Family Guy: Season 1 (1999)

Season 1
Family Guy

Critics Consensus

At first blush Family Guy bears a venomous wit that rivals other adult animated fare, but its inaugural season is marred by an infantile sensibility and shoddy animation.



Critic Ratings: 12


Audience Score

User Ratings: 314

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Air date: Jan 31, 1999

On this, the premiere episode, Stewie (voice of Seth MacFarlane) has turned an ordinary child's toy into a mind control device, and he declares war on Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) when she takes his "toy" away. Peter (MacFarlane) goes to a stag party. Lois makes him promise not to drink, but things don't work out that way. The next morning, the family finds him passed out on the breakfast table. Worse yet, that day he falls asleep on the assembly line at Happy-Go-Lucky Toys, and when some dangerously defective toys end up on the shelves as a result, he loses his job. "Daddy's still going to put food on the table," he tells his concerned children, "just not as much, so it might get a little competitive." Peter decides to hide his joblessness from Lois. "I hate lying to Lois," Peter confides to Brian (MacFarlane), the family dog, "It's just the best way to keep her from knowing the truth." Inspired by Brian's exhortation to "think of his family's welfare," Peter applies for welfare. The government accidentally sends the Griffins a check for 150,000 dollars each week. After living high on the hog for a while, Lois realizes something is up, prompting Peter to concoct a cockamamie scheme to give the money back to the government and prove his devotion to his wife. When the creators of Family Guy learned that the show would premiere after the Super Bowl, they added a relevant scene, and enlisted the voice talents of Pat Summerall. The title of the episode, "Death Has a Shadow," springs from a short-lived idea the writers had to title each episode in melodramatic, 1960s TV detective-show fashion. This idea was abandoned after a few shows when they realized they could never identify the episodes from the title.

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Air date: Apr 11, 1999

Faced with the prospect of eating broccoli, Stewie (voice of Seth MacFarlane) decides that the vegetable must be eradicated, and sets about turning an ordinary child's toy into a weather-control device. When Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) tells him to finish his vegetables, he responds, "Rest assured you relentless harridan, I expect I shall finish them all off!" Peter's (MacFarlane) half-hearted efforts to teach Meg (voice of Mila Kunis) how to drive (he'd rather sit home watching TV) result in her failing her driving test. Worse yet, on the drive home, Peter crashes into Quahog's cable television transmitter and knocks out cable for the whole town. He offers to buy Meg a convertible if she'll take the fall for him. Confronted by Lois about this misdeed, Peter says, "Isn't 'bribe' just another word for love?" Peter also has to deal with not being able to watch television, resulting in a strange nightmare featuring Alf, Gilligan, the robot from Lost in Space, Jeannie, and Samantha from Bewitched. Eventually, the truth about the car accident comes out, and Peter learns that he can function without TV. The family enjoys their time together, and when the TV comes back on, Peter eschews couch potato-ness in favor of attending a Bavarian Folk Festival with William Shatner. This episode features the voice talents of Erik Estrada.

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Air date: Apr 18, 1999

Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) makes plans to have Stewie's (voice of Seth MacFarlane) first birthday party at Cheesy Charlie's (read: Chuck E. Cheese's). But when Peter foolishly screws up their hard-to-get party reservation, he makes up a bizarre story for Lois about what a hellish place Cheesy Charlie's was, and tells her that he's made elaborate arrangements to have Stewie's party at home. Brian responds to Peter's far-fetched tale by calling him "the Spalding Gray of crap." Stewie, who has vivid memories of his successful battle to be the first sperm to reach the egg, sees the whole "birthday party" as a scheme to bring him back into the hands of the dreaded "man in white," who he thinks tried to thwart his escape from the womb. Meg (voice of Mila Kunis) is despondent about her social skills after failing to make cheerleader. Peter (MacFarlane) tells her, "Just be the girl you think everyone wants you to be." This advice gets Meg a new friend, who happens to be a member of a suicidal cult.

