'Family Guy' Writer Explains 'Bob's Burgers' Joke

Bob's Burgers

 Bob's Burgers

What started out as an in-joke between FOX cartoons Family Guy and Bob's Burgers grew into an Internet rumor, that grew into a verified prank.

During the "Space Cadet" episode of Family Guy that aired on January 6, 2013, Bob's Burgers was the punchline of a goodhearted joke, shared between the FOX Animation Domination cartoons. In the past, certain cartoons have taken pot shots at other cartoons, but in this case, the joke was between friends.

In the episode, Peter and Lois are called into Chris's principal's office, where he shows them the picture Chris tried to pass off as his advanced art project: a picture of Bob Belcher, from Bob's Burgers. Peter says, "I'm very embarrassed." The principal says, "Well, someone should be."

Fans of both shows were curious about the joke, and whether a rivalry was brewing between the creative teams led by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and Loren Bouchard (Bob's Burgers). Then, Cartoon Brew posted an email from Family Guy writer Alex Carter that explained the background of the whole joke. In said email, Carter poked fun a the poor artistic quality of Bob's Burgers in a friendly way. He also explained that Seth MacFarlane hasn't had anything to do with the writing or animation of Family Guy for years, letting the executive producers run the show. Carter said that MacFarlane is generally too busy pitching new ideas for live-action pilots and movies, or hosting awards shows.

However, not long after Alex Carter's email made the Internet rounds, information came out that the email, and its explanation for the joke at Bob's Burgers expense, was a hoax. The joke was just that, a joke and the Family Guy creative team doesn't think poorly of Bob's Burgers at all.

So, we got duped, again, by the Internet. Thanks to loyal reader Trevor for letting me know the original letter posted about this blazing hot issue was apparently a hoax. It's too bad, because that fake email restored my faith in Animation Domination as a cohesive team of artists, working to make great cartoons.

Cartoon Rivalry

Other cartoons have made fun of each other in the past. Here's a quick rundown of episodes that took pot shots at other TV cartoons.

In "Cartoon Wars," parts 1 and 2, during the tenth season, takes aim at Family Guy, even drawing a sloppy version of Peter Griffin and the other characters.

In "Simpsons Already Did It," in the sixth season, South Park turns its sights on The Simpsons. The characters attempt to do something new, only to find out (you guessed it) that The Simpsons already did it.

In "Fugue and Riffs," the fourth season premiere, Sterling Archer is undercover, flipping burgers at a restaurant. He has a wife and three kids. Although the animation is drawn and colored like any other Archer episode, it's clear that the episode is set in ​Bob's Burgers. Why? Actor H. Jon Benjamin does the voices of both Sterling Archer and Bob Belcher.

In "The Simpsons Guy," both The Simpsons and Family Guy poke fun of each other in crossover episode that aired on September 28, 2014. In the episode, the Griffins wind up in Springfield, and the two families find they have a lot in common until they don't.