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The world of animated TV comedy would not look the same if not for Seth MacFarlane. He pioneered the raunchy comedy, handcrafted a new animated style, and revolutionized the butt joke. Peter Griffin is one of the heads on the Mt. Rushmore of adult animation between the head of Homer Simpson and Eric Cartman. The fact of the matter is, we would not have Big Mouth, Rick and Morty, or Bojack Horseman if it were not for Seth MacFarlane. However, Macfarlane has also ventured into live-action in both TV and film.
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So today we honor the man, the myth, the legend, with 32 Seth MacFarlane Facts.
#1- His genetic roots can be traced back to the Mayflower.
MacFarlane is a direct descendant of William Brewster, one of the passengers on the ship that landed on Plymouth rock four centuries ago.
#2- He’s as white as they come.
MacFarlane has ancestry from England, Ireland, and Scotland.
#3- He loved drawing as a kid.
He began at the tender age of five when he started to recreate his favorite cartoon characters on paper. At the age of nine, he advanced to creating flip-books. The flip-books were so good that they got published in the local paper! Unfortunately, his cartoons gained him notoriety at his local church and angered the priest, but this foreshadowed the no holding back and “sorry, not sorry” attitude of his work later to come.
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#4- He graduated from RISD.
MacFarlane got his degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. At the beginning of his college career, he wanted to work for Disney. I suppose he figured the House of Mouse wouldn’t allow for too many, shall we say, phallic jokes because MacFarlane later abandoned his plan to have a rodent with uncharacteristically round ears as a boss.
#5- The name of his production company is a reference to his time at RISD.
His apartment at the school had an entrance with a door that was covered in fur. And thus, he named his production company Fuzzy Door.
#6- His senior thesis was Life of Larry.
Many people credit Life of Larry as being Family Guy before Family Guy was a thing. The cartoon featured a man interacting with his anthropomorphic dog. Parallels can be drawn between the short and Peter and Brian’s relationship in MacFarlane’s defining work.
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#7- He began working in kids’ cartoons.
Long before the men of the Griffin household all drank Ipecac for pukes and giggles, MacFarlane was an animator at Hanna Barbera. You wouldn’t think the man who pioneered Family Guy would be able to work on children’s programming but, as it turns out, he had the capability to stop drawing characters with ballsacks for chins long enough to animate several family-friendly programs such as Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory.
#8- His sister Rachael MacFarlane is a voice actress.
Rachael MacFarlane snuck her way into the hearts of every 2000s kid when she played #362 as well as various other characters in Codename: Kids Next Door. If you’re a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s various animated shows, you’re probably a fan of Rachael without even realizing it. She’d made guest appearances on Family Guy, and she also plays everyone’s favorite goth-hipster Haley Smith on American Dad.
#9- He’s got the spirit of the donkey.
That is an especially strange way of stating the fact that MacFarlane has been a Democrat his whole adult life. His shows often slam Republican beliefs and politicians on his shows. This is ironic because a good amount of his shows are on FOX, a Republican-leaning channel.
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#10- Controversial casting.
MacFarlane cast the brother of a friend at RISD named Mike Henry to play Cleveland Brown on Family Guy and later The Cleveland Show. Unfortunately, Cleveland is Black and Mike looks like the type of person who burns by just looking at a picture of the sun.
#11- He’s a sci-fi nerd.
Perhaps MacFarlane’s magnum opus was Family Guy’s three-part parody of the original Star Wars trilogy. His favorite Star Wars movie is, of course, Empire Strikes Back. He is also a Trekkie with his favorite Star Trek series being Next Generation.
#12- George Lucas personally approved all the Star Wars parodies.
Seth MacFarlane could have hung up his animator’s hat for good when George Lucas told him he was a huge fan of Family Guy and therefore it was fine for him to parody his movies. Is there anything else he had to accomplish professionally once Lucas gave him the thumbs up?
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#13- He has Turkanian blood.
MacFarlane’s distant cousin is Denise Crosby who played Chief of Security aboard Starship USS Enterprise-D Tasha Yar.
#14- Dumb-luck and a bad travel agent saved his life.
MacFarlane was supposed to be on one of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11. Fortunately, his travel agent gave him the wrong departure time.
#15- He voices like every character on Family Guy.
MacFarlane voices Peter, Brian, Stewie, and a smattering of non-Griffin family characters on Family Guy.
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#16- The inspiration for Peter’s voice.
