A running joke on and around Family Guy has been that it’s basically a rip-off of The Simpsons.
In particular, a similar thread between the two shows is the idea of a patriarch who can act like a thoughtless jerk... but then be redeemed because he had good intentions at heart. The problem with this storyline on both shows is that over time, the “jerk with a heart of gold” turns into just being a “jerk.” Thankfully, episodes such as "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell" achieve the proper balance.
Peter Griffin is seemingly unredeemable: if one were to add up the various heinous acts he’s committed over the course of the series, he’d escalate from being just a buffoon to an overall despicable member of mankind. Moreover, there’s been outright suggestions that his marriage to Lois is loveless, that they’re staying together just for the kids, who aren’t particularly well-adjusted themselves.
So, even while it’s probably out of character at this point, the idea that Peter still loves Lois despite the fact that she’s getting old - that he still wants her as is, not for her to try and recapture the glory days of her youth - is refreshing and touching. Characters who act mean and do stupid things are far more tolerable if we know deep down they mean well.
Here, Peter finds out that Lois is actually 43 and not 35, and tells her to get tout. So we’re back to normal. Still, the hint that Peter can have redeeming qualities is one rarely seen on the show and I’m glad to see it brought back up.
On the comedy front, Lois acting out as a young woman as part of her midlife crisis played on some expected notes, what with the juxtaposition of middle-aged Lois trying to look and act young. It was all worth it for what it lead to: Conway Bieber. That hair was looking fine.
The B-plot with Stewie finding a turtle and keeping him as a pet, who then turned out to be evil, felt almost more like something out of American Dad than Family Guy, but it was amusing enough. Not as amusing as Conway Bieber, but really, what is? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Overall, while I have some misgivings about just how genuine this episode’s newfound heart was, it still made at least some sense, and it had Conway Twitty with superimposed Bieber hair. Worth watching, I’d say.
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