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Road to ... (Family Guy)

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The Road to... episodes, also known as the Family Guy Road shows,[1] are a series[2] of episodes in the animated series Family Guy. They are a parody of the seven Road to... comedy films, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour.

These episodes revolve around Stewie Griffin and Brian on a road trip in a foreign, supernatural or science fiction setting not familiar to the show's normal location in Quahog, Rhode Island. The first, titled "Road to Rhode Island", aired on May 30, 2000, as a part of the second season. The episodes are known for featuring elaborate musical numbers, similar to the original films. As of 2016, there are eight Road to episodes.

The Road to episodes contain several signature elements, including a special version of the opening sequence, custom musical cues and musical numbers, and parodies of science fiction and fantasy films. Many of the episodes are popular among television critics, and have been nominated for several awards. In 2000, "Road to Rhode Island" was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)" category. In 2009, "Road to Germany", along with two other episodes from the seventh season, were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Comedy Series" category, the first time in 48 years multiple episodes of one animated series were nominated for the same award.


No. in
Road to...
No. in
series overall
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
1S02E13"Road to Rhode Island"Dan PovenmireGary JanettiMay 30, 2000 (2000-05-30)2ACX12N/A
2S03E20"Road to Europe"Dan PovenmireDaniel PalladinoFebruary 7, 2002 (2002-02-07)3ACX13N/A
3S05E09"Road to Rupert"Dan PovenmirePatrick MeighanJanuary 28, 2007 (2007-01-28)5ACX048.8[3]
4S07E03"Road to Germany"Greg ColtonPatrick MeighanOctober 19, 2008 (2008-10-19)6ACX089.07[4]
5S08E01"Road to the Multiverse"Greg ColtonWellesley WildSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27)7ACX0610.17[5]
6S09E07"Road to the North Pole"Greg ColtonDanny Smith & Chris SheridanDecember 12, 2010 (2010-12-12)8ACX08
7S11E21"Roads to Vegas"Greg ColtonSteve CallaghanMay 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)AACX205.28[7]
8S14E20"Road to India"Greg ColtonDanny SmithMay 22, 2016 (2016-05-22)DACX182.59[8]


Road to episodes typically consist of three parts following a series of theatrical or cultural-themed credits, and beginning with a segment at the Griffin family home in Quahog, Rhode Island. This segment usually establishes a conflict that Stewie and Brian must overcome by leaving Quahog and the rest of the Griffin family. For the second segment, Stewie and Brian obtain the established goal, which differs in each episode, and have included Brian reuniting with his mother in "Road to Rhode Island",[9] Stewie finding his lost teddy bear in "Road to Rupert",[10] and rescuing Mort Goldman, the town's pharmacist, in "Road to Germany".[11] In "Road to the Multiverse" various different animation styles and techniques are showcased, such as Disney and Robot Chicken.[1] The final segment involves the two's struggle to return to their home in Quahog.[1]

Production and development[edit]

"[Road to the Multiverse] is a "Road" show, and traditionally, Dan Povenmire directed the "Road" episodes. He did "Road to Rhode Island", "Road to Europe", "Road to Rupert", and the "Road" episodes were always kind of a special situation. Brian and Stewie go on an adventure, kind of like Hope and Crosby, and it has special title cards, they sing songs.[...] This felt like a "Road" show.

Greg Colton, on "Road to the Multiverse"[1]

The Road to episodes are a parody of the seven Road to... comedy films released between 1940 and 1962, which starred actors Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Family Guy creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane came up with the idea to create the episodes, being a fan of the original film series.[12]

The first Road to episode, titled "Road to Rhode Island", aired in 2000 as a part of the second season of Family Guy, and featured Brian and Stewie attempting to find Brian's mother.[9] The episode was the first Family Guy contribution by director Dan Povenmire, and it was written by Gary Janetti, who had previously written for the show during its first and second seasons.[13][14][15] MacFarlane granted Povenmire substantial creative freedom. Povenmire recalled that MacFarlane would tell him, "We've got two minutes to fill. Give me some visual gags. Do whatever you want. I trust you." Povenmire praised MacFarlane's management style for letting him "have [...] fun".[16]

A Caucasian man in his forties, seated at a conference, with a microphone in front of him. He has a pleasant square face, deep-set eyes, dark hair and a brown beard with clean-shaved cheeks and upper-lip. He is casually dressed, relaxed and smiling. Square signs are posted on the wall behind him, bearing the name COMIC-CON in big bright yellow letters around a drawn eye and eyebrow.
Dan Povenmire was the director for the first three Road to episodes until he left to create his own series Phineas and Ferb.

