Before you waste your energy sending hate tweets to Seth MacFarlane, take a step back and consider that maybe offing this character was the right decision.
Judging by the flood of tweets, comments and online petitions that immediately followed Brian’s death on the Nov. 24 episode of Family Guy, it’s safe to say the people of the internet were furious over the plot twist — but then again, when are the people of the internet not furious about something? The truth is, while Brian’s death was sad and surprising, it was handled beautifully; and I believe, in time, people will grow to accept the seemingly major shift in the show’s tone.
I’m not about to say that killing Brian was necessary. I’m also not going to pretend that I won’t miss him, especially his dynamic with Stewie, which has provided many of the series’ most memorable moments. (Never will I be able to wash the image of a baby and a dog making out from my mind. Never.) But what I am saying is that, as a society, we need to accept Brian’s death and move on.
Brian’s Death: Why It Was OK
Brian’s death did something I never thought Family Guy ever could: It made me feel. I also hear it made some people cry, but I swear I wasn’t one of those people, no matter how much water happened to mysteriously appear in my eyes. And isn’t it kind of great when a show, in its twelfth season, can still surprise you like that? When Brian looked up at his family and told them, “You’ve given me a wonderful life,” you might as well as have put me on that table next to him. Dead.
Stewie’s journey of acceptance was also particularly touching. The family pet should be every kid’s first experience with death, and while it was heartbreaking to see Stewie lose his best friend, it was also nice to see him move on. I’m not totally sold on Vinny yet, but I think he’ll grow on all of us. (If not, hey, they can always kill him off!)
And while I’m playing Devil’s advocate here, have we all forgotten how awful Brian could be? Maybe Quagmire’s hate-filled — yet totally accurate — rant against the Griffins’ pet will ease your heart the next time you feel sad about his death:
You are the worst person I know. You constantly hit on your best friend’s wife. The man pays for your food and rescues you from certain death, and this is how you repay him? And to add insult to injury, you defecate all over his yard! And you’re such a sponge, you pay for nothing. You always say, ‘Oh, I’ll get you later,’ but later never comes.
And what really bothers me is you pretend you’re this deep guy who loves women for their souls, when all you do is date bimbos. Yeah, I date women for their bodies, but at least I’m honest about it. I don’t buy them a copy of Catcher in the Rye, then lecture them with some seventh-grade interpretation of how Holden Caulfield is some profound intellectual. He wasn’t! He was a spoiled brat! And that’s why you like him so much. He’s you! God, you’re pretentious! And you delude yourself by thinking you’re some great writer, even though you’re terrible.
And who are you to talk down to anyone? You failed college twice, which isn’t nearly as bad as your failure as a father. How’s that son of yours you never see? But you know what? I could forgive all of that, all of it, if you weren’t such a bore. That’s the worst of it, Brian. You’re just a big, sad, alcoholic bore.
And those were just excerpts.
Finally, let’s keep in mind: Brian isn’t even the Griffins’ first family dog! Who could forget Todd, whom Peter had put down due to his sphincter’s “low shutter speed?”
Where was Todd’s funeral?!
HollywoodLifers, how do you feel about Brian’s death? Drop a comment with your reaction to the major loss below.
— Andy Swift