'Family Guy' vs. 'Robot Chicken'
MacFarlane, Green play one-up with pop-culture gagsLOS ANGELES --
"I look at Seth all the time, and we both have these soldier's eyes now," Green said Thursday before he, MacFarlane and the rest of the "Family Guy" team took the stage at the Museum of Television & Radio's Paley Festival.
"He warned me -- 'Don't do everything,'" Green adds. "But I'm a control freak. So now we're always saying, 'Sorry I didn't call you.' 'No, sorry I didn't call you.'"
Both shows are labors of love for the respective Seths. MacFarlane told the audience how he hand-drew the "Family Guy" pilot presentation while he was working on Cartoon Network's "Johnny Bravo" at Hanna-Barbera, and he and several of the show's writers described how they come up with the numerous cutaway gags that are the show's signature.
At a point where the script calls for a gag, several writers will retreat to a separate room to work out a bit -- say, Peter (MacFarlane) conducting the Sand People Choir and lamenting to Obi-Wan Kenobi about the poor performance. They then come back to the writers' room and act it out.
"Every episode, we throw out dozens of gags," writer-producer Chris Sheridan says. "When the writers go out, they come back and pitch us four, five, six gags, and the best one stays in."
Showrunner David Goodman also notes that "A lot of the writers have performance backgrounds" -- several of them, in fact, also do voice work on the show. "So if it works in the room, it's usually good."
Green even says there's something of a friendly competition between "Robot Chicken," a stop-motion-animated show that skewers pop culture, and "Family Guy" to get gags on the air first. It's one that "Family Guy" usually wins, given the longer turnaround for "Chicken's" labor-intensive animation process.
Still, "Robot Chicken" isn't exactly lacking for material. The show's second season begins Sunday, April 2 and will include 20 episodes; season one will be out on DVD March 28. In the coming season, fans can look forward to a "Six Million Peso Man" sketch and guest appearances by everyone from "Lord of the Rings" star Elijah Wood to pro-wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
"Everything we didn't hit last season, we do this time," Green says.