Brian Griffin, the eloquent talking dog on Family Guy, died in last night's episode, titled "Life of Brian." A car struck and crushed him as he was setting up a street-hockey net. "You've given me a wonderful life," he told the rest of the family before dying at the vet. "I love you all." After he passed, the show posted a video displaying highlights of Brian's interactions with the Griffin family, many of which included vomiting and farting and suffering at the hands of the Griffins.
The episode's story arc followed Brian and the show's talking baby, Stewie, as they traveled through time to take back guns that they had given to Native Americans on a previous time-traveling adventure. Upon returning, Stewie destroyed his time machine and brought it to a junkyard where they found the street-hockey net. After Brian's death, Stewie blamed himself and attempted to rebuild the time machine, in an effort to go back and save Brian's life, but did not succeed. Toward the end of the show, the family's father, Peter Griffin, takes home another talking dog from a pet store. The canine, named Vinny, then attempts to bond with the family.
"We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up," executive producer Steve Callaghan told E! about why the writers killed Brian. "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."
Regarding the relationship between Stewie and Vinny, who is voiced by Sopranos actor Tony Sirico, he said the characters will complement each other well. "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," Callaghan said. "He'll call Stewie out on his B.S. freely."
Family Guy isn't the only cartoon series that has announced a major character's death. In October, The Simpsons publicized that it will be killing off a longtime role, likely in its 26th season. It's unclear which Simpsons character will die, but executive producer Al Jean hinted that the actor who voices the character had won an Emmy for the portrayal.