Wild as it may be to type the sentence in whatever godforsaken year that it is, but Family Guy has used an episode in which they hang US President Donald Trump out to dry to confirm to the viewing public that they are, in fact, “phasing out” gay jokes. Scenes. Absolute scenes, I tell you.

In an episode that aired in the US late yesterday, Peter Griffin takes a job as the White House Press Secretary for the President – naturally – and spends an episode hanging milquetoast shit on 45 after Trump sexually assaults Meg, culminating in a protracted fight scene that culminates in the Griffin family breaking the fourth wall to encourage viewers to read the Steele dossier. O… ok, sure.

In one of several meta references on the show, Griffin admitted out loud that the series has been trying to rid itself of jokes made at the expense of LGBTQI people, a trope it relied on semi-regularly through its more formative years.

In a face off between Trump and Griffin, the “President” remarks, “You’re Peter Griffin from Family Guy. Many children have learned their favourite Jewish, black and gay jokes by watching your show over the years,” to which Peter responds, “In fairness, we’ve been trying to phase out the gay stuff.

Subsequent interviews with show staff this morning confirmed it wasn’t just a throwaway line.

Executive Producers Rich Appel and Alex Sulkin told TV Line the changes are less a knee-jerk reaction to backlash and more a recognition from the show of a shift in broader culture which is uh… not the response you’d expect from Family Guy.

Sulkin explained how, over time, the goal posts have shifted for TV shows.

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.

Appel then followed that up with a remarkably astute assessment of the relationship between a TV show and its audience.

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 [say certain things].” 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.

Still, the “phase out” part of the promise is incredibly funny. Not cease immediately. Phase it out. Like the show has to put Gay Joke patches on to ween themselves off it.

Source: TV Line