When Family Guy debuted in 1999, her age is assumed to be fifteen years old although this is never established. She is later assumed to be sixteen by the events in "I Never Met the Dead Man" when she got her drivers license and remained that age throughout the show's initial run. She officially turned seventeen in "Peter's Two Dads" and eighteen in "Meg and Quagmire".
In "Let's Go to the Hop", it is implied that Meg once had a younger sister but murdered her, possibly out of jealousy. However, it is also implied that this is just a dream Chris had, although he says "It seemed so real!".
Meg was originally depicted as the "sweet, teenage daughter" who typically took the blame for the terrible things done by the other members of her family. However, over the years, the writers stripped Meg down to a desperate teenager who is hardly noticed by her family.
This worsens in later episodes where the family, especially Peter, doesn't care about her or even love her as a part of the family, often harming her physically and emotionally. For example, shoving her face into his bottom and then farting in it in "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou". This gag is revisited in "Bango Was His Name Oh" when Peter is teaching Meg how to endure a boyfriend's farts and traps her in the car with his fart and in "Call Girl" when Peter's parting give to Meg is a slow fart in the face.
Meg is also frequently the butt of jokes and various bits of bad luck in episodes, seemingly more so than the rest of the family. The Griffins are shown avoiding her company in "Jungle Love", disparaging her in person and gathering in her bedroom to read her diary for laughs in "Stuck Together, Torn Apart".
Out of all the relationships with the rest of the family, Lois, Brian and Chris seem to treat her the most normally. However, Lois has sometimes been cruel and dismissive towards her daughter. In "Wasted Talent", Lois forced Meg to practice the piano through use an ankle bracelet attached to a iron ball and forcibly restrained her when she tried to ask Peter for help. In "Model Misbehavior", when Meg compares Lois's childhood bedroom to her own, Lois notes that they were the same except that hers contained many trophies and pictures of friends; Lois nearly dropped Joe to his death during a chase through the sewers in "Breaking Out is Hard to Do" when he asked her to pretend that he is her child, and then quickly directs her away from thinking of Meg after Lois loosens her grip; and after Meg told her mom she loved her during "Peter's Daughter", Lois pointedly did not say anything in response. This also shown when Meg was having a difficult time in "Stew-Roids", it is shown that Meg gets food waste for school lunch i.e peels, crusts and a taunting picture of Lois eating a turkey leg. in the same episode, Lois simply gave up on her, gave her a pill bottle, a Sylvia Plath book and told her "Whatever happens, happens". Lois also makes a point of washing Stewie's diapers with Meg's clothes and get a sarcastic attitude when Meg asks for advice on asking out Kent Lastname in "Friends Without Benefits". Lois does show a slightly kinder side in "Call Girl" when she refers to Meg by her real name while dismissing Chris and Stewie as "dummy and big-head."
Peter is usually the one who bears a great animosity towards her: berating her, hitting her while once on steroids in "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz ", even shooting her in "Peter's Daughter". Peter reminds Lois in "Petergeist" that if they could only save two they would leave Meg. When the family tries an anger management technique of writing letters and not sending them, Meg finds Peter's letter to her in "Lethal Weapons" which says "Dear Meg, for the first four years of your life, I thought that you were a housecat." And in Peter's short story of her birth in "Blue Harvest", they had to go back to get her once they realized they grabbed the afterbirth, implying that they could not tell the difference. In "Road to Rupert", Peter is disgusted that Meg has to become his personal driver and he and his friends play several pranks on her like setting her hat on fire while she is driving. In "Stewie Kills Lois" Peter tells guests on a cruise ship about how he and Lois had gone to get an abortion but decided against it when they arrived at the clinic. He then says "3 months later, our daughter Meg was born" indicating that they had not planned her birth. In "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter", Peter sold her just to pay off his tab at a pharmacy. But despite this he also once was going to say 'I love you' in "Hell Comes to Quahog" and in "Road to Rupert" he stated they were 'secret best friends' before throwing lemonade in her face, saying he would have to continue to treat her badly in public in order to maintain his reputation. Peter also once tried to seduce Luke Perry in order to protect Meg from a libel suit, going so far as to state he "would take a bullet for Meg" in "The Story on Page One".
