|Family Guy character|
Brian Griffin holding a martini glass
|First appearance||"Death Has a Shadow"|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voiced by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Full name||Brian Griffin|
|Species||Dog (Labrador Retriever)|
|Family||Parents: Biscuit and Coco
Owners The Griffin family
Brian Griffin is a fictional character from the animated television series Family Guy. An anthropomorphic dog, he is voiced by Seth MacFarlane and first appeared on television, along with the rest of the family, in a 15-minute short on December 20, 1998. Brian was created and designed by MacFarlane himself. MacFarlane was asked to pitch a pilot to the Fox Broadcasting Company based on The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve, two shorts made by MacFarlane (the second one at Hanna-Barbera for Cartoon Network's "What-A-Cartoon" project) which featured a middle-aged character named Larry and an intellectual dog, Steve. After the pilot was given the green light, the Griffin family appeared on the episode "Death Has a Shadow".
Brian is a member of the Griffin family. He primarily works in the series as a struggling writer attempting essays, books, novels, screenplays and newspaper articles. His appearance was a redesign of the protagonist Steve from MacFarlane's previous animated short films, The Life of Larry & Steve. He has been featured in much of the Family Guy merchandise, including toys, t-shirts, and video games, and has made crossover appearances in the other MacFarlane-produced shows, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show.
Role in Family Guy 
Brian is a white-furred anthropomorphic dog. He can talk, generally walks on his hind legs (using his front legs as arms), has opposable thumbs, drives a Toyota Prius, and often acts more rationally than many of the other characters in the series. He is the pet dog and close friend of the Griffin family.
Brian has a particularly close friendship with Stewie, and many of the show's sub-plots center around them. They are occasionally at the centre of the plot (for instance in the Road to... episodes). Brian and Stewie have shown affection to each other several times, and in the episode, Brian and Stewie they admitted that they loved each other, not as lovers, but as close friends.
Brian is fond of dry martinis and was seen to have some issues in various episodes when he is told or forced to stop drinking. He used to smoke cigarettes, but after seeing Peter promote for the American Tobacco Association, he has quit smoking. In DVD commentary, he's admitted to gaining weight since he quit smoking. He still regularly smokes marijuana. After a brief stint as a drug sniffing dog, he developed a severe cocaine addiction, but after spending time in rehab he's managed to quit. He is the son of Coco and Biscuit, who are normal dogs, though Brian's human attributes have been present since he was a puppy. He is also an Iraq War veteran because Stewie signed him up for the Army in "Saving Private Brian".
Family Guy uses a floating timeline in which the characters do not age much, so the show is always assumed to be set in the current year. However, several of the characters, such as Meg Griffin, have aged two to three years since the show's pilot episode, while others, such as Stewie and Brian, have aged very little. At the start of the series, Brian was 7, but he is currently 8 years old. In several episodes, events have been linked to specific times, although this timeline has been contradicted in subsequent episodes. An example of this is when in "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", Peter is shown in a flashback finding a fully grown Brian as a stray. However, in "The Man with Two Brians", Brian tries to regain attention from the Griffin family by showing them home videos of him as a puppy. Although none of the videos of him as a puppy showed any member of the Griffin family, so it is possible that the videos were filmed by a previous owner. He also has a (human) son named Dylan, who is also a regular marijuana smoker. Brian manages to turn Dylan's life around, from a violent, uneducated teenager, to a well-mannered friendly young man.
Brian is the only Family Guy character who has appeared in every single episode of the series. Peter and Lois have appeared in all but one episode, that being Brian and Stewie (where they only appear in archive footage). He was also the first Family Guy character to make a cameo in American Dad!, another creation by Seth MacFarlane. He appeared in the episode The People vs. Martin Sugar, whilst Stan was naming his favorite dogs.
Writing career 
Brian is an aspiring but struggling writer – this is said to be a reference to Snoopy from Peanuts. Brian is unemployed but he is often seen writing various novels, screenplays or essays. In the episode "Play it Again, Brian", Brian won an award for an essay he wrote, though he later admits that he plagiarized the piece. His difficult writing career is used as a recurring joke throughout the series.
