Many cartoons that were created in the 1990s wanted to push the envelope. It all started with Beavis and Butt-Head. Shortly before the original run of Beavis and Butt-Head ended, there was South Park.

Then in 1999, another cartoon would be created named Family Guy. which is still receiving new episodes today. During episodes, it is not uncommon to come across references to popular media and culture of the past. 

Today we are going to cover some of the references where Family Guy brought up references to our precious ‘80s. These are 

The Best 80s Pop Culture References in Family Guy

Season 2

Episode three of season 2 named “Da Boom” shows Peter coming up from the basement in a protective suit and Chris and Meg think Peter is a government official. Chris tells E.T. to run and you see E.T. run out of the Griffin home.

In episode 12 of season 2, which was titled “Fifteen Minutes Of Shame”, Peter paints a portrait of the Family Ties cast just like it appeared in the show’s opening credits – all while learning to paint from legendary artist Bob Ross.

Episode 14 of season 2 featured Tony The Tiger, Toucan Sam, the Trix rabbit, Lucky the leprechaun, and Cap’n Crunch venting about their personal lives at a Detention class taking place in the library. Peter walks in and says “‘Oh my god, it’s The Breakfast Club.”

In episode 19 of season 2 called: The Story on Page One, Peter tells Meg about his high school part-time job as a Ghostbuster. He drives to a home where the ghost of Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is making pottery with Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) then Peter bursts it, sucks up Sam’s ghost, and charges Molly for the job.

Season 3

The Kiss Seen Around The World was the 8th episode of season 3. In this episode, Meg fantasized about newscaster Tom Tucker and they remake the pool scene from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”

In episode 19 of the 3rd season, While Peter and Lois are having problems making their marriage work, Peter reminds Lois that things didn’t work out well when Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man went their separate ways.

References from TV shows in the 1980s didn’t just happen on television shows. Family Guy released an album titled “Live In Las Vegas” and one of the songs Stewie and Brian perform is named “T.V. Medley” This was a tribute to different themes of sitcoms including: “Growing Pains”, “Family Ties” and “Who’s The Boss?” as well as other songs.

Season 4

The ninth episode of the 4th season is titled “Breaking Out Is Hard To Do” and has Chris grabbing a hand which pulls him in like the girl in the music video for “Take On Me.”

Episode 13 of the 4th season is called “Jungle Love” and after Stewie is told no one will hire him, Stewie acts like Tootsie from the 1982 movie: “Tootsie.” The same episode features Chris singing a version of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham.

“PTV” is the name of the 14th episode of the 4th season, Peter visits the memory of his 16th birthday with Jake Ryan and the scene plays like the movie “Sixteen Candles” but the ending is very different from the movie.

“Brian Goes Back To College” is the 15th episode of the 4th season. Peter, Quagmire, Joe, and Cleveland re-enact the opening introduction of the A-Team. In the same episode, Brian goes through the training montage that Rocky Balboa went through in Rocky IV as “Hearts On Fire” is heard 

The 18th episode of the 4th season is called “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Fonz.” Peter finds himself in Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” video but while in the video Peter sings “I’m Dressed Like A Cat.”

The 21st episode of the 4th season is called “I Take Thee Quagmire” where Peter re-enacts the opening of The Great Coaster from 1981 but the ending after the musical introduction is different.

Episode 30 of the 4th season is called Stu & Stewie’s Excellent Adventure in Stewie Griffin’s: Untold Story, Stewie is trying to get home before his family and travels the same route as Ferris Bueller in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”  when Ferris was trying to make it home before his family discovered he wasn’t home or sick.

Season 5

The 9th episode of the 5th season is called “Road To Rupert” and Peter imagines starting his sitcom called “My Black Son.” For the introduction of the sitcom, Peter imagines him and his black son reenacting different scenes from different introductions like “Laverne & Shirley”, “Family Ties” and “Who’s The Boss?” just to name a few.

There is a second clip in the same episode when Lois opens the refrigerator and tells Peter to get out, Peter says his name is Zuul who was one of the animals sitting alongside The Gatekeeper in “Ghostbusters.”

The 11th episode of the 5th season is titled “The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou “Stewie goes to the Art Institute of Chicago and stares at the same picture that Ferris did in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

The 18th episode of the 5th season is known as “Meet The Quagmires” where Peter and Cleveland are dancing to the 1984 song Axel F.