On Meg's 17th birthday in "Peter's Two Dads", her mother and father both try to hide from Meg that they don't remember her age. Peter openly states that Meg sucks in the episode "PTV", and Chris says the same thing about her in "Long John Peter".
Even though he gets into arguments with her from time to time, Chris usually goes to Meg for advice. Chris, however, seems to have more of a typical brother-sister relationship with Meg, and even once threatened to quit his job in "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)" if his boss didn't re-hire Meg.
Stewie enjoys taunting Meg about several topics of her supposed "ugliness", her virginity, and inability to keep a boyfriend, but she rarely seems to notice his comments, which may be part of the show's canon, where all the main cast except Brian are not able to hear or interpret Stewie's speech unless at writer's discretion.
Brian does not seem to join in the others' frequent "Meg-bashing," although he is prone to ignoring her and coldly shot down her attempt to congratulate his recent writing award. He insults her quite brutally on occasion. However, in "Dial Meg for Murder", he showed that he really cared her when he wrote an a very sentimental article on her and helping her come to her senses when she was on wild streak after being released from prison. However, in "Quagmire's Dad", despite her being the only one to show genuine concern for his trip, he harshly brushes her off, even though only moments ago, he complained that no one cared about his trip.
There apparently also exists a double standard against Meg which further underscores the mistreatment she suffers at the hands of the people around her. In "Model Misbehavior", when Lois starts a modeling career, Meg claims that she will pleasure herself to Lois' pictures; even though Chris said the exact same thing, Peter only snaps at Meg and forces her out of the house. In "Airport '07", Peter then hypocritically threatens to have sex with her that she won't remember until she's forty.
In "Big Man on Hippocampus", Peter loses his memory and has reacquainted himself with the pleasures of sex, Lois tells him that it is inappropriate to have sex with his own children; in response, Meg attempts an incest joke for which she is lambasted by her family then kicked and pushed out of the room by Chris. Later that year in "Partial Terms of Endearment", Lois tells a joke that implies that it was Meg that gave birth to Stewie, and apart from a shocked reaction from the latter, Lois receives no such violent reaction.
The neighbors also openly dislike Meg. Joe encouraged Lois to keep him from falling down a giant sewer pipe in "Breaking Out is Hard to Do" by telling her "pretend I'm your child"; when Lois' grip slips a little, Joe yells "Not Meg! Not Meg!" This may have more to do with Joe's perception that Lois doesn't like Meg than with Joe's feelings about her, since as seen in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair", Joe said that he liked Meg, and felt genuine remorse that she had been injured running in front of his car. Quagmire attempts to act on a sexual attraction to Meg in "Meg and Quagmire" despite being nearly three times her age.
In "Dial Meg for Murder" after returning from prison Meg finally took out her pent up anger for all of the abuse she's took over the years out the family, namely Peter by severely beating him up and proverbially taking his place as head of the household and abusing him in the shower, she also used bits of Lois's shirts as toilet paper for her 'poop bucket', everyone soon became terrified of her, and when she heard Brian calling her a freak, they all passed the blame to Stewie who she made himself and Peter punch him.
In "Seahorse Seashell Party", Meg stands up to the abuse she receives from her family, and harshly criticizes Chris for being a bad brother, and Lois and Peter for being bad parents. This leads to them turning their abusive criticisms on each other. Meg comes to the conclusion that she serves as a "lightning rod" that absorbs the family's dysfunction, and apologizes for her comments. The situation then returns back to normal.
Meg is relatively unremarkable in appearance, sporting shoulder-length brown hair, visually short arms, lack of curves and nearly always wearing a beanie-like hat. Most characters on the show always consider her grotesque. She wears the cap under her yellow top hat in the show's opening dance number. She has been seen without her hat on in a handful of episodes for extremely small periods of time. However, in "Untitled Griffin Family History", she is seen without her hat on, as she is in pajamas for most of it. She appears to have inherited the shape of her nose and head from her mother, and her brown hair and myopia from her father.
