Family Guy dedicated an entire episode to enfant terrible Stewie Griffin during Sunday night’s broadcast in the US and viewers were expecting a big reveal.
Ever since the show first aired twenty years ago, there has been a looming question over Stewie’s sexuality; is he gay? Is he straight? Does it even really matter?
It seems that the writers went with the latter question when delving deeper into the psyche of the one-year-old, through a 25 minute therapy session between him and a psychiatrist voiced by Sir Ian McKellen.
‘Do we write something where Stewie comes out? Is that what this episode is going to be?’” Family Guy executive producer Alec Sulkin told Entertainment Weekly. “And then we all decided it would be more interesting to leave that door open for many interpretations.
“I think the way that Gary [Janetti] does it is much more interesting, and leaves us with many more places to go, so we don’t always have to lean in on a Stewie-is-gay joke.”
Janetti, who wrote the episode, said his “intention for Stewie is never to come out as gay or not gay,” and that the infant “will be forever in this state of confusion, as you would be when you’re that age.”
In the episode, Stewie tells the child therapist Dr. Pritchfield: “I’m not gay. This whole thing isn’t because I’m gay, so calm down. I can already see you licking your chops. I’m sure you live for the coming-out sessions.
“If anything, I’m less gay than I used to be, not that anybody at this school would care. But do I think that Grant Gustin and I would make the most adorable Instagram couple? Yes, yes we would.”
Some viewers were left confused by the whole non-coming out speech.
Stewie Griffen declares he is not gay. What the deuce??
— Dave Matherly (@damatdave) March 19, 2018
So is Stewie straight, gay, or bi???
— David ❄️ (@vousfrapper) March 19, 2018
Of course there is something to be said about having better representation for LGBTQ characters and there are certainly some Family Guy fans who like the idea of Stewie being part of their community, but this episode refuses to specify if he is and that is fair enough.
The idea that a child of one should have his sexuality defined seems a little premature, no matter how adult his character comes across in the show.
Why does the sexuality of Stewie even matter he’s a baby
— Esdeath (@NamaSLAYED) March 5, 2018
It’s exactly why Seth MacFarlane chose not to have the youngest Griffin come out in a previous episode. “We decided it’s better to keep it vague,” MacFarlane said in 2009, “which makes more sense because he’s a one-year-old. “
So to tease this latest episode as a coming-out show without offering any further character progression, other than the fact that his British accent is fake and his sexuality is not defined, seems rather unnecessary.
These types of animated characters will remain the same age until the day their shows stop being made, so until Stewie grows up there’s no need to force labels on him.