Family Guy is an adult animated television show on the FOX network, created by Seth MacFarlane. The show was criticized by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the South Park episodes, “Cartoon Wars Part I” and “Cartoon Wars Part II” for having jokes (i.e. cutaway gags) that have nothing to do with the plot of the episode.
The second episode revealed that Family Guy is written by a group of Manatees that pick up balls that have words etched on them. One ball has a buildup, and the second ends the joke. If a ball is removed from the tank, the manatees will stop their work, apparently due to the belief that all things must be allowed to be parodied and mocked or nothing can be.
- Family Guy appears briefly in the episode “Canada on Strike”. After Terrance and Phillip is cancelled, the boys turn to Family Guy. Cartman desperately switches it off and responds "No, we are not resorting to that!" The clip in question featured a cutaway joke, with Peter saying, "You think that's bad? Remember the time I sang "La Cucaracha" for Paul McCartney?"
- In “Oh, Jeez”, Gerald does impressions of Family Guy characters.
- Meg Griffin is the only family member not to have a line in the footage. However, in many episodes of Family Guy she has few lines. This may be a reference to how in the actual show, Meg is constantly being abused by her family which includes being neglected and ignored by them. It could also be a reference to how in some episodes of the show, some characters who will mostly be Chris or Meg will have little to no lines or significance in the episode and will sometimes be left without dialogue entirely.
- The designs of all of the Family Guy characters have subtle tweaks as to avoid copyright infringement problems:
- Brian is shown as having a blue collar and black ears. The black ears make Brian look more like Snoopy from Peanuts. His voice is also changed to be a bit higher pitched. He is voiced by Dave Tennant.
- Peter is shown to have a blue tie and his voice is a lot more stereotypically and overly stupid sounding. He is voiced by Jonathan Kimmel and Trey Parker.
- Meg is shown to be wearing an orange hat and shirt when in the actual series she is wearing magenta colored clothing. It is unknown what her voice sounds like since she's never spoken.
- Chris is shown to be wearing black when in the actual series he is seen wearing blue. Also, he seems more intelligent and has a differently shaped nose. His voice is also extremely deep and it sounds more like that of a stereotypical stoner. He is voiced by Trey Parker.
- Lois' voice is no where as nasally as it is on Family Guy, and her New England accent is toned down. She is voiced by Mona Marshall.
- Stewie appears to have green overalls instead of his red ones. The color of his jumper appears to be blue, opposed to his yellow top. He is voiced by Kyle McCulloch.
- Additionally, all characters have eyes and mouths similar to other South Park characters rather than fully adopting Seth MacFarlane's style.
- Despite the fact that, on Family Guy, Stewie's dialogue is generally ignored by other characters (excluding Brian) due to his age, Peter retorts to Stewie's comments quickly here. Stewie does still have his British accent and reads papers to show intelligence.
- In "Bigfat", Peter says that he's always wanted to go to Canada, but since South Park already has, he couldn't go. This is a reference to the movie.
- In "V is for Mystery", one of the title cards for the episode shows Brian and Stewie discovering Kenny's skeletal dead body lying on the ground.
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone have stated that although they hate the fact that Family Guy is only famous for its cutaway jokes that have nothing to do with the main episode plot, and that they dislike being compared with it, they respect the fact that Family Guy has a large number of viewers and understand that it can provide a cheap laugh for some, and do not think it should be taken off the air.
- The Family Guy writers have become well aware of this portrayal and have actually taken it in good humor, to the point of referencing those style of jokes as "Manatee jokes" in DVD commentaries after the episodes airing.
- In one DVD commentary, Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, mentioned that a comeback had been planned for the Season Six episode “McStroke” involving Matt and Trey being seen at "Anal Point", but it was ultimately dropped, feeling that it was in bad taste.
- According to a podcast, Trey Parker and Matt Stone received appreciation from other adult animated show creators including the creators of The Simpsons and King of the Hill for ripping off Family Guy.