Quahog (pronounced "KO-hog") is a fictional city in Providence County, Rhode Island where the animated television comedy Family Guy is set. The Griffin family, the Brown family (moved), the Swanson family, and Glenn Quagmire live on Spooner Street, with the Griffin family residing at 31 Spooner Street. The ZIP code, as revealed in FOX-y Lady, is 00093.
Quahog was founded by Griffin Peterson, who had been exiled to America by King Stewart III. The king later gave Peterson control over Quahog after Peterson beat him in a talent show. A myth was later created that said that Quahog was founded by Miles "Chatterbox" Musket with the assistance of a magical talking clam.
In a universe visited in "Road to the Multiverse", Quahog is seen as part of the Japanese states of America. It is a result of the United States never dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. This universe's Griffin family loses Meg to seppuku, via Peter's request, soon after canon Brian and Stewie land in the universe.
People and places in Quahog
Mayor Adam West, who shares a name and is voiced by the actor who portrayed Batman on the 1960s TV series, is the mayor of Quahog. Quahog's local celebrities are the anchors of its Channel 5 news show, Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons. Their Japanese newswoman is called Tricia Takanawa.
The Drunken Clam is a bar that protagonist Peter Griffin and his friends frequently visit along with his friends; Joe Swanson, who is a paraplegic police officer, Cleveland Brown who is a deli owner and Glenn Quagmire who is an airline pilot and general Ladies man. Peter works as an assembly worker in a toy factory in early episodes, but is a self employed fisherman and an employee of the fictitious Pawtucket Brewery in later episodes.
In the episode "E. Peterbus Unum" it is found out that Peter's house is not part of Quahog, and not even part of the United States of America, in which he calls the new territory Petoria. Petoria was originally to be called Peterland, but a local gay bar had already taken it.
Seth MacFarlane, the show's creator, had been a resident of Rhode Island, and leaves unequivocal Rhode Island landmarks from which one may infer intended locations for events.
Several times every episode, the actual Providence skyline can be seen in the distance. The three buildings that are depicted are, from left to right and furthest to closest, One Financial Plaza, 50 Kennedy Plaza, and the Bank of America Tower. This ordering of buildings and the angle at which they are viewed (see figure at right) indicates that Quahog is primarily west of downtown Providence. If Quahog is to have a counterpart in Rhode Island geography and be consistent with this, it would have to be either Johnston, Rhode Island; Cranston, Rhode Island; North Providence, Rhode Island; Scituate, Rhode Island; or a western portion of Providence itself. However, in a few episodes Quahog is shown to have a coastline (see "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", "Fore Father", and "The Perfect Castaway"), which only Cranston and Providence possess. This is supported by the fact that the real-world "31 Spooner Street" is located in Providence, immediately west of Roger Williams Park. This could be a coincidence, as MacFarlane has said in a DVD commentary that the street was named after Spooner Hill Road, along which is his boyhood home. Also, a map seen in "Fifteen Minutes of Shame" does not resemble a map of the neighborhood of the actual Spooner Street.
In "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", the 'zoomout' at the end shows Quahog to be somewhere between Cranston and Warwick, almost directly north of the Theodore Francis Green Airport.
In "E. Peterbus Unum", a map of Rhode Island is shown with Quahog shown in red with Quahog appearing to be in the vicinity of Tiverton, Rhode Island.
MacFarlane, in an interview with local WNAC Fox 64 News, has stated that the town is modeled after Cranston, Rhode Island.
The name Quahog
A quahog is an edible clam, probably giving name to many establishments in the city. The word "quahog" has been absorbed into the American English language as a loanword from the original Narragansett.
This, along with the myth that the town of Quahog was co-founded by a clam, might suggest a different scenario for the reason of the name. There is a restaurant in Newport which is named the Rhode Island Quahog Co but is known just as "Quahog's".
The choice of the name "Quahog" for the town is possibly inspired by the real Rhode Island village of Quonochontaug. Many of the features of Quahog exist in Quonochontaug, such as a coast. Additional more conspicuous evidence can be seen on the reverse of the UK DVD, clearly stating, "Meet the Griffins and find out what in the name of Quonochontaug, Rhode Island is going on in their heads!" Many people living in Quonochontaug commonly refer to their home as Quahog. However, the real Quonochontaug is a tiny village community of no more than a few hundred people located within the rural town of Charlestown, Rhode Island, more than halfway across the state from Providence where the aforementioned urban skyline would not be visible.
As producer and writer Danny Smith puts it:
"When we first started doing the show, Fox wanted us to make the show specific to one town or region. I remember turning to Seth and saying, ‘Oh, man, Rhode Island. It has to be Rhode Island.'"
For Smith, the town had to be fictional. "Years ago, I was writing for a show called ‘Nurses' and I wrote a joke about Pawtucket. It was just a joke, but a lot of people from Pawtucket took it seriously, including the Mayor of Pawtucket. I was vilified back home on talk radio. I had visions of people from Pawtucket chasing me down Benefit Street with pitchforks and torches. I didn't want to risk having another town angry with me, so it was my idea to create Quahog, Rhode Island."