The Washington Post

‘FAMILY GUY’S’ 9/11 SATIRE: Show reminds that MacFarlane partied his way off doomed flight

In Sunday’s episode, baby Stewie and alkie dog Brian travel back to a time before 9/11. (AP)

IT WAS A HANGOVER, and not a layover, that kept Seth MacFarlane off American Airlines Flight 11.

On Sunday night, MacFarlane satirized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks a decade after the plane he was scheduled to be aboard was flown into one of the Twin Towers. The episode of “Family Guy” — the cornerstone in MacFarlane’s animation empire — was a dark reminder that had Fox’s future multimillionaire creator-producer made it to the Boston airport minutes earlier, he wouldn’t be among us to lampoon those very events.

On Sunday night’s episode, baby Stewie and Brian the martini-sipping mutt use a time machine — employing clones to carry out the tricky business of monkeying with past events — and grapple with the opportunity to prevent 9/11. Their ultimate moral dilemma: Alter the course of history or let it go unchanged?


Too soon? Well, this isn’t the first time MacFarlane has tapped the terrorist attacks as “Family Guy” fodder — he’s repeatedly made 9/11 jokes on the show, which rose like a warped Phoenix after it was canceled in 2002.

After one of the nation’s darkest days, MacFarlane said in interviews that he partied hard the night before Flight 11 and also had been told that his flight was scheduled to depart a half-hour later than it was.

“I missed it by 10 minutes,” he said of the flight. “It was very, very fortunate.”


Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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