The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover highlighted which character is truly the saddest figure in both shows.
The Simpsons and Family Guy Both often operate on a sliding scale between goofy comedy and dark humor, but whereas The Simpsons typically grounds itself with genuine, earnest emotional beats, the world of Family Guy can be relevantly cruel to the Griffin family — particularly the eldest child of the group, Meg. Meg Griffin (Mila Kunis) and Lisa Simpson’s (Yardley Smith) brief meeting highlighted how truly sad Meg’s life is in Family Guyand served as a good showcase of how the world truly and unfairly treats her as a verbal and emotional punching bag.
“The Simpsons Guy” was the season premiere for Family Guy’s thirteenth season. While driving across the country as an excuse to avoid blowback to an offensive comic Peter created, the Griffins end up in Springfield. There, Peter becomes fast friends with Homer Simpson, who invites them to share dinner with his family. Most of the two families are paired off, with Stewie spending the episode with Bart while Chris and Brian end up trying to find a lost Santa’s Little Helper. Meanwhile, Lisa forges a surprisingly endearing bond with Meg.
Meg notes there’s nothing she’s ever been good at, and after teaching her various forms of art, Lisa suggests Meg use music as an outlet. Handing her saxophone, Lisa is shocked when Meg proves naturally talented — delivering an amazing blues solo.
Although a jealous Lisa initially tries to brush away Meg’s skills, Lisa eventually tries to gift Meg her own saxophone as a way to inspire the teenager. It’s clearly a major moment for Meg, who spends most of her home series being a punching bag for her family and the world at large. It’s a sweet sequence that sees the pair share a genuine hug, but the moment is then ruined by her father, as usual for Meg.
It’s a telling showcase of Meg’s life, and just how much worse it is than Lisa’s. It’s particularly somber because, in theory, Meg and Lisa have a great deal in common. They’re both often overlooked in their family, and treated as an afterthought by most of their respective surrounding town, butt Lisa at least is recognized for her intellect and talents.
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Lisa showcases the collection of trophies she’s earned over the years, while Meg can’t even proclaim that she matters without her father telling her otherwise. While Lisa may feel like she’s invisible to the world, she’s always been recognized as having potential. She’s even visibly distressed when Meg explains how she doesn’t perceive herself as having anything close to the potential Lisa has shown at half Meg’s age. Even just the simple act of kindness shared with her is shot down by Peter, who cruelly throws away the sax as soon as he sees it.
The most heartbreaking element of Meg’s life is that she knows how unfair the world is being to her. Season 10’s “Seahorse Seashell Party” saw Meg confront her toxic family and call them out for the terrible way they treat her. She was completely justified in her anger, and yet accepted her position as the family’s punching bag to help appease them. On some level, Meg knows she doesn’t deserve the non-stop grief she gets. Even someone like Lisa, who’s very familiar with loneliness and feeling ostracized by an uncaring world, can see how much pain Meg is in.
Teases about the pair’s futures even suggest this carries on into future periods of their worlds. While Lisa has been shown to grow up, find major public success and start a family of her own, Meg’s future has only ever been painted in ways that make her a joke. Their brief meeting saw Lisa becomes the closest thing to a genuine good influence Meg has likely ever encountered in her life, and her family did their best to ruin that too. No matter what, Meg Griffin seems doomed to be treated in the worst possible fashion.
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