It seems like just yesterday when all you’d see is “Family Guy” making gay jokes on TV, but the long-running animated series is pledging to “phase out” humor at the expense of the LGBTQ community in its 17th season.
The Fox sitcom aired a particularly scathing episode titled “Trump Guy” on Sunday night, pulling no punches when it came to President Donald Trump, who had tapped Peter Griffin to be his White House press secretary.
The two, however, come to blows after Trump sexually assaults Peter’s teenage daughter, Meg, in the episode, resulting in an over-the-top brawl through major D.C. landmarks.
“Many children have learned their favorite Jewish, black and gay jokes by watching your show over the years,” Trump yells at Peter in the fight.
“In fairness, we’ve been trying to phase out the gay stuff. But you know what? We’re a cartoon,” he responds. “You’re the president.”
In an interview with TVLine after the episode aired, executive producers Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin doubled down on the commitment put forth by the character, explaining that the show and the writing staff have evolved over the years.
“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,” Sulkin told the outlet. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”
“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,” Appel said. “The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different. They’ve been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways.”
“Family Guy” has historically been an equal-opportunity offender, taking consistent shots at a slew of marginalized groups over the years. Some instances, like a 2010 episode about the gender transition of Quagmire’s father, were labeled transphobic, catching the attention of GLAAD, which expressed “serious concerns” over the messaging.
The show has taken strides since then, especially regarding the character of Stewie, who came out in a 2018 episode, which was hailed as the show’s best outing in years, after seasons of speculation about his sexuality.
Producers also promised that Quagmire, the show’s resident womanizer and sexual assaulter, will face the consequences of his inappropriate behavior in a future episode inspired by the Me Too movement.