Filed Under Television

The Drunken Clam and Family Guy

Like any snarky college student worth his salt, Seth MacFarlane happily mocked the quirky locals during his years at Rhode Island School of Design. He may, however, be the only graduate who made a career out of the state’s odd landmarks as well as Rhode Islanders’ inability to pronounce their R’s and their inexplicable love for Narragansett Beer.

Since 1999, MacFarlane has capitalized on Rhode Island’s quirks in his adult, animated sitcom Family Guy. Always irreverent, and often raunchy, the show is not for everyone. With more than 225 episodes and three primetime Emmys under its belt. Family Guy airs on the Fox Network to approximately seven million weekly viewers—six million of whom might have to watch when mom’s not in the room. 

Filled with inside jokes, Family Guy is set in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island. The show follows the weird escapades of the Griffin family including Peter, the classic dimwitted TV father; Lois, the long-suffering mother; two moody teenagers, Meg and Chris; Stewie, an evil-genius baby; and Brian, a walking, talking, car-driving dog who is the sanest, classiest one in the family. 

Part lampoon, part celebration, McFarlane captures all that Rhode Islanders hold dear, and he showcases hometown favorites on the small screen. The Big Blue Bug, Del’s Lemonade, Wes’ Rib House, Brown University’s Van Wickle Gates, the Breakers mansion in Newport, and the Pawtucket Red Sox’s McCoy Stadium are all real Rhode Island highlights appearing in Family Guy. 

Many recurring locations in the series have their real-life equivalent in Rhode Island like the series’ favorite bar, “The Drunken Clam” in Johnston; “Happy Go Lucky Toys,” an unmistakable nod to Hasbro; and Buddy Cianci Junior High School, a tribute to a long-time Providence mayor who spent some time behind bars.

Video

"Road to Rhode Island," 2000 "Road to Rhode Island," from Family Guy S2E13. Fox Broadcasting Company Date: 2000

Images

Postcard, "Greetings from Quahog" This real postcard celebrates the fictional Family Guy town of Quahog, RI. Source: Available online at http://www.stevethomasart.com/20th-century-fox. Date: Steve Thomas
Quahog Pest Control, 1999 Quahog Pest Control has its very own Big Blue Bug, seen in S2E17, "He's Too Sexy For His Fat," based off of the similar Rhode Island landmark. Date: 1999
The Big Blue Bug Quahog Pest Control was inspired by the Providence business New England Pest Control and its signature Big Blue Bug overlooking Interstate 95.
McCoy Stadium, 1999 McCoy Stadium can be seen here, in S2E2, "Holy Crap." Date: 1999
McCoy Stadium The real McCoy Stadium is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox, AAA affiliate franchise of the Boston Red Sox. Source: Available online at http://baseballstadiumreviews.com/Stadium%20Home%20Pages/Triple%20A%20Home%20Pages/McCoy%20Stadium/McCoy%20Stadium.html
Van Wickle Gates, Brown University, 2000 In S2E19, "The Story On Page 1," the show depicts the Van Wickle Gates at Brown University. Date: 2000
Van Wickle Gates, Brown University, 2015 The real Van Wickle gates at Brown University in Providence are a key part of annual convocation and commencement Ceremonies. Date: 2015
The Drunken Clam, 1999 The Drunken Clam can be seen in S2E4, "Brian In Love." Date: 1999
The Drunken Clam, 2012 The real Drunken Clam was inspired by the fictitious bar introduced in season two of Family Guy. In 2008, the Narragansett Town Council granted a liquor license to an establishment called the Drunken Clam at 1200 Ocean Road. By the end of the following year, the Drunken Clam was gone, the victim of a bad location, a lousy economy, or customer indifference. Then, in 2010, the business relocated to 8 Greenville Avenue in Johnston. The decor wasn't notably Family Guy-esque, but they did have "Pawtucket Patriot Lager" on tap, a drink called the Bloody Meg, and a version of the distinctive drinking clam neon sign in the window. The Drunken Clam closed again in early 2013, perhaps for good. In true Rhode Island fashion, Johnston residents likely give directions to the Stop & Shop by telling drivers to go past where the Drunken Clam used to be.For more information, see http://www.quahog.org/factsfolklore/index.php?id=124. Date: 2012
Rhode Island Family Guy Map, 2012 In 2012, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council organized a Family Guy-themed bus tour of Rhode Island. This map accompanied the tour. Source: Kim Polson, theartconnection.org. Map by Neville Lassotovitch. Available online at http://www.tourblackstone.com/familyguy.pdf Date: 2012

Location

8 Greenville Ave Johnston, RI 02919

Metadata

Marjory O’Toole, “The Drunken Clam and Family Guy,” Rhode Tour, accessed December 2, 2022, https://rhodetour.org/items/show/164.