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Peter Griffin is the titular main protagonist of the American animated sitcom Family Guy. He is voiced by the series' creator, Seth MacFarlane, and first appeared on television, along with the rest of the Griffin family, in the 15-minute pilot pitch of Family Guy on December 20, 1998. Peter was created and designed by MacFarlane himself. MacFarlane was asked to pitch a pilot to the Fox Broadcasting Company based on Larry & Steve, a short made by MacFarlane which featured a middle-aged character named Larry and an intellectual dog, Steve. After the pilot was given the green light, the Griffin family appeared in the episode "Death Has a Shadow".
Peter is married to Lois Griffin and is the father of Meg, Chris, and Stewie. He also has a dog named Brian, with whom he is best friends. He has worked at a toy factory and at Quahog's Brewery. Peter's voice was inspired by the security guards that MacFarlane heard at his school. His appearance was a redesign of the protagonist Larry from MacFarlane's previous animated short films The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. He has appeared in several pieces of Family Guy merchandise, including toys, T-shirts, and video games, and he has made crossoverappearances in other shows, including The Simpsons, South Park, Drawn Together, American Dad!, and Family Guy's spin-off series The Cleveland Show.
Role in Family Guy
Peter Griffin is a middle class Irish American, who is a bespectacled, obese blue collar worker with a prominent Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts accent. Peter and his wife Lois have three children; Meg, Chris, and Stewie. He is the illegitimate son of Thelma Griffin and Mickey McFinnigan, and was raised by Thelma and his stepfather Francis Griffin. Peter and his family live in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island, which is modeled after Providence, Rhode Island. Peter primarily worked as a safety inspector at the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory, until his boss Jonathan Weed choked to death on a dinner roll while dining with Peter and Lois; he then became a fisherman on his own boat, known as the "S.S. More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk Put Together," with the help of two Portuguese immigrants, Santos and Pasqual, until his boat was destroyed. He now works in the shipping department of the Pawtucket Patriot brewery. Peter is also shown in various jobs for single episodes and cutaway gags. In one episode Peter played for the New England Patriots until his behavior resulted in him being kicked off the team. In a running gag, storylines are randomly interrupted by extremely long, unexpected fights between Peter and Ernie the Giant Chicken, an anthropomorphic chicken who serves as an archenemy to Peter. These battles parody the action film genre, with explosions, high-speed chases, and immense devastation to the town of Quahog.
Peter is an obese man, he has peach skin, short red-brown hair, green eyes (Blue in at least one episode) and a large cleft chin. He wears a white dress shirt with green pants, a black belt with a yellow buckle, white socks, brown shoes and glasses, which Peter claims to have come from a doctor Halloween costume in the episode Roasted Guy. He is 6 feet tall when compared to his wife Lois who is 5'8" according to her ID in Stewie's nightmare in the episode A Lot Going On Upstairs.
MacFarlane has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance category in 2009 for voicing Peter. The song "Shipoopi" from the 1957 musical The Music Man was performed by Peter in Patriot Games ranked number 1 in IGN's top 10 musical moments in Family Guy. Peter has also sung several other songs that have appeared on the list, such as I Need a Jew, Can't Touch Me and This House Is Freakin' Sweet. In IGN's list of the top 10 fights on the show, he ranked number 10 for the fight versus a giant robot of handicapped men in No Meals On Wheels, number 9 for his fight in the episode Long John Peter, number 6 for the fight on the episode Lethal Weapons, number 4 for the episode Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air and other three times for his constant fights with Ernie the Giant Chicken. Peter ranked the third spot on IGN's Top 25 Family Guy Characters, in the list it was stated that many of the shows best gags come from Peter and his shenanigans and that "Peter practically invented the "manatee joke".
Criticism and controversy
In the episode The Cleveland-Lorreta Quagmire, (season 4, 2005) featured a sequence titled "You Have AIDS", in which Peter Griffin dances and sings in a barbershop quartet fashion around the bed of a man with end-stage AIDS about his diagnosis, drew protests from several AIDS service organizations. In the episode "The Son Also Draws", (season 1, 1999) Peter states that "Canada sucks", which inspired anger between Canadian viewers of the show, which took them to send hate mail to the show's producers. Peter has been criticized for being similar to Homer Simpson. In certain episodes of The Simpsons in which Peter has appeared, he is depicted as a Homer Simpson clone or is accused of plagiarism.
The episode "Patriots Games" features a two-and-a-half-minute rendition of the song "Shipoopi" from the 1957 musical The Music Man, conducted by Peter and performed by the Patriots and people in the stadium. Peter and the other Family Guy characters have been an influence to the idom as in an episode the curse word clemen was introduced, many viewers looked up the word on the Internet to try to find a definition. MacFarlane stated in the episode's DVD commentary that if someone invents an obscene definition for the word, the show will have to stop using it (it has not been used since this episode).
Appearances in the media
Peter has had several television appearances outside Family Guy, often in the form of direct parody. Peter has appeared in two episodes of The Simpsons, referencing how the two shows are frequently compared to each other. In the fourteenth season episode "Treehouse of Horror XIII", Peter is depicted as one of Homer Simpson's clones, and in the seventeenth season episode, "The Italian Bob", a photo of Peter is in a book of criminals, which says he is wanted for "plagiarismo". Peter, and most of the central characters on Family Guy, also appeared in the pilot episode of the show's spin-off The Cleveland Show.
Peter is also featured on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD, and plays a significant part in Family Guy Video Game!, the first Family Guy video game, which was released by 2K Games in 2006. MacFarlane recorded exclusive material of Peter's voice and other Family Guy characters for a 2007 pinball machine of the show by Stern Pinball. In 2004, the first series of Family Guy toy figurines was released by Mezco Toyz, each member of the Griffin family had their own toy, with the exception of Stewie, of whom two different figures were made. Over the course of two years, four more series of toy figures have been released, with various forms of Peter. Alongside the action figures, Peter has been included in various other Family Guy-related merchandise.
As of 2009, six books have been released about the Family Guy universe, all published by HarperCollins since 2005. This include Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One (ISBN 978-0-7528-7593-4), which covers the entire events of the episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", and Family Guy and Philosophy: A Cure for the Petarded (ISBN 978-1-4051-6316-3), a collection of seventeen essays exploring the connections between the series and historical philosophers. which include Peter as a character.
In 2008, the character appeared in advertisements for Subway Restaurants, promoting the restaurant's massive feast sandwich. Chief marketing officer Tony Pace commented "Peter's a good representation of the people who are interested in the Feast, and Family Guy is a show "that appeals to that target audience." The Boston Globe critic Brian Steinberg praised the restaurant's use of the character for the commercials. NFL News reporter Michael Fabiano felt it was a bad decision to have an obese character advertise for a chain of restaurants that based their advertisement campaigns on health.
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