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'Family Guy' Alex Borstein Q&A: 'Lois is a good role model'

By and Jamie Wotton
Lois Griffin from Family Guy

© Fox

It seems there's no stopping Family Guy - the hit animated comedy is currently airing on FX UK (Thursdays at 9pm) and has just been picked up for an 11th season on Fox in the US.

So Digital Spy took the opportunity to catch up with one of the show's stars, Alex Borstein - who voices Lois Griffin, as well as many other characters - when she took a recent trip to the UK. Read on to find out what Alex thinks of Family Guy fans in the UK, her role as Lois and how long she thinks the show will continue to make us laugh...

Do Family Guy fans recognise you when you're in the UK?
"Actually, the first day we were here, we got on the Tube. Someone said, 'I'm sorry, but do you do voices for Family Guy?' - I couldn't believe it! I don't know how she recognised me, whether it was from Family Guy or maybe she's seen other movies I've been in or… but yeah. There are definitely occasions.

"I was on The London Eye, I was recognised there, but by an Italian tourist. It happens all the time. I have to credit Family Guy - we've done so much. We've done these live shows, [so] we've kind of got out from behind the voices.

"We all love doing the voices so much, whereas all the actors on The Simpsons feel like they don't want to associate too closely with doing the voices on [that show]. They fear it'll hone them into just being a voice-over artist and not a real actor anymore.

"The rest of us just feel like, 'That's bulls**t' - just get out there, have fun, and if you're proud of the work, just wear it. This show continuously makes me laugh and I want the world to know, 'Yeah! I do this for a living.' And I wrote for the show for many years so a lot of my heart is in there."

Alex Borstein

© WENN / Daniel Tanner



Are you aware of how big a following Family Guy has in the UK?
"I see most of it online, and I see there is a frenzy in the UK. Some of my friends that live here now keep me posted as well. I have a friend who's a teacher at a university who says, 'My God, my kids will not shut up about it'.

"I love it. I personally think that British humour is the pinnacle, so something about it being appreciated here makes me very proud."

Is it strange being in a show that has become such a massive part of popular culture?
"It is strange. Any country I go to, I see Family Guy T-shirts in a souvenir shop. It is very strange. What I'm surprised about is that it does so well internationally. I see it as... so US-generated and related.

"I had a hard time seeing [why it's successful abroad] because it's so specific to our [culture and] things that are randomly mentioned from our childhood. Everyone in the writers' room is in their 30s, heading towards their 40s.

"All these specific things are from growing up in the '80s or late '70s and I'm always amazed it touches people of all different ages and generations and cultures, but it does!"

Family Guy has just been picked up for an 11th season. Did you ever imagine it would last so long, given that the show was originally cancelled twice?
"I like to equate the show with the second coming of Christ! We keep coming back. It's incredible! Or we're like Obi Wan Kenobi… No, I can't believe it.

"When we first started, I knew there was something special about the show and I knew it was genius, but then it was cancelled. I thought, 'We're dead, we're gone, I need to find a new job'.

"But then [show creator] Seth [MacFarlane] called me and said, 'I think we're gonna do a movie - would you be interested?' The movie never happened, but the next thing I knew the show was picked up again… so 11 years is a wonderful surprise."

Lois Griffin in 'Family Guy'

© Fox



On the surface, Lois seems like a good housewife, but she's been a gambling addict and dabbled in drugs - are you ever shocked by what the writers come up with?
"I'm never shocked, I'm always delighted. Nothing would be more boring than a wet blanket housewife. [Does Lois voice] 'No Peter, don't do that Peter, absolutely not, I'm angry!'

"She does spend a lot of time doing that, so it's really great that she has this dark underbelly. And she's really sexual, especially for a TV sitcom. She loves having sex, they role play, they do dirty things, they have an S&M ritual. I love it. It makes her really fun and keeps her surprising."

Lois has taken on a few jobs - she's been a news reporter and the mayor of Quahog. What would you like her to do next?
"She also did an episode where she was a boxer which I love. Seth and I really like boxing so that was a really fun one for us. We talked about, in real life, doing a Family Guy musical for Broadway, and we think a neat way to launch it would be to do a musical within the show. There's talk about doing that. That would be really fun to do."

Do you think Lois is a good role model for women? She's got a dark side, but she's also confident and sexy…
"I absolutely think she's a good role model. When I started this show I had absolutely no experience as a parent, but now I have a 3-and-a-half-year-old, I get it. A lot of the things we were writing… I get it. I know why they struck a chord.

"She's a complete role model. We exaggerate and make things ridiculous, but she's a real role model. A lot of mums have these lives beforehand. A lot of them partied and did coke, smoked weed and drank too much. They got knocked up well before their time. Women live large!

"It's cool to have a real person on television where you can say, 'OK, you can play with the devil and still end up with this home'. I think it's pretty great."

Alex Borstein

© PA Images / Gus Ruelas/AP



Going into your 11th season, do you think Family Guy still has plenty of life left in it?
"I do. I would say another 4 or 5 years would be a natural-sounding length for the show. Could it go on for 20 or 25 years like The Simpsons? Absolutely. Will we want to? We'll see.

"Will it feel like you're beating a dead horse? Do you want to leave that taste in people's mouths? The show could get old and stale. Then again, you can have a fresh crop of writers come in and completely alter it. Never say never. But I think another 4 or 5 years."

You're also working with Seth on a new animated series.
"Yeah! We've been developing this female character [oriented] animated show. I don't know when or where it'll arrive, but that is still on the books. And I'm also writing and producing a show in the US which started life as a British show, called Shameless.

"So yeah, there's a lot of development and a lot of things that we're trying to get off the ground. I'm also working on a feature with another Family Guy writer called Cherry - you've probably seen her name in the credits, it's pronounced Cherry Chevapravatdumrong!

"We're writing a feature film - again, it centres on a female and it may have to do with getting knocked up - and it would be great if we could keep it within the MacFarlane family. Seth is now doing a movie called Ted and hopefully when that's released, it'll be a really huge hit and we'll be able to follow on from that. Like a Judd Apatow-type thing."

Family Guy airs on Thursdays at 9pm on FX UK.

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