Lois Griffin

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For the former Toronto city councillor, see Lois Griffin (politician).
Lois Griffin
Family Guy character
A cartoon drawing of a woman with red hair or orange hair, with her hand on her hip, red hair, and a blue-green blouse with tan pants.
First appearance "Death Has a Shadow"
Created by Seth MacFarlane
Voiced by Alex Borstein
Information
Full name Lois Patrice Griffin
Occupation Housewife, piano teacher
Spouse(s) Peter Griffin
Children Meg, Chris, and Stewie Griffin
Relatives
Religion Protestantism

Lois Patrice Griffin (neé Pewterschmidt) is a main character from the animated television series Family Guy. She is voiced by writer Alex Borstein and first appeared on television, along with the rest of the family in the 15-minute short on December 20, 1998. Lois was created and designed by series creator Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane was asked to pitch a pilot to the Fox Broadcasting Company based on Larry and Steve, a short he made which featured a middle-aged character named Larry and an intellectual dog, Steve. After the pilot was given the green light, the Griffin family appeared on the episode "Death Has a Shadow".

Lois is the mother of the Griffin family. With her husband Peter, she has had three children: Meg, Chris, and Stewie. Lois is often portrayed as a stereotypical television mother, despite her admitting to being a recovering meth addict and a kleptomaniac. Lois has also had several affairs, one of which allegedly resulted in the conception of Meg. She has appeared in other media relating to Family Guy—including a video game, commercials and books—and inspired an entire line of merchandise. Lois's distinctive New York accent originated from a character in a stage show that Alex Borstein had performed in, which was largely inspired by a relative who grew up on Long Island, New York.

Role in Family Guy[edit]

Lois Griffin was born to affluent WASP parents, Carter and Barbara Pewterschmidt. It is revealed in the episode "Family Goy" that her mother is actually a Holocaust survivor who concealed her Judaism, retconning her apparently Jewish Long Island and New York accent,[1][2] even though she was raised a Protestant. Lois is the wife of Peter Griffin and the mother of Meg, Chris, and Stewie Griffin. Lois and the rest of the Griffins live in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island which is modeled after Cranston, Rhode Island.[3][4][5] Lois primarily works as a housewife throughout the series, though she did give piano lessons in early episodes of the series. Lois has also had various jobs in single episodes such as in "FOX-y Lady", where she becomes the new reporter for Fox News Channel and in "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", Lois is elected the mayor of Quahog.

Family Guy uses a floating timeline in which the characters do not age much, so the show is always assumed to be set in the current year. However, several of the characters, such as Meg Griffin, have aged two to three years since the show's pilot episode, while others, such as Stewie, have remained the same age.[6] In several episodes, events have been linked to specific times, although this timeline has been contradicted in subsequent episodes.

Character[edit]

Creation[edit]

When he was still in college, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon short called The Life of Larry.[7] The short centered around a middle-aged man named Larry and his anthropomorphic dog Steve.[8] He made a sequel called Larry & Steve, which Cartoon Network broadcast in 1997.[9] In 1999, MacFarlane was working for Hanna-Barbara Studios, writing for shows such as Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Cow and Chicken.[10] The short caught the eye of 20th Century Fox representatives, who asked him to create a TV series revolving around the characters.[8] MacFarlane received a US$50,000 budget to develop a pilot for the show, which was about one twentieth of what most pilots cost.[10] MacFarlane claims to have drawn inspiration from several sitcoms, namely The Simpsons and All in the Family.[11] Several premises were also carried over from several 1980s Saturday morning cartoons he watched as a child, namely The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, and Rubik, the Amazing Cube.[12]

In three months, MacFarlane created the Griffin family and developed a pilot for the show he called Family Guy.[13] Brian's character was largely based on Steve from the Larry and Steve cartoon, with Larry serving as the primary basis of the Peter character.[14] The character's personality was also partially inspired by a friend of his father who rudely fell asleep while watching the 1993 film Philadelphia.[15] The network executives were impressed with the pilot and ordered thirteen episodes, giving MacFarlane a 2 million dollar per-season contract.[13]

Voice[edit]

A caucasian woman with black hair tied back, smiling into a microphone, with a vague symbol behind her.
Alex Borstein is the voice of Lois Griffin.

