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Brian Griffin returns to 'Family Guy;' why did you ever doubt it?

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In comic books, no one is ever dead. Sometimes a character is killed off and resurrected several times. Thus, why did folks watching the animated series "Family Guy" ever believe that Brian Griffin was gone forever? Sunday's Christmas special fixed that alternate past (it's a moving comic book, basically, after all) and he's back, all for a good holiday lesson, tweeted series creator Seth MacFarlane, on Sunday night.

For those not in the know, Brian Griffin was killed a few weeks ago when he was run over by a car. For those even less in the know, Brian is the family's bipedal walking and talking dog.

In the earlier episode, "Life of Brian," Stewie is unable to go back in time to save Brian because his time machine is kaput. In the latest episode, "Christmas Guy," Stewie is able to save Brian because (conveniently) another Stewie traveled back in time and he took the alternate Stewie's time machine to use himself.

Thus, this Stewie went back in time and saved Brian, again conveniently when the past Stewie goes into the Griffin house.

Fan rage was such that several online petitions were started to get Brian back. Meanwhile, Brian was replaced by Vinnie, voiced by Tony Sirico ("The Sopranos," Paulie Walnuts) with a decidedly different take on a Griffin family dog. He even replaced Brian in the opening credits, including Sunday.

However, after the episode aired, MacFarlane revealed it was all planned from the beginning, and that these petitions and outrage were unnecessary. He tweeted:

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***ing high.

Oh and hey... thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.

The "loss" of Brian Griffin might have given MacFarlane a little time to himself. He is one of the numerous characters that MacFarlane voices for the series.

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