The animated Fox sitcom Family Guy has long relied on making gags out of gay jokes, including a recurring bit targeting the character Stewie’s ambiguous sexuality. Such off-color humor has been the bread and butter of the Seth MacFarlane-created series’ 17-season-and-counting run, after all. However, this past Sunday’s episode revealed that the show would be attempting to “phase out” its use of homophobic humor.
Entitled “Trump Guy”, the episode saw the titular family guy himself, Peter Griffin, getting tapped as President Trump’s new press secretary. However, when POTUS sexually assaults Meg, Peter gets into a brawl with the cartoon caricature of the caricature of a human.
In their back-and-forth banter, Trump tells Peter, “Many children have learned their favorite Jewish, black, and gay jokes by watching your show over the years.”
“In fairness, we’ve been trying to phase out the gay stuff,” Peter retorts. “But you know what? We’re a cartoon. You’re the president.”
Executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel confirmed the move in an interview with TV Line, expressing how they hope to have the series better reflect the present cultural landscape. Sulkin explained, “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. Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”
Appel added, “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.”
It’s a welcome move for the series, which began airing in 1999. Although, why exactly they need to “phase out” gay jokes rather than just quitting them all at once is unclear.
Watch a clip of last night’s Family Guy below: