‘Family Guy’: Brian the dog returns from the dead

Let’s call it the least shocking plot twist of the year: Brian Griffin, the intelligent dog on Fox’s long-running animated comedy “Family Guy” returned to the show on Sunday, ending three weeks of fan mourning.

The episode, “Christmas Guy,” revealed that Stewie, the diabolical genius baby of the Griffin family, used his time machine to go back in time and push Brian out of the way of the speeding car that claimed his life three weeks ago. But wait, didn’t the series make a point of showing how Stewie had destroyed his time machine, thereby preventing that solution? Yes, but if you’re bothered by gaps in plot and logic, “Family Guy” probably isn’t the show for you.

The return of Stewie’s time machine is explained away by Stewie finding another version of himself time traveling from a different point in the time stream and borrowing that Stewie’s device to save Brian. And there shouldn’t be any more questions after that.

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The decision to kill off the family dog created an outcry of protest from the “Family Guy” fan community, a group that apparently does not like a lot of change in its entertainment consumption. After the canine character’s death in the Nov. 24 episode, a petition on the website collected over 128.000 signatures of people asking to bring the dog back.

Although it’s unusual for an animated series like “Family Guy” to kill off one of its main characters, it’s not unheard of. “The Simpsons” has killed off a couple of its characters during its 25-season run. Still, most viewers didn’t think Brian’s death was anything more than a temporary status change.

On the show, Brian, voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane, was replaced (temporarily) by new family dog Vinny, voiced by “Sopranos” star Tony Sirico for a total of three episodes.

On his Twitter feed, MacFarlane shared a message of holiday love, writing, “And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.”


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