Lois Griffin is one of the greatest written characters on television

Throughout 21 seasons of “Family Guy,” Lois Griffin has a transformative character arc


Photo courtesy of the official Family Guy IMDb page.

By Johnny Depin, Assistant Sports Editor

When “Family Guy” first debuted on television in 1999, and we were all introduced to the loveable yet dysfunctional Griffin family, it seemed as though every member of the family had a stand-out trait.

Peter was a loving, but idiotic and drunk father; Brian was the family’s talking dog and moral compass; Stewie was an infant on a mission for world domination; Chris was a 13-year-old with an earring and an evil monkey living in his closet; Meg was, more often than not, the recipient of Peter’s shenanigans and jokes. Every single member of the family had something that audiences recognized as eccentric.

Except one.

Lois Griffin started the series as the doting and loving housewife. Almost the entirety of the pilot episode revolves around Peter hiding that he got fired from his wife. For the first season, it seemed as though Lois was only there because it wouldn’t be believable that Peter could be a single father.

It’s not often that a character gets better as the seasons drag on, especially for a show that is in the middle of its 21st season. Most characters become caricatures of themselves in a phenomenon called “flanderization,” named after “The Simpsons” Ned Flanders.

Flanders started off as the antithesis to Homer Simpson; he was a sober, caring and gracious neighbor who happened to be religious. Flash forward to 2023, and Flanders has become a religious zealot.

Flanderization takes no prisoners and it has claimed countless members of the Griffin family. Peter, the once loving yet irresponsible father, has turned into a character that openly antagonizes his children and is more often found at The Clam (the local bar) than at home.

Brian, at one point the family’s moral compass, has morphed into an alcoholic atheist who wants to be a writer but refuses to do any work. Meg turned from a normal high school girl who was the butt of Peter’s jokes into an objectively evil and mean character.

Lois is one of the show’s only characters that has improved over the 25 years of “Family Guy’s” existence. Her character arc began strangely during season two, with Brian admitting to his therapist that he was in love with Lois.

Though it had resulted in her being the love interest of another main character, Lois finally had some agency in the show. When Brian admitted his feelings to her, she politely turned him down but agreed that they would be able to remain friends. She had finally made a decision on her own, one that continues to affect the show to this day.

Recently, the writers have started to develop Lois’ darker side, showing her struggling with kleptomania (a compulsive stealing disorder) which developed from her feeling like a prisoner in her life, as a mother and a housewife.

Following the episode where she turned down Brian, the audience has been given glimpses into Lois’ shrouded past. In a memorable season 16 conversation, with her comatose son Chris, Lois admits that she wants more in her life, but is terrified that her past will catch up to her. She explains why she remains a housewife, concluding with the chilling line “…every mother has killed someone.”

Stating that Lois Griffin is one of the greatest written characters in television seems like a crazy statement. However, when you look at the landscape of Family Guy, and how terribly almost every other character in the show has been portrayed, how could you not think that Lois’ character arc is anything less than phenomenal?

On Sundays at 9:30 p.m., I’ll be watching to see where her character goes next.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.