Family Guy will kick off season 17 season by expanding the family: Brian heads down the altar, while Quagmire learns that he has another daughter. The brazen animated comedy is also going big(ly) by taking on Donald Trump and also going small by miniaturizing Stewie and Brian in an experiment gone wrong. Elsewhere, Peter will meet his new brewery bosses and the Griffins will record some DVD commentary. Below, showrunners Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin fill you in on all the outrageous action, with Sulkin promising, “Eighty percent of the jokes will be brand-new.”
Brian enters a marriage that seems doomed to fail.
The Griffin’s dog takes the plunge in a two-part season premiere, but the “’til death do you part” may be coming sooner than later, as his wife (played by Casey Wilson) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, pushing the pair through an accelerated version of all the stages of married life. “Fans should not tattoo Brian’s wife on their body,” hints Appel. “She’s battling an illness and she confides that she’s upset that she’ll never know so many things in her life — including being married — and Brian says, ‘I can change that.’ They meet in a very touching way. As is always the case with marriage, nothing is surprising after the vows.” How do they describe his wife? “I would say she has an enthusiastic vibe,” says Sulkin. “Perhaps overly so.”
Mr. Griffin goes to Washington.
In another two-part episode, Peter becomes a fake news-spewing commentator on the local news, earning the attention of Trump, who hires him as his press secretary. However, when Ivanka gives Meg a makeover and introduces him to her father, he crosses the line with Meg, Peter and Trump have an epic chicken fight. “We should be so lucky if he tweeted that he hated it,” Sulkin notes of Trump. “Also, for the first time ever, we’re contemplating doing a Russian version of the show that we can release for his true fans.” (Head here to learn more about that Trump-tweaking episode.)
Family Guy goes West one more time, paying tribute to the late Mayor Adam West.
When Adam West died last year, the show lost one of its most popular guest voices; West had appeared in more than 100 episodes as the town’s delusional mayor. West had recorded material for several episodes that aired following his death, and now, Family Guy will honor him one last time. In one episode, Brian wants to rename the high school in his honor (sorry, James Woods), which the town supports. And after a conversation with West’s widow, Carol, he decides that he is going to run for the vacant mayoral post, which he does, unopposed… until Quagmire enters the race. “When Brian asks him why he’s running, Quagmire says, ‘Spite. I’m running out of spite for you,'” says Sulkin. “And Brian says, ‘Well, that’s no reason to get into politics,’ and Quagmire says, ‘That’s the only reason to get into politics.’ There’s a great debate and the third act takes place on Quagmire’s tour bus for his campaign, and they have it out there.” Adds Appel: “Mayor West makes an appearance at the end of the episode, so the whole episode is bookended by our tribute to him, and there’s a sense certainly in the episode that he’s not replaceable.”
The Moore, the merrier?
Is Quagmire ready for fatherhood (again)? He better be. This season you’ll meet his sweet, innocuous daughter, played by Mandy Moore. How does this family addition come to light? When Peter and his pals discover the joy of party buses, “they eventually get on one that’s going to the high school prom,” says Appel. “Quagmire meets a very pretty young woman who’s 18 and when they go back to his place, they say, ‘Giggity!’ at the same time and that causes him concern. He uses an emergency DNA testing kit and he discovers that in fact she is his daughter, so the episode focuses on Peter and Meg and Quagmire and Mandy Moore’s character as a father-daughter team.”
Meet Peter’s new boss. And the other one, too.
Adam West wasn’t the only beloved voice that Family Guy recently lost. Carrie Fisher, who plays Peter’s boss, Angela, died in December 2016. When it comes to a new superior at the brewery, Peter will get a two-for-one special — a husband-and-wife team will manage him. Voiced by Bryan Cranston and Niecy Nash, Bert and Sheila are “the essence of co-managerial,” says Sulkin. “There’s a point where they even alternate words in a sentence.” How does their managerial style differ from inappropriate Angela’s? “They’re a lot more modern in their touchy feeliness than Angela.” And how does Peter respond to his new bosses? “The way that Peter responds to anything new in his life,” says Sulkin. “With fear.”
Meg might show her mettle by medaling.
One episode will delve into the Olympics and feature Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski as themselves. But the star of the show is Meg, who competes as a bi-athlete. “You can make your own jokes on that,” says Sulkin. “She is the best bi-athlete in Quahog and one of the best in the country, and she gets to go to the Olympics.”
Family Guy will meddle in meta again.
The show that’s never afraid to wink at the audience and comment on itself will unveil an episode in which the Griffins are recording DVD commentary. “As they are watching an episode that we wrote just for this purpose that has its own story, what unspools in the booth is Lois discovers for the first time that Peter is paid more than she is,” says Appel. “And then the Fox executive explains that that’s because when the show started, he was still paying alimony to his first wife, Sarah Paulson. And Lois now discovers that Peter was married to Sarah Paulson, who, it turns out, was a guest star in the episode they’re commenting on, so she’s in the booth as well.” (It’s okay. Feel free to read that quote. We’ll wait.) “It’s this melodrama in the audio commentary as we were also telling a very fun simple Family Guy story,” he continues. “It was sort of a nightmare of production, but it turned out really well and Sarah Paulson was very game to poke gentle fun at herself.”
Stewie and Brian will go on a big small adventure.
In one episode that plays off Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Brian and Stewie venture into a new realm: the microbial universe. Stewie has grown tired of being mocked by Brian as the smallest Griffin, so he shrinks Brian to mouse- size. “When he tries to bring him back to normal size, something goes wrong and the two of them become microscopic,” says Appel, adding, “And of course when you think the mircobial universe, you think NBA superstar Kyrie Irving, who is playing a microscopic water bear, and Patrick Stewart is hilarious in it — as always.”
Family Guy returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.