“Family Guy’’ executive producers Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin spoke Sunday about the evolution of the animated show following the latest episode, which saw main character Peter Griffin face off with a cartoon President Trump.
At one point in the episode, Peter tells Trump that the show — “Family Guy,’’ that is — is “trying to phase out’’ gay jokes, which for years were a staple of the Fox comedy, created by Seth MacFarlane and now in its 17th season.
In an interview with TVLine, Appel and Sulkin shared their thoughts on the shift in “Family Guy.’’
“If you look at a show from 2005 and 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 and 2019, they’re going to have a few differences,’’ Sulkin said. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.’’
Specifically, the show poked fun at Stewie, the adult-like baby who was often the butt of many gay jokes. Stewie is the youngest member of the Griffin family, who live in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island.
“It’s almost unique to ‘Family Guy,’ though I can think of one other show that’s been on the air longer,’’ Appel said. “But if a show has literally been on the air for 20 years, the culture changes. And it’s not us reacting and thinking, ‘They won’t let us [say certain things].’ No, we’ve changed, too. The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different.’’
The producers also addressed the politics of the show in light of the episode’s unflattering potrayal of the president.
“To any conservative who might say, ‘How dare they?’ there’s a famous Reggie Jackson quote he gave to a reporter who asked what it’s like to get booed all the time. He said, ‘They don’t boo nobodies’,’’ Sulkin explained. “Whatever you think of Trump, he’s not a nobody. He’s our president, and we’re kind of booing him, but you don’t boo nobodies.’’