6 Things We Learned from Seth McFarlane’s Comic-Con Panel (Including How to Say 'Dick Pic' in Sign Language)
Seth MacFarlane’s three shows on Fox and TBS took over Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20 for just shy of two hours on Saturday afternoon, as the casts of Family Guy, American Dad!, and the upcoming Bordertown converged to gives fans a glimpse into what’s next for the animated series. Here, our biggest takeaways from the panel, moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Michael Schneider:
Alex Borstein is obsessed with the ASL sign for “dick pic”
One episode for the next season of Family Guy involves the underaged Brian (voiced by Seth Green) sending a photo of his genitals to an underaged girl and becoming a registered sex offender. The panels are translated into American Sign Language, and the Family Guy cast put the interpreter through her paces, having her translate phrases like “vagina poop,” “heavy flow,” and, of course, “dick pic.” Borstein, who voices Lois, was particularly taken with the sign for “dick pic,” which is about as literal and crass as you’d expect. When that interpreter switched off with another interpreter, MacFarlane asked, “What happened to the other lady? Did she leave to file a lawsuit?”
Bordertown, the new Fox animated show premiering this winter, is set in a fictional town on the border between the United States and Mexico. The show’s “protagonist” (if he can be called that) is Bud Buckwald, who is the “weakest link in the U.S. border security,” according to executive producer Mark Hentemann. Hentemann, who pitched the show to Fox execs six years ago, is looking forward the opportunity to examine what it means for white people to no longer make up the majority of the U.S. population. He explains, “They say by 2017 whites will be a minority, so that was the jumping-off point, [to] portray a white guy who’s kind of like Archie Bunker, who’s losing his place in the world. A lot of storylines come from that psychological situation.”
Family Guy has fun guests lined up for Season 14
The show's producers announced a whole slew of guests for the upcoming season, including Kate McKinnon (who will be playing Peter’s sister), Ed O’Neill, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Glenn Close, Kyle Chandler, Joe Buck, Frank Sinatra Jr, and John Mellencamp. MacFarlane said fans can look forward to a “very fun musical number” with Sinatra Jr., who will swing by when he, Stewie and Brian decide to open an Italian restaurant.
Seth MacFarlane doesn’t spend much time battling the censors
“There’s sort of a myth that we have a contentious relationship with the censors. That’s actually not the case,” MacFarlane says, adding, “It’s not as bad as you would think. You get to the point where you can predict what they’ll say no to.” Borstein, who used to be a writer on Family Guy, thinks it can actually be helpful. “I found a lot of times, the things that would get the red flags were the things that were lazy, so it was kind of a good thing,” she says. But Matt Weitzman, an executive producer on American Dad!, which recently moved from Fox to TBS, is adamant that the grass is greener on cable, which he describes as “less bleep-y.”
Scott Grimes has an album on iTunes called Livin’ on the Run
Grimes, who plays Steve on American Dad!, is an accomplished singer, a talent that will be showcased during an episode next season called Locked in a Locker (an homage to R. Kelly’s “Locked in a Closet”). Grimes treated the audience to a quick snippet of the song performed live, and told the audience that MacFarlane still teases him about the album he released a decade ago. Grimes remembers, “[Seth] would text me, ‘Hey bro, I just bought Born to Wild and Run and Walk.’ He would just say everything but Livin’ on the Run.””
Well, if anyone was going to make a Bill Cosby joke …
When a fan asked if there could be a better combination of Family Guy characters locked in a bank vault than Brian and Stewie (in reference to an episode from the show’s eighth season), actors Seth Green and Mike Henry immediately launched into an improvised scene between Chris and Mr. Herbert. True to the MacFarlane house style, the scene pushed the envelope a bit, with Mr. Herbert telling Chris to take a sip of a drink he borrowed from Bill Cosby.