Family Guy is making an effort to “phase out” gay jokes, something that has become synonymous with the Fox animated series since its conception in 1999.
On Sunday’s episode, titled “Trump Guy,” Peter Griffin, while serving as Trump’s secretary, informed the President that the series would be “trying to phase out" jokes that come at the expense of the LGBT community.
Speaking to TV Line following the episode, executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel confirmed that the line was not just for the sake of the episode, but was a move that the series will be making moving forward.
“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 said. "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 added. “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."
The announcement follows an episode last May, titled “Send in Stewie, Please,” in which Stewie discusses his own sexuality while in a therapy session after he gets into an altercation with another boy at school. Stewie has long been on the receiving end of gay jokes on the series.
In the episode, Stewie claimed that “fluid is something I hear being tossed around, but I’m confident in my heterosexuality,” claiming that he did not push Tyler down because he’s gay, but because he was “afraid he won’t like me back.”
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane revealed in 2009 that an episode had been written in which Stewie would come out as gay, though the episode had ultimately been scrapped.0comments
“We had an episode that went all the way to the script phase in which Stewie does come out,” MacFarlane said, according to Digital Spy. “But we decided it’s better to keep it vague, which makes more sense because he’s a 1-year-old. Ultimately, Stewie will be gay or a very unhappy repressed heterosexual…He has a lot of aggression, which comes from confusion and uncertainty about his orientation.”
The decision to phase out gay jokes comes amid a tumultuous time for those who have made similar jokes in the past. Most recently, Kevin Hart found himself embroiled in a scandal after he was announced as host for the Oscars. After a number of homophobic tweets resurfaced, Hart announced that he was stepping down as host.