watching the fourth season of Family Guy, I spotted
a couple of strange inconsistencies.
1. Firstly, in the episode Stuck Together, Torn Apart
Lois asks Brian to watch Stewie. She asks him to be careful,
saying: "You remember what happened last time." Then there's
a flashback to a younger Stewie bouncing on a bed. His head
is large but normal-shaped. As he's jumping, he hits his head
on the ceiling and it transforms into the rugby-ball shape
we all know and love. It is implied that it is Brian's fault
that Stewie's head is shaped the way it is now, but that is
not so - in earlier seasons we have seen Stewie's birth and
his head has always been rugby-ball shaped.
2. In the episode Family Guy - Viewer Mail #1 there
is a mini-story in which we see a young Peter at school. Why
are Brian and Joe there too? Joe arrives on the street years
later, as seen in one of the show's early episodes, and Brian
wouldn't even have been born yet. Lois is at the school too,
but I seem to remember watching an episode about how she and
Peter met, and she wasn't at that school. As her parents are
very rich, it is very unlikely she would have gone to a school
full of commoners.
have a general explanation for both questions... It's a comedy
show! And it's a cartoon! It's supposed to be silly
and it's not meant to be taken seriously. It's got a talking
dog and a homicidal baby in it, for crying out loud! This
is especially true of the Viewer Mail episode, which,
like the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons,
is extra-silly and doesn't necessarily have any bearing on
the ongoing events of "regular" episodes.
However, I do find it hard not to concoct explanations, even
for a surreal show such as this one, so here goes...
1. It is well known that newborn babies have very soft heads.
This may explain why Stewie's bonce is oddly shaped at birth
- it could have developed a normal shape over subsequent weeks.
Then he could have had his bed-bouncing accident, resulting
in the familiar rugby-ball shape.
2. Maybe it was Brian's dad, not Brian, at Peter's school.
Maybe there was an exchange programme going on with other
schools at the time, including canine training centres, which
explains the presence of Brian's dad, Joe and Lois. Peter
could have subsequently forgotten about meeting these people,
because he's stupid.
Alternatively, perhaps both questions can be explained by
a similar phenomenon to that which affects the DC Comics Universe
every few years. In order to prevent popular characters from
growing noticeably older, DC Comics keeps resetting its timeline
through a succession of spatial and/or temporal catastrophes,
such as the Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis sagas.
The results often seem to bring characters' pasts closer to
the present day, sometimes rewriting their origin stories
in the process. Maybe such events affect the Family Guy
universe far more frequently, resetting characters' back stories
every year or so. This could also explain why the kids never
seem to get any older.
Such an explanation could also be applied to The Simpsons,
in which Bart and co have lived through several changes of
presidential administration while apparently remaining the
same age. I wonder what Comic Book Guy would say about that.