San Diego Comic-Con may not be happening in person this year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy some fun panel conversations with the creative minds behind some of our favorite entertainment thanks to [email protected].
This afternoon’s panel for FOX’s Family Guy (distributed by the now-Disney-owned 20th Television) brought together executive producers Rich Appel, Kara Vallow, and Alec Sulkin, cast members Alex Borstein (Lois Griffin), Seth Green (Chris Griffin), and Mila Kunis (Meg Griffin), plus series creator and voice of Peter, Stewie, and Brian Griffin (among others) Seth MacFarlane to discuss the long-running animated sitcom. In the bullet-point list below, I’ve collected some of the more interesting tidbits to come out of this conversation.
- Seth MacFarlane says he begins every conversation by talking about the importance of registering to vote. (Visit IAmAVoter.com to make sure you are registered).
- Family Guy’s 19th season begins on Sunday, September 27 with the show’s 350th episode.
- They selected the first act from an early episode– season 4’s “Model Misbehavior”– to table-read together during this stream. The episode seems to have certain jokes updated to contain more contemporary references, such as the “Josh Gad toilet” in the Playboy Mansion.
- COVID has changed the way Hollywood operates. Animated series are the few productions still up and running. Alex Borstein is recording in a grow tent– “It’s like a 1950s sweat box.” Mila Kunis records in her kids’ closet because it has carpeted floors. Production sound mixer and “audio genius” Patrick Clark set everyone up remotely. Seth Green records in a book closet and he bought foam pieces off amazon and velcroed them to the walls and shelves.
- Kara Vallow says the biggest challenge has been setting up the show’s AVID editors at home and recording actors that are not in the main cast.
- Seth MacFarlane’s favorite episode is “And Then There Were Fewer,” the Clue-inspired episode. Alex Borstein has a lot of favorite recurring moments that she loves. Her favorite Lois line is “Who wants chowder?” Mila Kunis’s favorite line is Stewie says “Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mommy.” Her kids don’t get it. Seth Green loves the time travel episode because of how complicated but scientifically accurate it is.
- Seth MacFarlane was 24 when he sold Family Guy and became the youngest show creator and showrunner in TV history.
- Quagmire is based on commercial voice actors from old 1940s radio dramas Seth MacFarlane used to listen to. He says sometimes drawings have prompted voices of characters and sometimes the voice prompts the characters’ designs.
- Alex Borstein says Lois’s voice is stolen from a family member. When she met Seth she was doing a sketch comedy show where a character had a very similar voice.
- Seth Green says the inspiration for Chris’s voice was Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, but it has evolved over the years to be more high-pitched.
- The group talked about the differences between voice-over acting and acting in front of a camera.
- How has Family Guy evolved over the past 20 years? Seth says having different showrunners is the big difference. “It’s all kind of a blur.”
- Kara Vallow came in on the third season and made a lot of structural changes. After they got cancelled and came back, improvements were made to the technology. She also had a bigger pool of talent to pull from because there were more artists who had worked on other animated series. Artistically, she says there have been “miles and miles” of improvements over the years.
- Seth says The Simpsons changed the face of animation. “It looked unlike any other show.” The trick with Family Guy was creating a style that was its own thing but still acknowledged the look established by previous shows. “The animated shows that succeed in prime time are strangely overly simplistic.”
- Alex Borstein says the show changes with new writers and having to find fresh ideas after doing so many seasons already. “We need to find more uncharted fields,” says MacFarlane.
- They teased a preview of the upcoming season which can be found on Twitter. They miss the interactions with and reactions from fans at Comic-Con.
A lil' peek at what's to come. 😜
— Family Guy (@FamilyGuyonFOX) July 25, 2020
Family Guy returns Sunday, September 27 on FOX.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.