Judging by our search page logs, a disquieting number of the folks who visit our site are looking for information on the Fox animated series, Family Guy. While Quahog.org was not created to be a Family Guy website, we see nothing wrong with giving the people what they want—as long as it has that ever-popular Rhode Island slant. Join us as we engage in serious geekage with our Family Guy concordance.
The Quahog 5 News Action 5 Chopper plays an important role in S3E8, "The Kiss Seen Around the World," catching the titular event before being shot down during a hostage standoff. Another 'copter, the Quahog 5 News Traffic Cam helicopter, makes an appearance in S8E11, "Dial Meg For Murder," when the pilot, Drunk Billy, crashes into an overpass.
WPRI Channel 12 operated a helicopter for a brief period around 2008, and used the heck out of it, making it seem more a flashy marketing device than a serious news-gathering tool.
The Griffins attend the 15th Annual Airshow in S5E2, "Mother Tucker." In the opening scene an anonymous pilot executes a series of hair-raising stunts, including almost hitting a Quonset hut. Another of the performers is Glenn Quagmire, who uses his plane to do rude things to a series of billboards. In the real world the Rhode Island National Guard (RING) has hosted an Open House and Air Show at Quonset Point in North Kingstown every June since 1992. "Mother Tucker" first aired in 2006, which happened to be the RING show's 15th year.
In S2E3, "Da Boom," at midnight on New Year's Eve, Quahog's "fabled alabaster clam" descends like the ball in New York's Times Square. As far as we know, no town in Rhode Island has any such tradition.
In S4E5, "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire," Peter paints over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with this well-known image from a street art movement started by Rhode Island School of Design student Shepard Fairey in 1989. Although more than thirty years have elapsed since the first sticker was stuck, you can still find the image affixed to street signs and light posts all over the world. In Providence, the East Side is your best bet for spotting Andre in the wild.
Angelo's Restaurant shows up in back to back episodes in season 10: "Quagmire and Meg" (S10E10), in which Quagmire takes Meg there on a date, and "The Blind Side" (S10E11), in which Brian takes Katie, a blind girl, there on a date. Neither date goes well.
It's unclear whether Family Guy writers merely picked a generic Italian restaurant name, or if they were referencing the real Angelo's Civita Farnese, a fixture on Providence's Federal Hill since 1924. The restaurant as depicted in the show does not resemble the real Angelo's.
After Peter breaks Lois out of Quahog Women's State Penitentiary in S4E9, "Breaking Out Is Hard To Do," they hide out in Asiantown. There are currently no areas specified as "Chinatown" in Rhode Island, but there were in the past. According to Wikipedia, Providence had at least two. One was "on Burrill Street in the 1890s until 1901," when it was destroyed by a "mysterious" fire. The other, on Empire Street, lasted from the late 1800s until 1951, when urban renewal conveniently wiped it out.
The episode aired in 2005, and according to 2010 census figures, only 6.4 percent of Rhode Island's population was Asian, but that was up from 5.9 percent in 1990 and 0.5 percent in 1970. The demographic's rising numbers and influence are perhaps most obvious in Providence's many excellent Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants.
Brian ends up as a contestant on The Bachelorette in S4E7, "Brian the Bachelor."
In real life, Rhode Island seems to be one-stop shopping for reality TV producers. Its citizens have appeared on The Amazing Race, America's Most Wanted, American Idol, Antiques Roadshow, Biggest Loser, Celebrity Apprentice, The Contender, Cops, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Game of Crowns, Ghost Hunters, Jersey Shore, King of the Nerds, Making Mr. Right, Project Runway, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Shark Tank, Survivor, Wife Swap, and numerous Food Network shows... and both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Jay Resmini from Barrington got booted in the first episode of the sixth season of the former, and Warwick resident Krisily Kennedy (Miss Rhode Island USA 2003) graced the 2005 season of the latter, making it all the way to the final two before being rejected in favor of a nurse from Texas.
