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October 4, 2015

Seth MacFarlane: Was Last Night's 'Family Guy' His 9/11 Catharsis?

by Mike Ryan, posted Nov 14th 2011 4:00PM
Seth MacFarlane was closer to the attacks of September 11, 2001, than you may realize. Last night, MacFarlane's 'Family Guy' aired an episode titled 'Back to the Pilot' (written by Mark Hentemann), in which Stewie and Brian travel back in time and meet their younger selves. Brian warns himself about the 9/11 attacks – which, at first, are now prevented. But the end result is a civil war after George W. Bush loses the 2004 election and secedes Texas from the union. The Internet is now full of posts asking whether 'Family Guy' went "too far" (including this one!). But the controversy is even more interesting when viewed from MacFarlane's point of view.

On the morning of the September 11, 2001, attacks, MacFarlane was scheduled to fly from Boston to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11, leaving Boston at 7:45 a.m. This is the flight that would strike the North Tower of the World Trade Center. MacFarlane missed the flight because he overslept as a result from "drinking the night before and [being] hung over" and because his travel agent gave him the wrong time.

MacFarlane has said again and again that the near miss left no emotional scars. He told TVShowsOnDVD, "The only reason it hasn't really affected me as it maybe could have is I didn't really know that I was in any danger until after it was over, so I never had that panic moment." In an interview for Adam Carolla's podcast, MacFarlane went on to say that he misses flights quite regularly, so this wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

Maybe MacFarlane is telling the truth. Maybe he's never given his brush with death a second thought. And maybe last night's episode was just another ordinary piece of entertainment that went too far. But maybe, just maybe, it represented Seth MacFarlane's effort to finally deal with something that would weigh heavily on any human being. (Or maybe it's just all a coincidence!)

[Aol TV reached out to MacFarlane, but he declined to comment.]

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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Jennifer Konewko

And we could have missed out on The Cleveland Show AND Ted? ****. The terrorists have won.

August 16 2012 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WHY was this episode going too far? I watched it and didn't see anything particularly offensive.

November 14 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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