Lois Griffin is voiced by producer and staff writer,[16] Alex Borstein, who also voices recurring characters such as Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa, Loretta Brown and Lois' mother Barbara Pewterschmidt.[17] Borstein has been part of the main voice cast from the beginning of the series including the pilot, and has been voicing Lois from the start.[18]

"I was asked to audition for the show and at the time I was playing a character in a stage show, so I brought that over and it was very slow, it was based on my cousin from Rhode Island and Seth said that "It would be a four hour show if I talked at that pace so could you make it quicker and raise it".

"Over the years you can notice that it started lower and slower and it's gotten higher and higher and quicker and quicker."

Alex Borstein, on Lois Griffin's Origins, Interview with IGN.[18]

At the time Family Guy was being developed, Borstein was working in the sketch comedy, MADtv.[18] She was asked to audition by a member of the MADtv staff who was helping MacFarlane develop the show. She had not met MacFarlane or seen any artwork and said it was "really sight unseen".[18][19] At the time, she was doing a stage show in Los Angeles, in which she played a redhead mother, whose voice she had based on one of her cousins from Rhode Island.[17][19] She took the voice of the character to the set and use it for Lois. The voice was originally slower, when MacFarlane heard it, he asked her to make it faster and higher. Borstein has noted that the voice of Lois has been changing from the slower original voice to the quicker up tempo voice of the present episodes.[18]

There have been occasions were Borstein does not voice Lois, such as in the episode "Road to the Multiverse", where Lois is not voiced by Borstein in a scene and instead was voiced by Japanese actress Kei Ogawa, who was required for a scene where everything in the world was Japanese (she also did the voice of Meg for the scene).[20]

Personality[edit]

Lois's personality has evolved throughout the episodes. Lois is commonly the voice of reason to Peter's shenanigans. But in some episodes she can act darker than normal and sometimes shows a taste for sadomasochism. In the episode "The Son Also Draws", Lois showed a gambling addiction when the family went to an Indian casino and lost the family car. In the episode "Model Misbehavior", Lois becomes a bulimic model. However, in "Sibling Rivalry", just the opposite happens where Lois gains a ton of weight after Peter has an operation preventing him from having anymore children. As a result Peter makes fun of her causing her to get even fatter. He doesn't stop until he discovers just how amazing "fat-sex" is and force feeds her to make her even fatter which in turn will please him. By the end of the episode she is returned to her normal weight by the family doctor after having a big heart attack. "Stuck Together, Torn Apart" shows Peter and Lois splitting up because of Peter's jealousy, only to discover that Lois has the same character flaw of jealousy and the two decide to live with their mutually jealous nature.[21] She has also hinted at or been shown using drugs. After the first two seasons, Lois is shown to have more of an egotistical, neglectful, and cold-hearted personality,[22][23][24][25] usually towards Brian or Meg.

