Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'Family Guy'

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Vote up the most surprising 'Family Guy' facts.

Family Guy is one of the longest-running animated series ever made, and despite being canceled by Fox (twice), it continues sharing the wacky misadventures of Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris, and Stewie Griffin. The show focuses primarily on cutaway gags for comedic effect but also employs a ton of dark humor, pop culture references, and fourth-wall breaks.

The series has been around since 1999, and plenty of fans pay attention to every detail of each episode. You may even count yourself among the ranks of these superfans, but odds are, there are plenty of things you probably don't know about Family Guy. After all, it's aired more than 350 episodes, so there are plenty of details the average fan probably missed.

  • The Series Uses A 50- To 90-Piece Orchestra
    Photo: Fox
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    The Series Uses A 50- To 90-Piece Orchestra

    Depending on the requirement, each episode of Family Guy uses an orchestra consisting of between 50 and 90 pieces. The sounds and music included in the episodes are a big part of what makes them sound incredible, and no piece of music is ever used more than once.

    Of course, that excludes the opening and closing music, but even those clips are frequently updated by the orchestra. Few TV series use a live orchestra for recording their music, and far fewer use one as large as that employed by Seth MacFarlane.

    The orchestra works within a soundstage featuring a large screen. When the animated sequences are played for them, they create the music featured in the scene.

  • 'What The Hell?' Is Said In Every Episode
    Photo: Fox
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    'What The Hell?' Is Said In Every Episode

    One of the "rules" of the series requires a character to say, "What the hell?" at least once in every episode. Depending on the situation, it could be any character on the series, but for Stewie, he typically opts for "What the deuce?" instead.

    Adding the line into each episode appears to be something the writing staff has been forcing for the better part of two decades. Despite being prevalent throughout the series, the running gag typically goes over most fans' heads.

  • Liam Neeson Agreed To Say (Almost) Anything The Writers Wanted
    Photo: Fox
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    Liam Neeson Agreed To Say (Almost) Anything The Writers Wanted

    Liam Neeson appeared on the series in the Season 13 episode "Fighting Irish." In the episode, Peter's pals decide they've had enough of Peter's boastful claims that he can beat up Irish actor and former amateur boxing champion Liam Neeson.

    When Neeson (in the show) finds out about Peter's drunken desire to fight him, he offers him a compromise. Instead of Neeson beating the snot out of Peter, which would almost certainly be the case, Peter can be his personal servant.

    Neeson agreed to say whatever the writing staff wanted his character to say, but he did have one minor change. He was meant to say, "I’ve been a world-famous tough guy since 56," but made one change. Arguing that he was 55 when he filmed Taken, the number had to be changed.

  • The Pilot Was Produced On A $50K Budget
    Photo: Fox
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    The Pilot Was Produced On A $50K Budget

    The pilot episode of the series looks a bit different than those that followed, and there's a reason for that. Seth MacFarlane received a small budget of only $50,000 to make the episode titled, "Death Has a Shadow."

    While $50,000 may sound like a lot of money, it's actually a very small amount for an animated episode. The episode needed to be hand-drawn, and it's clearly rougher than the polished fare of later years.

    When Fox picked up the pilot for production, the entire episode was completely redrawn. For this reason, there are several aesthetic changes between the pilot and the finished version of "Death Has a Shadow."

    For one thing, Lois had blond hair in the pilot, and her green shirt was red. Similarly, Meg's hat was originally blue but was recolored pink for the finished episode.