The Life of Brian

Last Sunday 4.5 million of you tuned in to Family Guy where you saw (#SpoilerAlert) Brian Griffin get hilariously killed by car and then swiftly replaced by a less interesting, more Italian dog named Vinny.  Reactions, predictably, were very strong with many Family Guy fanatics lifting their legs in anger.

I must admit I have been pretty loyal to Seth MacFarlane and this one caught me by complete surprise.  And it’s rarely a good sign when shows start changing up the main cast.  (After a statement like that Family Guy would cut to a clip of Friends with a black person on it or a monkey in a diaper on 60 Minutes).  Having had a little while to process it though, I think can succinctly sum up how I feel with this: good riddance Brian Griffin; I hope they kill off the rest of your family except Stewie, whom they should move to Langley, Md. to live with the Smiths.

Folks, lets be honest, the magic of Family Guy is mostly just a figment of our imagination at this point.  More than ever the show relies on mean-spirited racism and completely random cutaways to distract us from the lack of plot or jokes.  The show has been on long enough to basically be a parody of itself.

[Please don’t get me wrong; I am all for racism as a joke when a) it’s funny and b) it’s clear that the writer empathizes with the pain of the group being targeted.  But this could be a post of it’s own, so I’ll leave it at that.  I welcome your thoughts though.]

So it’s time to say goodbye to Brian Griffin — a dog full of white guilt, faux intellectualism, and delusional notions of grandeur.  (Kinda sounds like half the kids with whom I went to college, but I digress).  Liberal white America will have to find another totem on which to plaster its self-image.  But never fear, there are a million brian griffincutaways that can be shown to keep your boy on the screen.  Maybe he’ll be a ghost in a special episode.  Or maybe the creators of Family Guy will heed your petition and bring him back altogether.  I mean, if Stewie can be a baby for 15 years, surely they can un-kill the talking douchehound.

And what are we to make of this replacement? What will he add to he show? Is there some sort of turn coming? Our ADD culture insists on an immediate payoff as to why they swapped one dog for another. This isn’t like when they switched to a light-skinned Vivian on Fresh Prince or when the tried to serve us a different Harriet Winslow or Becky Connor. This isn’t about a contract; Seth still emerges to provide the voice of Peter Griffin who, by the way, is actually the most annoying TV personality not on a reality show. So what’s with the new dog? I’m willing to give it a little time to see if there’s a solid payoff; but I have my doubts.

At the end of the day, however, killing off Brian Griffin is a smart idea. It got me watching the show again after not really caring that I missed the whole beginning to the new season. It got the internet community abuzz with outrage. There is no such thing as bad publicity.  Sometimes the greatest thing you can do to your fans is break their hearts, and this will test that theory to the max. Either ratings and chatter will go up as the world waits to see if Brian returns/Vinny cuts the mustard or the show will tank and, like the tired archetype he had become, get put down a la Brian Griffin.

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