Seven dismisses airing of Family Guy episode with Robin Williams ‘unfunny’ gag last night as ‘coincidence’

Robin Williams Family Guy screen shotNetwork Seven has been accused of “poor taste” after showing an episode of Family Guy last night which featured jokes at the expense of actor Robin Williams, hours after he was found dead.

The episode, entitled ‘Big Man on Hippocampus’, features a cutaway centred around a joke where Robin Williams’ agent having to pretend the actor is still funny when he rings him. It is one of several episodes of the animated comedy Williams features in.

News of Williams’ death from an apparent suicide broke just after 9am AEST yesterday, 14 hours before the episode aired on 7Mate. It has since emerged Williams had been undergoing treatment for depression.

Seven has responded to requests for comment from Mumbrella this morning saying: “It was a coincidence.” Last night Ten overtook Seven for audience share after airing movie Mrs Doubtfire as a Robin Williams tribute and axing its regular shows.

The move to air the episode at 11pm last night caused ire with social media users, with dozens of people taking to Twitter to air their unease at the spot being aired so soon after the actor’s apparent suicide.

Twitter family guy complaints

Robin Williams twitter screen shots

Williams features as the butt of jokes in several episodes of the Seth McFarlane comedy, including a skit where main character Peter Griffin acts as Williams’ jumping off point for his comedy, and another where he tells a town full of Robin Williams characters to “go free” and “spread your comedy”.

A transcript of the scene in last night’s episode, which is set up by the character Stewie Griffin who accuses the family of pretending he’s not there “like Robin Williams’ agent pretends he’s still funny”, reads:

Agent: Hello?

Williams: Hey Phil, it’s Robin Williams.

Phil: Ahahahahahaha! That’s hilarious!

Williams: I just wanted to make sure the meeting is still on for 2:30 tommorrow otherwise I gotta go that Chinese dentist. Get it, tooth hurty?

Phil: Ah-hahaha-ha-ha! You son of a bitch! I had a mouthful of coffee! God, you are funny and that is real!

In the UK viewers were left “shocked” at the “uncanny timing” after the BBC showed the episode ‘Fatman and Robin’ of Family Guy, in which Peter Griffin fails in a suicide attempt when everything he touches turns into Robin Williams,  just minutes before news of his death became public.

Alex Hayes


    We can calm down about this. It was clearly just bad luck for Seven and I am sure nothing was meant by it.

  1. Peter
    13 Aug 14
    2:24 pm

  2. No David. It’s inappropriate and not acceptable. Bruce McWilliam must be horrified – he’ll no doubt call for heads to roll. Go get ’em Brucie.

    Of course it is inappropriate but it was not planned and no one would have, could have known the content. It was just shockingly bad luck. There are a lot of reasons for heads to roll in this country. Political correctness is not one of them. There is just no way, anyone at Seven could have known of the content. I would call it bad luck and let Seven offer an apology and get on with it.

  3. Josh
    13 Aug 14
    2:59 pm

  4. Agree with you David- a random gag in an episode is not something people should be looking out for in a matter liek this.

  5. Danny
    13 Aug 14
    3:26 pm

  6. It’s pretty simple….. If this episode is the one after whatever the last episode they aired was and the next one they air is the one after this episode in question, it means it was just a coincidence and people should get off their high horse. If it was a random episode thrown in between two consecutive episodes then Channel 7 have been guilty of trying to cash in on his death. Of course, Channel 10 didn’t do anything like that last night…..

  7. Trevor
    13 Aug 14
    4:32 pm

  8. Totally agree with what Danny wrote.

  9. SJH
    13 Aug 14
    4:53 pm

  10. Airing Mrs Doubtfire on Ch10 and iTunes sorting RW movies up the top of the recommended list I wasn’t a fan of personally….. They were decisions actively made… CH7’s was a mere hiccup (hopefully….however bad).
    What’s worse then?

  11. Viewer
    13 Aug 14
    5:09 pm

  12. Family Guy is just a rip-off of the Simpsons and King of the Hill, and recycles unfunny gags. For that alone it should be banned.

  13. Trey
    14 Aug 14
    11:27 am

  14. I’m sure episodes aren’t marked with all the people that are made fun of by this show. Just as I’m sure whoever scheduled had no idea there was a Robin Williams reference in it. The problem with social media is a non-event (as distasteful as it may have been) becomes a “story” which more ignorant people lay their comments on. I’m sure 7 regrets it – let’s just move on.