Analysis / Family Guy
Analysis of Stewie's massive characterization change
The character that has Stewie's appearance on the show now is nowhere near what it was when the show started, he barely sounds like Stewie and he doesn't behave like Stewie at all, I'll call them Stewie 1 and Stewie 2. Stewie 1 is the diabolic genius we've all known and love, set on killing his mom and world domination, he doesn't feel for anyone, he has his own honorable values that he expresses every now and then, it's clear that he is a baby after all as he often realize how helpless he is without his mom or displays to us how he completely misinterprets normal events that happen around him. Stewie 1 has a strong scientific background and every now and then it appears that the inner workings of his mind, cultural awareness and social dealings are those of a man older by at least 6 decades.
Stewie 1 has a strong British accent, sharp tone voice and a wide range of vocabulary, he falls for a couple of girls briefly and truly subtle hints came up of what his sexual orientation might be, hints that plants nothing but uncertainty on our behalf. Stewie 1 was deservingly the FG's breakthrough character and one of the coolest characters I ever saw on T.V. I can't point exactly when Stewie 1 ceased to exist on the show, but it's comfortable to say the Stewie Kills Lois two-parter was the last we've seen of him (even though he's been deteriorating for a while before that by displaying care for his toy Rupert or engaging in non-hostile conversations or activities with Brian).
Even though FG usually has low rate of continuity -which I don't mind- references to Stewie 2 being a cross dresser or flirting/dating guys has been consistent, heavily on season 7 and occasionally on season 8, in a manner that's just plain repulsive when it comes -for example- to being sexually attracted to Brain and actively attempting to engage in physical intimacy with him, Brian is a regular character on the show, this can't be just easily forgotten or passed by, we'll always remember. By the end of the seventh season; Stewie 2 has a voice that does not resemble Stewie 1's at all, at least to me, a higher pitch comes up every now and then but it's not that, the sharp tone is gone and his vocabulary has been noticeably limited when compared to Stewie 1, a deterioration that started taking place as early as the fifth season but hasn't come to full scale till the seventh. Stewie 2 kept Stewie 1's scientific background even though he does not use it to create weapons anymore, just cool inventions tend to be obviously only planted there to serve the plot. Stewie 2 is generally pleasant to be around, he's very emotional and expressive about it, he's a Hannah Montana fan, shops for colorful hats, tolerates rudeness and generally helpless for the most part. We get a glimpse of Stewie 1 occasionally, like killing New Brian and Diane Simmons or going on a quest to kill Santa, but again it's too obviously only thrown in there to serve the plot or conclude it.
It's clear to me that the absence of Stewie 1 from the show really helped push away a lot of the original fan base, even though it may be a main reason for many but it really helped, especially when the character that replaced him is not the least bit interesting. I realize Seth MacFarlane
is a supporter of gay rights, so am I, but with all due respect; there was no need to sabotage your best creation to show it. I realize MacFarlane said he thought Stewie 1 was gonna get old and "played out", does anyone else share these feelings? were you starting to get sick of Stewie 1? I surely didn't, I believe there were dozens more ideas to explore with him, hundreds of clever jokes and subtle references to his true orientation. That's all I had on my mind, I've been meaning to share it for a while but was too lazy to type.
- YMMV. I prefer Stewie 2 with the occasional slip into Stewie 1. It keeps his sociopathy genuinely funny and keeps his character relatable.
- Stewie 1 would have definitely gotten played out; there are only so many ways you can make him attempt to kill his mother, after all. Plus, the demented evil genius baby has much more limited characterization and potential for development than the new Stewie does; the Stewie Kills Lois 2-parter was more or less an official farewell to the evil genius baby, though shades of it do show up from time to time.
- I think the route they took from Stewie 1 to Stewie 2 was something like this: Stewie is an evil genius. Evil characters are stereotyped as British, so we'll make Stewie British. British men are stereotyped as effeminate gentlemen, so we'll make Stewie effeminate. Effeminate men are stereotyped as gay, and vice versa, so we'll make Stewie gay.
- Since Stewie was the FG's Breakout Character he got massively used to please the audience. Initially just a gimmick, his mentality, unusual for a baby, got played out long ago since he simply was overspent as the jokes and situations got used out. Notice how Chris and Lois have remained relatively unchanged since the show started; those characters -precisely the ones not voiced by MacFarlane- very rarely get the spotlight. Since they never broke out due to the fact that they weren't really original (stay-at-home moms and dumb teenagers? please) and neither was a Creator's Pet, they were never used that much which allowed them to keep their essence as time went by.