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.
In the episode "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing," Brian and Frank Sinatra Jr. buy a nightclub. As Stewie somehow makes the club a popular place for "hip" folks, Brian and Frank try to fit in by dressing and acting like the young people. Frank even gets a tattoo to look cool.
What he doesn't realize is that the tattoo is the Japanese symbol for "Sheep," reflecting the fact that he'll just follow the leader. This is seen in his compliance with Stewie's changes to his establishment.
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 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.
In "Road to the Multiverse," Brian and Stewie find themselves in a universe where everything is depicted as a political cartoon. Not only is the political cartoon conveyed therein funny, but Brian's feigned appreciation for it even more so. As Stewie describes it, there is "an overweight cat with dollar signs for eyes and a hat that says 'Social Security' pouring a bucket that says 'Alternative Minimum Tax' over a sad Statue of Liberty holding a 'Democracy' umbrella."
And that cartoon is funny. What it represents is, you know, um, governmental, uh - well, if you get it, you get it.