Meg Griffin is Family Guy’s black sheep. Hated and bullied by everyone at school and at home, Meg just really wants to be loved and accepted.
Meg Griffin is hated by almost every character in Family Guy, but why? From the very start, Meg was completely unwanted by her parents Lois and Peter Griffin, who tried to abandon her at a fire station as a baby. At school, she is bullied by her peers, and the abuse she receives continues at home. Her family often try to avoid her, taking very little interest in her life and tiptoeing around her so as not to be noticed when she is in the room. Even her stuffed animals run away from her when she attempts to show them a video of her ballet recital in the episode “Brian Sings and Swings,” and Sunshine Bear commits suicide by jumping in front of a truck rather than having to live with her.
As well as avoiding her, the family actively abuses Meg. Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin should probably be in prison for the mistreatment of his daughter. He often kicks her out of the house, trips her up, throws things at her, and farts in her face. Peter even sold Meg to become a slave for the Goldman family, and once asked God to remove her from existence. Lois also bullies Meg as she packs her a lunch filled with trash, washes her clothes with baby Stewie’s diapers, and even sleeps with her boyfriend. Although the rest of the family doesn’t seem to mistreat Meg quite as much as her parents do, they often avoid her, mock her “ugly” appearance, and verbally abuse her.
As Family Guy often employs dark humor, it could be that Meg’s abuse is just for comic effect, although it also makes her a relatable outsider in a family that doesn’t know how to communicate with the teenager. Usually, the ill-treatment Meg receives seems to be completely undeserved, heightening the dark comedy of the show. All she wants is to fit in and receive the affection which is almost entirely absent in her life. She even goes so far as to pretend to be a lesbian to make friends and often makes predatory attempts to enter into romantic relationships with a criminal, a dead body, talking dog and family member Brian Griffin, police officer Joe Swanson, and renowned creep Glenn Quagmire. The dark comedy surrounding Meg gets even blacker as years of unmerited abuse make her a psychotic killer who eventually murders for fun.
Yet, the “hating Meg“Joke is primarily funny because she is such a relatable character for most of the series. Everyone who has ever felt like an outsider or felt like people are mean to them for no good reason can empathize with Meg and feel sorry for her. Even her character design is remarkably normal within the Family Guy universe, making her abuse all the more absurd. As a teenager who is initially more normal than the rest of her family, Meg simply doesn’t fit in. The other characters probably avoid speaking to her and are mean to her as they have little in common with her and simply don’t know what to say. This is especially true for Peter, who should be 60 years old and shares almost no common interests with his daughter, preferring the company of his son Chris. It is also hinted that Peter’s hatred of Meg might partially stem from the fact he is not her father. In several episodes, it is insinuated that Meg might be the daughter of an unknown character named Stan Thompson.
With all of the hate Meg receives, it isn’t surprising that “Shut up, Meg” has become one of the most iconic one-liners in Family Guy. Time and time again, the poor teenager has her self-esteem worn down by those she loves most, leading to her unhealthy relationships and murderous tendencies. Unwanted and misunderstood, Meg is the black sheep of the family. Her teenage desperation to fit in and victimhood makes her relatable, while her traumatic experiences cause viewers to sympathize with her.
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