A country club and a number of hotels on Family Guy include the word "Barrington" in their names:
S2E17, "He's Too Sexy For His Fat": the Griffins stay at a swanky hotel called The Barrington after Quahog Pest Control fumigates their house.
S3E6, "Death Lives": The Barrington Country Club.
S4E1, "North By North Quahog": The Park Barrington Hotel, New York City.
S4E10, "Model Misbehavior": The Newport Barrington.
S4E29, "Bango Was His Name Oh": The Park Barrington Hotel, San Francisco.
S5E8, "Barely Legal": Meg holds Brian prisoner at The Barrington Hotel.
S5E13, "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey": both Lois and Peter sleep with former president Bill Clinton at The Park Barrington Hotel.
S7E9, "The Juice is Loose!": Barrington Country Club.
S7E14, "We Love You Conrad": Brian sleeps with actress Lauren Conrad at The Park Barrington Hotel.
S8E13, "Go, Stewie, Go!": Stewie, disguised as Karina Smirnoff, fools Brian into meeting him at the Park Barrington Hotel.
S10E1, "Lottery Fever": Lois: "I never thought I'd be having high tea at the Park Barrington every single day." Stewie: "Yes, it's nice to eat in a sea of white faces, isn't it?"
S11E12, "Valentine's Day in Quahog": Park Barrington Hotel.
S11E22, "No Country Club for Old Men": Chris and family are invited for brunch at the Barrington Country Club by Amanda Barrington. Brian: "Oh my god, Chris is dating a Barrington!" Meg: "Who are the Barringtons?" Brian: "They're the richest family in all of Rhode Island."
S13E6, "The 2,000-Year-Old Virgin": Jesus and Lois meet for sex at the Park Barrington Hotel.
S13E16, "Roasted Guy": Peter ruins a woman's wedding at the Park Barrington Hotel by having the groom stabbed.
S16E2, "Foxx in the Men House":. Peter uses Meryl Streep's reserved toilet at the Park Barrington Hotel, and she beats him up.
S18E2, "Bri-Da": Brian trysts with Quagmire's transsexual dad, Ida, at the Park Barrington Hotel.
S18E3, "Absolutely Babulous": Barrington Country Club.
No hotels in Rhode Island exist with these names, but the use of the term is obviously an homage to the tony East Bay town of Barrington.
Family Guy writers seem to equate Barrington with racism—in "North By North Quahog," "they don't allow Asians inside" at The Park Barrington Hotel in New York City. In S3E6, "Death Lives," Peter remarks that Cleveland is passing up the opportunity to be the first black man to play golf at The Barrington Country Club. (Passing golfer 1: Hey, a black guy! Passing golfer 2: Ooo, fun!). A sign in front of The Newport Barrington in "Model Misbehavior" directs white limousines to the left and "colored" limos to the right. And then there's the "white faces" remark from "Lottery Fever." Whether the town is racist or not, there is some basis for the perception of a lack of diversity. As of the 2010 census, the population of Barrington was 94.7% white. Barrington also happens to be Rhode Island's wealthiest community, with a median household income of $117,408.
The Barrington Country Club shows up again in S7E9, "The Juice is Loose!," and this time Peter plays golf there with O.J. Simpson. Perhaps the writers had second thoughts about their earlier characterization of the club. At any rate, there really is a country club in Barrington. It's real name is the Rhode Island Country Club, but many refer to it as the Barrington Country Club.
While there is a Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, the one depicted in S2E8, "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," doesn't look like the real thing. The real Biltmore, opened in 1922, is over fourteen stories tall, is faced with brown brick, and has two perpendicular wings.
In S10E9, "Grumpy Old Man," Channel 5 news reporter Tricia Takanawa reports on the aftermath of a major blizzard that hit the city the previous night. Tricia: "I'm standing here surrounded by snow tourists, stalled cars, and the one douchebag that wears a tank top every time there is a blizzard."
