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Since Family Guy's pilot episode aired back in 1999, few of Quahog's increasingly outlandish residents have evolved more than Stewie Griffin. Sure, Seth MacFarlane's madcap vocal performance has remained relatively consistent, but Stewie's overarching arc has brought in myriad new elements beyond world domination as the years have gone by. The toddler's ambiguous sexuality is one such element that has consistently been played for laughs, and Family Guy is now going to address that hot-button topic by sending Stewie to therapy in the series' upcoming 301st episode. Here's what executive producer Rich Appel had to say:
It's just a two-character episode with Stewie in his therapist's office for the first time. It's a wonderful episode, and Seth's performance is spectacular. They delve into all sorts of things you would think would come up in a therapy session with a boy like Stewie. When Stewie's with his therapist, they pretty immediately address questions of sexuality. The episode covers that, and then goes to deeper issues for Stewie.
Anyone who knows Family Guy knows it's a show that thrives on moving quickly without ever staying in one place for too long. Alas, that's not what's going to happen in the show's noteworthy 301st episode. The entire story will focus on Stewie sitting with a therapist (voiced in a guest-starring capacity by X-Men vet Ian McKellan), and it will offer a deep dive into the mischievous kiddo's personality and certain proclivities. Stewie's oft-referenced sexuality will come up as a significant topic of conversation, but that's also apparently "the tip of the iceberg" for what the episode will deliver on the character introspection.
None of this is necessarily meant to imply that Family Guy has shied away from Stewie's sexuality over the years. As previously mentioned, the long-running, binge-worthy cartoon has consistently presented commentary about the ambiguity of Stewie's orientation (as well as Meg's) in recent years. However, it's all been more commonly used for laughs than to say anything substantive about Stewie as a character. (In the overall scheme of things, it's usually pretty fantastic when TV shows avoid explaining the sexual preferences of their preschool-aged characters.)
You can check out one such example of how Family Guy plays with that topic below.
The description of this upcoming Family Guy episode offered up to TVLine by Rich Appel seems in-line with other bottle episodes that we have seen from the show over the years. Specifically, the limited format sounds similar to "Brian & Stewie," the episode in which Brian revealed that he kept a gun in a safety deposit box for peace of mind, just in case he ever decided to kill himself; the show briefly did kill him, too, though not with that gun. Family Guy doesn't do these types of hyper-focused episodes often, but they're definitely part of the show's tradition, and they usually stand out when they show up.
Family Guy will return to Fox with new episodes on Sunday, March 11, at 9 p.m. ET. Of course, that's not the only show with a midseason premiere to watch out for, so make sure to head over to CinemaBlend's spring premiere guide!