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The Meme-Inspired Family Guy Episode We Never Got To See

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of a hit TV show's writers room. Brilliant minds gather together to pitch funny jokes and intricate plots to one another. It would be riveting to witness the genesis of an idea that would go on to become a classic episode. But what many people may not realize is that for every episode that ends up airing, there are probably tons of others that never make it past the conceptual stage. 

"Family Guy" has had to come up with hundreds of plots and thousands of jokes across its 21-season run. From poking fun at the FCC to traveling throughout the multiverse, there are plenty of classic "Family Guy" episodes that continue to entertain the masses. But what about the ideas that never made it beyond the pitching phase? 

Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin, who both serve as showrunners and executive producers on the sitcom, recently spoke about one such idea that just didn't have enough gas to make a whole episode, even if the inspiration was fantastic. 

Alec Sulkin wanted to do an episode inspired by the Jeremiah Johnson meme

For nearly a decade now, the Jeremiah Johnson gif has made for an excellent reaction when you want to show your approval for an idea. For those not in the know, "Jeremiah Johnson" is a Robert Redford movie from the 1970s, and there's one scene where the titular character's bearded face nods while smiling. According to Alec Sulkin, they wanted to take that reaction image and do it with Peter, but they just couldn't get a whole episode's worth of content out of that idea. 

Sulkin explained to TV Fanatic, "I remember specifically maybe 3-4 years ago, we had a room working for a few weeks where we had each act the Griffin Family was living in a different state in the country. That was all because I wanted to have Peter imitating the Jeremiah Johnson GIF, where he turned around and nodded at the screen when the family lived in Alaska. Surprise, surprise, we couldn't make an entire episode out of that."

"Family Guy" has been known to do vignette stories where each act is a different story from time to time. One famous example is "Disney's the Reboot," where three different versions of "Family Guy" are pitched to audiences, including one that takes after "Riverdale." Having the Griffins live in different states could've been interesting, but if Sulkin and crew couldn't find a way to make it work, maybe it's for the best we never saw it.