Isthmus cartoonist P.S. Mueller is contributing to Fox's animated comedy Family Guy - as a voice.
"The hook of this particular show is that Brian the dog takes up with a blind girl, who he convinces he is human," says Mueller. "He takes her to an imaginary Paris, stuff like that. He's basically posing as a human being and she's smitten with him. At one point, she decides for him to meet her parents, and I play the dad."
Last year, Mueller got an email from casting director Linda Lamontagne, who said series creator and executive producer Seth MacFarlane wanted the cartoonist to voice a new character. Following many delays, Mueller taped his lines in early January. The role was then expanded, and he was called back to perform more lines a few weeks ago.
The dog and Stewie, the family's 1-year-old tyrant, disguise Brian by wrapping him in bandages. "Stewie delivers this long kind of monologue about how Brian heroically saved orphans from a burning building but was horribly burned in the process, hence the bandages," says Mueller.
He recorded his lines without any of the other cast members, here in Madison, at Audio for the Arts.
Mueller, who contributes cartoons to The New Yorker, Reader's Digest, Field and Stream and other publications. has long experience serving as voice talent. For 11 years he was the voice of Doyle Redland, the fictitious anchor of The Onion Radio News, previously syndicated nationwide and now available as a podcast. That brought him to MacFarlane's attention. Mueller also worked on-air at radio stations in Madison and in Murphysboro-Carbondale, Ill.
For a year, Mueller has co-written and performed a voice role similar to Redland, that of Stanley Douglas, in News from the Great Re-Depression, at www.howdyland.com. Five installments are produced each week.
A recent episode takes on Gov. Scott Walker. "It's a struggle and we're not making a dime at this, but, politically, it's very satisfying," says Mueller. He has produced a slew of Walker-themed cartoons for Isthmus and TheDailyPage.com since the budget crisis began.
Mueller hopes his new career with Hollywood continues. "As I was saying goodbye to the engineer and director," he recalls, chuckling, "I said, 'Gentlemen, I hope this is the beginning of a relationship that lasts for the rest of your entire lives.'"
Watch schedules for Mueller's Family Guy episode. To see more of his cartoon work, visit www.psmueller.com.