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​Family Guy Is 20 Years Old Today

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​Family Guy Is 20 Years Old Today

In its impressive 20-year run, Family Guy has proven to be quite the hit with the world's sick-minded TV fans and its discerning critics alike, having even won itself eight Emmys in its time.

Along with the likes of South Park, it marked the graduation in animated comedy from The Simpsons, bringing us a more mature mix of grown-up gags and controversy, all bound together by bang-on casting and a tight script.

Mind you, it wasn't always this way - when it first premiered in 1999, the show was very different to the Family Guy we know and love today.

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For the pilot episode, 'Death Has A Shadow', which sees Peter lose his job after getting too drunk at a stag do and falling asleep at work, the voices of several characters are a far cry from their later iterations.

MacFarlane famously voiced several of the character himself, having told TIME in 2008: "With the Family Guy pilot, part of me doing the voices was that there wasn't any money to hire actors.

"But there was also a very specific vocal and delivery style that I was after. It was just easier to do it myself."

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But while Mila Kunis is now the person behind the character of Meg, she was originally voiced by an entirely different actress, with Lacey Chabert on eldest daughter duties between 1999 and 2000 before going on to star in Mean Girls.

Lacey Chabert, who voiced Meg before Mila Kunis. Credit: PA
Lacey Chabert, who voiced Meg before Mila Kunis. Credit: PA

Alex Borstein, who plays Lois, also says that the faster, high pitched voice she uses in the show now actually evolved over time - which explains why the character sounds completely different in the pilot.

"I was doing this character in a stage show, so I brought that over, which was very slow," she told IGN.

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"That was based on my cousin in Long Island and Seth said that 'It would be a four hour show if you talked at that pace so could you make it quicker and raise it?'.

"Over the years you can notice that it started lower and slower and it's gotten higher and higher and quicker and quicker."

Like Lois' voice, the humour was all a bit slower, too.

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While we now see the gags coming in thick and fast, the earlier episodes seem as though they're waiting for the confidence of the show to kick in - I mean, just look how reserved early Quagmire is compared to his modern-day counterpart:

Of course, nowadays the Family Guy producers have decided to reign in some of the controversial content - including some of the jokes that come at the exspense of the global LGBT community.

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Executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel felt that as the times change, so too does the comedy, with Sulkin telling TV Line: "If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they're going to have a few differences.

"Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable."

Appel added: "If a show has literally been on the air for 20 years, the culture changes. And it's not us reacting and thinking, 'They won't let us [say certain things]'. No, we've changed too.

"The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different. They've been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways."

Looks like they've realised that not only is change often important, it's also not necessarily a bad thing - as proven by just how far it's come from that early episode.

Thanks for the good times, MacFarlane and co.

Featured Image Credit: Fox

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Family Guy

Jess Hardiman
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