Turban Cowboy

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"Turban Cowboy"
Family Guy episode
Episode no.Season 11
Episode 15
Directed byJoe Vaux
Written by
  • Artie Johann
  • Shawn Ries
Production codeAACX13
Original air dateMarch 17, 2013
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Family Guy (season 11)
List of Family Guy episodes

"Turban Cowboy" is the fifteenth episode of the eleventh season and the 203rd overall episode of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It aired on Fox in the United States on March 17, 2013, and is written by Artie Johann and Shawn Ries and directed by Joe Vaux.[1] The episode revolves around Peter befriending a Muslim named Mahmoud after getting injured in a skydiving accident. Their friendship comes to an abrupt end when Mahmoud is revealed to be a destructive, ruthless, power-hungry and radical terrorist.


As Peter, Joe, and Quagmire hang out at The Drunken Clam, they decide to do something to shake up their boring lives. They take Peter up on his suggestion to take up skydiving. Peter is invigorated by their jump and keeps up skydiving despite Lois' concern, even as his jumps usually result in accidents like falling on Meg at dinner, falling on a ninja that killed a woman, and falling on the castle of the Pig King from Angry Birds with only one pig left alive. An accident at the Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas lands Peter in the hospital where he meets Mahmoud, a Muslim. He finds he gets along great with Mahmoud. Back at the Drunken Clam, Peter has Mahmoud stop by to introduce himself to Quagmire, Joe, and Brian. They find he has nothing in common with them when Mahmoud decides to have a gingerale and how he refuses to look at other women, since Mahmoud is already married. Mahmoud introduces Peter to Islamic culture and Peter becomes interested in becoming a Muslim and planning to commit himself to Islam. The next day, Peter starts studying Islam in-depth culture. Lois becomes suspicious of Peter becoming a Muslim, although she decides to let it pass. Joe and Quagmire begin to also voice their suspicions about Mahmoud as Peter tries to dial up Mahmoud twice only to cause some explosions off-screen. Mahmoud later invites Peter to a Muslim get-together but finds himself unwittingly involved with terrorists intent on blowing up the Quahog Bridge.

When Peter casually mentions that Mahmoud was in relations with the 9/11 hijackers, the guys begin to suspect that he is involved with terrorists. Peter realizes that he has been tricked and wants to drop out but Joe convinces him to go along, since he is already a Muslim on the inside. As they go over the plan, Peter finds out that he will be driving the van. Peter is caught when he reveals he is wearing a microphone when trying to scratch an itch near it. Joe and Quagmire listen as the plan is rushed into action. Peter is held at gunpoint and forced to drive the explosives-laden van to the Quahog Bridge. As soon as Peter parks the van over on the right side of the bridge, he tries to talk Mahmoud out of his plan, but fails. Joe arrives in time with the police to stop Mahmoud and destroys the detonator by knocking it out of his hand. Then, Joe handcuffs Mahmoud, puts him under arrest and the police take Mahmoud away to jail. Joe mentions that 30 of the terrorists have been arrested and that all of the local middle-class Arabs are cast under suspicion. Joe thanks Peter for his involvement as Peter decides to call Horace to get a table ready for his friends and family at the Drunken Clam. As he dials his cell phone, the Quahog Bridge explodes and Peter orders everyone to run away.


The episode received a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 4.92 million viewers. This made it the most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination line-up that night, beating The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers and The Cleveland Show.[2] The episode received generally negative reviews from critics. Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club gave the episode a D, saying, "'Turban Cowboy' feels like an episode made in 2002 and left on the shelf for a decade, completely unaware of just how uniformly Middle Eastern characters are depicted as terrorists. If only Joe and Quagmire had chosen Peter's suggestion that they rob a Mafia poker game, then maybe this would've been a Family Guy send-up of Killing Them Softly instead."[3] Carter Dotson of TV Fanatic gave the episode 2-1/2 out of 5 stars, saying, "I don't expect Family Guy to be as revolutionary as its earlier days, when its humor went to shocking places yet still had a heart to it. Remember the outrage over the "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode that was ultimately benign and surprisingly respectful to Judaism while still making joking references to the religion? It had a true sense of its perspective. Now it has little of the heart left to it, preferring to just be offensive, and the only people getting outraged by the show is the Parents Television Council. It's just a shame because I know this show can be better."[4]

Boston Marathon controversy and removal[edit]

The episode contains a cutaway gag showing Peter committing mass murder at the Boston Marathon by plowing his car through the runners.[5] After the Boston Marathon bombings, which occurred about a month after the episode's air date, Fox promptly removed the "Turban Cowboy" episode from Fox.com, Amazon, and Hulu.[6] The network also stated it had no immediate plans to broadcast the episode again.[7]

A clip circulated on the Internet with the Boston Marathon scene edited together with another scene from the same episode showing remote detonations of bombs, to make it appear that Family Guy predicted or inspired the bombings.[5] This was first put forth by conspiracy theorist and radio talk show host Alex Jones on his website and on Twitter.[5] Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted to denounce the hoax, calling it "abhorrent". YouTube subsequently removed uploads of the clip from its service.[5]


  1. ^ "Family Guy Episode Guide 2013 Season 11 - Turban Cowboy, Episode 15". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  2. ^ Daily Preliminary Broadcast Cable Finals Broadcast Finals (2013-03-20). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'The Amazing Race', 'Family Guy', 'The Cleveland Show, 'The Simpsons, 'Bob's Burgers' & 'The Mentalist' Adjusted Up". Tvbythenumbers. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  3. ^ McFarland, Kevin. ""Turban Cowboy" | Family Guy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  4. ^ "Family Guy Review: Free Fallin'". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  5. ^ a b c d "Seth MacFarlane Rips Edited 'Family Guy' Clip That Depicts Boston Marathon Bombings; Original Episode Pulled". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  6. ^ Day, Patrick Kevin (April 16, 2013). "Seth MacFarlane decries hoax 'Family Guy' clip on Boston bombings". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Bill Keveney (2013-04-17). "'Family Guy' creator condemns bomb-clip mashup". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2014-08-20.

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