"Lois Comes Out Of Her Shell"

"Lois Comes Out Of Her Shell"

Middle of the pack.

Trust Family Guy to spoil its own punch line. The promos used the "Get out of this house" line, so it was thoroughly beaten into the ground by the time it actually came up in the episode. It should have been a hilarious final stinger, but the only thing it mustered in me was annoyance. 

Earlier in the evening, I had the feeling that the script for the Simpsons was signaling to its audience (perhaps unwittingly) its own exhaustion with having been on the air for 23 years. And now we have an episode of another long-running animated sitcom which grapples with the idea of trying to stay young and fresh while you're growing older every day. 
 
You can say I'm reading too much into it. But I felt like Lois in this episode was a stand-in for the show itself. Desperate to maintain her youthful currency, Lois tries every trick in the mid-life crisis book. But each attempt just makes her look more horrifying and pathetic. The harder she tries, the less everyone likes her - but no one likes her if she just relaxes and acts herself, because women over 40 become invisible in our society. 
 
I liked what the show did with Peter, who gets more exhausted and irritated by the minute as he tries to tag along with his wife's mock-youthful shenanigans. How much clubbing do you want to do, at his age? Not much, frankly. (I say this as someone who turned 40 this year, myself.)
 
American Dad covered this territory, and covered it better, in their episode where Stan and Francine pretend to be 20-somethings in order to curry the favor of their exciting new friends. But both shows come to the same conclusion: it's exhausting to be young. No wonder teenagers sleep, like, fourteen hours a night.
 
The B-plot with Stewie and the turtle was unsettling, because turtles kind of creep me out, the way that clowns kind of creep some people out. I don't expect you to understand it. Just accept that I am unable to review this portion of the episode in any coherent fashion, and move on.
 
Overall, this wasn't the greatest episode, but it wasn't the worst, either. It had enough incidental laughs to be watchable. (I particularly liked the gag about replacing Meg's sleeping pills with Alka-Seltzer. I may be 40, but you're never too old for a good burp joke. Couple that with a suicide joke: comedy gold. I also loved Stewie's observation about Lois's tattoo meaning that she once had 60 dollars.)