I don't kid myself into thinking that there is some altruistic reason behind TV crossovers. I know it's a gimmick to increase ratings for both shows involved.
That type of TV synergy is sometimes used to help promote productions in other media as well. The appearance of Robin Williams and Billy Crystal in a 'Friends' cameo was just to plug their movie "Father's Day" which was to be released that following week. Blythe Danner once blathered on and on about some musical that opened just the week before on 'Will & Grace', to the point that I wondered if somebody on the writing staff had invested in it.
And a recent episode of 'Family Guy' ("Sibling Rivalry", which aired on March 26th) gave FOX a chance to trumpet the March 31st release of "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" in theatres nationwide.
In a quick, typical cutaway to a past event in Peter's life, a scene from the original movie released in 2002 was shown - this time with Peter added into the animation.
Cleveland: Maybe you should freeze some of your sperm.
Peter: I don't know Cleveland, that didn't work out that time I tried to freeze my nuts.
(The Scrat from "Ice Age" is trying to pry an acorn from the ice with Peter admonishing him atop the ice cliff.)
Peter: NO! NO! Those are MY NUTS! MY NUTS! Awww, you're just a hungry little fella aren't ya? But those are MY NUTS!
(The Scrat attacks Peter off-screen)
Peter: OW MY NUTS!!!
Like I said, it was just a quick plug for the upcoming sequel, but how to splain it away within the reality of Toobworld?
Because of the difference in animation, we could assume that Peter had crossed over into the Cineverse, that dimension similar to Toobworld - only for movies instead of TV shows. However, I've always believed animation is just a realistic rendition of the Tooniverse's "real life". So within that scene there would be no discernible difference between the cartoonish look of Peter Griffin and the computer-generated Scrat and the landscape from the movie.
It could be that the scene was taking place in the present, since we saw the Scrat thawed out from his glacial tomb millions of years later. So maybe he and Peter crossed paths in the Great White North where the Scrat had returned for more of those antediluvian acorns. (Why was Peter up there? Who cares? When has he ever needed a legit reason to leave Quahog, Rhode Island?)
Hrmmm.... I only saw "Ice Age" once. It could be Scrat thawed out back in the late 1800s just before the explosion of Krakatoa. I'm not sure what volcanic event that was supposed to be.
But could it have happened back in the actual Ice Age? Mebbe. It could be that Peter might have been fixing his toaster - a la Homer Simpson - and ended up getting blasted backwards in the Time-Space Continuum.
Why not? 'Family Guy' steals from 'The Simpsons' all the time, if you believe some of those websites out there!
Gotta go. Something is seeping into my raccoon wounds.......