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12 Years After Airing, Seth MacFarlane Had A Confusing Justification For A "Family Guy" Episode That Was Accused Of Being Transphobic

"There isn’t a big change I would make."

Seth MacFarlane defended an episode of Family Guy that faced accusations of transphobia in a new interview.

Seth MacFarlane at the Golden Globes

The 2010 episode entitled "Quagmire's Dad" followed Quagmire's parent, Ida (voiced by Seth), transition. In one moment in the episode, Brian sleeps with Ida — to the hilarity of Peter and Lois — and throws up for 30 seconds in repulsion upon finding out that she is trans. Brian then compares Ida to a sex offender as he says, "When they move to a new place, they're supposed to notify the neighborhood" and screams. In another scene, Lois throws out food made by Ida.

Stewie and Brian

While Seth said at the time that it was "probably the most sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character that has ever been on television," the show faced enormous criticism. GLAAD commented that "the episode was incredibly offensive to transgender people." One writer for Logo TV called the episode "particularly cold-hearted and mean" and Bitch Media dubbed Seth's actions "slap-in-face ignorance."

Brian and Ida

Given that Seth is involved in writing transgender plots on his show The Orville, the Hollywood Reporter asked if his current work is in any way to "atone" for his previous jokes. "No, it was nothing like that," he replied.

Closeup of Seth MacFarlane

"Look, there are always things that you would do differently when you look back at earlier points in your career. For me, it’s more about nuance. There isn’t a big change I would make. It’s more about individual moments and individual jokes."

Closeup of Seth MacFarlane

"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."

Peter and Ida

"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."

Ida in "Family Guy"

Confusingly, the episode's main writing credit isn't actually for Steve — it's for Tom Devanney (although Steve did act as an executive producer). Subsequently, it's not clear who Seth was referring to or in what role. Still, he continued, "Now, certainly the language of Family Guy makes that story a little bit different than it would be on something like The Orville, but I think that’s something that gets lost a little bit at times when we think of that show, that Steve was writing from experience."

Credits showing Tom Devanney as the writer

You can read the full interview here.