Fan fallout has been swift, but we’d like to stay above the fray and instead remember Brian as he was: Witty, occasionally soused, and a devoted Prius driver.
Road to Rhode Island
In which we learn of Brian’s tragic backstory: He was born in a puppy mill, and his mother was later taxidermied and turned into an end table by her owners. Whether this is responsible for Brian’s drinking habit – and by extension, his immortal line, “Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?” – we’ll never know, but this is one of Family Guy‘s standout episodes, sowing the seeds for Brian and Stewie’s magical road-tripping musical friendship.
Brian and Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Possibly just an excuse for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to show off his singing chops, and possibly just an excuse to hang out with Frank Sinatra, Jr., “Brian Sings and Swings” is chock-full of inspired musical numbers and equally-brilliant cutaway jokes, like Thomas Edison hoarding electricity and blasting “Foxy Lady.”
Brian and Lois
Brian had something of an unrequited crush on Griffin family matriarch, Lois, a running gag the show would return to from time to time, though the odd dynamic of the family dog being in love with his owner’s wife never felt quite so sweet and heartfelt as it did in Season Two’s episode, “Brian in Love.” It’s that sincerity, plus Brian’s off-the-cuff rejoinder to Bob Barker’s constant reminder to spay and neuter pets (“Oh, just die already”) that makes this episode a classic.
Brian Goes Back to College
In which Brian gets hired at The New Yorker, only to be canned when it’s revealed he didn’t graduate college. So he returns to his sort-of alma mater, Brown University, to complete his degree. A great gag involves Lois “coercing” Brian to return to school and finish a test with the help of “Mr. Hoover,” a vacuum cleaner Brian is deathly afraid of – Brian may attend Brown and read The New Yorker, but after all, he’s still a dog.
Brian’s Writing Career
Family Guy would get plenty of mileage out of Brian’s stymied literary ambitions. His writing could be seen as a nod to Snoopy’s efforts at the typewriter in Peanuts, but more frequently, it was a springboard for razzing at the hands of Stewie (see above), or an opportunity for the show to poke fun at various literary trends. In “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” Brian, despondent at his novel Faster Than The Speed of Love‘s performance, writes a hackneyed self-help book. Wish It, Want It, Do It becomes an instant success, setting up Brian’s eventual hubris and downfall.
While we might differ on our own favorite Brian moments, one thing’s for sure: We’re gonna miss him. Leave your own highlights in the comments.