10 Cases of ‘Family Guy’ Ripping Off ‘The Simpsons’

We don’t want to say that “Family Guy” straight up stole these bits or concepts, as there are several reasons (including having many of the same previous writers/animators as “The Simpsons”) why that would be an unfair statement. simpsons family guy mashupHell, if you look hard enough, you could find plenty of examples where the shoe is on the other foot, with “The Simpsons” seemingly using a “Family Guy” joke. Somewhere down the line we may look into that, too, but for now let’s focus on the former. “The Simpsons” was around long before and ever since, and its influence on “Family Guy” is evident in these examples of instances where the show seemed to directly take from its predecessor. If you have any thoughts on this, as well as any other examples, let us know in the comments section.

Guy Incognito

It is entirely plausible that these two jokes could have been thought of on their own. However, if you have seen “The Simpsons” episode where Homer discovers he has an exact double who was beaten unconscious by the angry barflies at Moe’s Tavern, you see this strangely familiar “Family Guy” punchline coming a mile away.

The Simpsons – Season 6, Episode 11: “Fear of Flying”

Family Guy – Season 3, Episode 19: “Stuck Together, Torn Apart”

Muslim Terrorist

We already mentioned this in a previous piece, but it’s worth repeating. Season 20 of “The Simpsons” featured an episode titled “Mypods and Boomsticks,” in which a new Muslim family moves into town, and Homer eventually comes to suspect they are terrorists. Cut to this past season’s extremely controversial episode of “Family Guy” titled “Turban Cowboy,” which featured a plot so similar, it’s hard to not compare the two. What makes it even more evident is that “Family Guy” has gotten much better since its previous seasons at not making their suspected plagiarism so obvious.

Animal Thieves

It’s hard to call this a straight-up rip-off by any means, but there is a striking similarity. We’re not saying that it would be impossible for two completely separate people who have never seen the joke before to come up with it on their own, but it seems quite unlikely. Judge for yourself after watching the video clips.

The Simpsons – Season 6, Episode 20: “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”

Family Guy – Season 3, Episode 17: “Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows”

Racetrack Hump

As if one joke from the same episode wasn’t enough, “Family Guy” much more blatantly took this scenario from the “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” episode and ran with it. However, they didn’t run very far. Basically, replace Santa’s Little Helper with Brian, add a few different little quippy remarks from the characters, and you have essentially the same scene played out in the same general manner.

The Simpsons – Season 6, Episode 20: “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”

Santa’s Little Helper runs onto the track. Everyone thinks this mystery dog has just come out of nowhere and may win the race … and then he proceeds to just go for the humping.

Now, for the “Family Guy” version…

Family Guy – Season 3, Episode 13: “Screwed the Pooch”

The Van Houtens and the Goldmans

This is something that die-hard fans of both series might not have even noticed, but when you look at the Van Houten family on “The Simpsons,” one thing you notice immediately is how similar Kirk, Luann and Milhouse look to each other. Also, Milhouse has a crush on Lisa Simpson, the family’s eldest daughter. Cut to “Family Guy’s” Goldman family, and not only do you again have a three person family of similar looking nerdy people, but they also have a son who is constantly hitting on Meg. Coincidence? Possibly, but a little too coincidental, if you ask us.

Tom Hanks

We would have let this one slide if “Family Guy” had even bothered to go with another celebrity name than “The Simpsons” did. Not to mention, not only does the joke go over much better on “The Simpsons,” but it’s a lot more original, too, with a twist at the end that you don’t see coming. “Family Guy,” on the other hand, takes a pretty lazy approach, and even if it hadn’t so obviously been a rip-off, it still doesn’t get much of a laugh. I mean, come on, in a previous episode Peter says Tom Hank’s name twice while watching “Philadelphia,” and now he doesn’t even know who he is. Really?

The Simpsons – Season 13, Episode 9: “Jaws Wired Shut”

Family Guy – Season 9, Episode 10: “Friends of Peter G.”

Run Like the Wind

Again, we have a similar “Tom Hanks” problem here. “Family Guy” could have even used a word like “mind” to make this joke different enough to pass as original, but chose not to. Interestingly, however, “The Simpsons” episode containing the “wind” joke’s premise was actually very similar to a previous episode of “Family Guy” in season two, entitled “Death Is a Bitch,” where Peter takes on the role of Death as opposed to Homer. But since it was just one segment of three, as it was one of the shows Halloween episodes, let’s just call it a wash and move on.

Hit Me

This one really speaks for itself after you watch it. It was funny the first time when Homer did it, but to do the exact same joke with Peter is just redundant. Adding to that redundancy is the fact that both sequences take place as flashbacks. How much more blatantly obvious can it get without us finally caving and just saying, “Yes, this is theft”?

The Simpsons – Season 4, Episode 14: “Brother from the Same Planet”

Family Guy – Season 2, Episode 16: “There’s Something About Paulie”
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Gambling Problem

Apparently, both wives on “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” have gambling problems. That alone wouldn’t be a reason enough to put this on the list. However, the scenes that reveal said addiction for the characters are essentially one and the same. They’re short clips, but watch them back-to-back and tell us you don’t feel like you just watched the same thing twice, with nothing but the characters themselves making it different.

The Simpsons – Season 5, Episode 10: “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)”

Family Guy – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Son Also Draws”


This may sound like a stretch at first, but hear us out. Obviously, there are numerous shows that use cutaways for jokes. Even “The Simpsons” was no doubt not the first, as animated sitcom “The Critic” (created by writers of “The Simpsons”) used them as well, and with more potency. But once “Family Guy” came along, they began to use them so much, it sort of became their schtick. In the DVD commentary for “The Simpsons,” it is even mentioned that once “Family Guy” began doing them as often as they do, the writers on their show stopped.