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TV, Comic Books
The Family Guy panel at Comic-Con International was packed with fans eager to ask the cast and crew inappropriate question, and receive even more inappropriate answers, all in the spirit of the animated Fox sitcom.
What began as a standard introduction, with co-showrunner Mark Hentemann bringing out fellow showunner Steve Callaghan, creator Seth MacFarlane and stars Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mike Henry and Mila Kunis, quickly devolved into a make-out session as Green decided he would kiss each of the panelists as they walked on stage. Callaghan extended his kiss into an embrace, while Henry instigated a full-fledged humping session, setting the tone for the presentation.
But before the participants could get too wild, the audience was shown a reel featuring extended scenes from the upcoming season premiere, as well as shorter clips from later episodes. In the premiere, the Griffins begin a relationship with Lois’ ex-boyfriend and his family, and they all decide to climb Mount Everest. Quagmire is seen with a toupee for at least part of the episode, while Peter barfs up an icicle — or “barfcicle” — and gives it to Brian as a treat (barfsicle).
In other episodes, Peter drives his car all over the lawn, and then makes Lois clean up the mess; Peter asks Spider-Man to swing them across to another building, to some snide responses from wall-crawler; Brian massages Lois’ breasts while she thinks it’s a cat doing it; and Meg sends Brian and Stewie back in time, and then accidentally reverses time, resulting in numerous scenes throughout the years played backward.
Callaghan described some other episodes from the upcoming season, which involve Quagmire accidentally marrying a hooker, Peter becoming a meth dealer, and the Griffins becoming a Nielsen family.
Hentemann confirmed that the “reverse-time episode” would be the 200th episode, and then turned to audience questions. And, for better or worse, the fans asking the questions often became the topic of conversation.
Asked if any celebrities parodied on the show ever get offended, MacFarlane said, “Yeah, we’ve had a few people get angry.”
“I can play you the phone messages if you like,“ Green added. “I got Sarah Jessica Parker’s voicemail.”
“We had Carol Burnett get all up in her panties once,“ Borstein replied.
MacFarlane elaborated, saying, “There was a sequence where Quagmire was in a sex shop, and … the Washer Woman, which was the iconic Carol Burnet character from the old show, she came in and wiped up some white stuff that was on the floor of the sex shop, and either Carol Burnett or her lawyers became very upset about that, and filed some sort of funny business, and I guess we won. I don’t know I didn’t really follow up.”
Henry clarified, “Carol Burnet twas a comedian before most of you were born,” to which Green added, “She really pioneered some improvisation sketch comedy. She’s pretty cool.”
A man eating mayonnaise directly from the jar asked whether they had ever considering a crossover between Family Guy and American Dad. However, Kunis was so distracted by his eating that she was at a loss for words.
“It would probably taste better if, instead of using a spoon, you used a stick of butter,” Green suggested.
“Is that a character, are you dressed as ‘Mayo Guy’?” Borstein asked.
“He’s got a backpack full of mayo,” Green added.
“What’s the purpose of eating the mayo?” Kunis asked.
“It’s a new Hollywood diet,” Green replied. Eventually, the perplexed panel members did answer that, “We’ve already done that, Mayo Man.”
Asked who the fan is that came up with the viewer-mail episode, where everything Peter touches turns into Robin Williams, Callaghan said, “Here’s a secret. There wasn’t really a letter. We just came up with that.”
MacFarlane added sheepishly, “Yeah, the idea was, way back, for the viewer episode to inspire people to write in, and there could be some interaction with the fans, but this never happened. So if anyone wants to write in for one of the viewer-mail episodes, that would be nice.”
Asked whether they’ll spoof any more movies, MacFarlane said, “We may. You know, we got lucky with the folks at Lucasfilm, because they have a very progressive attitude towards parody. They’re probably the only company out there that has that progressive attitude, where they get that the media landscape out there is just different now, and you can actually keep your brand alive by people kind of having some fun with it. We’ve thought about doing Star Trek or Indiana Jones or one of the other series. It’s all about getting the rights, and not everyone is as enlightened as George Lucas.”
An audience member asked, in the voice of Herbert, whether the old man will return this season. Henry replied in the character’s voice that, “We’re doing one where Chris gets mad at his parents, and moves in with Herbert this year.”
Green added, “There’s actually a really great scene where they go to bed, I’ll just say, in the same room.”
After going down the road for a while with the talking about Chris and Herbert doing it, MacFarlane noticed the sign in front of him said not to use adult language, and laughed, “Little f’ing late for that, I guess.”
“Let’s face it, if you’re in this room, the damage was probably already done,” Green added.
MacFarlane was asked if he plans to produce any more musical albums. After singing a bit of one song, he said, “There are tentative plans to do another one of these things. I don’t know whether it will actually happen, but we would like to do one more. It remains to be seen. There’s been talk of a Christmas album, but who knows.”
Asked whether Chris misses the evil monkey on the show, Green answered, “I think that Chris and the monkey probably did a fair bit of bonding, and I don’t write for the show, maybe?”
Asked how the producers went about finding the voice actors for Famil,y Guy, MacFarlane said, “They came from different places. Alex Borstein was on MAD TV at the time. … Mila and Seth, this was the audition process. Mila was the only person who came in that felt real. We get a lot of people coming in with cartoony voices, and we wanted Meg to feel like a real person. And Seth Green, he came in to do Chris. … Everyone came in doing, like, a surfer-dude impression, I guess because of the long blond hair. Seth came in and did an impression of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.”
Green then did a string of lines in that voice, including a drive-through worker, and said he did it on a dare at the audition. “I guess the moral of this story is always accept a dare,” he said.
What will the next road episode will be?
Callaghan answered, “Our season finale is an episode called ‘Roads to Vegas’, in which Stewie and Brian teleport themselves to Vegas but unknowingly create a duplicate of each other. One set of Stewie and Brian has the best possible Las Vegas experience, and the other has the worst possible Las Vegas experience. I’ll leave it at that … but it’s going to be a great episode.”
Family Guy returns Sept. 30 on Fox.