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Much of the humor from the animated series Family Guy comes from the characters failing to recognize their own stupidity, being clueless when others harshly criticize them and so forth.

  • In the Season 3 episode "To Love and Die in Dixie," the Griffins are placed in the Witness Protection Program after an armed robber threatens to kill the star witness – Chris. Several examples abound:
    Early on: Peter is sent to the police station to pick up Chris, who is giving a statement after witnessing the robbery and is being asked to identify him in a police lineup.
    You'd expect: The receptionist to have Peter wait in the lobby until Chris comes out.
    Instead: Peter is somehow able to wander into police lineup room, where he shows someone he thinks is a police officer Chris' photo. The man turns out to be the suspect.
    Later, after the Griffins are sent to the South to live (after the robbery suspect escapes from jail): Two police agents are hired to stay at the Griffins' home until the armed robbery suspect is brought back into custody and is no longer deemed a threat. One evening, the robber visits the Griffins' home, hoping to find Chris and to carry out an earlier threat to kill him. However, when he initially asks the agents if Chris is home and they reply that he is not, the robber realizes his mistake and asks where Meg is living.
    You'd expect: The police officers to have the man arrested. At the very least, one would think they would be tipped off by the man's earlier slip that their visitor might harbor a sinister motive. Additionally, the two officers also had a description of the armed robber suspect and were aware from their (unseen) briefing that he was likely trying to find Chris.
    Instead: The addle-brained cops reveal where Chris is living.
    And finally: Herbert, the elderly pedophile who wants to consummate a sexual relationship with Chris.
    You'd expect: That with 113 messages left on the Griffins' voice mail, all from Herbert demanding to see or talk to Chris, that Peter and/or Lois would get suspicious about the caller and have the police charge Herbert for (at the very least) making harassing phone calls.
    Instead: They ignore it, setting up a series of encounters later on with Chris, who at least is able to – if only unwittingly – ward off his predator. (Peter and Lois seem to have no knowledge of Herbert's background, and indeed very little has been revealed about Herbert's past, except that he was in the Army Air Forces during World War II.)
  • In the Season 6 episode "McStroke," Stewie – inspired by the teen dramas such as One Tree Hill – decides to masquerade as a teenager named Zach Sawyer and enroll at James Woods High School.
    You'd expect: The school administration to ask "Zach" who his parents are, or perhaps contact his former school to obtain a transcript.
    Instead: No background check is done, and "Zach" is allowed to enroll.
    You'd expect: Connie D'Amico – the self-described most popular girl at school – to suspect that "Zach" is actually Stewie, since she has seen him several times and, knowing who he is, would suspect that the physical features of "Zach" strongly resemble 1 1/2-year-old Stewie. In the very least, she is aware that Meg has two brothers: Chris and Stewie. And, as Connie is an intelligent person, she is or should know that having a romantic relationship with a toddler is morally wrong and illegal, and that by asking someone she has a feeling might be too young for her out, she could risk being arrested, lifetime placement on the Sex Offender Registry, and ruined social standing.
    Instead: Connie asks "Zach" out, and when she tries to initiate sex, she finally realizes that he is a baby. Instead of realizing that she could be in very deep legal trouble, Connie – still wanting to believe that "Zach" is actually a teenager – arrogantly has him ostracized for his small, well, "thing." Stewie finally reveals himself, and just as quickly Connie is arrested for lacivious acts with a child.
  • In Season 6's "Back to the Woods," James Woods — wanting revenge for his arrest for stalking Peter (in the Season 5 episode "Peter's Got Woods") — steals Peter's identity, moving into his house and refusing to leave. When Peter objects, Woods calls the police to have Peter removed from the premises. Officer Joe Swanson shows up and upon questioning, Woods shows him documents that proves that he, not the real Peter, is Peter Griffin.
    You'd expect: That Joe, knowing Peter as his best friend for years, would arrest Woods for forgery and identity theft.
    Instead: Joe believes Woods instead, claiming the paperwork shown is legal. Lois calls Joe out for being such an idiot, but Joe decides to follow the "law" and boot Peter out of his own home, not even bothering to ask Peter to see HIS own forms of identification to at least prove that Woods is impersonating Peter.
    Later: After Peter's attempt to reunite with his family fails (Woods tricks the obviously disguised-as-Chris'-new-friend Peter into revealing his true identity), Peter and Brian decide that turnabout is fair play, and before long Peter assumes Woods' identity and books himself as a guest on Late Night With David Letterman.
    You'd expect: Letterman, knowing who Woods is, to immediately kick Peter-as-James Woods off the show and have security escort him from the studio.
    Instead: Peter successfully convinces Letterman that he is James Woods, then procedes to destroy Woods' reputation by making slanderous, inconsiderate remarks before the coup de gras: claiming that he is making a slapstick comedy short based on the 9/11 attacks.
    In the closing scene: Woods tracks Peter down to an alley, where he hopes to engage in a confrontation. Instead, he finds a trail of Reese's Pieces.
    You'd expect: Woods to immediately get wise, knowing that this is a trap (as he was caught in a similar booby trap a year earlier).
