Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Fox’s Sunday night animation mainstay Family Guy, knows what he’s doing. Case in point? This upcoming Sunday, the mega hit series will set a milestone celebrating it’s 200th episode. In preparation for the momentous occasion, MacFarlane took some time out in mid-January during Fox’s Television Critics Association party in Los Angeles to discuss some of his favorite moments, what’s happening with the Family Guy spinoff, The Cleveland Show and one major surprise guest star this season (hint: it’s Lauren Conrad).
Looking back on all the episodes that you’ve worked on, is there any one significant episode that sticks out in your mind?
I thought the FCC episode was great.
What about it?
Well, it was just the funniest episode we’ve ever done, which is really the height of achievement.
Are there any guest stars coming up this season that you’re excited about? Anyone you were shocked by?
No one I was shocked by. We have Lauren Conrad coming up. That was surprisingly fantastic.
Did you just think to yourself ‘we have to have the girl from The Hills, what ever it takes!’
We wanted to take something like that and just put a unique spin on it.
How did it come about?
I thought it would be funny to have Lauren Conrad reading an extended paragraph of World War II naval analysis.
What was so surprisingly fantastic about it?
She came in, and she’d prepared before she even arrived. She hired an acting coach, with her own money, and she nailed it. She never once complained, and it was a long session. There was a lot of dialog. Her stamina was astonishing.
So what if she hadn’t nailed it?
I would be talking so much shit about her right now. I’d be saying ‘that bitch!’
I talked to Mitch Hurwitz a few weeks ago, who jokingly made some disparaging remarks about you, because your show, similar to Arrested Development, is so densely packed with humor and jokes, and you were both canceled by the network. Obviously only yours was resurrected. What do you think the reason is for Family Guy’s success with this type of comedy?
Well, hopefully it’s because we’re funny. It’s much harder to reassemble a group of actors who have to be there 7 days a week, than it is to reassemble an animated show.
Would you ever consider doing live action?
Yeah, if it’s the right project and it seems funny enough.
Anything in the works? Or are you just focusing on The Cleveland show now?
Nothing in the works. Focusing a lot on Cleveland.
How’s it coming along?
It’s going impossibly well.
If there were one moment from any Family Guy episode that you could choose as your favorite, what would it be?
Boy, Shipoopi is certainly up there. It was a great old tune. We dug up the orchestrations from a warehouse at USC. Nobody had played them in 40 years, and our orchestra played them live. It was very exciting.