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Air date: Apr 25, 1999

Stewie (voice of Seth MacFarlane) has begun teething, and is in such pain that he orders Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) to kill him. "Shake me!" he commands, "Shake me like a British nanny!" Unable to convince Lois to end his pain thusly, he decides to build a time machine to take him back to before his teeth started to come in. Lois actually manages to get Peter to contribute to the household by taking Chris (voice of Seth Green) to his soccer game. When another parent (voiced by Alex Rocco) screams at Chris for his poor play, Peter punches the man, only to learn that the man was actually a woman, and a pregnant woman to boot. Peter ends up under house arrest. He quickly gets bored watching television. "All the shows are starting to run together," he comments. Sure enough, he finds himself watching an episode of "Homicide: Life on Sesame Street," which features a bitter domestic dispute between Bert and Ernie. Peter decides to lure his friends over to the house by building a bar in the basement. "I feel just like Tim Allen," he declares, "I build stuff and I have a criminal record." But he's disturbed when Lois comes downstairs and starts performing sexy numbers for his "patrons," and develops a following of his lustful friends and neighbors. This episode also features the voice talents of Leslie Uggams.

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Air date: May 2, 1999

Stewie (voice of Seth MacFarlane) gets his first disturbing look at the Teletubbies. Things are going well at the toy factory for Peter (MacFarlane), who tells his boss about his idea for Facts of Life Transformers. But things take an ugly turn when Peter accidentally injures the boss' "ringer" during softball practice. Peter is told that he'll lose his job if he doesn't find a replacement. New neighbors move in next door; while Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) quickly befriends Bonnie (voice of Jennifer Tilly) and Joe (voice of Patrick Warburton), Peter is decidedly un-neighborly until he sees all of Joe's college baseball trophies. He quickly convinces Joe to play for the company team, not realizing that Joe is wheelchair-bound. It turns out, though, that Joe is still a great player. "Way to earn that parking space!" Peter tells him. Joe quickly becomes a focal point of the whole town, including the Griffin family, which makes Peter very jealous. Peter decides to steal Joe's thunder by becoming a hero himself. What better way to do that than by thwarting an armed bank robbery? This episode features the voice talents of Michelle Kwan.

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Air date: May 9, 1999

Chris (voice of Seth Green) wants out of the Scouts, and no wonder, with a Scout leader who always calls the troop "girls," and who shrieks at Chris for sitting outside the semicircle. Chris would rather devote his time to drawing, but he doesn't have the heart to tell Peter (voice of Seth MacFarlane). Peter is so psyched about Chris being a Scout that he even builds him a go-cart for the soap-box derby. Surprisingly, Speed Racer turns out to be one of Chris' opponents. The race ends (well, starts) disastrously, and Chris is kicked out of the troop. But Peter refuses to take it lying down, getting the family into the car for a drive to the Scouts' main office in New York. Brian (MacFarlane) stays behind, explaining that he's been to New York, and "it's like Prague, without the whimsy." Peter gets lost en route, and a bathroom emergency brings the family to Geronimo's Palace, a Native American casino. While Peter uses the bathroom, Lois (voice of Alex Borstein) wanders over to video poker, where a casino worker reassures her, "Technically, it's not really gambling; it's just us trying to rebuild our shattered culture after you raped our land and defiled our women." Lois gives it a try, and has soon gambled away the car (shades of Lost in America, which the creators acknowledge on the DVD commentary). Peter tries to get the family's money back by claiming to be part Native American. The council of elders decides that he must go on a "vision quest," a spiritual journey into the wilderness without food, water, or shoes, to prove his ancestry. Chris goes along, hoping for an opportunity to tell Peter that he doesn't want to be a Scout.

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Air date: May 16, 1999

In the pre-credit sequence, the family watches a horrifying Eight is Enough reunion show, featuring the actual voice of Dick Van Patten. As the title of this episode indicates, it's modeled after one of those "social problem" TV movies that were prevalent in the 1980s. Quahog is suffering a heat wave, and the Griffins want to enter Brian (voice of Seth MacFarlane) in a dog show, hoping to win enough money to buy an air conditioner. Brian reluctantly agrees for the sake of the family. He does a great job on the obstacle course (running the whole route on his hind legs, stopping only for a quick smoke), but refuses to beg for a treat at the end. When Peter (MacFarlane) upbraids him for his disobedience, Brian disgustedly walks out on the whole thing. "I refused to demean myself by perpetuating the stereotype of the 'good dog'," Brian explains on the way home. The argument continues, until Brian has Peter stop the car so he can get out. The police bring him home after stopping him for breaking the leash law. There's a flashback to when Peter first found Brian, who was a lowly stray dog, eking out a living squeegeeing the windshields of passing motorists. Brian runs away again, and the Griffins make an ill-fated effort to replace him with a kitty. The dog runs into hard times. At one point, he gets kicked out of a fancy Italian restaurant, and runs into Lady and the Tramp in the back alley. Unaware that the Griffins are determined to bring him home, Brian loses control and attacks a passerby. The county is ready to put him to sleep until Peter comes to his rescue.

