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Family Guy has long been known for its offbeat and random humor, so it's no surprise that the brilliance behind some of its jokes isn't always fully appreciated when they're crafted. One such example is the animated comedy's recent head-scratcher aimed at the cancelled Fox series Sleepy Hollow, and it apparently took some elbow grease to get it included in "Trump Guy."
The joke made the left-field comment that Sleepy Hollow star Tom Mison's closed captioning was crafted by angry stenographers, and executive producer Rich Appel said it took a bit of leg work to keep the gag from the cutting room floor.
There were some people, not from the writers room but people we respect, who questioned that joke every step of the way. And it was actually a little challenging to get clearance for it. We had to do a lot of heavy lifting to get that on the air, so it's gratifying. To us, that's the kind of thing that can set this show apart from others. It was really fun and totally different.
The 30-second clip taken from the Sleepy Hollow pilot featured non-sequitur captions like the nonsense language seen above, and statements such as "I like poop," as opposed to Ichabod's actual dialogue. While Rich Appel and Family Guy writers had faith in the joke, there were outside forces who believed the joke was too random even by the show's standards.
Ultimately the staff won out, and the oddly-specific gag made it to air. Rich Appel doesn't mention that Fox's objection was wholly tied to things still being sticky about Sleepy Hollow's cancellation, but that could possibly played into those discussions. Of course, Fox's various animated comedies would all be gone if they faced the harshest punishments for taking shots at the network.
So, who was the mastermind behind this deep-cut joke featured in Family Guy Season 17? Rich Appel revealed to TVLine that the cutaway joke, as well as a good chunk of the show's general off-the-wall references and jabs, are credited to the author of the episode.
That joke was all the author of the script, Patrick Meighan. He's a really talented writer here who, among many things, brings off the wall, original stuff to the show. I certainly wouldn't have come up with that gag. I don't know many people who would have.
Patrick Meighan's appreciation for lesser-celebrated Fox shows may be rooted in his background, as his former writing credits include a staff writer position on the 2002 sitcom Titus. Three years later, he joined the Family Guy crew and has been a fixture on the program ever since. As long as Meighan's in the picture, it seems as though the show's odd and random references won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Family Guy is all new with Season 17 episodes airing on Fox every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. Keep tabs on what new shows are premiering in 2019 and what old favorites are returning by heading over to our midseason premiere guide.