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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 08/14/2009

'Family Guy': Scenes From an Off-Color 'Table Read'

By Michael Cavna




'Family Guy': Peter, Lois (with Stewie), Meg (on ground), Chris & Brian. (AP Photo/FOX)


Wednesday night in Hollywood, the much-ballyhooed event was the "table read" of a "Family Guy" episode -- which shall remain unaired -- that deals with abortion. Well, "deals" is perhaps the wrong word. "Family Guy" -- irreverent toward all, with a sly malice toward many -- "deals" with issues the way a blender "deals" with foodstuffs. Namely, it whips its subject matter into a high-speed puree that is never less than cutting.

The event was initially intended to promote the fact that "Family Guy" was suddenly in the running for an Emmy. But after the series' "abortion episode" spurred a quasi-controversy with the Fox network, series creator Seth McFarlane decided: A public table read? Well now, I'VE got a quasi-subversive idea, haha!

Comic Riffs special correspondent Emily Yahr attended the table read. Here is her report:


At Wednesday night's Q&A, before Seth MacFarlane could respond to a fan's question about which character voice he would use in an acceptance speech if the show won at this year's Emmy Awards, someone answered for him: "Tina Fey's." 


Seth MacFarlane (John Shearer/Getty Images)

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Although the show is only the second cartoon in history 
to be nominated for Best Comedy Series, and the Q&A was 
to promote the show to TV academy voters, MacFarlane 
didn't seem to think they had any shot at winning -- or 
beating out the critically adored "30 Rock." 

"Obviously, we did this event tonight to hopefully drum up 
support for Emmy votes so that we could lose by fewer 
votes," said MacFarlane, who along, 
with his cast, had just finished the live table read of the
 banned-from-TV episode that focused on abortion. 

But the audience seemed more interested in 
MacFarlane's take on the current state of animation
in general, particularly given the fact that after "Family Guy"
was canceled twice by the
Fox network, MacFarlane is now dominating the broadcast
animation landscape with "American Dad" and this fall's upcoming "Cleveland Show." 

MacFarlane pointed out that animated shows have become
as much as a force as single-camera shows in prime time,
like "The Office," or the aforementioned "30 Rock." 
"You've got something like six animated shows on the prime-time
schedule this season," MacFarlane said. "Between Matt Groening,
Mike Judge, and 'Futurama' coming back ... with everyone that's involved in this medium, it's not the [same thing] it was 10, 15 years ago."

MacFarlane also previewed an upcoming storyline featuring Rush Limbaugh, who appears when Brian the dog feels like things are running a little too smoothly with President Obama, and needs something to complain about. 

Good luck with that Emmy run, Seth. If you're fortunate, it won't be Tina Fey's vocal cords you'll be hearing.

THE RELATED READ:

THE PRINT POST: "Family Guy" Channels Abortion Controversy.

THE 'RIFFS INTERVIEW: The present -- and future -- for Mike Judge.


LATER TODAY: Pixar founder John Lasseter celebrates "Ponyo" creator Hayao Miyazaki.

By Michael Cavna  | August 14, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Animation, The Holly Word  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Will Hollywood Players Get Addicted to the 'Year of the Toy'?
Next: Lasseter Celebrates 'Ponyo' Creator Hayao Miyazaki

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