Joe Swanson

Joe Swanson

Family Guy character
name harvey rudd ha ha booger
picture =
species = Human
relatives = Wife: Bonnie Swanson
Children: Kevin, Unborn Child
hometown = Quahog, Rhode Island
age = Early 40s
height = 6 ft 2 in (when not sitting)
weight = 230lbs (before paralysis) 175 lbs (after paralysis)
gender = Male
hair = Brown
occupation = Police Officer
politics = Conservative
religion = Roman Catholic Fact|date=July 2007
heritage =
vehicle = Wheelchair, Jeep
beer = Pawtucket Patriot Ale
friends = Cleveland Brown, Glenn Quagmire, Peter Griffin, and Brian Griffin
appearance = "A Hero Sits Next Door"
1.05
voice = Patrick Warburton|

Lieutenant Joseph "Joe" Swanson is a fictional character in the Fox animated television show "Family Guy". His voice is supplied by actor Patrick Warburton. He is a super-macho paraplegic police officer in the Quahog Police Department who is at many times subject to intense anger problems. He is married to perpetually pregnant wife, Bonnie, and has one son, Kevin.

In the show

Joe is characterized by his over-zealousness, machismo, short temper, and by-the-book attitude. He is devoted to his wife Bonnie and son Kevin and takes great pride in his line of work. He is friendly towards Peter Griffin, Cleveland Brown, and Glenn Quagmire and the four are often seen together at the local bar. Joe's enthusiasm can occasionally go too far into rigid perfectionism, however; he sets high, unreachable standards for himself and others, especially Kevin. He has a domineering relationship with his son, whom he pushes very hard in part to live vicariously through him.

Joe's fearlessness is best exemplified in episodes such as the non-canon episode, "Da Boom", wherein, despite being fused to the ground from the waist down as a result of a nuclear explosion, it was implied that Joe was perfectly capable of fighting off a giant mutated rat. Joe is known for yelling "Let's do it!" ,"Get some!" and "Bring it on!" when facing various physical challenges with his trademark over-enthusiasm. In addition to Steven Seagal films, Joe also seems to enjoy any number of other macho "shoot-em-up" action movies and martial arts films.

Despite his bravado, Joe may also harbor some insecurity and low self-esteem. He once described to Peter how he gave Kevin a "love tap" punch after Kevin beat him at a game, then beat him until it became a blur. Kevin had to live in foster care for some time after that. Also, in the episode, "Ready, Willing, and Disabled", Joe began to doubt his self-worth after a thief escaped arrest. To bolster his spirit, Peter encouraged him to enter the Special People's Games (an obvious parody of the Paralympics) in the decathlon. Joe went on to win the decathlon, but only after Peter spiked his water bottle with steroids. Joe became a sports celebrity with endorsement deals, and even became subject of a highly inaccurate ABC movie, "Rolling Courage: The Joe Swanson Story", starring Tony Danza as Joe (and Bea Arthur as Peter). At a celebration with Mayor Adam West, Peter exposed Joe's steroid use after Joe failed to acknowledge Peter's contribution as his coach. Joe neared depression again, but encountered the thief that had previously evaded capture and this time successfully apprehended him. "Catching the perp" renewed Joe's confidence and he returned to life as normal. When visiting a sex shop, Joe threatens the sex dolls for looking "surprised" at him.

It is hinted that Joe has some degree of racist feelings for Puerto Ricans. In "No Meals on Wheels," he asked Peter if he and his paraplegic friends (originally thought to be his police buddies) could use Peter's new restaurant as their new hangout. When asked why, Joe replies, "Our old place has gotten a little...Puerto Ricany." He also finds "Debra Messing" insufferable.

Despite being a police officer, Joe has been sent to federal prison at least twice. In "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea" after he and the others were framed for burning down their hangout, "The Drunken Clam," and again in "Airport '07" after he, Peter and Cleveland hijacked an airplane in order to have Quagmire re-hired as a pilot (they were reportedly raped by inmates while doing time).

Though a capable officer, Joe has been known to abuse his authority. In "Barely Legal," instead of looking out for suspects related to Brian and Meg's disappearance in this episode (it turns out that Meg kidnapped Brian), Joe spies on Bonnie from Peter's house as she undresses (pretending that she's a stranger who's getting naked). In "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One," Joe blackmails a woman into aiding Lois' campaign for mayor, disregarding the fact that the woman was a victim of rape and being questioned.

Disability

As seen in "A Hero Sits Next Door", Joe suffered his paralyzing injury on Christmas Eve, 1989, while he was investigating the robbery of an orphanage by the Grinch. After a brief brawl, the Grinch slid a roller-skate under his feet. He went flying over the side and landed hard, injuring his spine. The accident is also mentioned in the Christmas special.