Yes, it's true. Although many of us are so traumatized by memories of the Blizzard of '78 that we still clear the store shelves of bread, milk, and booze every time there's an announcement of a major snow event, there's always that one guy navigating the snow-choked sidewalks of Thayer Street in shorts and flip flops.
In S14E15, "A Lot Going On Upstairs," Lois says to Peter, as he threatens to poop on her wedding dress, "Dammit, Peter, you hold that in. I know you can. You did it on the ferry to Block Island!"
As of 2016, when this episode aired, there were two ferries to Block Island, both operated by Interstate Navigation. The traditional ferry, known simply as the Block Island Ferry, makes the fourteen-mile crossing from Point Judith to Block Island in fifty-five minutes. The Hi-Speed Ferry can do it in thirty. Both ferries have restrooms, so there's really no reason to hold it in while on board.
Lois lets rip with this exclamation when she opens her eyes to find that Peter has purchased a tank in S5E3, "Hell Comes to Quahog."
Bocce is a lawn game in which players attempt to pitch grapefruit-sized balls as close as possible to a small target ball called a jack, pallino, or boccino. Closest pitch wins the round. It's a popular game in Rhode Island's Italian-American communities.
Bowling shows up a couple of times in Family Guy, but inexplicably, never as duckpin bowling. Duckpin bowling is a form of bowling that uses small balls (about the size of a cantaloupe) and short pins. Although the sport developed in Baltimore, it is popular in a handful of east coast states, including Rhode Island.
In S2E7, "The King Is Dead," Lois is named Artistic Director of the Quahog Players, based at the Brine Theatre. When Brian briefly volunteers as a seeing-eye dog in S3E1, "The Thin White Line," he accompanies a blind man to a matinee at the Brine. In S3E17, "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows," Lois and Peter attend a matinee at which the birds in Peter's beard disturb the audience. The theater is also where Lois and Peter revive their folksinging act in S4E23, "Deep Throats," and where the Redneck Comedy Tour makes a stop in S5E12, "Airport '07."
Trinity Repertory Company is probably the theater troupe with the highest profile in Rhode Island. The name "The Brine" could be an homage to Walter "Salty" Brine, a beloved local television and radio personality who passed away in 2004.
This institution is where Lois finds her secret brother, Patrick, in S4E17, "The Fat Guy Strangler." The location pops back up in S14E3, "Guy Robot," when Peter, Quagmire, Cleveland, and Joe go there in search of Peter's old mattress, only to find themselves committed for various reasons. Except Quagmire. Quagmire just has sex with the patients.
There is no town in Rhode Island called Brookfield, but both Massachusetts and Connecticut have one, although as far as we know, neither has an asylum. If you're looking for a Rhode Island twin for Brookfield Insane Asylum, look no further than the long-closed Ladd School (1907-1994) in Exeter. It's the state's most infamous (historical) place for the shutting away of our differently-behaviored citizens.
The Griffins visit Brown University so that Meg can apply for admission in S2E19, "The Story On Page 1." Brian claims that Brown is his Alma Mater (which means he must have spent more than half of his seven years matriculating there). Exterior locations, including the Van Wickle gates and University Hall, are represented in varying degrees of fidelity.
Brian: Ah, the old alma mater. I tell you there's something magical about Brown. Chris: Brown's the color of poo! Ah ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Brian: Yes. Yes it is... And this is Pembroke Quad. Stewie: Ah, very nice, very "Brideshead Revisited."
