Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane says trans character came from writer’s ‘own experience’

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has reflected on a controversial trans character in the series, arguing that there “isn’t a big change I would make”.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, MacFarlane spoke about the character Ida Davies, the parent of long-running character Quagmire, a Vietnam war hero who undergoes gender confirmation surgery.

The character’s storyline has been criticised previously for including “transphobic” jokes, however the Family Guy creator explained that the storyline came from the personal experience of a writer.

MacFarlane said in the interview: “There isn’t a big change I would make. It’s more about individual moments and individual jokes.

“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.

“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.”

Seth MacFarlane reflects on Family Guy’s controversial trans character (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

In 2019 the show’s producers announced that they would be “phasing out” jokes about the LGBTQ+ community after attracting criticism.

Executive producer Alec Sulkin said in an interview with TVLine: “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.

“Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”

Executive producer Rich Appel added: “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’… 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.”

MacFarlane added in the Hollywood Reporter interview that a trans storyline on his latest show The Orville was handled “responsibly and with care”.

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