“Family Guy” is widely known for its funny moments and just-on-the-edge of offensive comments. The show previously crossed the threshold from funny to offensive in 2010, when it aired an episode that was widely declared transphobic.
The much-talked-about episode introduced a new character, Ida Davis, who happened to be the father of one of the regulars. In addition to being a war hero, Ida was also transgender. The ensuring scenes saw the various reactions to the character as well as Brian Griffin’s harsh response after having sex with Ida.
According to the show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, there were no significant changes he would make to the episode if given a chance. The producer also claimed that the episode recounted actual life events of one of the show’s writers.
‘Family Guy’ Controversial Episode
“Family Guy” creator MacFarlane doesn’t see anything wrong with a controversial episode of the series, which aired over a decade ago. The episode, titled “Quagmire’s Dad,” aired in 2010 and drew in a lot of criticism at the time for what was referred to as transphobic content.
The controversial episode introduced Ida, who was transgender and a Vietnam war hero. Ida was also the father of one of the long-running characters, Quagmire, who underwent gender confirmation surgery.
After undergoing surgery, Ida had sex with Brian. When Brian discovered the character was a trans woman, he didn’t mince words while expressing his disgust. The episode was heavily criticized by the LGBTQ advocacy groups such as GLAAD, which claimed that it was “incredibly offensive to transgender people.”
Seth MacFarlane Defended ‘Family Guy’ Episode
Despite the backlash and condemnation, the show’s creator, MacFarlane, defended the episode. The producer even voiced Ida on the show.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published last week, MacFarlane revealed that the story mostly stemmed from the personal experience of a writer in the series, Steve Callaghan. He said, “There isn’t a big change I would make. It’s more about individual moments and individual jokes.”
The producer added that the intention behind the episode was to show that the character’s father, despite his apparent changes, was one to be held in high esteem. “The intent of the ‘Family Guy’ episode was to show that Quagmire’s father was still a war hero, and still someone that he could look up to and respect,” MacFarlane explained.
‘Family Guy’ Producers To Remove LGBTQ Jokes
Earlier in 2019, the producers of the show announced their decision to phase out all the jokes concerning the LGBTQ that was attracting criticism. While talking to TVLine, the executive producer mentioned the change in times since “Family Guy” first aired, revealing that they now understood that certain things about it weren’t acceptable.
Alec Sulkin said, “If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they’re going to have a few differences… Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand, is not acceptable.”
Another executive producer, Rich Appel, revealed that due to the culture shifting and evolving, they had to go with the flow. “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’… No, we’ve changed too,” he said.
Seth MacFarlane Created ‘The Orville’
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Besides “Family Guy,” MacFarlane tried his hand at another television series, “The Orville,” in 2017. The show aired on Fox for two seasons, and for its third season, it was picked up by Hulu. Much like “Family Guy,” some episodes of “The Orville” dealt with topics concerning gender identity and had mixed results.
During his interview, MacFarlane compared the two series, pointing out that the story could turn out differently on “Family Guy” compared to “The Orville.” “Now, certainly the language of ‘Family Guy’ makes that story a little bit different than it would be on something like ‘The Orville,’ but I think that’s something that gets lost a little bit at times when we think of that show, that Steve was writing from experience.”
The producer added, “But ‘The Orville’ just requires a different kind of storytelling, and to be blunt, I enjoy it more. I’ve never enjoyed a writing process more than I have on this show.”
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