To make up for his disability, Joe has developed massive upper-body strength, being able to propel his wheelchair as fast as an able-bodied person can run (though, in the flashback, he has the same build). He also doesn't let his disability stop him from performing physical tasks, such as water skiing, roller skating, sledding, choreographing local musicals, driving, and in one instance, climbing a street lamp.

In "The Perfect Castaway", Joe is marooned on an island with Peter, Cleveland and Quagmire for several months. During this period, Peter eats his legs on the grounds that Joe doesn't need them. After the men are rescued, Joe is given a new pair of legs in a transplant from a death row inmate. Unfortunately, since the prisoner was also handicapped, he is still unable to walk.

In "I Take Thee Quagmire", Peter, Cleveland and Joe take Quagmire to a strip club for his bachelor party. A stripper is shown dancing around Joe's lap, with him yelling in anger and saying "WHY DO YOU BRING ME HERE!?"

In "", Joe is one of the few members of the now-elderly friends not to be in a wheelchair in the future, as Bonnie's legs were transplanted on after her death. He is seen getting up out of his chair and shouting "Who wears short-shorts? I wear short-shorts!"

In "Long John Peter", Chris tries to ask the adults for advice on sex. Joe attempts to help Chris, only for Chris to brush him off, wanting to ask the others, who are "not broken from the waist down." After Joe attempts to convince Chris that paraplegics can have sex just as well as anyone else, only to have Chris insult him, he breaks down crying (his wheezing sob is then recorded by Peter on his cell phone as his new ring tone).

In some episodes, Joe gets feeling or movement in his lower body. In "And the Wiener Is...," he miraculously regains his ability to walk after flying off a sled, but he is hit by his son on the sled and paralyzed yet again soon afterwards. In "Chick Cancer," after watching a bad movie Peter made, he says that his "ass is actually sore" (this was only sarcasm, indicating that the film was boring).

With the exception of their first meeting, Peter often overlooks Joe's paralysis. In "Petarded", Peter misinterprets Joe's use of a wheelchair as a sign of him being mentally retarded rather than physically handicapped. Even after Joe tells him he is handicapped, Peter says he's just "splitting hairs". In "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", Joe falls into the water, and Peter tells him to kick. When Lois tells him that Joe's a paraplegic, Peter (oblivious to Joe's condition) responds "That doesn't mean he can't hear!" and continues to tell Joe to kick. In "Chick Cancer", while directing a movie, Peter tells Joe to get up and walk, saying "his "character" can walk"; he even goes so far as to have Chris jolt him out of the chair with a cattle prod. Later on, Joe's character is seen in the wheelchair with crudely animated legs in front of the wheelchair to provide the cheap illusion that he's walking. However, in "Love Thy Trophy", Peter justifies stealing Joe's ladder by saying "It's a ladder, he can't use it! It's like taking a watch off a dead guy." Similarly, while giving Quagmire good reasons to get a lap dance, he mentions that the others can't as he is married and "Joe is dead from the waist down". Peter is also known to joke about Joe's paralysis as well; in "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou", while the guys are playing golf, Peter asks Joe, "What's your handicap?", to which Joe angrily responds that the joke doesn't get old. Also, in "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", Peter notes how hard Lois is working in her campaign for mayor, while they're just sitting around "like a bunch of lazy, paraplegic cops." Joe naturally seems offended by this, uttering "Huh?", and Peter quickly says "I'm sorry, Joe, it's just an expression"; Joe merely says "Ah" and drops it.

It is implied through several jokes in the show that Joe is incontinent and wears adult diapers. In "Brian the Bachelor", when Chris leaves a burning bag of feces at his door step, Joe takes his legs in his hands and uses them to stomp out the fire. Realizing what was contained in the bag, he screams out, "Doodie!", prompting his wife to call back, "I'm doing the dishes, Joe. I'll change you in a minute." In another episode, "Airport '07", Quagmire loses his job as a pilot and temporarily takes a job caring for Joe. He is shown changing Joe's diaper, and is spouting a stream of baby talk at Joe, which gets so degrading that Joe asks Quagmire to assist him in suicide (This scene is only shown when aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line-up and released on DVD; it is not shown on FOX). In the episode "Back to the Woods", when James Woods steals Peter's identity and provides proof that he is Peter, he orders the real Peter to strip down, all the way to the poop sack. Peter and Woods are both very surprised by this order, and in turn, Joe is surprised and shocked to find out that not everybody wears a poop sack, and yells at Bonnie for telling him otherwise. It should be noted that several other characters in the show have worn adult diapers for the sake of a joke, including Peter, Brian, and Quagmire. It should also be noted that Joe would be unable to use the toilet because he is paralyzed from the waist down, and during events where he was not crippled, no incontinence was implied.

