|Episode no. Season 8
Written by Tom Devanney
Original air date May 9, 2010
|Directed by Pete Michels|
Production code 7ACX19
"Quagmire's Dad" is the 18th episode of the eighth season of the animated comedy series Family Guy. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on May 9, 2010. The episode features Quagmire after his father, Dan Quagmire, returns to Quahog and states he is "a woman trapped in a man's body". Dan has decided to have sex reassignment surgery to become physically female. Meanwhile, Brian travels to a seminar and, upon returning, has a sexual affair with "Ida," whom he does not realize is Quagmire's post-operative father.
The episode was written by Tom Devanney and directed by Pete Michels. It was rated TV-14 for intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L) and intense violence (V). It received generally mixed reviews, in addition to receiving some criticism for its portrayal of transgenderism, including from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Parents Television Council. According to Nielsen ratings, it was viewed in 7.22 million homes in its original unedited airing. The episode featured a guest performance by Wally Wingert, along with several recurring guest voice actors for the series. "Quagmire's Dad" was released on DVD along with ten other episodes from the season on December 13, 2011.
Peter and Joe visit Quagmire and are introduced to his father, Lieutenant Commander Dan Quagmire. Expecting to see the inspiration for Quagmire's wanton sexual behavior, they are surprised by Dan's stereotypically gay mannerisms and begin texting each other of how gay Dan is. The following morning, Quagmire invites Peter and Lois to the Naval Ball being held to honor his father, but soon begins arguing with Peter about his father's sexuality. At the ball that night, members of the Navy bombard Quagmire with compliments about his war-hero father, most of which can be taken as double entendres about Dan's alleged homosexuality. Concerned that his dad may be gay, Quagmire confronts him and Dan states that he is not gay, but is instead "a woman trapped in a man's body" and that he plans to have a sex change operation during his stay in Quahog. At first Peter and Lois conflate gender identity and sexual orientation, then at Lois' suggestion, Peter waits with Quagmire during the operation. The surgery is a success, with Quagmire's Dad emerging as the newly named Ida Davis, an attractive blond woman. That night, Ida and Quagmire join the Griffins for dinner. As the dinner begins, however, Quagmire becomes frustrated when the Griffins turn the conversation towards Ida's surgery and other related topics, and storms out of the room. At Quagmire's home, Quagmire tells Ida that he is not sure he can deal with her new gender identity. Saddened, Ida leaves Quagmire's home and decides to stay at a nearby Marriott Hotel.
Meanwhile, Brian has been out of town attending a seminar on creating a web series and is unaware of what has transpired. On his way home, Brian stops at the Marriott, meets Ida, and starts having drinks with her. Quickly bonding, they retire to Ida's room for sex, with Ida leaving first, then Brian after telling the barman to bill the drinks to her room. The next morning, Brian shares his newfound love with Peter and Lois before showing them a picture of Ida on his cellphone. Peter and Lois go into hysterics, while Brian, unaware of Ida's operation, believes they are just jealous. After Stewie tells him that Quagmire's father has had a sex change and reveals Ida's name, Brian realizes that he has had sex with Quagmire's transsexual father and vomits for 29 uninterrupted seconds before the two of them panic. At the same time, Ida returns to Quagmire's home and apologizes, and Quagmire returns the favor, reconciling their relationship. Ida tells Quagmire that she met someone, and when she says it was Brian, whom Quagmire despises, he becomes furious. Brian is traumatized after finding out about Ida and, when he hears Quagmire come inside the house, he tries to hide under Peter and Lois' bed, but Quagmire finds him easily, because Brian's feet were sticking out from under the bed, and brutally beats him, thus threatening to blow his head off if he goes near Quagmire's house. Brian gets the final word — "Hey, I fucked your dad." — and angrily slams the door shut.
Production and development
The episode was written by Tom Devanney and directed by series regular Pete Michels. It is the second episode of the season Devanney and Michels worked on, the first being "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", before the conclusion of season 8. The episode saw the introduction of Quagmire's father, Lieutenant Commander Dan Quagmire, a former officer with the United States Navy who later becomes Ida Quagmire. The character was voiced by main cast member, series creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane. Series regulars Peter Shin and James Purdum served as supervising directors, with Andrew Goldberg and Alex Carter working as staff writers for the episode. Composer Ron Jones, who has worked on the series since its inception, returned to compose the music for "Quagmire's Dad". The original design of Ida Quagmire was created by MacFarlane, and designed to resemble English actor Paul Bettany. It was later adapted upon by Pete Michels.