After the episode's success, including its nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award, a second episode in the Road to series was produced for the third season, titled "Road to Europe". The episode was inspired by the 1941 film Road to Morocco, including its musical number "(We're off on the) Road to Morocco", which was previously parodied by the two characters, with new lyrics, in "Rhode Island".[12] Povenmire returned to direct the episode but this time it was written by Daniel Palladino, who was a guest-writer.[17]

The third episode in the series was not produced in the fourth season, but instead it was produced in the fifth season, titled "Road to Rupert", which followed Stewie in his attempt to relocate his teddy bear, Rupert, who was taken to Aspen, Colorado, was the last episode of the Road shows to be directed by Dan Povenmire. Povenmire left Family Guy soon after, following the conclusion of the fifth season, to create his own series, titled Phineas and Ferb, which has since been nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards with two Emmy wins.[18][19] It was written by Patrick Meighan who had written the fourth-season episode "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter".[20]

A man with short black hair and a black shirt in front of a microphone. His arms are crossed, and he is laughing.
Series creator Seth MacFarlane came up with the idea to create the series of episodes.

As a result, series regular Greg Colton, who had worked on "Brian Goes Back to College", "No Meals on Wheels", and also "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter",[21][22] took over Povenmire's role as director of the Road to episodes. The next installment was titled "Road to Germany", which follows Brian and Stewie going back in time to rescue their neighbor Mort Goldman from the Nazi invasion of Poland. The episode was produced for the seventh season, it aired on October 19, 2008.[23] Meighan returned to write the episode.[23] After reading the script aloud, Jewish executive producer David A. Goodman said, "I'm going to get kicked out of my temple."[24]

The next Road to episode was announced at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California, on July 25, 2008.[25][26] It was titled "Road to the Multiverse" and it was produced in the seventh eighth season. Though it was not originally intended to be a Road to episode, Greg Colton convinced series creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane and "Spies Reminiscent of Us" director Cyndi Tang to change the episode's title from "Sliders",[27] parodying the science fiction television series Sliders.[25] Colton's suggestion of the new title "Road to the Multiverse" was accepted, as was altering the premise of "Spies Reminiscent of Us", the season's original Road to episode.[28] The episode was not written by Meighan, instead it was written by Wellesley Wild who wrote "PTV".[29]

The sixth episode was announced at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, and follows Brian and Stewie on an adventure to the North Pole. It aired during the show's ninth season, and is titled "Road to the North Pole". The episode was the first Road show to be produced and broadcast in high-definition,[30] the first to be a full hour in length, and was directed by Colton.[28]

The tenth-season episode "Back to the Pilot", originally titled "Road to the Pilot", was at first intended to be the seventh installment in the Road series, however it was changed before airing.[31]

The seventh episode was announced at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International. The episode involves Brian and Stewie teleporting to Las Vegas. Except something goes wrong with the machine and Brian and Stewie get cloned. One pair has the best possible time in Las Vegas, the other two have the worst possible time. The episode, titled "Roads to Vegas", aired as the show’s eleventh-season finale in May 2013.[32]


"When Brian and Stewie are paired together for an on the road adventure, the results are usually side-splittingly hilarious. This first "Road to" episode is a perfect example of how great these two characters can be when paired together. We get to learn about Brian's origins and also see a bit more Stewie's slow transformation from evil genius to the insecure and desperate homosexual that we've reluctantly grown accustomed to seeing in recent episodes."

