Family Guy Recap: Let's Do the Time Warp Again! Seth MacFarlane Defends 'Warm, Fuzzy' Lesson

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Family Guy Brian Is AliveOdds are, you won’t be shocked by what transpires in this week’s holiday episode of Family Guy. (The signs weren’t just all there, they were all there and written in big, bold, neon letters!) But you’ll probably also be so happy about what transpires that you won’t complain (much). So without further ado…

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MERRY AXE-MAS | Tearing themselves away from non-stop seasonal programming (like Home Alone With Competent Robbers and The Year Without a Santa Claus or Sex), the Griffins head to the mall for the annual Christmas carnival, which, to their horror, they find has been cancelled. Learning that Lois’ father, Carter, is responsible for the Yuletide turning, Peter makes it his mission to restore the Scrooge’s Christmas spirit by getting him to engage in such holiday traditions as drinking too much eggnog and feeling guilty after masturbating. But it turns out, all Peter really needs to do to change the Grinch’s mind is tell him that people assume he nixed the festivities because he’s Jewish. “Is that how this is coming off?!” Carter asks. And just like that, the carnival is back on. Mind you, Stewie still isn’t happy.

SANTA, BABY | On Santa’s lap, Stewie breaks down and confesses that what he really wants for Christmas is Brian back. “And I’d like a bike, too,” he adds. That being impossible (the Brian part, not the bike part), Vinny tries to fill in for his predecessor by studying up on politics and writing a book (Wish It, Want It, Ya Blew It). When those tactics don’t cheer Stewie up, the mutt escorts the youngster to the toy store to pick up a distraction. But the duo get more than they bargained for – and more than Stewie could have hoped for – when he spots a familiar face: his own! Remembering that, in the past, he traveled to the future to pick up a gadget, he knows that in this other Stewie’s backpack is a time machine return pad. He can use it to rewind and save Brian!

DOG GONE | Though Stewie points out that, if he saves Brian, the Griffins probably won’t get another dog, meaning he’ll never even meet Vinny, the pooch puts on a brave face. “I’m man’s best friend,” he insists, “not some stupid baby’s best friend.” And, with that, off Stewie goes, back in time to save his pal. (Current Stewie then fades away, leaving past-tense Stewie to hockey stick Brian in the kibbles.) On Christmas Day, Brian thanks Stewie for giving him the greatest present of all, and Stewie responds, “Are we pregnant?” And suddenly, all is right with the world once more. Or at least as right as things can get on a show that takes such delight in being so very wrong.

As series boss Seth MacFarlane said on Twitter, explaining the dog trick:

And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash. I mean, you didn’t really think we’d kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we’d have to be f–king high. Oh and hey… thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.


OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you glad Brian’s back? Or are you so turned off by the publicity stunt-iness of his death that you don’t really care? Personally, I felt bad for Vinny. He kinda grew on me, that guy. Anyway, hit the comments.



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Comments (59)

  • If not for that damn egg nog scene I’d probably make this a new holiday TV episode to add to my ever increasing rotation (I’ve got like a dozen already).

    Comment by Auntie Ralph – December 15, 2013 07:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We all saw it coming. Still, it wouldn’t be Family Guy without Brian, so I’m very glad he’s back. That being said, Vinny wasn’t that terrible. If they found some way to write him in as a minor, recurring character, I would be okay with it.

    Comment by Eric – December 15, 2013 07:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Absolutely. Vinnie would be a brilliant occasional counterpoint to Brian.

      Comment by nabocane – December 15, 2013 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Hopefully, Family Guy doesn’t go the “dark comedy” route and show that Vinnie never got adopted by anyone.

        I’d rather he either never be seen again and we’re left to assume he found a “man” to be his best friend and lived happily ever after blah blah blah, or he shows up having been adopted by a family who suits his personality… but only Stewie knows how things almost turned out.

        Comment by Maho – December 16, 2013 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • The Stewie that knew Vinny Disappeared when the timeline was changed. None of the characters would remember Vinny. However it is a fictional cartoon, so…….

          Comment by Mike the Law – December 18, 2013 03:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Since Cleveland Show is done… Cleveland should rejoin Family Guy and adopt Vinny!

      Comment by Brendan – December 16, 2013 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wish they would have had the balls to have stuck with the decision to kill off Brian.

    Comment by Brendan – December 15, 2013 07:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • My thoughts exactly!

      Comment by Patrick Maloney – December 15, 2013 07:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ditto, though I would’ve been happy just as long as Vinny stayed as part of the cast.

      Comment by CJS – December 15, 2013 07:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • you’re an idiot…

      Comment by Amari Luckett – December 15, 2013 08:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • No, YOU are the idiot for being a little bitch about somebody having a disagreement with your opinion.