In "A Picture's Worth a Thousand Bucks", an employee at a carnival guesses her weight as being "a lot". There are several comments aimed at her weight in various episodes, though her girth may be due to her height, as she is the same weight as her mother, making her approximate weight 140 pounds. In "Don't Make Me Over", Stewie has a disturbing thought picturing Meg in low-rider jeans, which shows Meg striking a pose which her belly is exposed up to an inch or two above the belly button, which the fat in her stomach hangs over her waist, resembling a muffin top. Stewie proceeds to beat the thought bubble with a rolling pin. In "Barely Legal", she says she has to buy a new dress to go to the prom with Brian because all her dresses makes her look fat, implying that she is actually fat, not just because of the dresses.
Her plain look is often a topic of humor for the show; characters on the show act as though she were horrifically ugly. In "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington", a very ugly girl is hired to stand next to Meg so she will look better by comparison. In "Don't Make Me Over", two people drench themselves in gasoline, set themselves on fire, and throw themselves out a window screaming in horror after simply looking at Meg. In another episode, a young man fired a nail gun into his own stomach in order to avoid a date with her. Also, in the episode "Barely Legal", Meg's "backup" date, Jimmy, says he has to attend his little brother's funeral after briefly closing his front door and promptly shooting his little brother. Her "ugliness" may also be a source of her unpopularity. Meg is often mistaken for a boy such as when she asked Craig Hoffman to go out on a date with her in "Don't Make Me Over. She is mistaken for the star of Malcolm in the Middle in "Breaking Out is Hard to Do". There was also when Meg was held hostage by three burglars who mistook her for a boy in Untitled Griffin Family History". Later in that episode she asked one of the robbers if they were going to "have their way" with her. They refused, disgusted by her appearance and she got angry, shouting at them to have sex with her and insisting she was 'pretty'. They then filed a sexual harassment suit against her, which went ignored by Peter, who thought she was going to a dance, leading to her arrest. Peter also passed her off as a boy named "Greg" in "Big Man on Hippocampus" to qualify for Family Feud. In "Quagmire's Dad", Ida Quagmire believed that Meg also got a sex change operation to become a girl like he did. In "Prick Up Your Ears", Meg took an abstinence vow with her new boyfriend up until the end of the episode, where after seeing her nude, he dumped her. Another brief boyfriend of hers, nudist Jeff Campbell had no objections to her looks at all. In "Long John Peter", Chris lifts Meg's top up, exposing her bra, as a means to make Brian throw up as an excuse to take him to the vet. Also, her appearance is displayed as ugly in alternate dimensions, where even her sexy version was still considered ugly by the dimensions standards in "Road to the Multiverse".
Meg once received a makeover, drastically increasing her sexual appeal in the eyes of characters in the show after several people in the episode covered themselves in petrol and burned themselves. It was during this brief period when Meg, a popular singer at the time, lost her virginity to Saturday Night Live comedian Jimmy Fallon as part of an elaborate cold open sketch. In "No Chris Left Behind", She participates with Lois in prostitution in order to pay for Chris's school, Lois gets picked up and Meg is left behind. In "Meg and Quagmire", Meg rarely has eyebrows when she is seen without her glasses.
Meg desperately tries to be part of the cool crowd, and is coldly rebuffed. Eager for acceptance, she is shown in two stories unwittingly recruited by a religious cult, and accepting a mistaken invitation to join her school's Lesbian Alliance. It has also been shown (primarily when Brian accidentally kissed her) that when she actually gets into a dating position, she forms a mentally unstable grasp onto that person. She will also go to great lengths such as kidnapping, forcing sex, and living in denial of break-ups or other activities (overall an mentally unstable persona). She will also try desperately to get sex in some cases; for example in Untitled Griffin Family History she even asked a group of robbers breaking into the house to rape her, much to their disgust, to the point where they charged her with sexual harassment and got her arrested. However, in some episodes Meg is depicted with a bunch of girls (in a slumber party), and gossiping about boys; in later episodes these girls are characterized as dateless losers like Meg.
