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Donald Trump is about to find himself in trouble again — this time with the Griffins.
Back in July at San Diego Comic-Con, the Family Guy showrunners revealed that they were working on an episode that featured the controversy-plagued president of the United States. Well, it’s time to unearth a few more details about the dip into Donald’s domain. One, it’s actually now taking place over two episodes. And two, he’s going to find himself in a literal world of hurt with Peter Griffin after he crosses the line with Peter’s daughter, Meg.
In an hourlong event slated to air later in the upcoming season, Peter goes gray and discovers that he is more respected with his new hair color, so he decides to become a commentator on the local news — even though he hasn’t a clue as to what he’s talking about. Trump takes note of Peter’s fake-news prowess and taps him to become his new press secretary, which prompts the Griffins to move to Washington. But relations between with Trump and Griffin family deteriorate over a serious family matter: after Ivanka Trump befriends Meg and gives her a makeover, POTUS takes unwelcome notice of the new Meg. “We’re just playing to what Trump has already confessed to, say, on a bus,” hints executive producer Alec Sulkin. “And he has an encounter like that with Meg.”
When Peter discovers that Trump has crossed the line with his daughter — er, Peter’s, to be clear — the Griffin patriarch springs into angry action. “In the history of the show, Peter hasn’t been that paternal with Meg, but he certainly likes Meg than he likes Donald Trump, and that’s saying something,” says fellow executive producer Rich Appel, noting that Peter and POTUS engage in “an epic, many-minute-long fight.” (Think Peter vs. Ernie.) At one point, when the battle spills over into the National Mall fountain, Trump weaponizes his wet hair, giving him an advantage. “When that hair is actually wet, it can be a cat o’nine tails,” says Appel. “And it’s used quite effectively against Peter.”
The network didn’t have significant notes about the episode, although the producers were bracing for them. “Initially there was kind of a feeling of, well, the network is going to have to think about whether we can do this whole Trump episode,” says Sulkin. “And I think a couple things happened. One, they read the script and enjoyed it, and said, ‘Yes, of course you can do this.’ And two, something that helped is just that Trump continued to be so preposterous on a daily basis that it really made it seem like this was an episode that we had to do. It wasn’t something where we were going to be besmirching of the office of the president of the United States because, you know, he’s doing that for us.” Agrees Appel: “What we discovered, fortunately, that is unlike Omarosa, we did not need secret tapes to find a few things that are ridiculous and hilarious and depressing about the Trump administration.”
Given Trump’s constant stream of scandals, the Family Guy writers have been occasionally tweaking the episode to keep it in step with current events. “We’ve had many moments of rewriting and editing to both add stuff and remove stuff that no longer seems exaggerated enough,” says Appel. “Thanks to Donald Trump, we can never really put this episode to bed — until it airs.”
What would Trump think/tweet about this episode? “We should be so lucky if he tweeted that he hated it,” says Sulkin. “That would be great. To the extent that he will ever hear about it or see it, he would not like it. Also, for the first time, we’re contemplating doing a Russian version of the show that we can release for his true fans.”
Family Guy returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.