Long-running animated series Family Guy is planning to phase out jokes centered around gay people, as reported by Deadline.
The animated comedy, which currently airs on Fox, is no stranger to criticism. Having been on the air since 1999 — with a brief hiatus taking place in the early 2000s — the show, created by TV veteran Seth MacFarlane, follows the antics and exploits of the Griffin family, which consists of parents Peter and Lois, their three children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie, and their anthropomorphic dog, Brian.
The show, set in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island, is best known for its criticism and satirical take on American culture, as well as its heavy reliance on cutaway gags and vignettes, which often have no direct impact or relation to an episode’s plot.
Having been on the air for nearly 20 years — the first episode premiered on January 31, 1999 — Family Guy has achieved mainstream success and, at times, critical acclaim. The show continues to pull in strong ratings for Fox, and at the time of writing, has aired 320 episodes across 17 seasons. Family Guy has also garnered its fair share of awards, having won eight Primetime Emmy Awards (with 25 nominations total), as well as three Annie Awards.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) January 15, 2019
Still, despite its success over the years, Family Guy has come under fire for its many controversial episodes, which often rely on racial humor, violent and gory images, and — as some critics argue — an overreliance on cutaway gags.
That being said, it seems like the creative team behind the show is actively looking to improve and cater to the ever-changing cultural landscape. Speaking to Deadline, executive producers Richard Appel and Alec Sulkin explain that despite still being politically correct, Family Guy is looking to evolve and grow. This starts with the phasing out of jokes centered around homosexuals.
“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,” Sulkin explained. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”
Appel also explained how, over the course of 20 years, the cultural and political climate has shifted, and in turn, the views of the creative team have changed as well.
— IGN (@IGN) January 15, 2019
Alec Sulkin also took the time to address a recent episode, where President Donald Trump found himself on the receiving end of a beatdown. He explained that the show tries to stay balanced, at least politically.
“We’ve had some episodes in the past that had some left leanings in them,” Sulkin said. “But we take hard shots all around. We’ve made fun of the Clintons and Barack Obama. It’s not like we would avoid anyone because we vote this way or that way. In any time that Family Guy has been on, we’ve pointed out idiots and the dumb things they do. This just happens to be our current person, and it would be no different if a Democrat were doing something idiotic, which they do.”
Family Guy is by no means the only animated show that has come under fire for their reliance on stereotypes and racial humor. Last year, The Simpsons drew criticism for its continued portrayal of longtime character Apu, whose backstory, mannerisms, and dialogue are centered around negative stereotypes commonly associated with South Asians. Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary, The Problem with Apu, also criticized the continued casting of Hank Azaria as Apu — per reporting by the Inquisitr — likening it to a modern form of blackface.