Times have changed, and with social changes come changes in comedy and what’s funny to people. Citing just those types of changes, one of television’s most popular animated series, Family Guy, has decided to take a hard look at gay jokes. According to two of the show’s executive producers, Family Guy gay jokes won’t be entirely going away overnight but will be “phased out.”
Fans of the show heard this news of a new policy regarding Family Guy gay jokes during Sunday’s most recent episode. During the ep, Family Guy patriarch Peter takes a job to be Donald Trump‘s White House press secretary, but when he learns that Trump sexually assaulted his daughter Meg, the two men are at each others’ throats.
“Many children have learned their favorite Jewish, black and gay jokes by watching your show over the years,” Trump says to Peter, to which Peter responds, “In fairness, we’ve been trying to phase out the gay stuff. But you know what? We’re a cartoon. You’re the president.”
Following Sunday’s episodes, two of the show’s executive producers, Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin, sat down for an interview and confirmed that, yes, the show is indeed trying to cool it with the gay jokes.
“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 says. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”
Appel chimed in: “If a show has literally been on the air for 20 years, the culture changes. And it’s not us reacting and thinking, ‘They won’t let us [say those things].’ No, we’ve changed too. The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different. They’ve been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways.”
In the past, the show has faced criticism by GLAAD and other groups for jokes and storylines considered misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic. Most recently, last year saw Stewie come out of the closet after years of speculation, though the TV moment was largely praised as handling the storyline positively.