Brian returns to Brown in S4E15, "Brian Goes Back to College," after his dropout status costs him a job at New Yorker magazine. Again, the representation of the Van Wickle gates is pretty close, although there is no sign reading "Welcome to Brown University" in real life, there ought to be a few more trees, and the sidewalk should be brick. University and Sayles Halls are also identifiable. Brian enrolls in the one class he needs for graduation, Advanced Physics, taught by a professor modeled on Stephen Hawking. While Brian struggles with the class, Stewie throws himself into campus life, partying and stealing test answers that he supplies to Brian. Brian is ashamed of cheating, though, and when it comes time to take the final, he tries to blow it off. But the A-Team (Peter, Cleveland, Joe, and Quagmire) won't let him throw away his chance at a diploma. Smashing their van through the Van Wickle gates, they manage to get Brian to the exam on time. Afterward, Brian announces that he failed. But, he says philosophically, "at least I failed on my own."
Burrillville is a real town in the northwest corner of Rhode Island. Sadly, the Christmas-themed attraction, Santa's Village and Gift Shop, to which Brian and Stewie venture in S9E7, "Road to the North Pole," is fictional. Burrillville was named for United States senator James Burrill, Jr., who was Rhode Island Attorney General when the town was incorporated in 1806.
In S2E21, "Fore, Father," we see that this is Quagmire's vanity plate. Rhode Island is actually one of the bluest of the blue states, and few residents would be caught dead voting for anyone named Bush. In the most recent election before this episode (2000), Rhode Island had the lowest state percentage of votes for Bush, 32%. Oh, yeah!
In other practical matters, the Division of Motor Vehicles only allows six characters on a vanity plate, so Quagmire would have to settle for BUSHMN or BSHMAN. ARIGHT or GIGITY would fit, though. Also, Quagmire's plate is plain white with black lettering; in 2000 it would have been the popular "wave" plate, which had been standard since the early 1990s.
By the way, the idea that the "BUSH" in BUSHMAN might refer to anything other than the forty-first or forty-third Presidents of the United States never even crossed our minds. So please stop sending pictures of your lady business to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rhode Island band reached the height of their popularity in 1983 with the release of the movie Eddie and the Cruisers, to which they contributed several Bruce Springsteen sound-alike tunes, including "On the Dark Side" and "Tender Years." They continue to tour as of 2021.
John Cafferty is the cousin of Family Guy executive producer and head writer Danny Smith.
Peter and Lois head out to the Cape for a second honeymoon in S4E1, "North By North Quahog." At one point they pass a sign that says "Cape Cod 60 miles," and Peter comments that they are "only two hours from the best B&B on the Cape." This may seem odd to those unfamiliar with the geography. Two hours to travel sixty miles? Well, no, sixty miles to the Cape, which begins at the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges. From there it can be anywhere from ninety minutes to three hours to Provincetown, at the opposite end of the Cape, depending on traffic.
Providence is approximately fifty-five miles from Bourne, Massachusetts, the first Cape Cod town that Peter and Lois would pass on the way to their B&B. If we accept that Quahog is slightly to the northwest of Providence, the distance is about right.
In S4E26, "Petergeist," the Griffins go to Carrot Top's house to retrieve the skull of a Native American that Peter had previously thrown out in the trash. While a number of celebrities have chosen to purchase homes in Rhode Island in recent years—Anthony Quinn, Christopher Walken, Nicholas Cage, and Taylor Swift, for instance—prop comedian Carrot Top is not one of them. Carrot Top actually has homes in Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles, California.
In S2E13, "Road To Rhode Island," Stewie tries to call Lois, but not knowing the number, dials 867-5309. In Rhode Island, this is the number of Gem Plumbing and Heating Company. And yes, their radio jingles have used the well-known tune.
One of our readers informs us that "867 was (and still may be) the exchange for the Brown University residence halls at least circa 2001. [867-5309] "was the phone number of a freshman double room and the girls who had it were frequently the victim of prank phone calls. I have a feeling Brown gave that particular number up to Gem Plumbing."
(We thought it was enough to merely allude to the song from which this phone number originates, but judging by the number of emails we've received informing us of our "omission," we should have made it more obvious. So for the record, "867-5309/Jenny" was a popular song by the band Tommy Tutone. It peaked at number four on the Billboard Charts in early 1982.)