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Family Guy: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Series 1 introduces the animated antics of the constantly grousing Griffin family, who put some fun in dysfunctional. While dad Peter is a tad dim and lazy, mom Lois is none of the above. Then there are hapless teens Meg and Chris; sassy baby Stewie, who's wise (and a wise guy) beyond his years; and family dog Brian, who might be the smartest of the lot. Series creator Seth MacFarlane voices many of the regular characters.

Cast & Crew

Seth Green
Chris Griffin / Consuela's Husband
Butch Hartman
Charles Montrose / Vet
Alex Borstein
Lois Griffin as Mary
Seth MacFarlane
Peter Griffin / Brian Griffin / Stewie Griffin / Glenn Quagmire / Tom Tucker / Vern / Gregory Peck / Dr. Kratz / Additional Voices
Wally Wingert
Dr. Kaplan
Mike Henry
Cleveland Brown / Greased-up Deaf Guy
Rachael MacFarlane
Girl 2 in Commercial / Girl Jumping From the Tree
Monte Young
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Critic Reviews for Family Guy Season 1

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (6)

The bottom line is that The Family Guy is worse than dumb; it's not funny.

Jan 27, 2019 | Full Review…

Nothing warms the heart of a TV critic more than a TV show that bites the hand that feeds it.

Apr 6, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"Family Guy" pushes the creative envelope in loopy directions once thought unimaginable.

Apr 12, 2018 | Full Review…

The writers try to see how far they can go in self-congratulatory irreverence.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…

You'd have to bet against Family Guy reaching that level of insight based on an uneven premiere whose humor ranges from inspired to cheap and sophomoric.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…

What is laughable is the clunky animation, which makes the static, retrograde stuff pumped out by MacFarlane's old employer, Hanna-Barbera, seem state-of-the-art.

Nov 26, 2013 | Rating: D | Full Review…

"Family Guy" is irreverent, but decidedly unfunny.

Jan 19, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Family Guy is very funny; the quirky scenarios can induce giggles or even guffaws in grown-ups.

Apr 11, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Family Guy, like South Park, is nasty without being particularly amusing, cynical without being perceptive, and ugly as sin.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Family Guy is occasionally quite funny ---- but only occasionally. And it's often rather crude -- quite often.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Although I'm partial to the human face of live action, I admit animation lends itself particularly well to the free-association comedy of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Much of the show's brilliance is immediately apparent.

Nov 26, 2013 | Rating: 8.9/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Family Guy: Season 1

  • 2d ago
    Short but sweet, the first season of family guy brought some quality funny moments. Sure, the jokes aren't for everybody. But if they are, then it's an awesome watch!
  • Oct 26, 2020
    It's so good everything about it
  • Sep 06, 2020
    Im getting into the family guy spirit
  • Apr 06, 2020
    For some reason It seems to have more animations than the family guy now
  • Jul 22, 2019
    It's a good first effort
  • May 23, 2019
    Pretty great first season
  • Mar 01, 2019
    Family guy season 1 is good, my favorite episode of season is the seventh episode, this episode have a plot who holds you
  • Mar 01, 2019
    Family guy season 1 is funny, the seventh episode is good and your drama holds you.
  • Jan 12, 2019
    Full of early installment weirdness and awkward animation, the first season of Family Guy nevertheless has enough witty humour and great voice acting to go along with the memorable characters for one of the most popular adult animated series of all time,
  • May 20, 2018
    10% of the jokes are actually good, and then the writers enter the room, leaving 90% of the jokes amounting between budget-saving still shticks, redundancy, and bits akin to "cartoonz iz jus lyk peepuls!". nihilistic to even itself, rendering what scant drama it tries to cull inert from the first second.

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