"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane seems determined to become the Norman Lear of the animated world. Last month he told the Television Critics Association about an unaired episode of the show in which matriarch Lois had an abortion. And last night the cast performed the script live at a Hollywood theater for TV academy members.
Panels are meeting this month to evaluate the episodes submitted by Emmy contenders such as "Family Guy." The animated antics of the Griffins landed a nod in the comedy series category. But, according to MacFarlane, all is not as it seems on "Family Guy."
In an interview in the new issue of Playboy, MacFarlane reveals that baby Stewie is gay. "We had an episode that went all the way to the script phase in which Stewie does come out,” said MacFarlane. As he explains, "It had to do with the harassment he took from other kids at school. He ends up going back in time to prevent a passage in Leviticus from being written: 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is an abomination.' But we decided it’s better to keep it vague, which makes more sense because he’s a 1-year-old."
Predicts MacFarlane, "Ultimately, Stewie will be gay or a very unhappy repressed heterosexual. It also explains why he’s so hellbent on killing [his mother, Lois] and taking over the world: He has a lot of aggression, which comes from confusion and uncertainty about his orientation."
Lois was at the center of the never-seen "Partial Terms of Endearment," taking on the role of surrogate mother for an infertile couple. After they are killed in a car crash, Lois must decide whether to continue with the pregnancy. MacFarlane changed the ambiguous ending to one where patriarch Peter tells the viewer that his wife went through with the abortion. Though the episode never aired on Fox, MacFarlane expects it to be part of a future DVD release.
Over seven seasons, "Family Guy" has time and again courted controversy. Not surprisingly, even their recent "For Your Consideration" Emmy campaign was an eyebrow-raiser. The DVD package shipped to all 14,000 TV academy members included a string of printed messages poking fun at the whole nominating process. Among the zingers: "We peaked three years ago, so by your logic we should get an Emmy now" and " 'Family Guy': with Tina Fey! (Not really, we just want an Emmy)."
This audacious plan worked, as "Family Guy" became the first animated show to contend for best comedy series at the Emmy Awards since "The Flintstones" landed a nod in 1961. That modern stone-age family lost to "The Jack Benny Program."
"Family Guy" succeeded where "The Simpsons" had failed. After sweeping the animation
race in the early 1990s, "The Simpsons" moved over to compete in the
comedy category, but got shut out in 1993 and 1994. Frustrated
producers gave up in 1995 and moved back to animation where it has dominated ever since. "Family Guy" has only contended for animated series three times – twice it lost to "The
Simpsons," once to "South Park."