Though she still truly loves Peter, Lois is somewhat promiscuous and has cheated on Peter several times, with older and younger men, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Her extramarital affair with former President Bill Clinton, who was quick to seduce her, would result in temporary separation from Peter. She herself would seduce her daughter Meg's boyfriend, Anthony, and have an affair that would result in the separation of Meg and Anthony. She also passionately kissed Meg's classmate and would-be lesbian girlfriend, Sarah. Lois would in fact conceive Meg from an extramarital affair with a man named Stan Thompson. She would cheat on Peter several times when she became a prostitute, with Meg, to get money to afford for Chris' high class school education, a job in which she ultimately made more money with sex than Meg. Lois can be in denial most of the time and she doesn't believe her family isn't perfect and she refused to believe her family are insane. Lois has attempted to cheat on Peter with Bob Barker and Justin Bieber, both of whom she unsuccessfully tried to seduce. She has also been shown to have numerous ex-boyfriends, including Gene Simmons of the band KISS and a friend of Peter's named Jerome — both of whom have given her the nickname "Loose Lois". In the episode And I'm Joyce Kinney, it was revealed that Lois had participated in a pornographic film called "Quest For Fur" to pay for her cocaine addiction which further cemented her being promiscuous. This episode has also reveals Lois' mean image in high school as a bullying head cheerleader who bullied and once humiliated Joyce Kinney. In one episode, she shows a violent personality after learning martial arts, which leads to the whole family fighting. Lois's interests are usually pursued in an attempt to separate from Peter, and his antics, or when she feels he's being controlling. She displays an underlying intelligence, and has an interest in the arts.

Sexuality[edit]

Many episodes have suggested that Lois is bisexual. In an interview, Borstein stated that Lois became "a little more snarky and sassy and sexual" since the first season to challenge "those sitcom rules that a woman is supposed to be a total wet blanket and not like sex and is no fun".[19] In the first straight-to-DVD feature, Stewie Griffin, The Untold Story, Lois also states, "women are such teases. That's why I went back to men." She reveals in "Partial Terms of Endearment" that she had a lesbian affair with Naomi while they were students at Salve Regina University, and she passionately kisses Meg's lesbian classmate Sarah in "Brian Sings and Swings".

Reception[edit]

Commendations[edit]

Lois ranked number twelve spot on "IGN's Top 25 Family Guy Characters".[26] In "IGN's top 10 musical moments in Family Guy" ranked number three spot with the song, This House Is Freakin' Sweet from the episode, "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater", (season 2, 1999).[27] In "IGN's Family Guy: Top 10 Fights", Lois ranked on two places, in number seven and number 6 for Lois's fight with Stewie in "Lois Kills Stewie" and in the Griffin Family Fight from "Barely Legal", respectively.[28]

Cultural influence[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

Lois has had several television appearances outside of Family Guy. She and Peter both had a cameo on Drawn Together in the episode "The Lemon-AIDS Walk" where she was voiced by Borstein. In the Family Guy parodies of the Star Wars original trilogy titled "Blue Harvest", "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" and "It's A Trap" which are parodies of IV: A New Hope, V: The Empire Strikes Back and VI: Return of the Jedi respectively.[29][30] Lois appears as Princess Leia Organa in these films.[31] Lois, and most of the central characters on Family Guy, also appeared in the pilot episode of the show's spin-off The Cleveland Show.[32] She came in at No. 85 out of 100 on Maxim's 2012 Hot 100.[33]

Merchandise[edit]

Lois is also featured on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD,[34] and plays a significant part in Family Guy Video Game!, the first Family Guy video game, which was released by 2K Games in 2006.[35] Borstein recorded exclusive material of Lois for a 2007 pinball machine of the show by Stern Pinball.[36] In 2004, the first series of Family Guy toy figurines was released by Mezco Toyz, each member of the Griffin family had their own, except for Stewie, of whom two different figures were made.[37] Over the course of two years, four more series of toy figures have been released, with various forms of Peter.[38]

