I don’t watch television anymore, and that goes for shows that I probably would enjoy, such as Family Guy. I’ve seen clips online, and it does appear to be a very funny show. But at the same time, television writ large is not a good thing, as I see it. The best–and really the only–way to make this point is to opt out of watching it.
So I wasn’t aware, until I saw stories about it on the internet, that Brian–the Griffin family’s dog–was suddenly and violently killed off last night. Viewers were shocked, and I understand that was the point. But some of the reactions that I’ve seen don’t just border on ridiculous, they give the term an entirely new level of meaning.
There is a group, for example, that is petitioning the show’s creator to bring Brian back. If only threats of viewer actions (such as a boycott, or perhaps…I’m drawing a blank about what else these disgruntled fans could possibly do) could shape the creative path that a TV series will follow.
The truth is that Seth MacFarlane created Brian, and all of the other characters on the show, and he can do whatever he wants to with them. The viewers don’t get a say, other than in deciding to watch the show, or not. But those who do watch the show are mistaken if they think that any of the characters belong to them.
But here’s another unfortunate nugget for those in disbelief: Real dogs die, too, and it’s every bit as final as the death of this cartoon dog appears to be. Yes, they do sometimes meet with violent and unexpected ends, but–for lack of a better term–c’est la vie. Every dog that’s ever been cherished as a pet will end up going someplace else one day. Why should an animated cartoon dog–even one that cracks wise–be any different?
So I hope that people who are upset about this will get a grip, and come to terms with the issues of creativity and life and death that seem to be so elusive for them right now.
This concludes whatever public service announcement I was trying to make.