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‘Simpsons’ Vs. ‘Family Guy': Who Stole Which Jokes?

By 03.23.11

Read the comments section of any “Family Guy” video on YouTube and inevitably, someone will say that Seth MacFarlane sucks and that the show’s just a rip-off of “The Simpsons”. I’m the biggest “Simpsons” fan around, but even I don’t believe that. Like Roger Myers, Jr. once said:

“Animation is built on plagiarism. If it weren’t for someone plagiarizing ‘The Honeymooners’, we wouldn’t have ‘The Flintstones’. If someone hadn’t ripped off ‘Sgt. Bilko’, there’d be no ‘Top Cat.’ Huckleberry Hound, Chief Wiggum, Yogi Bear? Hah! Andy Griffith, Edward G. Robinson, Art Carney. Your honor, you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from?”

With that mind, here are six instances of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” using the same joke. Note that I said “joke,” rather than “plot” because otherwise, yes, SIMPSONS DID IT!

The Simpsons

Episode: “Jaws Wired Shut”

Airdate: January 27, 2002

The Simpsons go to the movie theater to see Shenanigoats. Before the film starts, trivia questions are shown on the screen, including a jumble for “MOT HANKS.” Lisa says, “These are so easy. It’s obviously Tom Hanks.” The correct answer: “Otm Shank,” India’s Brian Dennehy, according to Apu.

Family Guy

Episode: “Friends of Peter G”

Airdate: February 13, 2011

Peter and Brian go to the movies early because Peter hates missing the “movie trivia slides.” Brian replies, “Those questions are the easiest, most pandering things in the world.” On screen, a name—T_M H_NKS—appears with a hint: “This actor won an Oscar for his portrayal of Forrest Gump.” Peter thinks it’s “Tim Honks,” but the correct answer is “Tom Hanks.”


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