Mila Kunis once shared how her hit show Family Guy managed to succeed despite facing overwhelming odds. She also gave a little insight into how another hit television series, Friends, played a part in Family Guy’s initial failures.
Mila Kunis’ ‘Family Guy’ had to go head to head with ‘Friends’
Kunis has been a part of Family Guy since the show’s second season, making her introduction as Meg in the third episode of season two. Prior to Kunis, Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert voiced the character. But series creator Seth MacFarlane believed she left the show due to contractual issues.
Kunis continues to voice the character in the show, which is now on its 20th season. But back in its earlier days, Family Guy’s future was looking bleak. Fox pitting Family Guy against another hit television series didn’t really help its chances, either.
“They put us up against Friends at one point,” Kunis once told MTV News. “Someone up high in a suit just didn’t believe in the show, and no one watched it. [But Cartoon Network’s] Adult Swim put it on, and it did phenomenally. That literally saved the show. It’s amazing what happened. For a network that’s silly enough to cancel a show like this, you have to give them respect for [bringing] it back. I think because Family Guy now came back, there are more chances for shows to have that opportunity.”
Seth MacFarlane once shared what changed about Meg after Mila Kunis was cast as the character
MacFarlane harbored no ill will towards Chabert for leaving the show. In hindsight, the show’s creator might’ve felt it allowed a more suitable actor to do the role. It helped that Kunis was the same age that Meg was written as at the time.
“Fortunately, what Mila brought to it, Mila Kunis, was in a lot of ways, I thought, almost more right for the character,” he said. “I say that Lacey did a phenomenal job, but there was something about Mila – something very natural about Mila. She was 15 when she started, so you were listening to a 15-year-old. Which oftentimes with animation they’ll have adult actors doing the voices of teenagers and they always sound like Saturday morning voices. They sound, oftentimes, very forced. Mila, really, you were listening to a teenager.”
Apart from that, Kunis’ performance added certain traits to the character that formed a complete Meg. During an audition, Kunis’ Meg called Peter Griffin an idiot. When this happened, a lightbulb went off in MacFarlane’s head.
“We hadn’t been able to figure out really who Meg was, prior to that,” she said. “We were thinking maybe she is – the character’s a loser, but maybe this is another aspect of her character that she’s just kind of blunt with her parents, you know, that she’ll call her dad an idiot, which he most certainly is. So when Mila did that part, Meg definitely got a little more bite to her.”
Why Mila Kunis called ‘Family Guy’ the ‘greatest job ever’
Kunis’ film career grew since her starting days in the comedy. But she still finds herself a close part of the family. In an interview with Collider, she felt that Family Guy was one of the best gigs she’d ever done to this day.
“It’s been the greatest job ever. Ever. Hands down. I dare anybody to tell me that they have a better, more amazing job than that,” she said.
She seems to have no plans on leaving the show, either. Kunis hoped Family Guy went on forever. Given the show’s lengthy run, it’s a wish that doesn’t seem too far off from reality.