Top 10 Times Family Guy Made Fun of The Simpsons
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: David Foster
"Family Guy" made fun of "The Simpsons" more times than Peter can count. Our countdown includes beating Homer Simpson to the punch, Peter's "Jaundice," Simpson hit & run, and more!
Top 10 Times Family Guy Made Fun of The Simpsons
Welcome to: WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 times “Family Guy” made fun of “The Simpsons.”
For this list, we’ll be looking at those hilarious moments that the MacFarlane sitcom liberally bit the Groening hand that - according to many critics - fed it. They may have been the learner, but now Family Guy is the master… or are they?
Agree? Disagree? Tribute or Plagiarismo? Laugh or Cry? Oh no? Oh no? Oh no? Oh yeah!? (Cue Kool Aid guy!) Sound off in the comments section.
#10: “The Simpsons” Characters on Jury Duty
“Cool Hand Peter”
In an episode that was mostly devoted to making fun of Georgia’s law enforcement system, there was a succinct moment of self-aware jibing. After a “traffic stop,” Peter, Quagmire, Cleveland and Joe find themselves judged by a jury of their peers. Or at least, a group of familiar characters who Peter sees as his peers - although, as Joe points out––that’s probably not how they see themselves. It’s a quick moment that cleverly adds another layer to the argument over whether “Family Guy” is inspired by, or stealing from, “The Simpsons”––something that fans of both shows wouldn’t be able to settle until a crossover episode three seasons later.
#9: Beating Homer Simpson to the Punch
A season after sentencing Peter to the Dungarees County Work Camp, Homer Simpson dashes onto Family Guy for another quick cameo. Again, poking fun at the commentators who insist Seth MacFarlane is ripping off “The Simpsons,” Homer runs into the Television Producers Guild to announce that he thinks he has “broken television.” The Springfield native is a little too late this time however, as Peter is already there to set up the exposition for his story. Fun fact: Dan Castellaneta makes his Family Guy debut in this episode, with his trademark Homer panicked voice. Though, it isn’t the first time Homer is seen or referenced in the show...
#8: Stewie Griffin’s “Mr. Plow” Rant
“8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter"
“Call Mr. Plow, that’s my name, that name again is Mr. Plow.” It may seem overly simplistic now, but in 1992––everybody found Homer’s little jingle hilarious. Those of us who are old enough to remember can recall just how often it was sung, as reciting the words was hardly a memory task for the ages. But once it was stuck in your head it wasn’t coming out, and you’d be singing it allllllll day… We all love Mr. Plow, including Stewie––however his jealous rant takes a potshot at people who insist on singing the eleven-word long tune as though it’s some big deal. You know the type of people? The… actually, we’ll let Stewie describe them...
#7: Peter Griffin Admits It
In Vino Veritas––in wine, there’s truth. Or in Peter Griffin's case, it’s more likely to be where there’s Pawtucket Patriot Ale. A drunk Peter’s words are a sober Seth’s thoughts in this instance from season 14, where Peter flat out admits, whilst inebriated, that “they” (the Family Guy creators,) take a lot of inspiration from the other animated family comedy on Fox. Obviously, they wouldn’t admit it, of course. Less of a shot at The Simpsons, and more self-deprecating humor, MacFarlane and Groening had previously sat down together for an interview with Entertainment Weekly, during which “The Simpsons” as well as “All in the Family” were indeed named as MacFarlene’s main influences for Family Guy. Veritas, indeed.
#6: Police Superintendent Chalmers
By the time season 18 aired, any suggested animosity between “The Simpsons'' and “Family Guy” was clearly in the eyes of the critics, and nowhere else. Most main cast members from both shows had been present for the cross-over, and some later cameos were voiced by their Simpsons respective voice actor. This would’ve been the case for Superintendent Chalmers and Hank Azaria… except technically this isn’t a cameo. Police Superintendent Chalmers may sound like his Springfield-raised estranged twin brother, despite being from Quahog, but this is an entirely new character. There’s no explicit teasing being made at the Simpsons’ expense here, but it’s still a fun little appearance from the veteran voice artist that needed to be mentioned.