        Comment by Me – December 17, 2013 12:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I knew he would die when they said someone in the Griffin family would be killed because the episode was named Life of Brian. I knew he’d come back in the previous episode because the plot was about Stewie wanting only one thing for Christmas. What else would he want? And then, to really spoil it, Brian was on the list of characters that were supposed to be featured in the episode, so they didn’t really call it well. Read FamilyGuyWiki and you’ll be able to call any “surprise” the showwriters have for you.

        Comment by FamilyGuyzBiggestFan – December 17, 2013 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They stuck with a decision, the one to kill Brian and then bring him back. Since this was always the plan, they stuck like glue.

      Comment by Michelle – December 15, 2013 08:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Family Guy isn’t Family Guy without Brian’s character – forget about fan loyalty, it has to do with effective comedy writing. He’s the “reality compass” and/or the “ground” of the show. Killing him was like killing Lisa on the Simpsons or Leonard on Big Bang – it effectively removes the most (relatively) relatable character. Translation: You’re lost. It wasn’t a question of “balls.”

      BTW, to CJS below: Vinny was one of the most one-dimensional characters ever written–a terribly written addition. To want him to remain as part of the main cast is ridiculous. Apparently, some people enjoy lazy writing.

      Comment by TheTruthIsFun – December 15, 2013 08:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think you mean Penny. If Leonard died the world just be a better place with one less jerk in the world.

        Comment by Anne – December 16, 2013 12:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • If South Park can kill off Kenny for most of a season… Family Guy could have at least waited more than 2 episodes before bringing Brian back.

        Comment by Brendan – December 16, 2013 10:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Brian is as vapid and one-dimensional as everybody else on the show, and can only be related to if your name is Seth MacFarlane. Any semblance of a personality or character was sapped out of him to turn him into a soapbox for MacFarlane, losing all of his original wit and charm a long time ago.

        Comment by Me – December 17, 2013 12:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Brendan, I concur!

      Comment by lj365 – December 15, 2013 11:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No font big enough to express what I feel.

    Comment by nabocane – December 15, 2013 07:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Family Guy pulled a huge prank on the entire media and they drank it up like cheap booze at Lindsay Lohan’s Sweet 16 party.

    Comment by Michael – December 15, 2013 07:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Christmas is officially uncancelled in this house. Stewie/Brian *is* Family Guy for a lot of fans. I just couldn’t see a reason to watch it without him.

    Comment by Nat – December 15, 2013 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was actually considering watching the show regularly until now.

    Comment by Zorkel – December 15, 2013 07:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As soon as Brian said “You’ve given me a wonderful life”, I knew he’d be back by Christmas. The only thing I liked about Vinny was that he helped Stewie and that he got to go back to his original owner. Although as Stewie said “Who the h%#@ is Georgette?”

    This was actually one of the best episodes FG has had in a LONG time. I loved that photo Brian gave Stewie that said “Friends Forever” on it because that’s how I’ll always see them.

    Oh and I wonder how many people who signed the petition feel like that was why Brian returned. ;)

    Comment by TheTVJunkee – December 15, 2013 07:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, can it. WHo cares if the petition actually had anything to do with the outcome? What the petition DID prove is that the show is still relevant and has a very vocal, loyal following. If anything, it simply told the showrunners the fans don’t want the show going anywhere.

      Comment by TheTruthIsFun – December 15, 2013 08:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I don’t have to can it. What I meant by it is that these episodes were filmed about a year ago, so the petition couldn’t have changed the outcome. However a lot of viewers don’t know that animated shows are filmed so far in advance so they might have assumed that the petition helped it. I know that it proved how much Brian was loved, I’m not an idiot. He’s my favourite character on the show as a matter of fact. I’ve watched this show for 11 years so I think of all people I know how vocal and loyal fans are to this show because I am one of them and will continue to be for years to come.

        Comment by TheTVJunkee – December 15, 2013 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • like, 150,000 people

      Comment by Jd15001 – December 18, 2013 09:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anyone who thought he was gone for good is dumb.
    Goofs!
    =)

    Comment by GuessWhat – December 15, 2013 07:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why? Red herring show titles are commonplace, and Seth Macfarlane has been quoted as saying he wanted to end the show two seasons ago. Thinking Brian was gone for good was perfectly believable, as there was no conclusive, definite evidence to the contrary. Those who thought he was gone for good had more evidence to support that claim than those who felt he’d return. They weren’t dumb. Thank goodness he’s back though.

      Comment by TheTruthIsFun – December 15, 2013 08:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Anyone who still likes this show and Brian especially is even more dumb.

