Family Guy “Lois Comes Out of Her Shell” Review

Spoilers for Family Guy below

After Peter makes a rather insensitive speech at her birthday party, Lois tries to recapture her youthful allure. Meanwhile, a turtle Stewie brings home from the park may not be as friendly as he seems.

Well, what can I say? Yet again, Peter exhibits insensitivity and sexism and, yet again, the woman in question does something incredibly stupid in response. I hardly expected Family Guy to handle the struggles of aging with any degree of grace, but what follows is a pretty stupid story I’d just as soon have skipped.

Lois has a bit of a mid-life crisis and starts dressing and acting like a woman half her age. Her revealing clothes and overt sexuality towards Peter understandably makes the rest of the family uncomfortable. I really dug the gag where the entire family retracts their heads into their bodies like frightened turtles, leaving Brian alone, who glumly says: “I can’t do that.”

So, Lois drags Peter out for a night on the town, filled with nightclubs, ecstasy, mechanical bulls and rooftop pool parties. I was feeling just as tired and annoyed as Peter was by the end of it, and like him I’d rather have just gone home. None of the little stops along the way were particularly funny. Lois’ wild-child past has certainly been established before now, but god damn it, I just got sick of looking at it.

Lois shows off her new look
Just stop.

We end up at a Justin Bieber concert, with Lois slinking backstage to hit on the young lad/lass. It’s here I started to come on board with this story a little more. Lois’ method of getting past security was fun and her attempted seduction was one of the better written parts of the episode. It wasn’t hilarious by any means, but Lois’ realization of the disconnect between herself and the current youth was well handled. Of course someone Bieber’s age isn’t going to get The Graduate or American Pie references, and that little light bulb is what kind of snaps her out of it. Well, that and Peter beating the crap out of poor Justin.

The way the media looks at older women with revulsion is certainly a problem. It’s really quite ludicrous that Hollywood disposes of its sex symbols once they grow out of their thirties. Sure, there’s been sympathetic portrayals of old women being portrayed as sexual on television, like HBO’s Sex and the City and Six Feet Under. ABC’s Alias had plenty of attractive, mature women like Angela Bassett and Lena Olin. Even so, the majority of the time, we ignore ladies over 35 or so, and it’s quite a shame.

Family Guy exhibited a rare display of heart for a moment there, when Peter reminds Lois that he’s not everything he used to be either, and he doesn’t really want a young sex bunny to play with; he wants a mature companion to grow old with. And that’s just sweet. Not enough to save the twenty minutes we’d wasted up to that point, but sweet nevertheless.

Stewie’s plot with the evil turtle, Sheldon, was quite a fun distraction, and honestly, it’s a hell of a lot funnier than anything the adults had going on. Sheldon’s facial expressions and movements are rather well animated and they go a long way towards imbuing a non-speaking character with a lot of personality. I mean, how often is a turtle portrayed as being evil? And he is evil; Stewie did nothing at all to wrong the wretched reptile, he’s simply just a cock.

 This episode did get a few good laughs out of me: the cutaway with Edward Scissorhands working as a night nurse, voiced by Johnny Depp himself, is priceless if you like dark humour. Stewie referring to Sheldon as a “naked Larry David” definitely amused the Curb Your Enthusiasm fan in me. Strangest of all though, was the nudge-nudge wink-wink use of a Conway Twitty clip with Bieber hair superimposed over him. It’s stupid, and probably not funny in and of itself but I couldn’t suppress a giggle. Sometimes this show is just bizarre.

Unfortunately, a good deal of Lois’ story was utter crap. I see plenty of complaints from Family Guy fans about the increasing focus on Brian and Stewie, but let’s face it folks, they’re the funniest characters on the show. Until the rest of the Griffins get some stronger writing I can’t say I fault them.