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

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.