MacFarlane had to be truly inspired to channel his internal fat man. Fortunately, he was able to draw inspiration from a loud-mouthed security guard on RISD’s campus.
#17- The ever-changing Meg Griffin.
Not only has Meg Griffin gone through multiple different voice actors including Lacey Chabert and Mila Kunis, but she also was originally not detested by her family. In the first batch of episodes, Meg was just a normal teenage girl but the Griffin family must’ve mutually decided that all teenagers suck, and since then, ripping on Meg has been a staple of the show.
#18- At least he can admit to sexism.
MacFarlane admitted that the Griffin family’s constant abuse of their only female child is a result of a writer’s room populated by male writers. I’ll give them a sexism pass because it’s so funny to watch the family constantly abuse Meg, but maybe in the future, hire some female writers, Seth.
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#19- Meg’s legal name is epic.
Most people assume that Meg has to be short for Megan. In reality, Peter altered her birth certificate so legally, her name is Megatron.
#20- Speaking of which…
Chris’s full name is Christopher Cross Griffin. This is what happens when you let Peter Griffin name your kids. The man has the IQ of a goldfish and the attention span of a goldfish who dropped out of Kindergarten!
#21- Brian Griffin is pretty much Seth MacFarlane.
Brian is the only character in any of MacFarlane’s animated shows that MacFarlane uses his natural voice for. Brian also shares MacFarlane’s atheism and his liberal views.
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#22- Want to see Family Guy uncut?
When episodes air on Adult Swim, curses aren’t bleeped out, and sometimes, deleted scenes are reinserted into the episode.
#23- A less nerdy voice changes everything.
The character Steve in American Dad was originally more geeky and nerdy when voiced by Ricky Blitt. But when Steve’s voice actor changed to Scott Grimes, the character design changed to accommodate an actor with a less stereotypically nerdy voice. Grimes would later go on to star alongside MacFarlane in The Orville.
#24- More of Macfarlane’s sci-fi fantasies come true.
Patrick Stewart plays the recurring role of Avery Bullock on American Dad. Stewart is of course better known for his role as Jean Luc Piccard in the Star Trek universe. At the point Stewart accepted the role, we would all understand if Seth screamed like a little fangirl.
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#25- Plot inconsistencies are hard to avoid.
We can give Macfarlane a pass for this one. When you’ve been working on a show for as many years as Seth’s been working on American Dad, slip-ups are unavoidable. In the episode “Camp Refoogee,” Stan turns a refugee camp in Africa into a summer camp. A couple of seasons later in “Ricky Spanish,” a child from Africa moves into the Smith house to which Stan responds, “does this mean Africa is real?”
#26- The culmination of all of MacFarlane’s nerdy fantasies.
MacFarlane achieved every Star Trek nerd’s dream when his show The Orville was picked up by Fox. The show is a sci-fi space-age dramedy that basically serves as a love letter to Star Trek.
#27- Characters in The Orville have a weird obsession with the 20th and 21st centuries.
Okay, maybe it’s understandable because the show was made in the 21st century, but it still feels weird that characters are always referencing Dolly Parton and Kermit the Frog in the 25th century. Of course, Parton has made a major cultural impact and Kermit… has done frog stuff but it’s still strange.
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#28- Living the dream.
A huge number of episodes of The Orville season one were directed by people who have starred in movies and TV shows in the Star Trek canon. I guess Seth doesn’t agree with the old saying “don’t meet your heroes.”
#29- He makes sure no other writers can screw up his dream.
MacFarlane is credited as the sole writer on the majority of episodes on the first season of The Orville and 8/12 of the episodes in the second season. I know this show is your dream Seth but maybe think about taking a chill pill.
#30- He includes his old friends on The Orville.
Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson were both stars in MacFarlane’s Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West. Years later, the two of them also showed up as guest stars on The Orville.
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#31- He’s a singer.
Seth began recording musical albums in the early 2000s. Given his other work, I assumed all his musical work would sound like Peter Griffin burping into a microphone but his albums are all serious musical endeavors.
#32- He is a science buff.
Well, at least one would have to assume that he is, given that he executive produced Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
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Carrie Fishbane is obsessed with all things comedy and loves to reflect on the impact of comedy on the world. Having spent thousands of hours studying literature, she also writes about the political impact of entertainment and the power movies and TV have to create social change. Hollywood Insider promotes ethics and substance in entertainment, which is exactly in line with Carrie’s perspective. Carrie’s favorite movies include Jojo Rabbit, Deadpool, and Inception and her favorite shows are Rick and Morty, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and The Office.