Whether it is a drawn out, uncomfortable moment, an observation that hasn't been voiced or classic flashback nostalgia, the "Family Guy" cast can make all situations worthy of a deep belly laugh. With an abundance of characters, every person will have their own set of favorites but certain characters will always rise to the top. Agree or disagree with this roll call of the cream of the crop:
An evil scientist baby who's also a mad genius makes Stewie Griffin one amazing character. Add in a bit of an accent and a penchant for musical numbers and a sexual orientation that's foggy at best and you're got a "Family Guy" cast member that almost writes himself. The exact opposite of Oedipus, Stewie has evolved from his focus on matricide to both harassing and helping Brian the dog as well as other family members and friends. His contribution towards the science fiction aspect of "Family Guy" is invaluable as it allows the show to go even further from the normal reality of an animated show. There's no better child character than Stewie other than Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes" and he went on vacation years ago, at least according to Stewie.
Talking dogs are nothing new, but "Family Guy" takes it farther. He isn't just man's best friend; he's also the voice of reason in the show, so when he goes off the rails, you're guaranteed one crazy episode. Brian has his politics and philosophy and a greater intelligence than past television animals whose only needs were to be able to convey that X or Y fell down a well. He's the perfect foil and friend to Stewie Griffin as well as a bit of a conscience for Peter Griffin. Add in his drinking and carousing and Brian becomes the well-rounded, humorously flawed "Family Guy" cast member.
Never has sleazy been so funny. Quagmire combines childlike innocence with depravity that would make Caligula blush and keeps them both entwined and balanced enough that neither gets overtaken by the other. He's filthy, twisted, oversexed and he's the greatest neighbor ever in the "Family Guy" universe. Without Quagmire, "Family Guy" would lose some of the edgy, dark humor that nicely offsets the sheer goofiness that the Griffins also come up with. Plus the reveal of his hatred of Brian gives this completely awkward relationship that was needed in the core cast.
When conceptualizing Death as an entity, people end up with a being that either falls into the indifferent or compassionate category. "Family Guy" makes Death a male with mommy issues and a sarcastic streak that runs so deep it might be infinite. Death can be swayed, but for the most part he's got to make his quotas and he couldn't care less about humanity, but he wouldn't mind a beer. Giving Death a mom—and not just any mom but an overbearing mom who hen pecks him—allows you to sympathize with your own mortality while getting to laugh both at Death and with Death. Mortality hasn't been this fun since the Cold War.
Ernie the Giant Chicken
The greatness of this character shines in how rarely he appears in "Family Guy." When Ernie shows up, you know the true definition of "epic battle" is about to ensue. Peter's nemesis isn't some compassionate, father of the year type; rather it's a giant chicken who is as prone to murderous rage like Peter. There won't be monologues from Ernie, but there will be one hell of a fight scene every time the two encounter each other. Ernie is a recurring character that feeds "Family Guy" viewers high doses of testosterone and MSG at unsafe levels that keep everyone coming back for more.