One question has always plagued fans of Fox's The Family Guy: How could beer-swilling homunculus Peter father Stewie, a refined yet maniacal football-headed genius? The mystery spurred show creator Seth MacFarlane to craft a classic tale of a man setting out to discover his roots. Well, sort of. Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, available on DVD Sept. 27, is 80 minutes of the same type of crass material we've come to expect (and love) from The Family Guy. It's also MacFarlane's first feature-length effort. He gave TV Guide.com all the sordid details.
TVGuide.com: Did you originally envision Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story as a movie or a series of episodes?
Seth MacFarlane: We did it when we were first coming back, so we weren't really sure how the show was going to do, or whether anyone would even buy something like this. What we did was structure it as a movie, but made it so that, down the line, it could eventually be broken up in to three episodes. We wound up with a big movie-size version of an episode, and I think it works very well structurally.
TVGuide.com: C'mon, Seth. Do you really care about structure that much? Your show is usually a series of tangents.
MacFarlane: [Laughs] We do care about structure... and we don't. When it comes to gags, if something is funny, we'll find a way to shoehorn it into the exact moment we want it. In an age where the last thing sitcoms are concerned with is getting laughs, I think we're getting a few extra laughs in wherever we can. But some weeks more than others, we do try to give the show a backbone. Even if it's a silly story, hopefully we're creating stories that take you somewhere and make you want to see a resolution. But I'm under no delusion that people watch our show for the rich story content.
TVGuide.com: Though Stewie is a baby, he's already exhibited signs of latent homosexuality and has a maniacal desire for world domination. Will he come to terms with those sorts of issues on his DVD journey?
MacFarlane: Stewie's sexual orientation doesn't play a big part in the movie, but he does discover that he may not be as capable of taking over the world when he grows up as he thought. It's a very big slap in the face.
TVGuide.com: What kind of musical numbers can we expect?
MacFarlane: Actually, we don't have any big production numbers in this. But if we do a theatrical release at some point, we may structure it from the ground up as a musical.
TVGuide: So you'd eventually like to do a theatrical feature?
MacFarlane: Yeah. I think this is a great trial run for us. We learned that with the right story, these characters can sustain a longer format. In some ways, the writers and I wished we had saved this story for a theatrical feature, because it really turned out to be pretty cool. So at some point down the line, I think we will talk seriously with Fox about doing a theatrical release.
TVGuide.com: There are rumors of a feud between The Family Guy and The Simpsons. Care to talk some smack about Matt Groening?
MacFarlane: You know, it's funny — Matt Groening and I actually have a great relationship. We've talked several times in the past few weeks and joked about this. One day out of nowhere [this rumor] pops up in papers and magazines. Actually, it was probably one comment that was taken out of context in Blender. Matt's just a cool guy, and fortunately neither of us was ruffled by any of that stuff. We just laughed it off.
TVGuide.com: Stewie breaks the neck of an Entertainment Weekly reporter in The Untold Story. Should I feel threatened if I don't write positively about the DVD?
MacFarlane: No, that poke was because they wrote so many negative things about us early on. It was actually just this one guy, Ken Tucker. Everything he ever wrote about our show was just scathing. But we've always had a good relationship with TV Guide. Wait, this is TV Guide, isn't it?
TVGuide.com: It certainly is, Seth. It certainly is.