      Comment by Me – December 17, 2013 12:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The episode was made way in advance so obviously people’s complaints had nothing to do with Brian coming back. However, I think Vinny coming back with Brian and Stewie would make good episodes!

    Comment by Brownbear – December 15, 2013 08:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s very true. All these episodes were probably animated like a year ago, so it was all part of the plan.

      Comment by Michael Sacal – December 15, 2013 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Apparently Tony Sirico signed on for six episodes, and he’s only done three (?) so far, so we probably haven’t seen the last of Vinny.

    Comment by Joanie Mitchell – December 15, 2013 08:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • :D

    Comment by Michael Sacal – December 15, 2013 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My whole problem with Vinny was that he tried to tell Stewie to be different. Not like the things he liked. Not act like how he acted. It was a joke, nonetheless, it bothered me. Knew Brian would be back.

    Comment by Jose Delgado – December 15, 2013 08:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So my question is how does Brian being alive mean Vinny doesn’t exist? It’s just that he becomes someone else’s dog right? So can’t he still be around?

    Comment by Tom Charles – December 15, 2013 09:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Id think that it means he is sitting in the pound waiting to be adopted by somebody, since his previous owner would have still passed away.

      Comment by Chris – December 17, 2013 10:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Im glad brian is back I thought he was gone for good

    Comment by keena – December 15, 2013 09:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by szafki bhp – December 15, 2013 09:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Google Translate was not a success, I see?

      Comment by Cottage101 – December 15, 2013 10:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • WTF?

      Comment by n8ball78 – December 16, 2013 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Glad to see others didn’t understand that post either. I thought I was having a stroke when I read it.

      Comment by Thomas – December 16, 2013 11:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I miss Brian so much so happy he back

    Comment by Chelsea – December 15, 2013 09:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I almost stopped watching Family Guy when Brian was killed off. So tonight’s episode made me so happy! Family Guy wouldn’t be the same without Brian, it be like Simpons with no Santas little helper. 👍👍to the writers!!

    Comment by Nikole – December 15, 2013 10:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Glad Brian is back vinny was kinda funny but it isn’t family guy without Brian

    Comment by CA90221 – December 16, 2013 01:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The lesson of this episode is that if you wish hard enough, you can bring cherished family members back from the dead! Thanks, Family Guy! I’ll commence to wishin’! :-)

    Comment by TV Gord – December 16, 2013 04:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you get your life lessons from cartoons you need somesserious help.

      Comment by n8ball78 – December 16, 2013 10:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Lol, I see that went right over your head…

        Comment by Francine – December 16, 2013 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • :-) Thanks, Francine. :-) You restored what n8ball78 momentarily took away. I have faith in TV Line readers again! :-)

          Comment by TV Gord – December 16, 2013 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • yah brian is back and so he should be. without brian with his best friend stewie there was no family guy. figured seth was just messing with us. *very happy*

    Comment by barbara – December 16, 2013 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I knew Brian would be back, but I hope they still bring Vinny back occasionally.

    Comment by Carrie – December 16, 2013 09:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cheap publicity stunt to boost the show’s flagging ratings. Lots of people are getting tired of Family Guy and have stopped watching. MacFarlane needed an attention-grabbing device. Hype everyone up. Maybe get them to tune in again. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t. Check the ratings. He’s still a d-bag for doing it.

    Comment by Bob – December 16, 2013 11:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Credit where credit is due. Family Guy was in need of a ratings boost. sure as hell got them good press.

    Comment by Ryan O'Callaghan – December 16, 2013 12:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hadn’t watched since. Glad to hear this. Hope it’s replayed tonight or I’ll try to catch up on YouTube if possible. Thanks, Welcome Back Brian. ♥

    Comment by American Honey – December 16, 2013 04:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the fact, they brought Brian back. Love the.friendship he has with Stewie.

    Comment by Rose – December 18, 2013 04:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Who the f*%# Is georgetta?

    Comment by Not u – December 24, 2013 04:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wasn’t sure if they were going to bring Brian back or not. I kept expecting them to have him just walk in asking who’s leg he had to hump like he was never gone though. It wouldn’t have been the first time the show ignored its own continuity. I think the answer to who “Georgette” is one of two probabilities: A) its something random to make us go WTF or B) its a nod to the Georgette who did the family guide kit. I think it’s that simple.

    Comment by bob – January 10, 2014 01:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • * “The Family Guy Kit” not “family guide kit”
      Stupid auto text features…

      Comment by bob – January 10, 2014 01:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Im so glad Brian came back. Family Guy just wouldnt be the same without him.

    Comment by Tre – March 13, 2014 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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