Ahsan Haque, IGN on "Road to Rhode Island"[33]

The Road to episodes are often among the most critically acclaimed episodes of the series. In a 2009 review of "Road to Rhode Island", Ahsan Haque of IGN gave the episode a perfect score of ten out of ten, praising the episode for its "great writing, hilarious jokes, a catchy musical, and a story that's both hilarious and touching at the same time".[33] In a subsequent review by IGN of "Road to Germany", Haque again gave the episode high marks for its "exciting storyline, and some hilariously offensive humor".[34] Similarly, "Road to the Multiverse" was received very positively by television credits, who called the episode "the best of the early episodes we've seen on the series".[35] In addition, "Road to the Multiverse" was the highest rated episode of the eighth season, in terms of total viewership.[5]

The episodes are generally praised by critics for the connection between Brian and Stewie. IGN stated that when Stewie and Brian are paired together for adventures in the series it becomes hilarious, also mentioning that it was great that they could learn more deeply Brian and see Stewie's transformation of character.[33] TV Squad critic Brett Love has stated that he enjoys the episodes, especially the parts that show Stewie and Brian relationship, in his review of "Road to Rupert" he commented that Stewie and Brian's story made the episode for him.[36] Both IGN and TV Squad have praised "Road to Germany", "Road to Rupert" and "Road to Rhode Island" for having that type of connection in their respective reviews.[33][37]

Though the series receives praise there are some critics that give the episodes a negative review. Alex Rocha of TV Guide was critical in her review of "Road to Germany" stating, "it seemed that the show has taken a slight fall back. After having great episodes the past few weeks to get this current season started on a roll, we have witnessed another average, even sub-par episode.[38] Although Brett Love of TV Squad praised "Road to Rupert", he did state that he did not like the B-story of the episode.[36]

Although the Parents Television Council, a frequent Family Guy critic, did not name "Road to the Multiverse" its "Worst TV Show of the Week", it did refer to this episode in its negative review of the following episode, "Family Goy", due to both episodes depicting violence against a recurring Jewish character, Mort Goldman.[39] The PTC did name a later Road to episode, "Road to the North Pole", as its "Worst TV Show of the Week" for sexually explicit humor at the episode's beginning, and graphic violence (wherein Stewie beats a homeowner to death after discovering him and Brian in the house and concluding them to be burglars).[40]


In 2000, "Road to Rhode Island" was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)" category, but ultimately lost to The Simpsons episode "Behind the Laughter".[41] In 2009, "Road to Germany", along with two other episodes from the seventh season, were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Comedy Series" category, the first time in 48 years an animated series was nominated for the same award.[42] The show lost to the NBC series 30 Rock, who had won the award in both 2007 and 2008.[43] In 2011, "Road to the North Pole" won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation.[44]

