We’re about to jump into Season 21 of Family Guy. What do you think makes the show so popular that it has been so popular for so many years?
Alec Sulkin: The simple answer is comedy, and since it’s also an animated show, it’s easy for younger people to digest. You tend – if you’re like me, who still owns lightsabers – to cling to the things you loved when you were younger. When “Family Guy” reaches people at an early age… They’ve kind of decided it can be their comedy comfort food.
Rich apple: Comedy comfort food – that’s the goal.
Were there moments or jokes that you wanted to see in an episode but for some reason didn’t? Were there any jokes that you thought wouldn’t make it but ended up being allowed?
Apple: no Yes, we give credit where it’s due, and “Family Guy” will bite into the hand that feeds him Fox and jokes about Fox. But the standard divisions of our two studios – Disney and Fox – work pretty well with us. There are a few rules we have to follow, and with certain storylines, even as long as there’s a way to interpret something appropriately when other minds take a certain direction – well, that’s up to them, or that’s more acceptable.
When Jimmy Connors was in an episode and had to reassure Meg that she would eventually find love and he became a half-ghost in the episode… He came in her window to cheer her up at the end and he could see her always was still below. Holding two tennis balls in his hand, he said that if she ever feels down she should just take his balls: “Rub them and I’ll come.” I fought the brave fight and had steam – “How could this not be broadcast?” When they agreed to the broadcast, I said, “You’re kidding.”
Sulkin: One thing you may not know about Rich is that not only does he have a law degree from Harvard Law School, but he was an ADA in Manhattan’s Southern District many years ago. I don’t think there’s ever been a showrunner more uniquely qualified to contend for the dumbest and most disgusting grades. He wins many of those battles.
Apple: That’s very nice of you. But you can often imagine how my mother reacted when I left the judiciary 28 years ago… If I tell her a story like this now, she occasionally says – I’m not exaggerating – “Now, Aren’t you glad you went to law school?” It’s like, “No, Mom.”
Sulkin: my bachelors [is] from Connecticut College, where I literally had a tense moment after graduating as I opened the diploma to make sure it was there.