Family Guy: Season 1, Episode 1

Death Has a Shadow (31 Jan. 1999)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Animation, Comedy
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Peter loses his job, but ends up getting rich off welfare.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Lois Griffin (voice)
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Diane Simmons / Nancy the Postal Lady (voice)
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John Madden (voice)
Butch Hartman ...
Various (voice)
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Various (voice)
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Judge (voice)
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Various (voice)
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Dick Clark (voice)
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Mr. Weed (voice)
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Storyline

In this pilot episode to the series, Peter goes out to a friend's bachelor party, but first promises Lois that he won't get drunk. He does, of course, and the resulting hangover causes him to lose his job the next day. After several unsuccessful attempts to get a new job, Peter applies for welfare, only to discover that a clerical error has now made the family rich. Things spin further out of Peter's control, while Lois is still unaware that her husband has been fired. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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Animation | Comedy

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Release Date:

31 January 1999 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This episode originally aired immediately after Fox's airing of Super Bowl XXXIII on 31 January 1999. See more »

Goofs

Peter's shirt, throughout the entire series, is buttoned on the girl's side - right over left. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Weed: Griffin! Are you sleeping on the job?
Peter Griffin: No. There's a bug in my eye and I'm trying to suffocate him.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Casablanca (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Victory is mine!"
20 September 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The first episode of Family Guy is one of those rare things: something that comes off as even more hilarious and offensive years after it first aired than when American audiences first saw it. Seeing it now, with the show's well known troubles an essential part of pop culture trivia (the series has been canceled twice due to its controversial content, a fact that is sometimes referenced in the show), makes one realize that Fox did have a point: this is, at times, pretty excessive in its satirical depiction of American life. And, for that same reason, a masterpiece of television comedy.

Death Has a Shadow introduces the main character, Peter Griffin (voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane), in the only way that was possible: as an unrelenting moron who does only what he pleases, not caring about anyone else's opinion. Peter makes his grand entrance by laughing at a trashy TV program and subsequently attending a stag party. Despite his promises to the missus (Lois, voiced by Alex Borstein), he gets drunk and spends the next day with a hangover, which causes him to lose his job. Naturally, he can't find it in his heart to tell Lois. Instead, he lets her believe he's received a substantial raise when a paperwork mistake grants him several thousands of dollars in welfare checks. In the meantime, Lois also has to deal with the perks of her children: Meg (Lacey Chabert, uncredited), a typical teenage girl with loads of issues; Chris (Seth Green), a boy with a very puerile sense of humor; and Stewie (MacFarlane again), a talking toddler whose obsession is to rule the world and kill his mother.

With the exception of that last part (plus the family's talking dog Brian, also voiced by MacFarlane), it could all sound like an episode of The Simpsons, which coincidentally airs on the same network. Difference is, The Simpsons has never faced the risk of cancellation. How come? Simply because Family Guy is a bit too much for mainstream television (South Park does much worse, but that's on Comedy Central, which is a cable network): whereas Homer Simpson is a moron with a heart, Peter Griffin has no redeeming values at all, just an astounding level of stupidity that makes it easy to laugh at his antics but rarely sympathize with them. And what about Stewie? No other TV show features an infant who says to his own mother "Damn you, vile woman. You have impeded my work ever since I escaped from your wretched womb!".

And let's not forget the zany pop culture references and fake flashbacks, which are inserted with no consideration whatsoever for relevance with the plot (well, except for that one bit where Peter gets drunk in church). With merciless takes on everything from Seinfeld to Philadelphia, it's a celebration of creative madness and the real reason why Family Guy is such a blast to watch. I mean, how many animated sitcoms have the guts to begin with the suggestion that Hitler might have declared war on the Jews because they had better-looking abs?

Very, very wrong. Oh, and funny as hell.


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