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"A Hero Sits Next Door"
Family Guy episode
Lois & Stewie meet Joe Swanson
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Written by Matt Weitzman
Mike Barker
Directed by Monte Young
Production no. 1ACX05
Original airdate May 2, 1999
Guest stars
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Mind Over Murder" "The Son Also Draws"
Family Guy (season 1)
List of Family Guy episodes

"A Hero Sits Next Door" is the fifth episode of season one of Family Guy. It guest-stars Michelle Kwan as herself and marks the first appearance of Joe Swanson and his family. It was the first Family Guy episode not to feature the word "Death" or "Murder" in the title.[1] "A Hero Sits Next Door" is rated TV-PG LD.


Plot summary

Mr. Weed introduces Guillermo, a ringer he hired to ensure the company’s victory, at the annual softball game. Peter injures Guillermo with a wild pitch during practice and must find a new player to replace him. Meanwhile, Lois is trying to become friends with the new neighbors. After Stewie tries to escape from listening to Lois and Bonnie's conversation, he says "Oh to be the Lindbergh baby right about now", a reference to the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. Peter is antagonistic to his new neighbor, Joe Swanson, until he discovers that Joe played baseball in college. Peter invites Joe to join the team. When Joe shows up on the field, however, Peter (along with the other players) is horrified to see that he is wheelchair-bound, and yells, "Holy crip, he’s a crapple!" However, Joe turns out to be a fantastic player and leads the team to victory. In addition, he is also a heroic policeman (who became crippled after fighting The Grinch on the roof of an orphanage), and soon becomes very popular with the neighbors, including Peter's family. When Peter is mad at Joe for taking all his friends he quotes the Gershwin & Gershwin song "They Can’t Take That Away from Me" by saying "The way I wear my hat? No, no, he can't take that away from me." Stewie, meanwhile, believes that Joe is some kind of cyborg, and tries to steal his wheelchair.

Joe's popularity makes Peter jealous, and Peter wants to be a hero too. He decides to perform a heroic deed to compete with Joe and attempts to stop a bank robbery in progress. However, he and Brian are taken hostage until Joe convinces the robbers to surrender. An applauding crowd hoists Joe away to praise him, leaving his wheel chair empty. Stewie tries to unlock the power of the wheelchair, but Lois quickly puts a pacifier in his mouth and he quickly falls asleep, his plans foiled again by his infantile state. After the hostage situation Peter is disappointed, but his family tells him that he is their hero.

In another subplot, Meg keeps trying to get Kevin's attention, but is unsuccessful until she gets Kevin to start talking about himself.


In his 2008 review, Ahsan Haque of IGN praised the episode, calling it "a great introduction for Joe". He singled out the fight sequence, stating that it "paved the road for many action sequences to come".[1]



Omitted from the DVD release of this episode is a gag in which a boy is showing his friend a Pez dispenser that looks like John F. Kennedy's head, which is then destroyed by a policeman's bullet; the boy then says, "Oh well, at least I still have my Bobby Kennedy Pez dispenser" and it is shot as well. This is a reference to the assassinations of both John and Robert Kennedy.

This gag has been included in recent television broadcasts of the episode.


  • Callaghan, Steve. “A Hero Sits Next Door.” Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide Seasons 1–3. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 30–33.

External links

Preceded by
Mind Over Murder
Family Guy (season 1) Succeeded by
The Son Also Draws


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