Among the colorful cast of the hit cartoon sitcom Family Guy, there’s probably no character more well-known and amusing than Peter Griffin. After all, it’s this goofy, dimwitted man from which the show’s name is derived. Father, husband, and often the driver for setting up sporadic gags, Peter has become the predominant icon of the show. Given his randomness and painfully naive, childish ways, he’s naturally the linchpin for much of the humor, and by extension, many of the show’s funniest quotes.
It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since Family Guy first aired. Such longevity is exceedingly rare in a television series and now seemed like a good time to revisit some of the classic lines of one of the characters who significantly contributed to the show’s popularity: the lovable Griffin patriarch, Peter.
“I Have An Idea So Smart That My Head Would Explode If I Even Began To Know What I Was Talking About.”
Peter Griffin on his own brilliance
Family Guy is predicated on a central concept: Peter Griffin’s buffoonery. Usually, that involves a quickly thought-out and hastily executed plan that can only work with a copious amount of cartoon logic. Examples like this abound, from his plan to stop kids from licking toads by infiltrating James Woods High School to claiming his house as a sovereign state to beating the heck out of a man-sized chicken.
Peter’s hair-brained schemes seem to follow an internal logic that only makes sense to him, as this quote makes perfectly clear.
“Gosh, It’s Not Like The Internet To Go Crazy About Something Small And Stupid.”
Peter Griffin on the online mob
Family Guy often manages to infuse its episodes with social commentary, either slyly or directly. When Peter’s one-panel comic stirs controversy on the internet during their crossover with The Simpsons, Peter makes the observation that “it’s not like the internet to go crazy about something small and stupid.”
Clearly, the comment was an indirect way of lampooning internet trolls who’ve nitpicked elements of both iconic shows. Moreover, it was a general statement about people using the internet to complain about the minutiae of daily life and their propensity to overdramatize issues disproportionately.
“I’m Not Going To Tell You Where But I Will Give You A Hint: It Wasn’t On My Nose Or My Ear And It Was One Of My B***s.”
Peter Griffin on getting a piercing
Peter’s impulsivity is a hallmark of the series. The constant indulgence of his ‘stream-of-consciousness’ schemes drives the plot for many episodes. In Season 4, Episode 25, Peter accompanies Brian’s cousin Jasper to a piercing salon to celebrate his impending nuptials. Getting a first-time piercing is definitely not something most people decide upon spontaneously, especially when it’s a particularly sensitive portion of the human anatomy. Peter’s decision to do just that highlights his impulsiveness, as well as the series’ propensity to mention topics conventionally unmentionable on network television.
“Bird Is The Word.”
Peter Griffin on his favorite song
Indulging in shenanigans and beating a joke to death is par for the course on Family Guy, which is part of its unique appeal.
Perhaps one of the most consistent gags occurred when Peter discovered the ’60s earworm Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen. Obsessed, Peter would often set up some unsuspecting character with a “haven’t you heard?” before he’d spontaneously break out into the song’s chorus and dance. This seemingly happens whenever the opportunity arises, making the most popular music reference on Family Guy.
“Shut Up, Meg.”
Peter Griffin on his least favorite child
The amount of vitriol and unabashed hatred Meg seems to engender in her entire family (and her father in particular) is equally disturbing, unwarranted, and hilarious. The Season 10 episode, “Seahorse Seashell Party,” reveals that the family’s animosity towards Meg serves as a way to channel their dysfunction in a way that won’t implode the family and cause its disintegration.
That still hasn’t stopped Peter from treating Meg horribly, whether it’s farting in her face or hitting her upside the head with a baseball bat. Still, the funniest bit of Peter’s dumping on Meg is a perfectly timed, drawn-out, and disdainful, “Shut up, Meg,” which he’s uttered on many occasions.
“There’s A Message In My Alpha-Bits. It Says ‘Oooooo.'”
Peter Griffin on his magic breakfast
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane establishes early on and emphatically that Peter’s idiocy knows no bounds, setting the stage for some hilarious gags. A prime example of this early in the show’s run comes from its very first season, which features Peter and Brian sitting at the kitchen table.
Peter seems flabbergasted that his Alpha-Bits® have apparently flashed him an ominous message of an extended “Ooooooo.” To cap this off, Brian responds with an irritable “those are Cheerios.” The nonchalant manner of this response indicates that the family dog puts up with quite a bit of Peter’s naivety.
“Let’s Go Drink Until We Can’t Feel Feelings Anymore.”
Peter Griffin on drinking irresponsibly
A major Peter trope – which is second only to his stupidity – is his love of beer. It’s no secret that the man enjoys throwing back booze. This is established right off the bat in the pilot episode of Family Guy, which shows a hungover Peter sprawled out on the kitchen table with the family sitting there.
One gem of a quote that further drives this home can be found in the show’s third season, which features Peter’s friends pulling up to his place in a police vehicle, ready to drink the night away. The quote Griffin delivers before joining his pals in the van has since become an iconic, meme-worthy line, even spawning Family Guy memorabilia featuring it.
