Family Guy Star Trek Interview Part Two
Yesterday we posted the first part of an interview with David Goodman, executive producer of Family Guy, about the forthcoming Star Trek-themed episode. Here is the second part!
We revealed on Wednesday that the Family Guy team were planning an episode with the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. We enjoy Family Guy, so when executive producer David Goodman chatted about it with journalists at a conference earlier this week, we were happy to grab the Q and A highlights to share…
You’re a big Trekkie fan and we know that you personally wrote that Star Trek episode of Futurama. Did you write this Family Episode yourself too?
Goodman: The episode was written by one of our writers, Danny Smith, and he did a great job. A lot of the original ideas for the story were his. We all work on all the scripts on the show. I had a hand in all the episodes that we do in terms of figuring out the story and pitching out jokes with the rest of the writers, but the writer of this episode is Danny Smith – a very talented writer. He’s been with Family Guy for a long time. Even though he’s not necessarily the biggest Trekkie, he’s a truly funny person and did a great, great job. So we all contribute, but it started with Danny.
You worked on Enterprise! Will there be any reunions for other Star Trek series?
Goodman: You never know. Seth is a huge Star Trek fan. He’s watched all the series. He was on Enterprise when I was there. That’s not a coincidence. I wouldn’t necessarily count on it, but you never know…
An episode like this, does it take longer to produce because there’s guest stars involved?
Goodman: No, not really. You’re on a schedule and you have to get the voices recorded before the show can be animated. So our production team is just really excellent at organizing and the artists are very flexible in terms of they can work on something if we’re waiting for voices on other characters, they can start drawing other things. It’s a very talented group of artists and production people who make sure that we stick to schedules. Sometimes we fall a little behind, but this episode was not more difficult than others.
A show like Blue Harvest, on the other hand, where you have complicated action sequences and computer generated effects, that can take a lot longer. But in terms of guest cast, it’s actually the easiest thing, assuming that we get them in to record, it takes them five, ten minutes to record all their lines and they’re done and we can then move on.
Were there any character-specific Star Trek jokes that you’ve always wanted to tell?
Goodman: Well, there is a Tasha Yar joke in the episode. It’s pretty obvious from the minute she opens her mouth. And Denise was very game about it and anybody who is familiar with the series will get it right away. Anybody who’s not, it just plays as a joke on its own.
And then for me, in fact, the scene that I’m in, it was the second scene that my character is in, I am pontificating about a piece of Star Trek, I’m having an argument with another Star Trek fan about a piece of what they call Star Trek canon. And the argument is actually a real argument that Star Trek fans have, so I was very pleased with that. I’m going to sound like a real Star Trek fan: in the episode, “Relics” in Next Generation, the character of Scotty is pulled out of suspended animation and he says, “Did Captain Kirk come to pick me up?” And then we find out after the Next Generation ended that Captain Kirk died and Scotty was there. So why in that episode did he think Captain Kirk was going to pick him up if he saw him die? And, of course, the answer is just from a production standpoint, that they hadn’t made the movie yet and made that decision. But there is actually a possible explanation, which I offer in the guise of a cartoon character. So I was very pleased to do that!
Were there any actors that you told a joke about, but they never really picked up on?
Goodman: I don’t think we were particularly cruel to anybody. It was sort of a light-hearted jesting about them and they as a group could not have had a better sense of humour, which you don’t always find with actors. A lot of actors don’t like to play themselves, don’t like to spoof themselves, but this group is just the opposite. They were all just terrific.
What would be the ideal episode for you? Who would you focus on and what subject?
Goodman: A great thing about Family Guy is that you never have to decide any of those one things. We have to do 22 of them a year and there isn’t an ideal episode. It’s more, what can we come up with? What can we talk about that we haven’t talked about before? What’s getting harder as the show goes on because we’ve done so many episodes, but there isn’t an ideal episode we love all those subjects and all the subjects that we do and then we’re always surprised if something comes up that we haven’t thought of before for us to do or take a shot at.
I think we have a very interesting episode coming up later that really kind of breaks a lot of the rules that we’ve had on the show. It’s a show involving Stewie and Brian. And they’re the only characters in it and it’s a terrific episode. And again, what’s great about this show is that whatever rules that we set up for ourselves, we’re willing to break them in order to do something funny.
If you had to pick one of your favourite characters on the show, who would it be?
Goodman: I don’t know that I have a favourite character. I think at different times they all make me laugh and that really is a function of how talented the writers are, and Seth, and the actors who voice them. I honestly don’t have a favourite character. They’re all great and fun to write and fun to watch. I’m a huge fan of this show as well, which makes coming to work a joy.
One of the funniest recurring gags is Peter fighting the big yellow chicken. Will there be any more of that later this year?
Goodman: In terms of giant chicken gag you always want to make sure that you’re doing something fresh. I think the last time we did the giant chicken they sort of ended up going out to dinner! Peter ended up going out to dinner with his wife, which was a pitch from one of the writers, Alex Sulkan, and that just freshened the whole thing up. It gave it new twists to it, so if we do it again, we’re going to have to find something that tops that. So we certainly talk about it all the time, but we have not found that idea yet.
The episode of Family Guy in question is airing this Sunday 29 March at 9pm on FOX in the US, so our American readers should look out for it. Are you a Star Trek fan? Are you a Family Guy fan? What other crossovers should those guys do? Suggestions and comments welcome as always in the feedback thread below.