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Stewie Griffin

Stewart Gilligan "Stewie" Griffin is a main character of the animated series Family Guy voiced by Seth MacFarlane. Once obsessed with world domination and matricide, Stewie is the youngest child of Peter and Lois Griffin. His older siblings are Chris and Meg.

Stewie is considered to be the show's breakout character.[1] Wizard magazine rated him the 95th greatest villain of all time.[2]

Role in Family Guy

Stewie is a one-year-old who has a very sophisticated psyche, is able to speak fluently, and has a peculiar English accent.[3] He reached his first birthday in the season one episode "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", and has remained the same age ever since, although it is presumed that he has aged to the age of at least four or five, as he is seen in several episodes going to Pre-school. While highly literate and able to cite pop culture references that date to long before his birth, he is also entranced by Raffi and the Teletubbies. Stewie succumbs to other weaknesses of children his age – he believes Peter has truly disappeared in a game of Peek-a-Boo, talks to his teddy bear (Rupert) as if he were alive, is overcome with laughter when Lois blows on his stomach,[4] and has no idea how to use a toilet. MacFarlane has stated that Stewie is meant to represent the general helplessness of an infant through the eyes of an adult. Per cartoon physics, his ability to move objects of greater weight than himself is not surprising to other characters, nor is his ability to retrieve firearms from hammerspace.

Stewie's mastery of physics and mechanical engineering are at a level of science fiction. He has constructed advanced fighter-jets, a mind control device, a weather control device, a teleportation device, robots, clones, a working Transporter device from Star Trek, time machines, a Multiverse Transporter, a shrinking pod,[5] as well as an assortment of guns including lasers, rocket launchers, and crossbows. Stewie employs these to cope with the stresses of infant life (such as teething pain, and eating broccoli)[6] and to murder his mother, Lois, with mixed success at best depending on the objective. As made clear in the pilot episode, Stewie's matricidal tendencies are a result of Lois constantly (and unwittingly) thwarting his schemes, and so he desires to kill her to carry out his plans without her interference.

In other, recent episodes, Stewie engages in other violent or criminal acts, including robbery, owning firearms while underage, carjacking,[7] loan sharking,[8] forgery,[9] and killing off many minor characters (with a tank, guns, and other assorted weaponry).[10]

Stewie eventually realizes his dreams of matricide and world domination in the sixth season two-part episode "Stewie Kills Lois" and "Lois Kills Stewie". The events are reverted in a deus ex machina ending, where most of the story turns out to be a computer simulation. Because of the rather disastrous ending for himself in the simulation, he decides to put aside his plans of matricide and world domination for the time being. However, at the end of the season nine premiere, "And Then There Were Fewer", when Diane Simmons is about to murder Lois for uncovering her murderous revenge scheme Stewie kills Diane with a sniper rifle, stating "If anyone's going to take that bitch [Lois] down, it's going to be me!"

Despite his clearly sociopathic nature, Stewie does seem to have a softer side. In particular, he shares a kinship with Brian whom he considers an intellectual peer. For example, in "Chick Cancer", when Brian unwittingly makes a racist comment while the two of them are discussing Stewie's "marriage" to Olivia Fuller, Stewie is openly disgusted by it. When Brian profusely apologizes, Stewie leaves, saying, "You gotta work on that. Bad dog." In "Road to Rhode Island", Brian goes to find his mother and discovers that her dead body has been stuffed, Stewie says, "Someone must have said something funny, because your mother's in stitches!" After laughing for a few seconds, he tells Brian, "I'll leave you to grieve," before walking out of the room to give Brian some alone time with his mother. In "Jerome is the New Black", after Quagmire's rant leaves Brian in tears, Stewie cheers him up by saying he likes him and letting Brian spend the night in his room. Similarly, in "Dog Gone", when Brian sinks into a deep drunken depression upon discovering that humanity, including the Griffin family, has no regard for the lives of animals (including himself), Stewie steals his collar and plants it on a stray dog, proceeding to fake Brian's death by sending it into a liquor store and subsequently setting the store on fire, simultaneously forcing the other Griffins to realize just how much Brian mattered to them and cheering Brian up. In "Brian & Stewie", Stewie confesses that he loves Brian, not as a lover, but as a close friend.

