So a few hours ago I was sipping a martini and watching Seth MacFarlane sing Rocket Man as Stewie Griffin. Let me back up and say that membership finally has its privileges. I’ve been a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmy people) for years now, and I’ve never really been all that enthusiastic about it.
Over the years I’ve lost count on how many industry parties I’ve walked out on. I don’t know how many times I’ve passed on going to table reads and show tapings. At a certain point, working in the entertainment industry is just like any other job. You already know what’s in the sausage and you really don’t want to spend your off hours with these people. I don’t care about Jon, Kate, or those kids. Paula’s absence from American Idol won’t impact me in any way.
But there are exceptions like last tonight. 20th Century Fox held a little cocktail party/ table read with the cast and orchestra of Family Guy in Hollywood at the Ricarado Montalban Theater. The occasion? Family Guy is the first animated primetime program to be nominated for an Emmy in the best comedy category since The Flintstones. So as the invitation put it, “Its time for a backlash against the backlash.” as some critics cringed at the thought of Family Guy even being nominated. And to make sure that the voters and press know that the show won’t be trying to “suck up” they decided to perform the newly infamous, “Partial Terms of Endearment” episode.
The episode is about abortion and it never made it further than script form since FOX and the censors thought no-way no-how. Its typical Family Guy– fun as hell, terribly politically incorrect, and at least one joke is sure to offend even the most open minded of people. It was remarkable to see and more importantly hear Seth MacFarlane move seamlessly from Peter to Brian to Stewie and then do some random character. Watching Alex Borstein was equally amusing as she put it in the Q & A, Mila Kunis is a hot chick in real life, but on the show she’s frumpy and butt of all the jokes as Meg, while she (Alex) gets to play the smoking hot MILF.
During the act breaks Seth and the other cast members would do musical numbers from various episodes. There was the aforementioned Rocket Man, that starts with Stewie and then Seth breaks into a dead-on William Shatner to wrap it up. Then Seth and Alex did their “racy” rendition of Peter and Lois singing “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore“. First off Alex dedicated it to a 13 year old girl in the front row and then proceeded to go blue with the line, “You don’t eat my p***y anymore.” It was downhill from there but the crowd was laughing and crying hysterically.
Also during the Q&A portion:
- Seth said he and the staff took it to heart when South Park made fun of them a few years back. If memory serves, Matt and Trey revealed that the Family Guy writing staff consisted of dolphins that played Mad-Libs with beach ball that had verbs and nouns on them. Seth’s attitude was, we can’t take shots at people every week and not be able to take it when someone does it to us. As a result they took a look at how they structured their story cutaways.
- With the Cleveland leaving Quahog to star in the Cleveland Show, one audience member asked will they replace Cleveland with another Black character. Seth said he’d like to get Mr. T. Not as a voice, but just to have Peter and the guys running around with Mr. T.
- When asked who he’d really like to get as a guest voice on the show, Seth replied– James Taylor.
- Seth was then asked why Cleveland got a spin-off and not Quagmire. Seth said that Cleveland was fully developed and that Glenn is a one joke character. How could we do a sitcom about a rapist? How could we get Glenn to learn something every week? “Gee, so you mean giving roofies to chicks is wrong?” Simply put Cleveland has dimension, Glenn doesn’t.
- Two surprises for the new season: Rush Limbaugh makes a guest appearance!? Seth said it was going to happen. Not sure what to make of that, but hey why not. Seth said and this is a direct quote, “He was a surprisingly pleasant guy.” Their spoof of Empire Strikes Back will be on DVD before it hits the airwaves. Its supposed to be out on December 22nd.
To close out the evening, Alex did Marlee Matlin singing the disco hit, Upside Down. And yes its just as crass, wrong, and brilliant as it sounds. To try and top that Seth began to sing the tune Edelweiss. To which Alex got “offended”, prompting Seth to remark, ” I don’t know that this show and the Montalban Theater is the place for your Hebrew baggage.” The crowded roared.
I don’t know how I’m voting. I love Family Guy… but Weeds and 30 Rock are in same category. Choices. Choices.