Who knew that the death of a character from a raunchy adult animated series would cause such an uproar? This was the case for the long-running sitcom “Family Guy” when, in 2013, the show aired Season 12, Episode 6, “Life of Brian. The episode would see Brian Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane, the sharp-witted family dog of the Griffin household, be unexpectedly run over by a car and killed, leading the heartbroken family to adopt a new dog, Vinny (voiced by Tony Sirico).
The moment was not met with welcome arms, to say the least, from longtime fans. A trend on Twitter called #bringbackbrian even began, with many fans expressing their outrage against the show for killing off the character (via New York Post). A petition was started on the website Change.org that saw over 100,000 supporters hoping to see the talking canine back. It was loud and clear that Brian’s death was as unpopular as it was unexpected, and the visceral reaction was something that no one could have seen coming — including “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.
MaFarlane could not have predicted the reaction
Brian Griffin’s death caused shockwaves throughout the “Family Guy” fan community in 2013. The strong fan reactions elicited an equally big surprise from show creator Seth MacFarlane. On a Reddit AMA, u/Ghidoran asks the “American Dad” creator, “What was your reaction to the fan reaction to Brian’s death on Family Guy? Did it take you by surprise or was that what you expected?” MacFarlane responds, “I was very surprised by the size of the reaction. To me, the positive spin was, ‘Hey, people still really give a s**t about this guy. That’s cool.'”
The passionate reaction from fans would help resurrect the cocktail-loving pooch only two episodes later in “Christmas Guy,” which sees Stewie Griffin (also voiced by MacFarlane) go back in time to save Brian. Regardless, MacFarlane doesn’t regret the decision, hoping to remind fans of the show’s unpredictable nature with the sudden move. And it’s a move that could possibly entice him for the future. “Would I do it again? No, we already did it!” he said in a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “But who knows in Season 25.”