“I’ll Be Damned If I’m Gonna Be Lectured By A Pervert.”
Peter Griffin on outsmarting Lois
Lois certainly isn’t shy about calling out her husband’s naive, insensitive, and immature ways. One such example comes from the fan-favorite Season 3 episode, “When you Wish Upon a Weinstein.”
Peter’s wife (rightfully) remarks that Peter is acting like a child. His response? An absurd, yet uncharacteristically clever retort, explaining that this would make Lois a “pedophile.” He then caps off this silly zinger by walking out of the house and remarking that he won’t be lectured by a pervert. It’s a memorable moment that’s emblematic of the show’s more nuanced roots.
“We Took A Lot From The Simpsons.”
Peter Griffin on his animated rivals
Many have critiqued Family Guy for its apparent parallels to another zany animated sitcom, The Simpsons. There are similarities between the respective family members, the random wacky happenings and gags, and a dimwitted father at the forefront of it all.
In a move that’s both amusing and respectable, Seth MacFarlane and his team of writers acknowledge this head-on with a cheeky fourth wall bit. It features a drunken Peter collapsing on his bed and talking to Lois. As those under the influence of Mr. Booze have been known to do, Peter hits her with some “real talk” that he wouldn’t necessarily own up to if he were sober.
“I May Be An Idiot, But There’s One Thing I’m Not Sir, And That Is An Idiot.”
Peter Griffin on his own intelligence
Family Guy often thrives on its sense of ironies, absurdities, and oxymorons – pun not intended. Being a prominent character and an unpredictable fool, Peter is naturally the vessel for many of these funny, ironic contradictions.
While discussing a possible transaction with a sleazy used car salesman – Griffin tries to maintain his dignity by making it clear he’s not an idiot. Of course, in typical Peter fashion, he utterly fails in this by immediately contradicting himself in about the most amusing way possible.
“Whoa, Whoa… Lois, This Is Not My Batman Glass.”
Peter Griffin on his fancy glassware
Another Peter trait that’s both condemning and somehow endearing is his obliviousness and aloofness with family happenings. This is specifically the case with his children, with whom he’s not exactly the most open. Heck, just ask his personal punching bag, Meg.
Still, Chris doesn’t exactly get much care or attention either. This is illustrated during the episode “Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High,” where Peter gets the shocking revelation that his young teenage son is in a relationship with his teacher.
With his reaction seemingly conveying disbelief by way of repeating “whoa!” it appears Peter is showing some humanity of a concerned father. But alas – it’s discovered that he’s merely taken aback that the glass he’s using is not his Batman glass.
“This Is The Story Of Star Wars. Let’s Begin With Part Four.”
Peter Griffin on chronological storytelling
Though The Simpsons has plenty of Star Wars references, Family Guy pulled off three whole parody episodes going through the original trilogy. The Star Wars spoof kicks off with the episode “Blue Harvest.” This makes for an emphatic way to ring in the show’s 6th season, as the Griffins’ deep space adventure satirizes various events and traits of Star Wars beat for beat.
This quote serves as a subtle, but clever way to introduce this parody by poking fun at the odd chronology of Lucas’ saga.
“I Always Thought Dogs Laid Eggs. And I Learned Something Today.”
Peter Griffin on a biology lesson
Brian has had bad relationships on Family Guy with even one with another dog going awry. Yet, it’s Brian’s owner who caps off the episode with perhaps its most amusing line as they’re walking out of a hospital. After the unsettling Ted Turner-esque offspring of Brian’s canine lover Seabreeze are revealed, Peter admits he thought puppies came in another way.
The quote would be funny enough on its own merit, but the realistic pause and inclusion of an “um” midway through gives the statement a little extra something.
“Lois Might Be Worth A Million Dollars To You, But To Me She’s Worthless.”
Peter Griffin on romantic gestures
Early in the show’s run, fans get to look in on a prequel story that chronicles the early days of Peter’s relationship with Lois. And just like the present day, Peter’s dimwitted ways shine through – making him come off as even more insensitive than he’s already proven himself to be.
After Lois’ stern father offers Peter a cash bribe to just “go away” and leave his daughter alone, Peter responds with a line that’s supposed to be endearing, as he tries to convey that Lois is more valuable than money. It’s a typical Griffin gaffe, and it’s a hilarious one.
“I’m The Most Non-Competitive. So I Win.”
Peter Griffin on coming out on top
Late in Season 2, Peter and Lois clash as they’re running for Head of the School Board of Education. But as is often the case in politics, a debate on actual issues devolves into unrelated smears and mudslinging. This is all the more amusing considering the opponents in question are husband and wife.
Peter tries to make his case to Brian that he’s not competitive at all, by swiftly contradicting himself in this classic oxymoron of a line. Once again, Peter reveals his true nature and intentions through his own idiocy.
NEXT: 10 Family Guy Memes That Perfectly Sum Up The Show