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.