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Spoilers below for the most recent episode of Family Guy, for those who haven't yet watched.
As it has been made clear time and again during its 17-season run so far, Family Guy doesn't pull very many politically correct punches. In Sunday night's "Trump Guy," dozens of literal (animated) punches were thrown when Peter temporarily became President Trump's Press Secretary, and the episode ended in one of the show's signature drawn-out brawls. Executive producer Rich Appel explained how and why that episode came about.
The story originally started as [last week's first-parter], with Peter as a fake news purveyor. As we were breaking that story, we thought, 'This is something Trump would like. Wait a minute!' So the second part was born out of that.
As fans will recall, last week's midseason premiere "Hefty Shades of Gray" had Peter's hair turning white, which led to him joining the local news and blurting out a bunch of erroneous reports, because Fake News. Not exactly the kind of storyline one would anticipate ending in Peter and Donald Trump beating each other's faces in, but Family Guy does love its hairpin plot turns.
For the quasi-second half of that narrative, Peter moved the rest of the Griffin family to Washington D.C., and takes over the White House Press Secretary position. Once Peter walked in on Trump sexually harassing Meg, he quit the job. Then, after a Billy Joel cutaway gag and a twist on Airplane!'s "Don't call me Shirley" gag, Peter and Trump rumbled across the White House lawn and then throughout the esteemed building itself.
Another Family Guy executive producer, Alec Sulkin, talked with TVLine about when the episode was put together, and how they approached it, considering the long process that comes with animating TV episodes.
Trump has been very consistent, which helped us. He's always in the news for doing the same things (i.e. lying), which helped this episode seem a little more current, even though it was written a while ago.
It also helps the Family Guy writers' cases that there are plenty of headlines devoted to Donald Trump that bring focus to the entirety of his presidency, so incidents that happened 18 months ago are still ripe for the satirist's perusal. Not everyone is going to think those jokes are funny, no matter when they were written, but Family Guy is pretty used to taking that specific kind of flak, too.
For what it's worth, Alec Sulkin will admit to Family Guy leaning one way or another in terms of where its political humor is generated, but he points out that they aren't fully one-sided in that respect. In his words:
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.
Check out the minute-long brawl below.
It's worth noting that the NFL playoff game lead-in on Sunday night helped Family Guy bring in its best numbers of the season. An hour earlier, The Simpsons rocked out harder than it has in four years, and Bob's Burgers also celebrated years-high numbers on the night.