Family Guy has a stigma of relying solely on dirty humor that is more offensive than funny, but that's not true all the time. There are actually a lot of smart Family Guy jokes. Despite the show's reputation, it still has tons of viewers who aren't knuckle-dragging morons who watch it solely for the fart jokes. No, no - there are lots of intelligent people who watch Family Guy for the clever humor and the fart jokes.
At this point, Family Guy seems to exist in a similar reality to The Simpsons: only people who still watch it appreciate how funny it is. But like smart jokes in The Simpsons, there are lots of brilliant jokes on Family Guy that go unnoticed. Who are Sacco and Vanzetti? Who's Debussy? Seth MacFarlane and his gang definitely know. Here are a bunch of intellectual Family Guy jokes you missed. Or maybe you're brilliant and you caught them, too. There's really only one way to find out - read on to validate that big, beautiful brain of yours and vote up the funniest jokes in Family Guy that only smart people understand.
First of all, there's the fact that the title of the episode itself is rather intellectual, a play on John Bunyan's 1678 classic, Pilgrim's Progress. Then there are the meta jokes about promos for made-up shows like Shovin' Buddies and Slowly Rotating Black Man. And of course, Peter's commentary on America:
"We will have equal rights for all. Except Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Gays, women, Muslims. Umm... Everybody who's not a white man. And I mean white-white, so no Italians, no Polish, just people from Ireland, England, and Scotland. But only certain parts of Scotland and Ireland. Just full blooded whites. No, you know what? Not even whites. Nobody gets any rights. Ahhh... America!"
Okay, so this one is more cleverly diabolical than intellectual, but still, you gotta give 'em props for making this stretch work. The clip above refers to two musical composers who heavily influenced and shaped their respective eras. Their names are used as a reference to some, um, inappropriate things.
Students of music theory and history will either love this or find it horrifying.
In Season 4, there's an episode that must have been titled by writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, as it's called "You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives." (Get it? It's long.) Anyway, the episode is about Mayor West banning gay marriage, and at one point he has an apparent throwaway line, saying:
"I'm the only Mayor West that's in trouble!" But it wasn't a throwaway at all. It's a reference to former Spokane, Washington Mayor, Jim West, who supported anti-gay legislation until he was ironically (or maybe not) outed as having engaged in homosexual acts himself.
In Season 2, "Death is a B*tch," Death sees a television and says, "How old is this TV? You can probably get the DuMont Network on this thing." This is a clever reference to what is properly known as the Forgotten Network, or the DuMont Network. DuMont was one of the forerunners in commercial television in America during the 1940s.
They were known for making bold and innovative steps in broadcasting, but due to constraining costs and restrictions imposed by the FCC, the company struggled both financially and legally before dissolving in the mid '50s. This Family Guy joke is particularly smart because it isn't Stewie or Meg making the reference - it's Death. Because DuMont has died, and only Death remembers.