Death Has a Shadow
Season 1, Episode 1
Air date January 31, 1999
Episode guide
I Never Met the Dead Man

Death has a Shadow is the first episode of season one of Family Guy. It is the first episode overall.


Peter gets fired from his job and hides it from Lois by getting a welfare check for millions of dollars.


As Lois prepares dinner, Stewie puts the final touches on his mind-control device, only to be taken away from him by Lois, who won't allow 'toys' at the table.

Later, Peter asks Lois for permission to attend an upcoming stag party. After he promises he won't drink, Lois lets him go. Unfortunately, Peter does not heed his wife's advice. He goes to work the next day with a hangover, and falls asleep on the job as a safety inspector in a toy factory. The company receives bad press after releasing unsafe toy products, and Peter is promptly fired.

At dinner, he breaks the news to his children, but decides to keep it from Lois. Peter tries different jobs, but fails miserably. Brian pressures him to tell her the truth, but all he manages to do is to tell Lois how fat she is. Brian insists that Peter must look out for his family's welfare.

With the word "welfare" in his mind, Peter soon applies for a government assistance at a welfare office. But a processing error creates a weekly check for $150,000. Telling Lois he received a big raise, Peter spends his money on many foolish things.

Unfortunately, Lois sees one of the welfare payments in the mail and storms at Peter. Peter decides to return the money to the taxpayers by dumping it from a blimp during the Super Bowl, and Brian accompanies him. They end up in prison.

Eventually, Lois recieves the bad news and goes to court, where the judge sentences Peter to 24 months in prison. Lois tries to explain he's not that bad and she loves him, and insists that no matter what, she will always stand by her husband. The judge agrees, and sends her to jail with him. Stewie, being a baby, must have his parents by his side, regardless his burning hate for them. He then whips out his mind control device and forces the judge into letting his father go free and get his job back.


Major RolesEdit

Minor RolesEdit


  • The episode begins with the family watching an episode of The Brady Bunch in which Jan tattles on Greg for smoking cigarettes. A real episode titled "Where There's Smoke" featured a similar plot.
  • The cutaway gag of Peter taking Holy Communion in church originated in the Pilot Pitch.
  • In this episode, it is revealed that Brian doesn't vote because of welfare checks.
  • The cutaway of Peter losing a music contest to the Von Trapp family was cut before he could say, "That is bull." and getting drowned out by audience applause, the word "bullshit" was actually spoken, however it was drowned by the audience to get a lower parental rating, also to prevent the scene being cut by FOX.
  • The part after Peter says he's going to apply for a minority scholarship and the fake credits roll is cut to remove Peter's other two ideas of a sexual harassment suit and a disability claim on FOX.
  • The Super Bowl features football announcers John Madden and Pat Summerall.
  • Peter hires a jester with his welfare money. The jester is Jerry Seinfeld, accompanied by a parody of the theme song from his hit sitcom Seinfeld. He is best known for his observational humor, which is parodied in this episode.
  • Some of the gags in this episode originated from Seth MacFarlane's animated short "Life of Larry", including:
    • God being embarrassed by the priest telling the story of how He treated Job
    • Peter seeing Philadelphia drunk
    • Peter farting for the first time at age 30