SPOILER ALERT (technically, I don’t think I should have to say this because the episode already aired, but just in case…)

I can’t believe it either. While watching Pitbull, who was looking like a terrible Men’s Warehouse sales model on the American Music Awards, I totally missed out one of the biggest shockers in animated TV history. Seth MacFarlane‘s flagship series Family Guy killed off one of it’s most compelling characters, Brian the Family Dog.


Not only does Brian get hit by a car–a way mundane way for a high IQ, novel-writing, cross-species-dating, tap-dancing dog to go — but Peter Griffin and family even replace him with a new dog, Vinny. Voiced by Tony Sirico. So, basically a dog version of Paulie Walnuts. Maron!

Vinny-the-new-dog-Family-Guy Vinny-Tony-Sirico-Family-Guy

Watch the sad Family Guy montage of key Brian moments as he lays on his final veterinarian office deathbed…and the executive producers explanation for killing off TV’s smartest canine.

It should have been you, Meg.

Well, we know voice-actor contract disputes have nothing to do with this because Brian is voiced by show creator MacFarlane himself. So what possessed the show’s staff to mess with this very successful formula? Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan told E!:

(We can’t believe that Brian is gone! What led you to make this crucial decision for the series?)
Steve Callaghan: Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.

(Why did you decide that Brian had to be the one to go and not one of the other characters?)
It seemed more in the realm of a reality that a dog would get hit by a car, then if one of the kids died. As much as we love Brian, and as much as everyone loves their pets, we felt it would be more traumatic to lose one of the kids, rather than the family pet.

(Why did you feel like you needed to bring another dog into the Griffin family right away?)
It felt like the way that this show was conceived by Seth all those years ago, was this entire family unit including the parents, kids and a dog. So by losing Brian, it felt like a void needed to be filled both comically, and also for the interpersonal relationships between all the characters. We felt that we needed to fill that role.

(Brian and Stewie were extremely close and developed a very strong bond over these past 11 seasons. Will Vinny and Stewie continue to grow closer?)
Vinny is a really good match for Stewie. Where Brian was sort of a match for Stewie intellectually, Vinny is a good match for Stewie because he doesn’t let Stewie get away with any crap. He’ll call Stewie out on his B.S. freely.

(Lastly, killing off Brian is a really big shocker. Are you worried about the backlash from longtime Family Guy fans?)
I’m not, only because 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.

Well, time heals all chemically-imbalanced fanboy wounds, hopefully. But for now, the Twitterverse is tight. Brian, thanks for the memories….

#Brian #NeverForget

Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Questlove Etc. Are Appearing on ‘The Cleveland Show’ (…But Why?)
Stage Barfing is the New Black: #JustinBieber and #LadyGaga Say “Hey! Hurl!”
Frank Ocean & Seth MacFarlane Join Forces in ‘SNL’ Promo
Eminem On Family Guy (snippet)