Other instances of family kindness include his support for Meg (whom he traditionally calls "Megan") as when he chided Brian's coke-induced hostility to her ("The Thin White Line"), retracted his joke "I hate you too" when Meg said "I hate you all" to the family ("Untitled Griffin Family History"), and wiped her tears during a weepy moment. While Stewie generally regards Chris as a stooge, he has encouraged him, and even helped Chris to dress when he felt too shy to date ("Extra Large Medium"). In the episode "Stewie Loves Lois" it is shown that Stewie can love his mom, after she recovers Rupert, fixes him, and serves a meal he likes. When he becomes too dependent on her, she deliberately takes no notice of him, when he hurts himself she tries to show notice of him again, but he then goes back to his old ways. In a more recent episode "New Kidney in Town" he learns of Brian giving his kidneys to save Peter who is undergoing kidney surgery after he drinks kerosene. He dognaps Brian and tells him "I won't let you give your life for the fat man," Brian responds "You can live without a dog but you can't live without a father." Stewie starts crying saying "But Brian I don't want to lose anybody... I don't want to lose anybody" At this point he has mucus dripping from his nose and is hugging Brian. In the ninth-season episode And I'm Joyce Kinney, it is implied that Stewie may be the son of a "pizza-delivery guy" that appeared in a pornographic movie that Lois made while in college. This however presents several problems, as Stewie is only one year old and Lois attended college decades before he was born, as well as the fact that Stewie has two older siblings, and in the episode it is clear she made the movie before she met Peter, who is definitely the father of Meg and Chris.

In the more recent seasons Stewie has a larger amount of freedom from his parents, which extends to the point of him being able to keep pigs from parallel universes or take part in the television series Jolly Farm, as compared to the first season, in which his plans were constantly hindered by Lois. In "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair", Stewie inadvertently clones an evil twin of himself after trying to increase his evil nature. By the end of the episode, it is suggested that the original Stewie may have been unknowingly killed by Brian when he cannot tell them apart and Stewie turns to the camera, the evil clone presumably replacing his position in the Griffin family. But so far, the Stewie recently seen in "Trading Places", the follow-up episode, he still seems to have his mostly harmless eccentricity, shown when he asks Brian if he wants to trade places with him for fun.

Development

Stewie's voice is provided by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who also provides the voices of Brian Griffin, Peter Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire as well as numerous other characters.[11] MacFarlane based Stewie's accent on the voice of English actor Rex Harrison,[12] particularly on Harrison's performance in the 1964 musical drama film My Fair Lady.[13] MacFarlane has also linked Stewie with David Hyde Pierce on more than one occasion, saying he wants Pierce to play Stewie if a live action version of the show would ever be created.[14][15]

Stewie's head has the shape of an American football. In the episode "Stuck Together, Torn Apart", a flashback shows Stewie's head was shaped as other babies shown on the show, until he hit his head on the ceiling while bouncing on the bed, and it flattened into the familiar shape.[16] Flashbacks in "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", however, show his head was already shaped like a football when he was born. The comic strip Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth also features an infant boy who has a football-shaped head with some hairs sticking out of it, talks in a very eloquent manner, fears his mother and constantly comes up with inventions to help him escape from her. The comic strip's creator, Chris Ware, started drawing Jimmy as early as in 1991. About the characters, he remarked, "[The similarities are] a little too coincidental to be simply, well, coincidental."[17] He further stated, "I don't want a book of seven years' worth of my stuff to become available and then be accused of being a rip-off of Family Guy."[17] 20th Century Fox insists that Stewie is an entirely original character.[17] In a 2003 interview, Seth MacFarlane has stated that he had never seen the comic strip before, but the similarities are "pretty shocking".[18]

Ambiguous sexuality

Stewie's sexuality, even though he is a one-year-old, is deliberately ambiguous. When the writers began to flesh out Stewie's character beyond being a generic supervillain in season two, MacFarlane and the writers began to explore the infant's sexuality with a series of one-off gags, which hinted that Stewie could be gay. For example, in one episode his cellphone screensaver is a muscular man, and another example is that he has a picture of Chris Noth in his wallet. On the commentary of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, the writers describe how they were going to make Stewie discover he was gayTemplate:Citation needed, but decided to scrap this idea in order to retain Stewie's sexual ambiguity for writing purposes. MacFarlane planned for the series' third season to end with Stewie coming out of the closet after a near-death experience. The show's abrupt cancellation caused MacFarlane to abort these plans, and the episode "Queer Is Stewie?" was actually produced, but never shown. Since that point, MacFarlane has opted to have Stewie portrayed as sexually ambiguous, as, in his eyes, the flexibility of Stewie's sexuality allows for much more freedom in terms of writing for the character. MacFarlane later elaborated:

