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Commentary: Death in ‘Family Guy’ drives some to petition the loss of a character

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Cast of Fox's adult cartoon 'Family Guy.' Brian Griffin was killed off in Sunday's episode, 'Life of Brian.' Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Cast of Fox’s adult cartoon ‘Family Guy.’ Brian Griffin was killed off in Sunday’s episode, ‘Life of Brian.’
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

There’s been a death in the family.

Brian Griffin, the anthropomorphic dog voiced by creator Seth MacFarlane in Fox’s adult cartoon “Family Guy,” was hit by a car and killed off in Sunday’s episode, titled “Life of Brian,” ending the character’s more than 11-season lifespan.

“We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” Steve Callaghan, executive producer of the show, said of killing off the character to E! News. “As soon as the idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be.”

Although the family dog has already been replaced with Vinny, another anthropomorphic dog voiced by “The Sopranos” star Tony Sirico, fans have already petitioned to bring the martini-loving canine back to life.

Aaron Thompson of Tuscaloosa, Ala. created the “Seth MacFarlane, and Fox Broadcasting Company: Bring Brian Griffin back to Family Guy” petition on change.org, an online petition website. As of Friday, the petition has more than 116,000 signatures and needing more than 33,000 to complete the petition.

“Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experience,” Thompson wrote on the petition’s page. “’Family Guy’ and Fox Broadcasting will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back to the show.”

An attempt to reach Thompson was unsuccessful.

The petition also has the Facebook fan-dedicated page “R.I.P Brian Griffin from Family Guy,” which as of Friday, has more than 775,000 Likes.

Matthew Hill, a second-year in neuroscience, said Brian’s death wasn’t surprising because of the show’s reputation of causing controversies throughout its lifespan. The creators “can do whatever they want,” Hill said.

“Brian was my favorite character because he was sarcastic and funny,” Hill said. “So it’s a little upsetting to see him go.”

Hill said if the petition to bring the character back was offered to him, he would sign it, but that he would not go out of his way to do so.

“It’s probably a waste of time when people could be doing something more important,” Hill said.

Sirico has been scheduled to voice Vinnie for six episodes of the show, which by my judgment may hold the chance for Brian to return. So hold onto your collars, folks.

Let us also remember that back in 2007, the show’s season had a two-episode long story arc when the youngest child, Stewie, supposedly killed off Lois Griffin, the mother of the family. In turn, though, Lois killed off Stewie when she came back for revenge. This story arc ended in the events being a simulation run by Stewie, who wondered what would happen if he had killed his mother.

Although it is mentioned in the “Life of Brian” episode that Stewie can’t go back in time to save Brian due to the fact that his time machine is broken, I’m sure the writers of the show will figure out how to bring him back.

How else will MacFarlane continue to reap the benefits of his show if he’s not voicing at least one more character out of the ones he regularly voices?

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