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Lois Griffin

Lois Griffin

Lois Griffin (née Pewterschmidt) is the secondary protagonist and one of the six main characters of the animated comedy series Family Guy, the matriarch of the Griffin family. 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 made by MacFarlane 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 beautiful and very sexy matriarch 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 admitted drug use, meth addiction, prior gambling addiction and obvious kleptomania. 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 in Long Island, New York.

Role in Family Guy[]

Lois Griffin is a Protestant with a Long Island and New York accent. She's the wife of Peter Griffin and the mother of Meg, Chris and Stewie Griffin. She is the daughter of Carter and Barbara Pewterschmidt. Lois and the rest of the Griffins live in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island which is modeled after Cranston, Rhode Island.[1][2] 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", (season 7, 2009) were she becomes the new reporter for FOX News and in "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", (season 5, 2007) 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 and Brian, have remained the same age. In several episodes, events have been linked to specific times, although this timeline has been contradicted in subsequent episodes.



When he was still in college, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon short called The Life of Larry.[3] The short centered around a middle-aged man named Larry and his anthropomorphic dog Steve.[4] He made a sequel called Larry & Steve, which Cartoon Network broadcast in 1997.[5] In 1999, MacFarlane was working for Hanna-Barbara Studios, writing for shows such as Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Cow and Chicken.[6] The short caught the eye of 20th Century Fox representatives, who asked him to create a TV series revolving around the characters.[4] MacFarlane received a US$50,000 budget to develop a pilot for the show, which was about one twentieth of what most pilots cost.[6] MacFarlane claims to have drawn inspiration from several sitcoms, namely The Simpsons and All in the Family.[7] 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.[8]

In three months, MacFarlane created the Griffin family and developed a pilot for the show he called Family Guy.[9] 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.[10] The character's personality was also partially inspired by a friend of his father who rudely fell asleep while watching the 1993 film Philadelphia.[11] The network executives were impressed with the pilot and ordered thirteen episodes, giving MacFarlane a 2 million dollar per-season contract.[9]


Lois Griffin is voiced by producer and staff writer,[12] Alex Borstein, who also voices recurring characters such as Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa, Loretta Brown and Lois' mother Barbara Pewterschmidt.[13] Borstein has been part of the main voice cast from the beginning of the series including the pilot, as well she has been voicing Lois from the start.[14]

"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 it was very slow 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 its gotten higher and higher and quicker and quicker."

Alex Borstein, on Lois Griffin's Origins, Interview with IGN.[14]

At the time Family Guy was being developed, Borstein was working in the sketch comedy, MADtv.[14] 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".[14][15] 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.[13][15] 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.[14]

There have been occasions were Borstein does not voice Lois, such as in the episode "Road to the Multiverse", (season 8, 2009), were Lois in not voiced by Borstein in a scene, instead she was voiced by Japanese actress Kei Ogawa, (she also did the voice of Meg for the scene) who was required for a scene where everything in the world was Japanese.[16]


Lois griffin

Lois Griffin on the beach

Despite her beauty, 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", (season 4, 2005) Lois becomes a bulimic model. "Stuck Together, Torn Apart", (season 3, 2002) Peter and Lois split 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. She has also hinted at or been shown using drugs. In the most recent episodes, Lois has been known to have more of a cold-hearted personality, such as laughing at people during serious moments, usually towards Brian or Meg.[17][18]

Lois is somewhat promiscuous. She had an extramarital affair with former President Bill Clinton, which resulted in a temporary separation from Peter, although the relationship was later rekindled after Peter himself engaged in a sexual liaison with Clinton. She has also been shown to have a large number of ex-boyfriends, including Gene Simmons of the band KISS and by 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. In one episode, it's implied that her treatment by both her father and Peter has left her mildly sexist: when Peter reveals that his boss molested him, Lois refuses to believe it, saying only men are capable of molesting women, not the other way around. In one episode she shows a violent personality after learning martial arts, which leads to the whole family fighting.

Many episodes have hinted 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".[15] 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."



Lois ranked number twelve spot on "IGN's Top 25 Family Guy Characters".[19] 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).[20] 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", (season 6, 2007) and in the Griffin Family Fight, from "Barely Legal", (season 5, 2006) respectively.[21]

Cultural influence[]

Appearances in other media[]

Lois has had several television appearances outside Family Guy. 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–,[22][23] Lois appears as Princess Leia Organa in these films.[24] 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.[25]


Lois is also featured on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD,[26] and plays a significant part in Family Guy Video Game!, the first Family Guy video game, which was released by 2K Games in 2006.[27] Borstein recorded exclusive material of Lois for a 2007 pinball machine of the show by Stern Pinball.[28] In 2004, the first series of Family Guy toy figurines was released by Mezco Toyz, each member of the Griffin family had their own toy, with the exception of Stewie, of whom two different figures were made.[29] Over the course of two years, four more series of toy figures have been released, with various forms of Peter.[30]

As of 2009, six books have been released about the Family Guy universe, all published by HarperCollins since 2005.[31] This 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",[32] 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.[33] which include Lois as a character.