#5: Mr. Burns & Smithers Cameos
However, some cameos are simply not to be, and it’s left to Seth MacFarlane to fill the void––and on this occasion, he’s pretty darn close! Again, another jibe at the who-copied-who brigade, Family Guy stokes the fire a little more with its implication that Peter Griffin is “pretty much” Homer Simpson. In fact, so much so that he confuses characters from the other show. This is more a recent cameo, of which the airing coincided with the “The Simpsons” episode "'Tis the 30th Season" in which “Family Guy” was referenced, too. Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers’ cameos could be a jibe aimed at Harry Shearer, who is the only Simpsons voice actor not to appear in Family Guy thus far...
#4: Stewie’s Simpson-esque Sell-out
It’s not hard to see why people would have assumed there was a rivalry between the two shows however, especially given the rather sharp early jab that “Family Guy” took at “The Simpsons’” endorsement of Butterfinger during the nineties. Again, for those who are––shall we say––advanced enough in years to remember, there was a Simpsons character endorsing practically every product out there. On early merchandise, Bart would, for some reason, be seen sporting a blue colored shirt and often throwing out an “ay Caramba” or a “don’t have a cow, man” for almost anything. Season 5 of Family Guy has Stewie fronting his own campaign––forcefully quoting Bart’s lines and Homer’s catchphrase as though his soul was sold long before filming started...
#3: Peter’s “Jaundice”
“New Kidney in Town”
This is also another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference, but the jury’s out on whether the show is making fun of “The Simpsons,” or actually paying tribute to its longevity. Much has been made of the yellow-shaded design of the Simpsons characters, but it’s never been suggested that it is simply jaundice. Although not a direct reference by name, Peter’s face turning a shade of yellow and then claiming he could go “twenty years or more” can only be comparing him to one other, decades-long running, animated show. It’s a light-hearted moment in an otherwise more somber episode, in which Brian volunteers to sacrifice his own life to give Peter his kidneys.
#2: Simpson Hit & Run
In an homage to one of the funniest comedies in history, season four’s classic episode “PTV” opens with Stewie falling out of a cave “Frank Drebin” style, and on to his tricycle as Ira Newborn’s Police Squad theme plays. However, initially looking only to be a tribute to the Naked Gun films, Stewie pulls into a rather familiar looking garage and chases Homer Simpson into his house a la “The Simpsons” intro. The double parody is topped off by Peter not even knowing who Homer is, despite all of the previous references to him. Actually, we say double parody, but Stewie also drives through the Overlook Hotel, The Land of Oz, a level from Doom and Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, amongst others.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Amnesiac Peter Saying “D'oh!”, "Big Man on Hippocampus"
Peter Steals Homer’s Catchphrase When Trying to Remember His Own
Mayor Adam West Telling Homer They Don't Want Him in Their Town, “The Juice Is Loose”
We Thought He Was Referring to O.J. Simpson... We Were Wrong
The Guy Who Watched “The Simpsons” Back in 1994…, "Lois Kills Stewie"
It’s a Shame the Song, “I’ve Got a Little List,” Was Cut from the Episode, But At Least It’s on the DVD
#1: The Crossover
“The Simpsons Guy”
Where do we start with this crossover? The courthouse filled with characters sitting beside counterparts? “Family Guy’s” James Woods meeting “The Simpsons’” James Woods? Stewie going full Tarantino on Nelson? Pawtucket Patriot Ale ripping off Duff in a not-so-thinly-veiled MacGuffin… or was it Peter and Homer's fight, stemming from the fact that Griffin says something that many viewers who have drifted from the aging show feel: that he is––quote––”over” the Simpsons? Once more, the question is begged of just who is being made fun of here. Though “The Simpsons” had been accused of being stale for years, in recent times, so too is “Family Guy.” Perhaps the latter is a mirror of the former, after all. Still, after seeing Radioactive Homer and Peter duking it out? Who cares...