Joe's paralysis often causes people to undermine him. In "Long John Peter", Joe offers to talk to Chris about sex, but Chris turns him down, calmly at first, but Joe becomes so demanding that Chris angrily calls Joe a "two-wheeled monster", prompting him to break down and cry. Later on, he shows up with Bonnie, claiming that they both had sex, even though Bonnie seems nonchalant of the event, as opposed to Joe's enthusiasm. During a game of charades, where the category is "famous people", everybody initially makes guesses of people in wheelchairs, such as Ironside, Larry Flynt, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Strangelove, and Roy Campanella. In the episode "Love Blactually", Joe turns up at a costume party as Mark Spitz, but Peter, Cleveland and Quagmire mistake him for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stephen Hawking, and crippled Magnum P.I.

In the episode "Believe It Or Not, Joe's Walking On Air" Joe gets his legs back through an experimental leg transplant, but, like most large changes in "Family Guy", it is undone by the end of the episode. Joe makes many changes in his life after the transplant, including ditching Peter, Quagmire, and Cleveland for newer, more athletic friends (with very similar names), and leaving Bonnie, believing she is holding him back. After hearing of the latter and becoming outraged by it, Peter, Quagmire and Cleveland decide to re-cripple Joe, hoping that doing so will make him stop acting like a jerk. When Joe returns home, the three are armed with weapons, but Joe easily beats them with his newly regained strength, despite the fact that they all ganged up on him at once. Bonnie then comes out with a gun with the same mission, but her bad aim causes her to shoot Joe in the head, the buttocks, and many more places except Joe's spine, eventually prompting Joe to grab the gun and shoot himself. Afterwards, he apologizes to Peter and the others for his behavior at the Drunken Clam.

Anger Issues

It is revealed in some episodes that Joe has severe anger issues; whenever he gets extremely agitated or aroused, he always screams at the top of his lungs in relation to whatever is currently tensing him up, often accompanied by unnecessarily violent outbursts (it was mentioned on DVD commentary that the writers put in these outbursts because they loved having Patrick Warburton scream) . For example, in "The Fat Guy Strangler", when Lois tells Peter to go to the doctor for a checkup, he instead goes to eat steaks with his friends. Each member of the crowd, except for Joe, eat at least two or more, and taunt Joe for not even finishing one. After an onrush of taunting comments (i.e. Joe says "I'm full", Peter replies "What are you full of? Estrogen?"), he pulls out his service-issued gun, screaming, "I SAID I'M NOT HUNGRY!!!" and starts shooting it at the steak, adding "WHERE IS IT NOW, HUH?!". Brian calms Joe and pulls the gun away saying, "I'll just put this in your purse next to your tampons."

In E. Peterbus Unum, Joe is seen watching a Steven Segal film while Bonnie is asleep and suddenly yells out: "YES!! LOCK AND LOAD!! LOCK AND LOAD!! BRING ON THE PAIN!!!!!", causing Bonnie to jump right out of the bed.

Another incident of this is in "Sibling Rivalry"; when Cleveland asks if Joe would ever get a vasectomy, Joe shakes Cleveland violently as he screams "NEVER!!!", then repeatedly smashes his head against the table.

In "Road to Rupert", when Joe comes to revoke Peter's driver's license for the property damage (and rape, as there was a virgin woman whose hymen busted in one of the cars Peter crushed) that were caused by his failed Evel Knievel stunt the day before, Peter teases him by holding his license up in the air where Joe can't reach it, attempting to make him jump for it; Joe tries to reason with Peter calmly, and eventually ends up screaming at him: "Peter, you're startin' to piss me off--YOU'RE STARTIN' TO PISS ME OFF!!" He then whacks Peter in the stomach with his nightstick, then calmly grabs Peter's license and leaves.

He also gets angry at Christmas time since that was when he was paralyzed; in "A Very Special Family Guy Freaking Christmas" he furiously yells at and breaks several gingerbread men. It is hinted briefly that Joe takes steroids. However in one episode, while participating in the Special Olympics, he argues against using them (though Peter spikes his water bottle with them).

Joe also seems to lack sarcasm and always wants to win an argument; when he and Peter trade disagreements over Queen Latifah's actions in her movie "Last Holiday" in Airport '07 (with Peter saying sarcastically, "Oh no she didn't [fall as she skied] !" and Joe responding, "Oh yes she did!"), Joe ends the conversation by abruptly shouting, "YES SHE DID, PETER! I JUST SAW HER!" prompting Peter to drop it.

Joe doesn't take handicap jokes very well either; when Peter asks what Joe's handicap is while playing golf, Joe responds (with sarcastic laughter) "OH! EVERY HOLE! THAT'S ONE JOKE THAT JUST DOESN'T GET OLD!".

In the aforementioned "A Very Special Family Guy Freaking Christmas", when Peter and his friends are going to party across the street, Joe tells Peter to drive, as they need one sober driver; Peter disagrees, but then Joe attacks him, grabs his beer, and snarls "I'm a cop first and a buddy second, so don't think I won't throw your drunk-drivin' ass in the SLAMMER!"

See also

* List of characters from Family Guy


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