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'Family Guy' creator brings insights to UT
Cartoon writer shares un-aired episode with students in Union

By Philip Jankowski
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Creator of the Fox animated television series
Media Credit: Shaun Stewart
Creator of the Fox animated television series "Family Guy" and "American Dad," Seth MacFarlane speaks in the Union Ballroom Friday evening.

The voice of Brian the dog echoed through the Union Ballroom on Friday as Seth MacFarlane, creator and voice artist for the primetime animated series "Family Guy" and "American Dad" gave insight on his cartoons.

The free event sponsored by student-run committees within the Texas Union drew nearly a thousand students.

Students lucky enough to get in were not only treated to the insights of the creator of the currently most highly rated animated series on television, but also got a chance to view an un-aired episode of "Family Guy," titled "Boys Do Cry."

In the episode, the Griffin family coincidentally finds their way to Texas, which in the episode is humorously dubbed "The Fuck You State," where anyone can get a free gun with purchase of liquor.

MacFarlane shed light on the challenges of creating the episodes, a nine month long process that includes 17 writers and even a 50-piece orchestra to score the episode. During creation the creators have to deal with broadcast standards, an internal regulation of content that the show tiptoes around in each episode.

"You can't use Jesus Christ as an expletive," MacFarlane said. "You cannot say 'Jesus Christ! My car broke down,' but you can show Jesus Christ sitting on a hooker and drinking a beer. I don't make the rules, I'm just the messenger."

Every episode created actually comes out in three final cuts, the tamest being the Fox Broadcasting Company version for prime-time airing, the more risque "Adult Swim" version for late night viewing on the Cartoon Network and the completely uncut DVD version, MacFarlane said.

The "Adult Swim" reruns and DVD sales were the main factors that brought "Family Guy" back on the air after its cancellation in 2001. Cartoon Network reruns soon beat Leno and Letterman in ratings, he said.

In 2004 the show returned to the air in an unprecedented reprise to Fox with ratings higher that it had ever received in the past, MacFarlane said.

The event was organized and run by the Distinguished Speakers Committee and the Music and Entertainment Committee who have both been working to get MacFarlane on campus since last October, said Lindsey Chastain, executive director of the Distinguished Speakers Committee and advertising senior.

"It was by far our best event of the year," said Clint Adcox, a government senior and chair of the Distinguished Speakers Committee.

Beyond organizing the event, the committee procured monogrammed spurs for MacFarlane and held a contest in which students submitted videos and essays to determine MacFarlane's biggest fan on campus. The winner won two passes to the event and met with Seth MacFarlane.

The winner, business sophomore Richard Thomson, dressed up as Tigger from "Winnie the Pooh" and created a video that used snippets of "Family Guy" dialogue to create a new story.

"I was really happy and excited because obviously I'm a fan and one of my good friends who helped me make the video got to meet him also," Thomson said.

Click here to see video footage of MacFarlane's speech
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