Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane opened up about the show’s controversial handling of its trans character.
Since its debut in 1999, the show has gained notoriety and infamy for its raunchy and offensive jokes regarding numerous societal topics.
One of the biggest criticisms the show has received is its handling of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically its trans character Ida Quagmire.
Back in 2010, the character made her debut during the series’ eighth season. Throughout the episode, Ida was on the receiving end of various transphobic and homophobic jokes – which included being compared to a sex offender and various double entendres related to her Navy background.
Shortly after the episode aired, LGBTQ+ organisations condemned the show and Macfarlane for reinforcing harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community.
“The episode has ignited significant controversy among the LGBT community, with the predominant opinion being that the episode was incredibly offensive to transgender people,” GLAAD said in a statement at the time.
Although MacFarlane has received pushback for his handling of trans topics, it still hasn’t stopped him from including LGBTQ+ characters in his other hit show, The Orville: New Horizons.
However, unlike Family Guy, LGBTQ+ viewers have recently praised the Ted star for his storyline regarding the character Topa, who came out as trans during episode five of season three.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, MacFarlane was asked if the inclusive storyline was included as a way to “atone” for his jokes in the past, to which he responded “no.”
“Look, there are always things that you would do differently when you look back at earlier points in your career. There isn’t a big change I would make. It’s more about the individual moments and individual jokes,” he said.
“The intent of the Family Guy episode was to show that Quagmire’s father was still a war hero and still someone that he could look up to and respect.
“Actually, that episode was written by Steve Callaghan, a writer on Family Guy, who had the same experience with his own parent – his father had transitioned to a woman – and he was writing in many ways, from his own experience.”
Toward the end of his statement, Macfarlane said that the difference in language between The Orville and Family Guy “gets lost a little bit at times” amongst viewers.
MacFarlane’s statement comes a few years after the show’s executive producer announced that Family Guy would be “phasing out” LGBTQ+ centred jokes.
“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,” producer Alec Sulkin told TV Line.
“Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand, is not acceptable.”