tweet about comedian Kevin Hart. Having gone viral for all the wrong reasons, Brian is forced to leave the Griffins’ home and go into hiding. While cancel culture and comedy series don’t typically mesh all that well, this was a laugh-a-minute lambasting of both racial insensitivity and the hive-mind mentality often promoted by social media, and “The D in Apartment 23” is easily one of the most memorable episodes in Family Guy‘s recent history.

17 “Road To The North Pole” – Season 9, Episode 7

Brian and Stewie vs Santa Claus in Family Guy

The ninth season of Family Guy featured another adventure for Brian and Stewie in their fan-favorite series of road trip/musical episodes as the pair headed on a quest to kill Santa Claus in “Road To The North Pole.” The episode not only showcased a dark take on Santa’s workshop that fans won’t soon forget, but also a number of funny but disturbing moments. This includes Brian and Stewie’s hilariously botched attempt to take over Santa’s job, cementing the episode as the darkest Christmas special for an adult-animated series.

16 “Yug Ylimaf” – Season 11, Episode 4

Family Guy's Brian and a date in "Yug Ylimaf"

The eleventh season of Family Guy featured the twisted time travel adventure episode, “Yug Ylimaf,” which reveals Brian has been using Stewie’s time machine to impress women he brings home from the bar. When trying to cover his tracks and rewind a gauge that would alert Stewie to his use of the time machine, he inadvertently caused the timeline to reverse itself. This led to a number of comedic moments in the episode as they struggled to fix the timeline, which included an unforgettable reverse fight between Peter and his long-time rival, Ernie the Giant Chicken.

15 “Meet The Quagmires” – Season 5, Episode 18

A promotional image for the Family Guy episode Meet the Quagmires.

In another episode featuring the recurring character of Death, Peter travels back in time to experience his bachelor lifestyle. As with almost all time travel stories, everything very quickly goes wrong, and Peter finds himself in a future where Lois is married to the ever-inappropriate Quagmire, while Peter is married to Molly Ringwald. Soon, Peter realizes that this isn’t the life he wants and goes back to his past to set things right, though it takes several attempts. Overall, the episode is fun, full of ’80s references, and made Quagmire weirdly likable for a change.

14 “To Love And Die In Dixie” – Season 3, Episode 12

Stewie playing a banjo in the Family Guy episode "To Love and Die in Dixie."

After Chris witnesses a robbery, The Griffins are forced to enter witness protection and must relocate to the American south. A far cry from Quahog, the family has a tough time adjusting to their new surroundings, and much of the episode revolves around a budding romance between Chris and his new friend Sam. Parodying everything from The Dukes of Hazard to Deliverance, “To Love and Die in Dixie” is a quintessential early Family Guy episode. It may have aged somewhat poorly in 20 years, but there are still big laughs and the introduction of creepy neighbor Herbert.

13 “And Then There Were Fewer” – Season 9, Episode 1

Family Guy characters at a murder mystery dinner party.

Actor James Woods is a recurring antagonist in the series, and, in the season nine premiere, the residents of Quahog are invited to a dinner party at his mansion. However, soon the episode turns into a compelling mystery as more and more of the dinner guests get murdered. Clearly derived from the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None, the episode was a fun take on the “whodunit” genre with a fairly solid mystery and some real consequences for the series as a whole.

12 “The Thin White Line” – Season 3, Episode 1

Family Guy - The Thin White Line

Throughout the series, Brian is constantly looking to make himself seem more impressive and more interesting. However, “The Thin White Line” does give him the opportunity to find a purpose, as Joe notices that his nose would make him an ideal drug-sniffing dog. Unfortunately, this leads him to develop his own drug problem. As usual, Family Guy takes a serious and sensitive topic and treats it in an outlandish way. However, Brian’s struggles in the episode do feel more grounded than the usual Family Guy approach. Of course, things go off the rails when Peter decides to join Brian in rehab. The silliness mixed with the more serious subject matter makes for a unique episode.

11 “Three Kings” – Season 7, Episode 15

A still from the Family Guy episode "Three Kings."

Much of the comedy in Family Guy involves pop-culture parody, and, though the series’ Star Wars skewerings are perhaps more famous, the season 7 celebration “Three Kings” should not go ignored. It’s also one of Family Guy‘s darkest episodes. Poking fun at the famous Stephen King stories Stand By Me, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption, Family Guy pays respect to the works of one of the most famous horror authors of all time while also lampooning some of his stories’ sillier elements. The only negative about the episode is that it forgoes well-known properties like The Shining and It.

10 “The Simpson Guy” – Season 13, Episode 1

Family Guy The Simpson Guy

For a very long time, The Simpsons and Family Guy were the two most popular animated shows on TV, and there was often a little bit of a rivalry between the two. Therefore, it was a great surprise to fans that the two shows had a crossover episode for the opening of Family Guy‘s thirteenth season. In the episode, after having their car stolen, the Griffins stay with the Simpsons. Highly self-aware of the two shows’ unique differences and strengths, the episode was an overall successful crossover and easily one of the show’s most memorable.

9 “Death Is A B****” – Season 2, Episode 6

Family Guy's Peter, Lois and Death

Peter will do anything to get out of paying a bill, and, in this season 2 episode, he goes as far as claiming that he is dead to get out of a hospital bill. But, like all things in life, there are consequences, and Death shows up at Peter’s door only to get injured making death no longer a factor in Peter’s crazy schemes. In order to set things right, Peter has to take over Death’s job and kill the cast of Dawson’s Creek. The episode highlights what the show was always able to do best, which is to show the ridiculousness of human nature when given the right motivations. It also features the late great comedian Norm Macdonald voicing Death.

8 “Blue Harvest” – Season 6, Episode 1

Family Guy and Stars Wars crossover in Blue Harvest.

Family Guy had a little fun with the popular Star Wars franchise when the sixth season opened with a two-part hilarious recreation of Episode IV: A New Hope. The episode was titled “Blue Harvest” in honor of the working title of the original movie. While the success of “Blue Harvest” ultimately led to subsequent retellings of the original trilogy that became known as the Laugh It Up, Fuzzball trilogy, the first episode feels like the best executed one with the specific take on Star Wars feeling fresh with an obvious love of the franchise also felt throughout.

7 “Stewie Kills Lois” – Season 6, Episode 4

Stewie from Family Guy.

A running gag throughout the show is Stewie’s obsession with killing Lois. In the first episode of season 6, he finally gets it right and shoots Lois on a crew ship. A year after her death, everyone is seemingly doing just fine. However, after it is revealed that Lois had a hefty life insurance policy, everyone begins to suspect Peter. This makes for a thrilling first half of the two-part adventure that feels like one of the biggest storylines Family Guy has done, going to some extreme places in a fun way.

6 “Road To Rhode Island” – Season 2, Episode 13

Family Guy's Brian and Stewie in "Road to Rhode Island."

The first episode that featured Brian and Stewie’s solo adventures was called “Road To Rhode Island” and aired in the second season. Brian volunteers to pick Stewie up from Lois’s parents after his therapist suggests taking some time away to deal with abandonment issues from his mother. Of course, things quickly fall apart, and Brian and Stewie are forced to find their own way back to Quahog while also dealing with Brian’s leftover issues surrounding his mother. Peter and Lois’s marriage counseling video side story is also a comedic addition to the episode that further elevates it above the rest.


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