Why ‘Ted’ sounds so similar to ‘Family Guy’s’ Peter Griffin

Seth Macfarlane says he tried to come up with a voice for the teddy bear star of "Ted" that would be different from the voice of Peter Griffin in "Family Guy," but concedes that they sound pretty similar.
(Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times)

Ted, the foul-mouthed animated star of Friday’s R-rated buddy comedy of the same name, may smoke more marijuana than “Family Guy’s” Peter Griffin, but the two sound awfully similar. Of course, both are voiced by writer-director Seth MacFarlane, so it’s easy to understand why they are so alike. Or is it? MacFarlane also voices “Family Guy’s” baby Stewie, the dog Brian, and the next-door neighbor Quagmire, and all three have completely different accents.

MacFarlane said he tried to find a voice for Ted that would be distinct from Griffin’s Rhode Island dialect, but was challenged by the task from the beginning.

“I’m from New England. All my relatives are from the Massachusetts area,” said MacFarlane, who grew up in Connecticut. “As I was coming up with the voice for Ted, I kept trying to veer away. I finally said, ‘He’s a Boston guy, and this is me doing a Boston accent,’ which is not that far removed from me doing a Rhode Island accent for Peter. It is what it is.”

But MacFarlane, who usually practices his voices in the car or when he’s home alone, didn’t let himself off that easy. He specifically inserted a joke in the film that references Ted’s similarities to Griffin.


“I figured if Mike Myers got away with doing the same accent in ‘Shrek’ as he did in ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ that maybe I would get away with this. To me, the two voices feel different because there is a squeeze in the throat that kind of pinches Peter’s voice and Ted sounds more like Brian with a Boston accent.

“It’s the kind of thing that seemed like it would be more fun to own it and reference it because that’s what we would do on ‘Family Guy’ if we were talking about someone else’s movie.”


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