Comedy-centric shows like Family Guy typically exist in a metafictional bubble, allowing them to make references to the assorted nonsense news of the day while keeping heavier topics like the COVID-19 pandemic off the table. After all, people watch these shows to laugh, not be reminded of their existential dread. However, a show as long-running as Family Guy does draw a lot of eyes on a regular basis, and if that ubiquity can be used to spread a positive message, then it’d be silly not to.
Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlene, along with the shows writers and a guest team of epidemiologists and scientists, created a brief PSA on the importance of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, releasing it on Twitter and YouTube. The short features Stewie and Brian accompanying Peter (all three of whom are voiced by Macfarlene) to the doctor’s office to get a vaccine, but Peter is reluctant. To explain the importance of the shot, Stewie and Brian take a brief voyage into Peter’s body Mr. Peabody & Sherman-style where Stewie explains how the vaccines work.
Watch the new #FamilyGuy Short! Stewie and Brian travel inside Peter’s body to explain how vaccines work.
Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines? Visit https://t.co/Yz9vi7AYYD for the most accurate and timely facts so we can all get back to the moments we love and miss most. pic.twitter.com/d08P2VjlcU
— Family Guy (@FamilyGuyonFOX) September 21, 2021
“Vaccines protect us from illnesses by activating our immune response without the danger of actual infection, thereby training the body to fight off the real thing. Some of the COVID vaccines work by exposing your immune system to proteins, which resemble the spike proteins of the virus but cannot infect you,” Stewie explains, as white blood cells fight off viruses that look like Meg for some reason. He also explains how the vaccine protects your body, as well as the importance of a majority of the population being vaccinated. Peter is satisfied with the explanation and gets the shot, though he’s briefly dismayed by the Bart Simpson Band-Aid he receives.
“We were proud to work with some of the nation’s leading immunologists and epidemiologists on this PSA. And while we never understood a single note they gave us, we took them all,” the show’s executive producers and showrunners Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin in a statement.