Season 6

In the 2nd episode of the 6th season titled “Movin’ Out (Brian’s Song)” Stewie shows Brian Jinx from “Space Camp” and Sico from “Rocky IV” as an attempt to lift Brian’s spirits.

The 4th episode of the 7th season named “Baby Not On Board” has Peter being screamed at by Lois over his horrible decision-making. When Peter responds, he begins with the same line John Candy said after being yelled at by Steve Martin in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.’

In the same episode, Peter is shown dressed like Marty McFly from Back To The Future. In this particular scene, Peter is shown skateboarding to school while “The Power Of Love” plays in the background in a parody of the classic film’s opening.

Season 7

In the 5th episode of season 7, “The Man With Two Brians”, Peter is seen wearing the same helmet that Doc wore in the first Back To The Future film when the pair first met in 1955. In the scene, Peter confuses Brian by speaking cool kid lingo. When Brian asks Peter what it was all supposed to mean, Peter uses Doc’s quote from the film – admitting that the experimental mind-reading device doesn’t work at all.

The 8th episode of the seventh season called “Family Gay” showed Peter dressing in the same outfit as Dirk The Daring. Dirk The Darking is the name of the protagonist from the game released on Nintendo and in Arcades: Dragon’s Lair.

Episode 16 of the 7th season is called “Peter’s Progress.” In this episode, Peter and his friends re-enact the musical number from the talent show that was in the movie “Revenge Of The Nerds.”

Season 8

In the 4th episode of season 8, titled “Brian’s Got A Brand New Bag,” Peter purchases a DVD copy of the 1989 film Road House. After watching the film, Peter spends the entirety of the episode believing all of his problems can be solved by kicking.

In addition, after kicking something, Peter would say “Road House!” before moving on to some other sort of shenanigan. The episode was dedicated to Patrick Swayze, who had passed away just weeks before the episode aired in 2009.

In the episode “Big Man On Hippocampus which is the 10th episode of the 8th season, Crocodile Dundee appears in the kitchen of Peter and Lois and Dundee does his line “That’s not a knife, this is a knife.”

Season 9

In the episode “Tiegs for Two” which was the 14th episode of the 9th season, Megatron is trying to get the Decepticons ready to battle but a new transformer named “Negatron” doesn’t have any faith in Megatron’s plans. This was shown after Peter was telling Brian that if Brian wanted to score with a female, he wouldn’t succeed with a negative attitude.

Season 11

In the episode ‘Chris Cross” which is the 13th episode of the 11th season, Peter has to call a guy name Damone to bring him his money. This is similar to what Rat did in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”

Season 12

In the first episode of the 12th season titled “Finders Keepers,” Lois tries to convince the treasure map in front of Stewie is just a placemat. Lois tells Peter he is acting just as stupid as George McFly. After that, we see George McFly question, Lorraine, if Marty is his then when Marty admits he set fire to the living room rug, George takes off his belt and says “I am not going easy on him.”

The episode “A Fistful Of Meg” which is the 4th episode of the 12th season shows a scene after Meg was born with Peter changing Meg’s first name to Megatron.

In the episode “Baby Got Black” which is the 18th episode of the 12th season, Peter was reenacting a dance from Footloose.

Season 14

The most memorable one in my opinion happened in the episode “Run, Chris, Run.” This was the 19th episode of the 14th season. In this episode, Peter and Cleveland play the Nintendo game: Double Dribble. The team Peter was controlling would capitalize on a glitch where if you attempted a three-pointer from the top right corner of the court, it would go in every single time.

What is so memorable about this reference was the aftermath. Family Guy used a clip that was already on YouTube for the gameplay footage but after the episode aired, YouTube said the video was claimed by Fox and removed it.

YouTube would eventually reverse its decision and allow the video back on their website. It is worth noting that this gameplay clip was uploaded to YouTube years before the Family Guy episode was broadcasted.

These are just some of the times Family Guy referenced pop culture from the 1980s. With new episodes of Family Guy still being produced, there will undoubtedly be more.

Hopefully, Family Guy will continue to be around for many years making their viewers laugh at whatever they decide to refer to.