Family Guy tragedy a hoax
What many loyal Family Guy fans had suspected all along is indeed the case - beloved family dog Brian Griffin has returned in Family Guy's Christmas special, just two weeks after being killed off in an horrific car accident.
The death was met with an almost universal outcry from viewers, as Brian has consistently been one of the show's most popular characters.
A series of tweets from creator Seth MacFarlane after the episode aired in the United States confirmed suspicions that the removal of Brian from the show was an elaborate hoax at best, and at worst, a shameless cry for ratings.
In one tweet, Macfarlane wrote: "I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you?"
And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.
Putting aside any criticisms of the show and the writing team for this stunt, fans should be relieved to have Brian return. Given how long it takes to create an episode, this was in no way a response to negative receptions of Brian's death. It was clearly a plan all along.
It may have proven effective too, with last week's episode pulling the highest rating of the current season in the US - a jump of close to one million viewers.
What was not addressed in the episode is what will become of replacement dog, Vinny, especially as actor Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos) is signed on for six episodes and has only appeared in three.
One theory is that it will be revealed that Vinny was behind the wheel of the car that ran over Brian. This wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, but Family Guy has had less believable plot lines. Plus, if you watch the scene again, it clearly looks like the car speeds around the corner and is intentionally aiming for Brian.
He could simply be killed off, and given what Stewie did to "New Brian", a dog that appeared in a season seven episode, that wouldn't be too shocking.
Vinny could end up just getting the "Chuck Cunningham" treatment, although this is unlikely given that Family Guy- for all its absurdity - rarely leaves a loose end.
But Vinny isn't really of interest, as great as Tony Sirico is ... there's one dog on Family Guy that viewers care about. And thank goodness he's back.
Oh and hey... thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.
Sydney Morning Herald