“I mean, you didn’t really think we’d kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we’d have to be f**king high.”
That was Seth MacFarlane tweeting after Sunday, December 15th’s episode of his hit series ‘Family Guy‘ in which, as predicted here and elsewhere, the series brought that erudite canine Brian back to life. Actually, it was the dog’s best buddy and frequent nemesis, the intelligent talking infant Stewie, who found a way to steal a time machine pad from his past self’s backpack and return to the moment when his four legged friend was hit by a car. Naturally, our diapered hero managed to push Brian out of the way, ending a few weeks of handwringing among those who thought the series would actually retire the character…permanently. Pishaw!
Unlike Beyonce, who can apparently record and release an album without anyone knowing, the aging TV show was the source of speculation ever since its creator hinted at Comic-Con that a “major character” would die this season. When it turned out to be Brian, everyone was floored, especially after remembering comments made by the creative team that the pooch would be featured predominantly in future episodes. So why kill off the cur only to replace him with a hackneyed stereotype (I especially “enjoyed” how Vinny dislikes certain predictable minorities)? Not for publicity, right? They couldn’t be that cold and callous.
Indeed, while they all initially denied it was a rating stunt, it was, and good thing too as Guy clearly needed some kind of boost. This season in particular offered up several pathetic installments (the trip to Italy, Meg’s bully, the non-treasure map map) that seemed scattered and unfocused – and this is coming from a show that prides itself on an anything for a laugh approach. Vinny was too one note to work. Even his gift of a human hand for Christmas seemed lifted out of a ‘GoodFellas‘ inspired holiday spoof. As the write-up over at the A/V Club suggested, Brian was the heart of the show. His relationship with Stewie has frequently provided the show with some of its biggest laughs, and infrequent tears.
Of course, as long as the writers keep relying on the cheapest of jokes to make their mirth, ‘Family Guy’ will always remain a third rate ‘Simpsons.’ Still, give credit where credit is due. MacFarlane and the gang tried to trick us into believing we’d never see a certain self-centered, skirt chasing mutt again, and we all fell for it. And we’ve been giving them a lot of free PR as a result.
Source: The A/V Club