"Quagmire's Dad", along with the eleven other episodes from Family Guy's eighth season, was released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on December 13, 2011. The sets include brief audio commentaries by various crew and cast members for several episodes, a collection of deleted scenes and animatics, a special mini-feature which discussed the process behind animating "And Then There Were Fewer", a mini-feature entitled "The Comical Adventures of Family Guy – Brian & Stewie: The Lost Phone Call", and footage of the Family Guy panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.
In addition to the regular cast, voice actor Wally Wingert guest starred in the episode. Recurring guest voice actor Ralph Garman, and writers Chris Sheridan, Danny Smith, Alec Sulkin and John Viener made minor appearances. Recurring guest voice actor Patrick Warburton reprises his role of Joe Swanson.
The bit of Peter and Joe texting each other exists in two versions: one with Peter texting Joe back but was autocorrected, or using the term "phoque" to describe how gay Quagmire's father is.
In a slight decrease from the previous week, the episode was viewed in 7.22 million homes in its original airing, despite airing simultaneously with Desperate Housewives on ABC, Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, and the television film Jesse Stone: No Remorse on CBS. The episode also acquired a 3.8 rating in the 18–49 demographic, beating The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show and American Dad! in both ratings and total viewership.
Reviews of the episode were generally mixed. Ramsey Isler of IGN noted his enjoyment of Dan Quagmire's character traits: "I'll give the writing team credit for this little plot twist, as I'm sure we were all expecting the elder Quagmire to be even more of a womanizer than his son." Regarding the episode's treatment of LGBT issues, Jason Hughes of TV Squad stated, "there's a gold mine of material to dig into for satire and comedy; comedy which will likely offend as many people as the real issues do." Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club called the scenes between Quagmire and his father "surprisingly well-done" while noting, "the scenes where the mockery seemed a little too mean-spirited were definitely out of the show's worst sections of its toolkit". Tom Eames of entertainment website Digital Spy placed the episode at number ten on his listing of the best Family Guy episodes in order of "yukyukyuks" and praised Brian's line of 'Hey... I fucked your dad' after Quagmire attacks him, describing it as "amazing".
The episode was criticized for its portrayal of people who identify as transgender, particularly regarding the way Ida was treated by other characters. Food that Ida prepared for the dinner party at the Griffin house was thrown out and Brian's learning of her sex-reassignment surgery after he had sex with her caused him to "violently" vomit for 30 unbroken seconds. Speaking with LGBT media website AfterElton.com in January 2010, series creator Seth MacFarlane mentioned the episode in response to concerns over how his animated series have portrayed LGBT characters. "It always distresses me when I hear that the gay community is upset with us, because that's one group of people I hope would know we're on their side. I can safely say that the transsexual community will be very, very happy with the 'Quagmire' episode that we have coming up in a couple of months. It's probably the most sympathetic portrayal of a transexual [sic] character that has ever been on television, dare I say." In a subsequent review, AfterElton.com writer Brent Hartinger graded the episode negatively. While noting that the episode deserves credit for making important points about transgender people, he found its inclusion of the vomiting scene and Lois and Peter's transphobic remarks about Ida to be "shockingly insensitive". Hartinger continued, "Frankly, it's literally impossible for me to reconcile last night's episode with MacFarlane's words, unless I come to the conclusion that the man is pretty much a complete idiot." The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, an LGBT media watchdog organization, released a statement about the episode, noting that "GLAAD shares the serious concerns being voiced from members of the community and GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Team is addressing these with Fox. Next steps will be decided at that point." In a September 2010 interview in Details, MacFarlane expressed surprise at the negative reaction, stating "I don't meet a lot of stupid homosexuals." He repeated that he still felt Ida was a "very sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character". He also defended Brian's vomiting after discovering he had sex with someone who had undergone sex reassignment surgery noting Brian's character is heterosexual and "If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up in the same way that a gay guy looks at a vagina and goes, 'Oh, my God, that's disgusting.'" Eames (Digital Spy) believed the episode was "surprisingly kind" to the transgender community for "Family Guy standards".
The Parents Television Council, a conservative campaigning group and frequent critic of MacFarlane's work, named "Quagmire's Dad" as its "Worst TV Show of the Week" citing Dan Quagmire's "outrageously stereotyped gay" character, violence and sexual innuendo. The PTC specifically cited the innuendo-laced dialogue throughout the episode, a "straight 30 straight seconds [sic]" of vomiting after Brian learns of Ida's previous identity, Quagmire's erection while embracing Ida and the violence of the final scene.