“Family Guy” seems to always be one step ahead of the news — most recently with the wave of sexual predators in Hollywood.
The creators of the hit Fox series spoke with the Hollywood Reporter ahead of the show’s 300th episode and discussed how they joked about Kevin Spacey’s behavior before he was accused in the media of sexually assaulting young men.
In a 2005 episode titled “Don’t Make Me Over,” Stewie runs naked through a mall and shouts: “Help, I’ve escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement! Help me!”
“Obviously, it’s a terrible thing to say, how we’ve had a lot of good luck predicting sexual predators, but I do think a lot of people — like Kevin Spacey — there have always been rumors out there about him,” showrunner Aaron Sulkin told THR. “So we will just kind of say those things. We write things that we hear about and then a year and a half later, they’re on TV and then 10 years later they happen.”
Most of the show’s content stemmed from rumors the writers heard, according to fellow showrunner Richard Appel and the show’s creator Seth MacFarlane.
“The Kevin Spacey thing is something I had not heard when it was pitched,” MacFarlane said.
“The Family Guy writers have always had very open ears. And I think a lot of these things were things that were talked about and whispered about in Hollywood, but nobody had any direct anecdotal information about what was really going on, so all you had to work with was rumor.”
MacFarlane also made one of the first public jokes about Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior at the 2013 Oscars.
He made the comment after learning his friend and “Ted” co-star Jessica Barth was sexually harassed by Weinstein in 2011.
After reading the five actresses nominated for the Supporting Actress category, MacFarlane said: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
“The Weinstein thing, I had a very good friend who had a very troubling run-in, and I despised the guy for direct reasons,” MacFarlane said, noting the differences.
As for what makes it to the screen on “Family Guy,” Appel explained that it has to have “some basis for a joke” since the legal department finely combs the content.
“Either there has to be some basis for a joke or it has to be so insane and unbelievable, that no one would take it seriously,” he said. “And honestly, in some of these instances, both were true.”