Looks like Hell has more or less frozen over, as Seth MacFarlane, the creator of ‘Family Guy’ (and voice to at least a third of its characters), has signed on to appear on next season’s premiere of ‘The Simpsons’. Okay, maybe Hell freezing over is a bit hyperbolic, but this does mark a significant crossover of sorts between two animated series that couldn’t possibly be more different, even though ‘The Simpsons’ can easily be considered a forerunner to MacFarlane’s flagship series.
The episode will be titled “Dangers on a Train,” and feature a story in which Marge mistakes an Ashley Madison-type infidelity website for a Dolly Madison-esque cupcake site. While on the website, she encounters Ben (MacFarlane), a suave, charming man who pursues her as they develop a bond over their shared love for a Downton Abbey-esque British soap called ‘Upton Rectory’. Executive producer Al Jean spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the episode, saying, “A lot of him trying to go after her is over the phone, so it’s a perfect part for someone with [MacFarlane's] voice.” Jean also reveals that MacFarlane, a capable crooner in his own right, sings “The Way You Look Tonight” in the episode. In addition, MacFarlane’s Ben is married to a woman voiced by comedian Lisa Lampanelli, “which explains what’s wrong with his marriage,” says Jean.
In other MacFarlane-related news, the actor/writer/producer spoke at UCLA to a host of students about the inevitability of the big-screen adaptation of ‘Family Guy’. “It’s just a matter of when,” MacFarlane said. “It’s hard to do that while you have the series going on at the same time; I think that’s why it took The Simpsons 20 seasons to figure out how to do it.”
MacFarlane continued, “We do know what the Family Guy movie will be. The Simpsons movie, I thought, was hilarious, but the one criticism I would have is that it’s a story they probably could’ve done on TV. There could’ve been an episode that had that plotline,” he said. “That’s the challenge with animation. You pretty much can do any story you want, so what is the reason for the movie? We finally hit on the answer to that question, and it will be something that would be impossible to do on TV.”
Does this mean an R-rated plot, a la MacFarlane’s 2012 summer-smash Ted? Either way, if the film is anywhere near as successful as The Simpsons Movie, MacFarlane will have another smash on his hands.
Full ‘Simpsons’ story: Entertainment Weekly
Full ‘Family Guy’ story (plus news on a contest for college students that could earn the winner a spot at this year’s Academy Awards): Entertainment Weekly