[[File:"Big Gay Following", The Advocate interview[14]|64px]] "He originally began as a diabolical villain, but then we delved into the idea of his confused sexuality. We all feel that Stewie is almost certainly gay, and he’s in the process of figuring it out for himself. We haven’t ever really locked into it because we get a lot of good jokes from both sides, but we treat him oftentimes as if we were writing a gay character."
~ Seth MacFarlane

When asked why he made the decision "to take Stewie from homicidal maniac to gay little song boy," MacFarlane answered that, "It wasn't a conscious decision. Characters evolve in certain ways and we found that doing the take-over-the-world thing every week was getting played out and was starting to feel a little dated. It was weirdly feeling a little ‘90s and believe me, if we were still doing that, the show would be on its last legs. I only half-jokingly go by the guideline that, if it's something that might possibly ruin the show, it's a story we should probably do."[19][20]

In an interview with Playboy, MacFarlane stated "We had an episode that went all the way to the script phase in which Stewie does come out. It had to do with the harassment he took from other kids at school. He ends up going back in time to prevent a passage in Leviticus from being written: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is an abomination.’ But we decided it’s better to keep it vague, which makes more sense because he’s a one-year-old. Ultimately, Stewie will be gay or a very unhappy repressed heterosexual. It also explains why he’s so hellbent on killing [his mother, Lois] and taking over the world: He has a lot of aggression, which comes from confusion and uncertainty about his orientation." [3]

Reception

MacFarlane has been nominated for two awards for voicing Stewie; in 2006, he won a Primetime Emmy Award in the category Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance]].[21] That same year he received an Annie Award in the Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television, Production category, for his voice work in the episode "Brian the Bachelor".[22] In addition, Wizard magazine rated Stewie the 95th greatest villain of all time.[23] Stewie was also named the best Family Guy character on a list of "Top 25 Family Guy Characters" compiled by IGN.[24] In 2010, Entertainment Weekly placed him the 45th on their list of the "Top 100 Characters of the Past Twenty Years".[25] Gay.com ranked Stewie as the fifteenth gayest cartoon character.[26]

Hal Boedeker, a critic for The Orlando Sentinel called Stewie "a brilliant creation".[27]

Merchandise and appearances in other media

Stewie, the breakout character on the show, is fast becoming a merchandising icon. Alongside t-shirts, Stewie has been included in various other Family Guy-related merchandise, including air fresheners, baseball caps, bumper stickers, cardboard standups, refrigerator magnets, key rings, buttons, dolls, posters, figurines, clocks, soapstone carvings, Chia Pets, bowling balls and boxer shorts.

Stewie has appeared in the Family Guy Video Game!,[28] where Stewie discovers Bertram attempting to outdo him in taking over the world. Desperate to stop him, Stewie shrinks himself and makes his way to Bertram's lair within Peter's testicles to discover his plan, destroys his henchman cloning lab, and rescues a kidnapped Rupert from a rocket. He finally confronts Bertram in the park, where Bertram turns himself into a giant.[29] Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is a DVD movie about Stewie's secret and what can possibly be his future.[30]

Stewie has appeared in Bones,[31] eventually revealed to be the result of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth's (David Boreanaz) brain tumor. Seth MacFarlane wrote all of Stewie's dialog for the episode.[32] The character appeared in a Coca-Cola[33] commercial during Super Bowl XLII, he presented a musical number at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards with Brian, and he appeared at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. He was on The Late Show with David Letterman to present "Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear From Your Child."Template:Specify

Gallery

References

  1. Template:Cite web
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  3. 3.0 3.1 Seth MacFarlane outs baby Stewie in 'Family Guy': He's gay, MacFarlane says in Playboy interview
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  14. 14.0 14.1 Template:Cite news
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  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Template:Cite web
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  20. Sovo.com
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  28. 2K Announces Voice Talent for Family Guy Video Game; Will the Real Baby Stewie Please Stand up!; Family Guy Show Creator Seth MacFarlane and the Main Cast Sign on with 2K to do Voice Over Roles for the Upcoming Family Guy Video Game.
  29. Thefamilyguystore.com
  30. Template:IMDb title
  31. Template:Cite web
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  33. Clipta.com

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