Are We Ready for Change? The Death of Brian Griffin


Change? Change? Is change really a good thing? When I see someone homeless in the street begging for change, I seem burdened. I understand that it may be in good faith to help someone in his or her time of need, but I’m more interested in how they got there. What series of bad decisions did they make to resort to asking other people for money? So yeah, I’m scared of change. Change also has another meaning: the alteration or modification of something we’ve grown accustomed to. When I woke up this morning and found out about the death of one of America’s most beloved cartoon dogs, I almost lost it. So yeah, I’m afraid of change.

Brian Griffin, the canine star of Quahog, was fatally hit by a car and ultimately killed off of the animated hit series Family Guy. More often than not, when characters are killed off or leave shows, it causes a bit of a stir, but the death of Brain caused an uproar. I was bombarded with links on social media and classroom discussions about the death of Brain and I wonder, “why are we so surprised?”

Family Guy is one of the most absurd shows I’ve ever watched and it seems to play a tremendous role in its success after 11 seasons. So with that said, why is anyone shocked about the demise of Brain Griffin? According to E-Online’s interview with Steve Callaghan, executive producer of Family Guy, Brian’s death seemed “more in the realm of reality that a dog would get hit by a car, than if one of the kids died.” To me, when we start talking about “realm of realities,” I don’t necessarily buy that argument. Family Guy as a series, is outside the realm of reality. Did we forget that the first episode of Family Guy was of Stewie Griffin trying to kill his mother? Or that Brian was a dog, a talking dog, who was arguably one of the most intellectual characters on the show? I just don’t buy it.

For the most part, cartoons generally don’t seem to abide by realms of realities; which makes me wonder, why after 11 seasons did the producers start to care about the absurdity of a dog dying rather than another main character? I also have a problem with the way Brian died. In an episode where Brain owed Stewie money, Stewie torched Brain with a flamethrower, which didn’t kill him, but a car does? Maybe I’m being too cynical, but the chances of surviving a flamethrower attack seem lower than being hit by a car.

The decision to kill off Brian was a bold move though. As a society consuming media, everything seems so predictable. How often do we watch a movie or a show on television and know what’s going to happen next? It’s about time that something happens that shakes up the series; but as for seeing how effective the decision was, as far as ratings go, remains to be seen. Maybe it was Brian’s time to die. The average lifespan of a dog could range anywhere from 6-12 years, so in a practical world Brain’s time to live was coming to an end anyway. If that was the case however, why did Brain have to die violently?

Overall, I don’t know too many people who were happy with Brian’s fate. With people saying: “The dynamic of Brian and Stewie, or even Peter and Stewie are irreplaceable.” Even things like, “It should have been Meg,” makes me wonder how the future of Family Guy will play out. Callaghan stated that he’s not concerned about a backlash from the audience, …our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough, to know that they can trust us. We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series.” I do hope the creators of the show know what they’re doing, but I do agree with many others when I say, “It should have been Meg.”


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