Meg is a very unpopular student in high school. In one episode, a student in shop class fired a nail gun into his own stomach in order to avoid a date with her. And another murdering his own brother to have an excuse not to go to prom with her the following night. However, she is sought by pimply nerd Neil Goldman, and perverted neighbor Glenn Quagmire has shown an interest, mostly due to his very broad standards, asking if she has reached the age of consent. In several episodes she is shown dating, including stories with characters Mayor Adam West and nudist Jeff Campbell, and she loses her virginity on live television to Saturday Night Live host Jimmy Fallon after having a drastic make over. Jerome also claims to have had sex with her.
Early in the series she had a crush on Kevin Swanson, who seemed to enjoy her company. In "Da Boom" he asked her to Quagmire's New Year's party, in "Holy Crap" he was mentioned as holding her hand on the walk home from school.
In "From Method to Madness" she dates nudist Jeff Campbell. They become fast friends and start to date each other. At first, Peter and Lois discouraged Meg to date Jeff. They decide to make up by inviting him over while they were nude to help him feel more comfortable.
In "Brian Sings and Swings", she befriended by a girl named Sarah who Meg later discovers is a lesbian. Meg pretends to be a lesbian & Sarah's girlfriend as she enjoys being accepted by Sarah. However her mother (who is hinted to being a bisexual) knows Meg is only pretending to be one in order to be accepted. She eventually is forced to admit to Sarah that she is not a lesbian.
In other episodes she is portrayed as chronically incapable of finding a boyfriend. For her Junior Prom she accepts a pity date from Brian, the family dog in "Barely Legal". Brian ends up making out with her at this party, but only because he was highly inebriated, and most likely high, as Lois slipped a bit of weed into is jacket pocket. Meg then becomes infatuated with Brian, going so far as to abduct him in order to have sex with him after he rejects her, but she does not seem to be interested in Brian after this episode. To make up for the lack of boyfriends she made one up, in "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey".
In "Peter's Daughter" Meg falls in love with a med-student named Michael Milano after coming out of a short coma (caused by Peter). Meg soon then announces that she is pregnant by Michael and the two get engaged. After finding out that she isn't actually pregnant, Meg tells Michael the truth hoping that he'll stay; however, Michael leaves Meg at the altar.
In "Go, Stewie, Go!" she dates a boy named Anthony, who is, to the surprise of everybody in Quahog, completely normal. However, Lois seduces him because she feels bad about her aging. A flashback showed Meg once dated a boy with no legs.
She is also shown to be attracted to Connie DiMico. In "Stew-Roids", she asks Connie whether she can think about her in the tub. In "Dial Meg for Murder", she tongue-kisses Connie after knocking her unconscious. Though this act was more about dominance and humiliation than any form of romance. In "Amish Guy" she falls in love with a boy named Eli who falls in love with her only for them to be torn apart by the Amish community.
She was engaged again in "Leggo My Meg-O" to Prince Faisal. At first she thought that his father had bought her to be his sex-slave only for him to reveal that she was bought for his son for marriage. When he romanticly proposes she gladly accepted and before they could kiss, he is killed by Stewie.
In "Valentine's Day in Quahog", Meg spends Valentine's Day with a guy named Toby who she met on the internet. After he knocks her out on their date, she awakes in a motel to find he has harvested one of her kidneys. Despite this, she hold him to his original promise of a full day together. After having a wonderful date, Toby gives Meg back her kidney and she places her kidney in a jar on her shelf in her room.
Meg is often shown as emotionally fragile or disturbed, derived from desperation for love and attention. "Don't Make Me Over". In "Untitled Griffin Family History", Meg is charged for forcing herself upon a group of would-be captors and grows violently obsessed with Brian after a drunken kiss at the Junior Prom in "Barely Legal". In the same episode, Meg threatens to commit suicide when nobody at school would be her date to the prom and she also tells her parents that she's going upstairs to eat a whole bag of peanuts. When her parents stare at her blankly, she cries, "I'm allergic to peanuts!" in "The Kiss Seen Around the World". In "Road to the North Pole" she wishes for "softer voices" in her head.
