Alex Borstein, Family Guy
Fox's Family Guy
(Sundays at 9 pm/ET), at one time canceled, is now approaching its 100th episode and
is releasing its fourth volume of DVDs this week. Count Alex Borstein
— writer, producer and the voice of Lois — as one of those who are in disbelief. TVGuide.com spoke with the comedienne about the irreverent show's unlikely run and the intricacies involved in playing the Griffin matriarch. Along the way, we also discovered Borstein's frustration over her ongoing misrepresentation on the Internet.
TVGuide.com: So, are you surprised Family Guy has lasted this long?
Alex Borstein: I never thought I'd go to my prom, I never thought I'd get married, and I never thought Family Guy would get to 100 episodes. It's kind of incredible. We were dead, then alive, then dead, then alive.... It's probably very similar to how Jesus must've felt. He thought on that cross, "Well, this must be it." Who knew that when they struck him down, he would only rise again to become more powerful? It's Jesus. It's Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's all of those things.
TVGuide.com: How do you think the show has evolved since the first season?
Borstein: When I first came to the show, there were no female writers. So for me, it was fun to be able to help Lois grow and have a little darker side and be a little more snarky and sassy and sexual. We tried to challenge those sitcom rules that a woman is supposed to be a total wet blanket and not like sex and is no fun. I think in a lot of ways we've really challenged that.
TVGuide.com: With you handling writing and producing duties, you can pretty much make sure that Stewie will never succeed in killing off Lois, right?
Borstein: I don't know about that.... We've got our 100th episode kind of venturing into that world, so we'll see what happens. But I know that at any time if I asked for too much as a diva actress, I can be killed. It keeps me in line, let me tell you.
TVGuide.com: I understand. So what was the inspiration for Lois' voice?
Borstein: When I first started working on Family Guy, I was working on Mad TV as well. One of the people who was developing Family Guy said, "Hey, can you help us out with this pilot presentation?" I said, "Sure." It was really sight unseen, because I hadn't met [series creator] Seth [MacFarlane] or seen any artwork yet. I was doing a live show at the time, playing this redheaded mother and had based the voice on a cousin of mine in Long Island. It was a great convenience. It used to be a lot lower and slower, but throughout the years it's gotten higher and faster.
TVGuide.com: Lois and Peter have pretty good romantic chemistry. What do you think she finds attractive about him?
Borstein: God only knows. Isn't that the question of most sitcoms? You look at Ralph Cramden and you think the same thing, or you look at Fred Flintstone and his hot wife....
TVGuide.com: … or According to Jim?
Borstein: Yeah, According to Jim. It's all of them. You've got this big pig of a dude and a hot chick. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that she finds comfort in the fact that no matter how much weight she puts on, he'll still have a bigger ass. Also, she probably adores his childlike reckless abandon. He's without limits, so that's pretty fun.
TVGuide.com: Have you guys ever thought of doing an experimental Family Guy episode devoid of pop-culture references?
Borstein: We have not thought about that. I don't even know if it would be possible for us. Everybody in the writers' room is so immersed in it, especially the vintage and retro pop-culture stuff. It just permeates us, which I think is why the show is so popular.
TVGuide.com: Your Drop Dead Gorgeous one-woman show is being released on the same day as Family Guy, Volume Four. How'd you hook that up?
Borstein: For the comedy special, my husband and I directed, produced, edited and did everything ourselves on our Mac. We were going to do like a mom-and-pop distribution on my website, but 20th Century Fox showed interest because they thought they could release it the same day as Family Guy and piggy-back it. I'm so excited to get the word out. Please mention it!
TVGuide.com: Consider it mentioned. Before we wrap this up, I have to ask you something. When I was doing research for the interview, I came across a couple of different places that said John Malkovich was your school-bus driver. True?
Borstein: He drove the school bus at the school I went to, but I never actually took the bus. It was a Jewish day school in Chicago, and I think at the time he was doing Steppenwolf Theater and [driving] to make ends meet. Unfortunately, though, I never took the bus.
TVGuide.com: Let's hope we can debunk that myth.
Borstein: Wouldn't that be nice. I can't get anything incorrect about me taken off the Internet. For a while, IMDB had it that I was half-Jewish and half-Spanish. I always thought one was a religion and the other was a nationality. Who knew?
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