Family Guy is trying to phase out homophobic humor. This week’s unusually political episode of Family Guy centered around Peter getting a job at the White House and culminated in a five-minute “chicken fight” with the President, but in the episode, there is an exchange about the type of jokes the nearly 20-year-old show is delivering.
In the episode titled Trump Guy, the fictionalized Donald Trump says to Peter, “Many children have learned their favorite Jewish, black, and gay jokes by watching your show over the years.” To which Peter responds, “In fairness, we’ve been trying to phase out the gay stuff. But you know what? We’re a cartoon. You’re the president.”
While the line could be written off as a joke, executive producers Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin assured audiences that they are serious about trying to do less gay jokes. In an interview with TVLine, Sulkin said, “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 chimed in, “It’s almost unique to Family Guy, though I can think of one other show that’s been on the air longer. But 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. 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.”
In the episode, the character of Ivanka Trump describes her father as “a fat idiot who once had a hit television show and who over time has worn out his welcome,” which serves as a meta-commentary on Peter. The team behind Family Guy knows that some viewers see them as “wearing out their welcome” and they have to adapt and keep up with the times.