Monday, November 25, 2013

Family Guy - My Thoughts on "Life of Brian" (Season 12, Episode 6)

Brian died. I cried. When I heard that they would be killing off a main character in Family Guy, he was my first guess. Something about his being the dog made the choice likely to me. Stewie could eventually build another time machine and bring him back, but that writing choice seems both tired and entirely too obvious to me. Seeing as how a lot of viewers feel that the show is getting stale, the writers should make Brian's death the beginning of the end of the show. Instead of continuing on a painful downward trajectory, it could rally and go out on a gloriously morbid last hurrah, fitting of such a crass and an irreverent program.

This is how it would go down: The main characters would be killed off one by one. They could even bring in more characters like they did with Brian's replacement, Vinny, until all of the main characters are replaced. While this seems absurd, complete or almost complete main character replacement is not unknown to television. The British seem to be quite fond of this sort of storytelling. Some examples of my favorite shows that use the "character replacement technique" (a term just coined by me) are Doctor Who, Being Human (UK), and Misfits. (Painfully, this did not go very well for the previously delightful Torchwood, which went considerably downhill after rebooting with an American cast... It still had its smattering of enjoyable parts, though.) Admittedly, Doctor Who has successfully continued on for many seasons and Being Human (UK) and Misfits continued their respective stories on for a fairly decent run before wrapping things up. Considering the nature of Family Guy, however, they could conceivably and appropriately make their series finale much more abrupt. (Think of the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Man, I am really fixated on the Brits, aren't I?) Seeing as how the new characters would most likely never replace the original ones in the hearts and minds of fans, such an abrupt ending seems all the more apropos. I acutely felt this way about Being Human (UK). I mean, come on! The new crew wasn't bad, but how could the chemistry between Annie, Mitchell, and George ever be replaced? What were we talking about originally? Oh, right, Family Guy. And if they decided that they really didn't want to discontinue the show any time soon, this method gives them a fresh set of character for which to write.