    Instead: "Ooh, a piece of candy! Ooh, a piece of candy! Ooh, a piece of candy! Ooh ... " The box slams down on top of Woods, and Peter and Brian stand guard until the authorities arrive to take Woods into custody.
  • Season 8's "Family Goy" — an episode that mocked the Jewish faith — begins with Peter and his friends at the Drunken Clam, and proprieter Hoarce disposing of old life-sized cardboard cutouts in the trash bin. Peter sees one of the cutouts — that of Kathy Ireland — falls in love with it and, not wanting to see an inanimate object depicting the beautiful Ireland in a particularly physically attractive pose destroyed, asks to take it home, to which Hoarce consents.
    You'd expect: Peter to at least realize that the cutout is not a living object and keep it simply as a souvineer ... if only to mastrubate at when looking at it. (See next line for why.)
    Instead: He serenades "Kathy" with Billy Ocean's "Suddenly Last Summer" while at the bar, before later treating the item as his girlfriend, as though she were a living, breathing human being. (Examples include going for a ride in the country and simulating sex with it.) Later, when Chris takes the cutout into his room, Peter becomes very angry (because "Kathy betrayed" him) and strikes the cutout, causing its head to fall off, and he winds up burying it in his yard, somehow thinking he killed a human being and was trying to cover up his crime(!).
    Even better: When Lois sees Peter laying on top of the cutout and expresses her disgust, she points out Peter getting into a turf war with — of all things — a cat!!!!!
    Later: In a scene emulating an infamous sequence from Schindler's List, Peter, having become an anti-Semitic after being warned by the ghost of his father for having left the Catholic faith, shoots at his Jewish friend and neighbor, Mort Goldman, from his upstairs window while Mort is at his mailbox.
    You'd expect: Peter to be arrested almost immediately.
    Instead: Police officer Joe Swanson — another of Peter's neighbors — not only lets Peter get away with it, but he too (a policeman(!)) also shoots at Mort as his morning greeting. Mort resignedly says, in essence, this is par for the course.
  • In the Season 8 episode "Dial Meg for Murder," Meg has been sent to prison for harboring an escaped fugitive. She returns with a hardened attitude, wanting revenge on her family and school mates who have taunted and/or abused her through the years.
    You'd expect: Connie and her friends to avoid her due to the way they treat her in school normally and knowing Meg would probably be looking for revenge.
    Instead: They make her fun out of her like usual, which earns them a pounding from a bag of cans and Meg french-kissing an unconscious Connie.
  • Season 8's "Big Man on Hippocampus" saw the Griffins appear on Family Feud, where they win their way to Fast Money. Lois provides all the No. 1 answers and scores 199 points in the first half of the game, one point away from winning the $5,000 grand prize. Peter has been chosen to play the second half of the game.
    You'd expect: Peter to easily come up with at least one answer that will push the family's total above 200 and thus net them the $5,000 prize.
    Instead: On the first question — "Name something you sit in" — Peter duplicates Lois' answer, "chair." Not a problem, as the rules provided that a duplicated answer would be buzzed and the contestant would be prompted to give another answer. However, Peter insists on giving "chair" as his answer (trying "big chair" and "little chair") before insisting that he wants to be credited with "chair," wasting precious time. He then asks, "What if I can't think of anything else?" to which Dawson tells him he can pass the question.
    So now you'd expect: Peter to pass and hear the next question.
    Instead: At least another four seconds are wasted by him asking, "How do I pass?" to which Dawson gives the obvious answer (and to add to Peter's stupidity, he asks for a clarification(!)). Peter can only blurt out, "Chair." In the end, time expires, and (at least in fiction) the Griffins, thanks to Peter, are responsible for the biggest Fast Money meltdown in history.
  • In the episode "No Meals on Wheels," Peter opens up a restaurant and it doesn't do well at all until Joe and his friends stop by the place to eat, which makes the place becomes a huge hit. The only thing about it is everyone is handicapped, which bothers Peter greatly because it makes the place "less cool."
    You'd expect: Peter would just suck it up and accept the fact that his restaurant is making a ton of money and that it doesn't matter who comes to eat.
    Instead: Peter decides to make a new policy denying service to the handicapped because the restaurant is no longer cool by Peter's standards.
    In the end: Laser-Guided Karma slams Peter hard by having him become injured when Joe and his friends attack him, which makes Peter confined to a wheelchair and causes him to realize that handicapped people aren't really any different or less cool than the non handicapped.
  • In "German Guy", Peter and Chris are locked up in the basement of an old Nazi and there is a small window where they can call for help. They see Meg walking down the street.
    You'd expect: Peter and Chris to call for Meg and ask her to get them rescue.
    Instead: Guess.
  • In the episode "Blind Ambition", Quagmire spies on Lois going to the bathroom and is clearly getting aroused from it. Lois spots Quagmire and freaks out, getting him arrested. Peter and the others meet up with Quagmire the next day to address what happened.
    You'd expect: Peter to punch Quagmire in the face or at least scream at him for watching his wife go to the bathroom.
    Instead: Peter defends Quagmire and claims he is a good guy that is just screwed up in the head every now and then, ignoring the fact that A) Quagmire practically sleeps with every woman he sees and possibly rapes some of them and B) made Lois feel unsafe in the public bathroom.