Anyone who tunes in to a Seth MacFarlane creation should expect some extremely edgy comedy – a fact that’s been true since his first hit, Family Guy. The show has been on the air since 1999, and during that time there have been plenty of times Family Guy went super dark. Seth MacFarlane and his writers have welcomed all kinds of controversy with shocking jokes about death, abortion, incest, drunk driving, Michael J. Fox, and many other taboo topics.
Prom Night Dumpster Baby
Teenage pregnancy is a serious topic that affects thousands upon thousands of people every year. So it’s no wonder that Family Guy decided to make a jingle out of it. One episode of Family Guy shows a young girl at her high school prom ditching her newborn child in a dumpster. This immediately sets off a song titled “Prom Night Dumpster Baby,” during which the abandoned child sings that he “has no mom or dad,” and that his “story isn’t long but, boy, it’s awfully sad.”
You Have AIDS Song
Another dark, but uncomfortably catchy Family Guy jingle pops up when Peter forms a singing group dedicated to giving people bad news. The group appears in a hospital room and lets a man know he has AIDS with lovely barbershop-style singing.
Peter Shakes His First Son to Death
This joke was short, simple, and pretty dark. In a cutaway scene, Peter and Lois are seen mourning next to a tombstone that reads “Peter Griffin, Jr.” At first it’s unclear what caused the death of this Griffin child, until Peter turns to Lois and explains that he thought shaking the baby enough would make him stop crying. “I was kind of right,” he adds.
Reimagining the Cosby Show Opening
Not too long after comedian Bill Cosby was accused of sexually assaulting more than 50 women, Family Guy decided to remake the opening of his classic ‘80s sitcom. The Griffin family and friends are crowded around the TV when the announcer is heard welcoming audiences back to “The Cosby Show, knowing what we know now.” The bit then recreates the opening sequence of The Cosby Show,but features the show’s female stars all passed out. At one point Bea Arthur is seen stammering in the background without pants shortly before the NBC peacock stumbles into frame with a glass in its hand.
Terri Schiavo Musical
When Family Guy wants to go really dark with a joke, the show commonly decides to do it via song. This was definitely the case when the Griffin family went to one of Stewie’s school plays to watch his class perform “Terri Schiavo: The Musical.” Young kids take on the roles of the family members involved in the controversial right-to-die legal case that began in 1990. Some of the darkest lyrics include “Terri Schiavo is kind of alive-o,” “this [machine] dispenses gravy for her mashed potato brains,” and “[she’s] the most expensive plant you’ll ever see.”
Michael J. Fox Ruins Peter’s Shirt at a Wine Party
Michael J. Fox has struggled with Parkinson’s disease since 1991, and first announced the diagnosis to the public in 1998. Since then, he has been the subject of several Family Guy jokes. One episode shows Peter explaining to the family why he only has two white shirts. He claims that he used to have three but the third one “got ruined at that wine tasting at Michael J. Fox’s house.” Rather than immediately recreate the scene, the show instead has Peter just telling the audience what happened because seeing the footage “would just make us all sad.”
Peter Plans a School Shooting
After trading places with Meg and Chris for the sake of a bet, Peter seems unsure of how to go about this role reversal. He first appears in the kitchen dressed as a teenage girl before Lois explains that he’s still supposed to be a boy. He then returns as a troubled teenage boy eager to “make all those popular kids pay” for ignoring him. He is seen holding a large gun and cocks it before Lois tells him he is supposed to be just a normal teenager. He tries to call off the attack, but the damage is already done.