10 Questions with FAMILY GUY's Seth McFarlane - Part Two (Mania.com)

By:Patrick Sauriol
Date: Monday, September 15, 2003

Welcome to the second part of my interview with FAMILY GUY overlord/creator Seth McFarlane. If you haven't as yet read the first portion of the i-view, get thee to this webpage and start reading. I'll wait for you.

Now that we're all caught up, here's where we're at. Fox Home Video has brought out the third and final season's worth of FAMILY GUY episodes on DVD and a lot of people are watching the show in syndication, granting McFarlane's creation a very healthy second life after cancellation. So what's the future hold for the Griffins and for McFarlane himself? Are the rumors of a FAMILY GUY movie true or make believe? Hey, if Joss Whedon can get a movie out of a 13-episode series on Fox (at another movie studio, no less), it should be a cinch for a big-budget FAMILY GUY movie to get greenlighted, right?

Time to find out:

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Q6: The second volume of FAMILY GUY contains the episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" which Fox decided to not broadcast during the show's run. Looking back now, what are your thought on the network's decision to censor this episode?

McFARLANE: They're no different. The fact that it did not air had nothing to do with content, I guarantee it. It was the kind of thing where...you know when a military general makes a decision and it turns out to be wrong? He can't back off because he doesn't want to look weak in front of his troops. It's that type of thing.

The people who decided it was not fit to be aired stood by that, and there were an equal number of people fighting to get it on the air and it became this dick contest which really had nothing to do with the episode itself. You know, it was blessed by a rabbi? We have a letter from a very prominent rabbi signing off on the episode saying it's OK, Peter learns the right lesson in the end. It became this absurd fight for the sake of fighting. I don't think that the episode is any more offensive than "Holy Crap" and the one with the Pope. I think "Holy Crap" is more offensive. Many, many people have said regarding "Weinstein" that that episode is arguably more offensive to Catholics than it is to Jews.

Q7: I read online that you were almost on one of the hijacked flights on September 11? Is that true?

McFARLANE: It did happen. I was giving a lecture in Rhode Island at my old college the night before and I was booked on Flight 11. It was a combination of being hung-over the next day and my travel agent writing down the wrong time. She wrote down 8:15 instead of 7:45 so I got there about 7:30 and they said that they had just closed the gates, you're too late. And that was the first flight that hit.

Q: God. I also read that you couldn't get a hold of your wife or the office too, and no one knew you were safe and OK...?

McFARLANE: Why is that on there? I'm not married, I don't have kids! I did get a hold of my parents within the first twenty minutes. I mean, this is why I don't have the internet...

Q: That's why I had to nail this down, it sounded a little too far-fetched...

McFARLANE: I just don't believe anything that I read online!

Q: It's true. Guys like us are responsible. And you're being interviewed for an online publication.

McFARLANE: [laughs] I'm not married, ladies!

Q: OK, important to know!

McFARLANE: But yeah, it was pretty intense though. I was very horrified and relieved at the same time.

Q8: Looking back, was there anything taboo that you didn't tackle on the show that now you wish you went ahead with it?

McFARLANE: Not really. That wasn't really where the line was. Anything that we tried to tackle that was too taboo would get nixed by the censors. If anything there were things that we weren't allowed to do that even now, a few years later, we, y'know...I mean, that DeBeers diamond gag where there's two silhouettes and she's going down on the guy, we could do that completely now. They made us cut it much earlier beforehand. I think two nights after that episode aired, I think it was an episode of DAWSON'S CREEK on with a girl going down out-of-frame clearly to give the guy a blow job. [laughs]

There were things that we would censor ourselves on but it was common sense and taste issues. Like we would not do a September 11th gag, I mean, it's just common sense things.

Q9: Now there's been some talk that because of the huge sales of the FAMILY GUY DVD there might be a movie happening one day in the future. Can you tell us what's going on there?

McFARLANE: It's all come down to the budget right now. We're hashing it out. Yeah, it's a very likely...my guess is that we're going to jump into it pretty soon. It would be a direct-to-DVD project.

Q: And you'd be getting all the cast back together for it? Well I mean, you're half the cast right there.

McFARLANE: [chuckle] I'm going to hand everything over to Pauly Shore who really does a great Stewie. I think that he's really going to be able to bring the same level of energy of character.

Q: And it's going to be with the same studio, with Fox?

McFARLANE: Different division, same studio.

Q: Have you guys been talking about a timeframe or any storylines at this point...?

McFARLANE: Yeah, we've been talking about a couple of storylines. Timeframe, you're probably looking at a year, year-and-a-half down the line. It'd take a while to make. If you could do it within a year it'd be very exciting.

Q: Can you mention any of the possible storylines?

McFARLANE: We're kicking around...there was an episode we had written that didn't air because we got cancelled that we're talking about expanding. It has to do with Stewie realizing that he's a homosexual...

Q: Well, there were clues throughout the series.

McFARLANE: Seems like a logical movie story.

Q10: OK, final question: what's in your DVD player right now?

McFARLANE: Ah boy. Now I have to get up...wait while I push eject...

ROCKY III. ROCKY III is in my DVD player. [laughing] Clubber Lang! I watched that about a week ago.

Q: If you've gotta have just one ROCKY movie, it's gotta be the one with Mr. T.

McFARLANE: Hey, I got all the ROCKY movies, make no mistake about it. That's a commentary that I'd love to hear! Mr. T and Sylvester Stallone sitting in the room: [putting on a Stallone accent]: Ay, ay, ay, settle down Lang!

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And that wraps up my interview with FAMILY GUY creator Seth McFarlane. All of the show's episodes are now available on two DVD volumes from Fox Home Video. For those of you still holding out for a comeback of VHS, the show is aired daily on TBS and on Cartoon Network. And don't forget, ROCKY III is available wherever fine quality DVDs are sold (commentary track not available.)