Meg also speaks of habitually cutting herself and throwing up after meals. Meg's dangerous behavior, however obvious, is rarely noticed by her parents even when stated. Such as in "Sibling Rivalry" after Lois had her fat removed she states to Meg, that eating to solve ones problems is the wrong thing to do, apparently referencing that she's somewhat fat, while complimenting Chris's hat despite him being the one who is overly obese. In this Meg replies, "I don't eat to solve my problems, I cut myself."
Peter also doesn't pay attention when she loses her temper and assaults a man who crashed into the back of the car while driving him, Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire around when they have been drinking in "Road to Rupert". He exclaims that her actions were "awesome" and this leads to her engaging in other erratic behavior to impress him. In "Dial Meg for Murder", Meg was desperate enough to date a criminal. Meg later stated no one cares about her while robbing Mort's Pharmacy and knocking Peter's teeth out and rapidly beating him. In "Go, Stewie, Go!", she rips out one of her teeth to prove that she is tougher than Lois. In "April in Quahog", it's alluded that she strangles stray cats and taught Chris how to poison squirrels during a family vacation mentioned in "Friends Without Benefits".
It is possible that Meg has a type of mental illness similar to Borderline Personality Disorder. Meg has exhibited behaviors that closely match the diagnostic criteria for BPD, as described by the Fourth Volume of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (excluding suicidal behaviors).
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. She claims to be a lesbian in "Brian Sings and Swings" to be accepted in their group, easily swayed by religious recruitment.
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, excluding suicidal behaviors.
- Recurrent suicidal gestures, threats, or self-injuring behavior. Meg admits that she cuts herself in "Sibling Rivalry", threatens suicide in "Barely Legal" and "The Kiss Seen Around the World".
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood. Flattened affect such as the lamp scene in "Barely Legal".
- Chronic feelings of emptiness.
- Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger. She has frequent outbursts, particularly at her parents in "Peter's Two Dads" and in "Seahorse Seashell Party".
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions, or severe dissociative symptoms. She became deluded into thinking that Brian in "Barely Legal" and Joe in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair" are in love with her.
Meg's voice actress has not always been Mila Kunis. Cree Summer was the first choice to voice Meg, but Seth MacFarlane didn't like the idea of an African-American voicing her. When Seth made the original pilot, his sister Rachael MacFarlane provided her voice for Meg. When the series spawned off, Lacey Chabert was hired to do the role. However, she left after the show's first season, although some aired out of order and became season 2 episodes) and due to contract reasons, she could not be credited for her work. Since then, Mila Kunis has voiced Meg, though there have been some substitutes, like Debi Derryberry and Tara Strong, who voice her when she had a singing part. However, Kunis provided her own singing voice in "Road to the North Pole". At 47 years old in "Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure", after a sex change made her a man named Ron, she was voiced by John Viener. As such, Meg is the member of the Griffin Family who has been voiced by the largest assortment of voice actors/actresses. Chabert returned to voice Meg for one line in "Yug Ylimaf".
- Her transsexual self, Ron, seen in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story can be seen in her finishing move in the game American Dad vs. Family Guy Kung-Fu II.
- Her middle name has not be revealed throughout the show, but her brothers Chris and Stewie's have.
- In "Dial Meg for Murder", Peter tries to brand Meg when playing as a cowboy, only to find an 'AW' already branded on her by Mayor Adam West.
- Meg briefly dated Mayor West in "Deep Throats and in "Tiegs for Two". However, their on and off relationship appears to have ended for good due to West's marriage to her Aunt Carol in "Brothers & Sisters" and is now Meg's uncle.
- Meg had a cameo on MTV's Good Vibes episode "Red Tux" originally airing 12/15/2011. In addition, Mila Kunis also appeared as herself.
- In "A Hero Sits Next Door," Meg mentions that she cannot taste salt.
- In "Hannah Banana", Meg reveals that she and Chris practice kissing with each other. But later in "Halloween on Spooner Street", Meg and Chris become repulsed when they accidentally make out in a closet at a Halloween party.
- In "New Kidney in Town," Meg believes that people choose to be gay.
- In "Friends Without Benefits," it is revealed that Meg's heart is located in the same area as her brain due to a rare birth disorder.
- "Valentine's Day in Quahog" reveals Meg to have a conjoined twin that her date Toby removes to use as a bookmark.