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SYFY WIRE Resident Alien

'Resident Alien' creatives look back on bringing one of Family Guy's trippiest moments to life

Brian's mushroom trip in Season 10 remains one of the most iconic moments of the long-running animated series.

By Josh Weiss
Resident Alien showrunner Chris Sheridan and artist Joe Vaux talk TV

There's been no shortage of memorable Family Guy moments across the show's 20-season run on television, but one of the strangest and most iconic has got to be the Season 10 episode in which Brian horrifically trips out on a batch of psychedelic mushrooms.

The extended sequence, which finds the Griffins' sardonic talking dog thrust into a nightmarish hellscape, was designed by storyboard artist (and eventual writer-director) Joe Vaux, who would later be brought onto SYFY's Resident Alien by another longtime Family Guy vet — creator Chris Sheridan — to whip up the Goliath murals featured in Season 2 when Harry (Alan Tudyk) and Asta (Sara Tomko) head to New York City.

"Early on, the writing team at Family Guy was aware of my painting career outside of the show," Vaux explained to Jackie Jennings and Juan Cadavid, co-hosts of the official Resident Alien After-Show. "I'm sure Chris was involved with this decision, but years ago, there was a scene where there's a storm hitting Quahog and Brian's gonna consume some mushrooms he's been holding off on. I remember one of the PAs calling me early [and saying:] 'Are you going to this table read today?' I'm like, 'Yeah, I'll probably be there.' He's like, 'You need to be there because there's an important bit in there.' I didn't know this, but the writers had scripted this scene where once Brian trips, it was scripted as, 'Drips into Joe Vaux's paintings...nonsense and nightmares ensue.' That was another really great moment for me and I have nothing, but gratitude for the writer team. 'Yeah, let's just give Joe some air time here.'"

"Even to this day, I think that was one of the best sequences we've done," added Sheridan, who currently serves as showrunner and executive producer on Resident Alien (he previously oversaw the production of Family Guy with David A. Goodman and creator/cast member Seth MacFarlane). "That sequence ... was scripted, but not really, with Joe taking his artistic talents and creating this whole world for Brian on mushrooms. It was scripted [as] 'Brian's on mushrooms and he falls into a Joe Vaux world' and then Joe takes it from there. It goes through Joe's filter and then Joe, as a director and an artist will figure out what the moves are and that's no small feat. That is the essence of storytelling and being able to have artists who can tell those stories. It's a huge help to writers."

Season 1, as well as episodes 1-8 of Resident Alien Season 2 are now streaming on the SYFY app and Peacock

New episodes of Resident Alien Season 2 are set to land this summer on SYFY.