Perhaps in another bid to keep up with the Simpsons, Family Guy has made the shocking decision to kill off the animated dog Brian Griffin, the snarky liberal pet of the Griffin family.
E!Online broke the story before the episode aired, interviewing Steve Callaghan about the show’s decision to kill off a very popular character. To remove any hope of Brian Griffin’s return, the episode also had Stewie Griffin – baby genius – dismantle his infamous time machine and ‘lose’ the ability to put it together again.
The family will be forced to cope with the loss of Brian Griffin in the next few episodes, a move aimed at bringing a ‘degree of realism’ to the show as all the characters, from Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris, Stewie and even Quagmire have to cope with the loss. To further cement the notion of permanence, Seth McFarlane and Steve Callaghan decided to immediately bring in another pet, a dog named Vinni, who is not new to the show but has received mixed responses from audiences.
The Family Guy show’s directors decided that families tend to mourn the loss of a pet by quickly replacing it with a new pet. Thus their decision to immediately replace Brian Griffin was seen in the writing studios as another aspect of realism that would ‘garner positive audience response’.
Feedback from forums and social media worldwide have been mixed, with many irate commentators stating Brian Griffin was the glue that held the show together. Other viewers state the Vinni the dog is annoying and stale, much like the direction the show has taken of late. Many commentators on Twitter have speculated the ‘death of Brian’ moment in Family Guy was intended to mirror the recent loss of a character on the Simpsons, which in itself created a media phenomena and increase in viewership (though it must be mentioned, the talented voice actress behind that character is beloved and largely attributed to the viewership of the character’s farewell episode).
Brian Griffin passed away after getting hit by a car. Steve Callaghan, in the E!Online interview, stated the decision to kill Brian, and not one of the other Griffin family members (which was an idea thrown around the writer’s room as well) was decided as best because it seemed most realistic that the family dog would be most likely to die, and getting hit by a car is a very likely scenario to which many families can relate.
With such a big move for a childroon’s cartoon, Callaghan reveals Family Guy will now go on, business as usual, with the new dog in place and the family coping with their new dynamic. He hopes users will trust the show and continue along on the ride. Many fans in social media have stated this could be the moment the show jumped the shark. Only time and Nielsen ratings will tell.