As of 2009, six books have been released about the Family Guy universe, all published by HarperCollins since 2005.[39] These include Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One (ISBN 978-0-7528-7593-4), which covers the entire events of the episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One",[40] and Family Guy and Philosophy: A Cure for the Petarded (ISBN 978-1-4051-6316-3), a collection of seventeen essays exploring the connections between the series and historical philosophers which include Lois as a character.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/celebrities/jt/celebrities/lois_griffin/
  2. ^ "Elliptical vs. treadmill: Which will give you the better workout?". Daily News (New York). 2009-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Family Guy writer at Bryant". The Providence Journal. 2008-09-24. 
  4. ^ Hines, Michael (2007-09-15). "Family funny business". Chicago Tribune. 
  5. ^ James, Caryn (1999-01-29). "TV Weekend; Where Matricide Is a Family Value". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  6. ^ Callaghan, Steve (2005). "A Hero Sits Next Door". Family Guy: The Official Episode Guide, Seasons 1–3. New York City, New York: HarperCollins. p. 32. ISBN 0-06-083305-X. 
  7. ^ "Family Guy Seth MacFarlane to speak at Class Day". Harvard Gazette. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  8. ^ a b Bartlett, James (2007-03-12). "Seth MacFarlane – he’s the "Family Guy"". The Great Reporter (Presswire Limited). Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  9. ^ Graham, Jefferson (1999-01-29). "Cartoonist MacFarlane funny guy of Fox's 'Family' Subversive voice of series is his". USA Today. p. 7E. 
  10. ^ a b MacFarlane, Seth (2006). "Inside Media at MTR (2006): Family Guy 2". Yahoo! Video (The Paley Center for Media). Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  11. ^ "Interview with Seth MacFarlane". IGN. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  12. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (2008-09-26). "Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  13. ^ a b Dean, Josh (2008-10-13). "Seth MacFarlane’s $2 Billion Family Guy Empire". Fast Company. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  14. ^ Strike, Joe (2007-02-13). "Cartoon Network Pilots Screened by ASIFA East at NYC's School of Visual Arts". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  15. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (2004-07-07). "The Young Guy of 'Family Guy'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-18. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Alex Borstein from Family Guy". Film.com. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Miller, Kirk (November 19, 2008). "Q&A: Alex Borstein". Metromix. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Haque, Ahsan (October 31, 2007). "Family Guy TV Behind the Scenes - Alex Borstein As Lois Griffin". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  19. ^ a b c "Alex Borstein (Lois) Laughs at the Once-Dead Family Guy's Longevity". TV Guide. November 13, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Family Guy – Road to the Multiverse – Cast and Crew". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  21. ^ Writ.: Hentemann, Mark; Dir.: DiMartino, Michael Dante (f2002-01-31). "Stuck Together, Torn Apart". Family Guy. Season 3. Episode 19. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  22. ^ Quagmire's Dad
  23. ^ The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair
  24. ^ "A Fish Out of Water"
  25. ^ Model Misbehavior
  26. ^ "IGN's Top 25 Family Guy Characters". IGN. May 27, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  27. ^ Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy: Top 10 Musical Moments". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  28. ^ Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy: Top 10 Fights". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  29. ^ "Family Guy Presents :Blue Harvest". Family guyblueharvest.com. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  30. ^ Firecloud, Johnny. "Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side". Crave Online. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  31. ^ Hughes, Jason (2010-05-24). "Sundays With Seth: Cleveland Strikes Back". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  32. ^ Conroy, Tom (2009-10-08). "Cleveland Show, acquired lack of taste". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  33. ^ Mandell, Nina (2012-05-22). "Amanda Knox makes Maxim Hot 100 list". Daily News (New York). 
  34. ^ Owen, Rob (2005-05-01). "'Family Guy' goes beyond TV with CD, movie". Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  35. ^ "'Family Guy' makes for simple-but-funny gaming". The Gazette. 2006-11-24. 
  36. ^ Finley, Adam (2007-02-03). "Family Guy pinball is freakin' sweet". TV Squad. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  37. ^ Clodfelter, Tim (2004-11-11). "Here's the Offbeat Stuff that true geeks are made of". Winston-Salem Journal. p. 33. 
  38. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (2006-06-03). "Undead monster doomed to wander the high seas". The Washington Times. 
  39. ^ "Search results: Family Guy". HarperCollins. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  40. ^ "Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One". HarperCollins. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  41. ^ "Philosophy Professor Jeremy Wisnewski Publishes Book on Family Guy". Hartwick College. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2009-08-23. [dead link]

External links[edit]