  1. Cite_web error: missing url parameter must be specified. Hines, Michael (2007-09-15). [{{{url}}} Family funny business]. [[wikipedia:Chicago Tribune|]] (retrieved on September 2, 2009)
  2. James, Caryn, "TV Weekend; Where Matricide Is a Family Value". New York Times, 1999-01-29. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  3. "Family Guy Seth MacFarlane to speak at Class Day". Harvard Gazette, 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bartlett, James, "Seth MacFarlane – he’s the "Family Guy"". The Great Reporter. Presswire Limited, 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  5. Graham, Jefferson," Cartoonist MacFarlane funny guy of Fox's 'Family' Subversive voice of series is his". [[wikipedia:USA Today|]], 1999-01-29, p. 7E.
  6. 6.0 6.1 MacFarlane, Seth,"Inside Media at MTR (2006): Family Guy 2". Yahoo! Video. [[wikipedia:The Paley Center for Media|]]. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  7. Interview with Seth MacFarlane. [[wikipedia:IGN|]] (retrieved on Error: Invalid time.)
  8. Cruz, Gilbert,"Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane". Time, 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dean, Josh,"Seth MacFarlane’s $2 Billion Family Guy Empire". Fast Company, 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  10. Strike, Joe,"Cartoon Network Pilots Screened by ASIFA East at NYC's School of Visual Arts". [[wikipedia:Animation World Network|]], 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  11. Weinraub, Bernard,"The Young Guy of 'Family Guy'". [[wikipedia:The New York Times|]], 2004-07-07. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  12. Alex Borstein from Family Guy. [[|]] (retrieved on Error: Invalid time.)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Miller, Kirk,"Q&A: Alex Borstein". [[wikipedia:Metromix|]], November 19, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Haque, Ahsan (October 31, 2007). Family Guy TV Behind the Scenes - Alex Borstein As Lois Griffin. IGN (retrieved on August 18, 2010)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Alex Borstein (Lois) Laughs at the Once-Dead Family Guy's Longevity. [[wikipedia:TV Guide|]] (November 13, 2006) (retrieved on Error: Invalid time.)
  16. Family Guy – Road to the Multiverse – Cast and Crew on, published by Yahoo! (retrieved on April 4, 2010)
  17. Quagmire's Dad
  18. The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair
  19. IGN's Top 25 Family Guy Characters on, published by IGN (May 27, 2009) (retrieved on March 13, 2011)
  20. Haque, Ahsan. Family Guy: Top 10 Musical Moments on, published by IGN (retrieved on November 14, 2009)
  21. Haque, Ahsan. Family Guy: Top 10 Fights on, published by IGN (retrieved on November 14, 2009)
  22. Family Guy Presents :Blue Harvest. Family (retrieved on November 28, 2009)
  23. Firecloud, Johnny. Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side on, published by Crave Online (retrieved on December 25, 2009)
  24. Hughes, Jason (2010-05-24). Sundays With Seth: Cleveland Strikes Back on, published by TV Squad (retrieved on May 25, 2010)
  25. Conroy, Tom,"Cleveland Show, acquired lack of taste". Media Life Magazine, 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
  26. Owen, Rob,"'Family Guy' goes beyond TV with CD, movie". [[wikipedia:Press-Enterprise|]], 2005-05-01. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
  27. " 'Family Guy' makes for simple-but-funny gaming". The Gazette, 2006-11-24.
  28. Finley, Adam,"Family Guy pinball is freakin' sweet". TV Squad, 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
  29. Clodfelter, Tim," Here's the Offbeat Stuff that true geeks are made of". [[wikipedia:Winston-Salem Journal|]], 2004-11-11, p. 33.
  30. Szadkowski, Joseph," Undead monster doomed to wander the high seas". [[wikipedia:The Washington Times|]], 2006-06-03.
  31. Search results: Family Guy. [[wikipedia:HarperCollins|]] (retrieved on August 23, 2009)
  32. Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One. HarperCollins (retrieved on December 26, 2008)
  33. Philosophy Professor Jeremy Wisnewski Publishes Book on Family Guy. [[wikipedia:Hartwick College|]] (2007-09-18) (retrieved on August 23, 2009)