How Stewie Griffin Became the Most Complex Character in Modern Animation

When Family Guy debuted 20 years ago, it was built up as a subversion of more traditional sitcoms. The animated format and slapstick tone allowed for the show to go as big as it wanted to, and it played with the characters accordingly — at first. They quickly became hardened parodies of the more cliched characters in sitcoms. For example, Peter Griffin’s “dumb but well-meaning” father archetype morphed into an idiot who ruins everything while being juvenile and unrepentant. The show as a whole doubled down on this, turning every character in the series into the most extreme version of themselves, all for the sake of mining those traits for the frequent dark jokes the series employs for shock laughter.

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