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'Family Guy' team talk abortions, variety shows and Emmy odds

August 13, 2009 | 12:11 pm

Family2Seth MacFarlane isn’t taking any chances with “Family Guy’s” nomination for a comedy series Emmy (the second ever for an animated series), so he threw together “An Evening With Family Guy” last night at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood to woo Emmy voters or, as he put it, “drum up support so we could lose by fewer votes.”

MacFarlane, alongside cast members Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, John Viener and Alec Sulkin, as well as writer Dan Smith, took the stage for a night of song, dance and beer-drinking, and a table reading of one of the series' most controversial episodes, “Partial Terms of Endearment,” the abortion-themed episode that Fox has refused to air.

In introducing the episode, MacFarlane noted, “It’s not as bad as you think."

The episode featured Lois agreeing to carry her infertile friend's child and Peter doing everything he can to stop her, including purchasing a miscarriage kit. However, when the baby's mother and father die in a car crash, Lois starts to seriously consider abortion. By this point, Peter has become antiabortion after he is told the procedure has killed some of the would-have-been greats, such as the fourth Stooge, the guy who would have killed Hitler and Osama bin Laden's America-loving older brother. While nothing in the episode seemed to scream offensive -- well, in relation to the rest of "Family Guy" -- Lois' final decision to have an abortion is probably what pushed the network against the episode.

Between acts, the cast performed “The FCC Song,” Stewie’s infamous cover of “Rocket Man” and the Emmy-nominated “My Drunken Irish Dad” with the “Family Guy” band on hand. After a few beers, MacFarlane and Smith performed an Irish jig through the song, and at one point Smith turned into a human fountain spraying Coors Light onto the side of the stage.

After the table read, the cast was joined by co-executive producers Steve Callaghan, David Goodman and Mark Henteman to spill on everything from upcoming plot twists and guest stars to Stewie’s long-questioned sexual orientation. “We haven’t decided on Stewie’s orientation,” MacFarlane confessed. “We think Stewie hasn’t figured it out yet.”

After the table read, the cast was joined by co-executive producers Steve Callaghan, David Goodman and Mark Henteman to spill on everything from upcoming plot twists and guest stars to Stewie’s long-questioned sexual orientation. “We haven’t decided on Stewie’s orientation,” MacFarlane confessed. “We think Stewie hasn’t figured it out yet.”

Family1 However, for upcoming episodes and guest stars, the “Family Guy” team was much less veiled. Upcoming stories include Brian hitting a dog with his car, Chris finally revealing the evil monkey to the family, Meg going to jail, Lois becoming a boxer and an hourlong episode devoted to the board game Clue.

MacFarlane and crew offered the most scoop on this season’s premiere. In the hourlong episode, Brian and Peter travel on a "Sliders"-like journey to parallel universes. MacFarlane also revealed that the crew behind “Robot Chicken” produced a segment for the episode.

As for celebrity guest stars, MacFarlane said Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove will appear on the show, but the creator also mentioned the possibility of a famous '80s TV icon to replace Cleveland. “I think it would be really funny if the fourth guy in the group was Mr. T,” MacFarlane said.

Aside from the show, the creators and cast discussed other related projects, such as a “Family Guy” soundtrack now in the works as well as “Something, Something, Something Dark Side,” the show’s next “Star Wars” spoof coming to DVD on Dec. 22.

After the cast’s rousing musical performances, it’s no surprise a variety show is also in the works. “Family Guy Live” will feature members of the cast and is tentatively scheduled for November.
Throughout the evening, MacFarlane sounded doubtful about the show’s odds to win the comedy Emmy but is already cooking up plans just in case

If the show wins, MacFarlane first said he would accept the award using Tina Fey’s voice before changing his mind to Alan Alda. Either way, it sounds like viewers can expect a great performance if “Family Guy” is called to the podium at the Sept. 20 ceremony.

“Family Guy’s” eighth season begins Sunday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m., but for those who can’t wait, The Hollywood Reporter has clips from the event.

— Kate Stanhope

Top photo: (From left) Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein and Seth MacFarlane. Credit: Vince Bucci / Fox

Bottom photo: Alex Borstein, left, and Seth MacFarlane. Credit: Vince Bucci / Fox

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