In IGN's top ten list of Stewie and Brian's Greatest Adventures, the Road to episodes gains each spot on the top five with "Road to Europe" in spot number five, "Road to Germany" in number four, "Road to Rupert" in number three, "Road to the Multiverse" in number two, and the first episode, "Road to Rhode Island", in the number-one spot in the list. Other episodes in the list included "Saving Private Brian", "Stuck Together, Torn Apart" and "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)".[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Colton, Greg (2010-06-15). Road to "Road to the Multiverse" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  2. ^ Phelps, Ben (2009-10-16). "Relying on stereotypes, 'Family Guy' sticks to its formula, 'Cleveland' shows a softer side". Tufts Daily. Tufts University. Archived from the original on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2010-08-06. The show kicked off its eighth season with another entry in the now-classic “Road to …” series, which allows for many different sight gags and opportunities for a wide range of humor.
  3. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2007-01-30. Archived from the original on 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  4. ^ Bill Gorman (October 20, 2008). "Sunday: Desperate Housewives Tops Night, But Fox Animation Draws Youth". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (2009-09-28). "Updated TV Ratings: Sunday Night Football Wins; Cleveland Show Large; Housewives Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  6. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 14, 2010). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Desperate Housewives,' Adjusted Up; 'The Simpsons,' Down; Plus 'Amazing Race,' 'Undercover Boss,' and 'CSI: Miami'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  7. ^ "Sunday Final Ratings: 'The Simpsons' & 'The Cleveland Show' Adjusted Up, 'The Billboard Music Awards', 'America's Funniest Home Videos' & '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down". Tvbythenumbers. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  8. ^ Porter, Rick (May 24, 2016). "Sunday final ratings: Billboard Awards, 'Simpsons' finale, 'Undercover Boss' adjust up; 'AFV' and 'Bordertown' finales adjust down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Haque, Ahsan (2009-06-22). "Family Guy Flashback: "Road to Rhode Island" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  10. ^ Iverson, Dan (2007-01-29). "Family Guy: "Road to Rupert" Review". Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  11. ^ Haque, Ahsan (2008-10-20). "Family Guy: "Road to Germany" Review". Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  12. ^ a b P., Ken. "Interview with Seth MacFarlane". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  13. ^ "Family Guy — I Never Met the Dead Man Cast and Crew". Yahoo! TV. Yahoo! Inc. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  14. ^ Strike, Joe. (2008-02-01). "From Swampy & Dan Emerges Phineas and Ferb". Animation World Magazine: 3. Archived from the original on 2009-08-21.
  15. ^ Callaghan, p. 90
  16. ^ Bond, Paul. (2009-06-07). "Q&A: Dan Povenmire". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  17. ^ "Family Guy: Road to Europe". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  18. ^ "2009 Emmy Awards nominations". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  19. ^ "Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  20. ^ "Family Guy: Road to Rupert". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  21. ^ "Family Guy – No Meals on Wheels Cast and crew". Yahoo! TV. Yahoo!. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  22. ^ Colt, Greg (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Goes Back to College" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  23. ^ a b "Family Guy: Road to Germany". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  24. ^ TV Preview: Family Guy Entertainment Weekly
  25. ^ a b Keller, Richard (2008-07-26). "American Dad and Family Guy – Comic-Con Report". TV Squad. AOL, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  26. ^ "A Look Back at Comic Con 2008". Comic-Con International: San Diego. Archived from the original on 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  27. ^ "20th Century Fox – Fox In Flight – Family Guy". 20th Century Fox. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  28. ^ a b MacFarlane, Seth (2010-06-15). Family Guy Volume Eight Audio Commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  29. ^ "Family Guy: PTV". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  30. ^ "Twitter / kara vallow: @carlwatkins He was wrong". Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  31. ^ Hughes, Jason (November 14, 2011). "Brian and Stewie Travel Back to 1999 to See the 'Family Guy' Pilot". AOL. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  32. ^ "'Family Guy' scoop: Peter breaking bad next season". Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  33. ^ a b c d Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy: "Road to Rhode Island" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  34. ^ Haque, Ahsan (2008-10-20). "Family Guy: Road to Germany Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  35. ^ Haque, Ahsan (2009-09-25). "Family Guy: "Road to the Multiverse" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-28. The "Road to..." episodes of Family Guy have always been special events and the latest season premiere is no exception, and is certainly the most ambitious adventure yet ...
  36. ^ a b Love, Brett (2007-01-29). "Family Guy: Road to Rupert". TV Squad. America On Line. Retrieved 2010-08-06. The FG team went back to familiar territory this week, bringing us another "Road to" episode.
  37. ^ "Family Guy: "Road to Rupert" Review". Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  38. ^ Rocha, Alex (2008-10-20). "Family Guy Episode Recap: "Road to Germany"". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  39. ^ "Parents Television Council – "Family Guy" on Fox". Worst TV Show of the Week. Parents Television Council. 2009-10-09. Archived from the original on 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  40. ^ "Family Guy on Fox". Worst TV Show of the Week. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  41. ^ Staff (July 21, 2000). "Nominees in Major Categories The 52nd Prime-Time Emmy Awards". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. E6.
  42. ^ Hibberd, James (2009-07-17). "Family Guy smashes Emmy barrier for cartoons". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  43. ^ "61st Primetime Emmy Awards winners". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  44. ^ "Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation". Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  45. ^ Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy: Stewie and Brian's Greatest Adventures". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-12.

External links[edit]