In the episode "420", Brian finally publishes his novel Faster Than the Speed of Love, and the novel is shipped, but it is critically panned and does not sell a single copy. In the episode "Dog Gone", he receives an invitation (from the Rhode Island Society for Special Literary Excellence) to an award ceremony celebrating his novel. Brian, convinced that he is a great writer, attempts to gain the family's interest in this piece of news but fails to do so. Once he arrives at the "award ceremony", however, he discovers that he has misunderstood the meaning of the word "special."
Later in the episode "Brian Griffin's House of Payne", he writes a television script entitled "What I Learned on Jefferson Street", and it was shown to a TV network who picked it up after reading it. Although the script was good, the finished product wasn't, as James Woods intervened and turned Brian's script into a farcical comedy piece. In the episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Brian writes a bestselling self-help book, Wish It, Want It, Do It, which he wrote in a few hours. The book is an immediate success, but Brian lets the fame go to his head. He eventually causes the downfall of his book's popularity, and things go back to normal. And it is mentioned again to get a girl in Yug Ylimaf.
Brian's latest literary attempt came in the episode, Brian's Play where Brian writes a play entitled, A Passing Fancy. The play becomes very popular in Quahog, however Brian is upset when he realises that Stewie had since written a play which was better than his. Stewie's play was eventually shown on Broadway. Brian became depressed by this, as he only wanted to be a good writer for the few years which remain of his life, and not have to be overshadowed by Stewie, who has his whole life ahead of him.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon short entitled Life of Larry. The short centered around a middle-aged man named Larry and his anthropomorphic dog Steve. In 1999, when MacFarlane was working for Hanna-Barbera Studios, writing for shows such as Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Cow and Chicken, he made a sequel to Life of Larry, which Cartoon Network broadcast in 1995. The short caught the eye of 20th Century Fox representatives, who asked him to create a TV series revolving around the characters. MacFarlane received a US$50,000 budget to develop a pilot for the show, which was, as MacFarlane stated in a 2006 interview, "[...] about one twentieth of what most pilots cost". MacFarlane claims to have drawn inspiration from several sitcoms, namely The Simpsons and All in the Family. Several premises were also carried over from several 1980s Saturday morning cartoons he watched as a child, namely The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, and Rubik, the Amazing Cube.
In three months, MacFarlane created the Griffin family and developed a pilot for the show he called Family Guy. Brian's character was largely based on Steve, and Larry would be the main inspiration for the Peter character.
The voice of Brian is provided by series creator Seth MacFarlane, who also provides the voice for Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire. In addition, MacFarlane provides the voices for various other recurring and one-time only characters, most prominently those of news anchor Tom Tucker, Lois' father Carter Pewterschmidt, and Dr. Hartman. MacFarlane has been part of the main voice cast from the beginning of the series, including the pilot, as well he has been voicing Brian from the start. MacFarlane chose to voice Peter and the rest of his characters' voices himself, believing it would be easier to portray the voices he already envisioned than for someone else to attempt it.
While the voices of Peter and Stewie were inspired from a security guard and Rex Harrison, respectively, Brian's voice is MacFarlane's normal speaking voice. MacFarlane noted in an interview that a reason that he voices Peter and the rest of the characters he portrays is because they had a small budget and because he prefers to have the freedom of doing it himself.
There has been one occasion where MacFarlane did not voice Brian, this was in one short scene of the episode "Road to the Multiverse" (season 8, 2009), where Brian was voiced by Japanese actor Kotaro Watanabe instead of MacFarlane in a scene where everything in the world is Japanese. MacFarlane noted that actor William H. Macy auditioned for the role of Brian.
Brian frequently gets drunk with Peter and his neighbors Joe and Quagmire at "The Drunken Clam," Quahog's local tavern. Brian dates a lot of women throughout the seasons of the show. He normally looks for women who are similar to him or share the same interests, though he has often been shown being drawn to women for purely physical reasons. In the episode "Brian the Bachelor" (season 4, 2005), Brian participates in ABC's The Bachelorette and falls in love with the bachelorette, Brooke, because they shared the same interests. He dated Jillian Russell, who, introduced in the episode "Whistle While Your Wife Works" (season 5, 2006), became a recurring character in future episodes of the series. Jillian's final character personality was designed to be a stereotypical blonde, "a bulimic cheerleader," and "not the brightest bauble on the tree." Brian has a cultured background; he loves opera and jazz, and is vocally talented. It is also implied that he attended Rhode Island's Ivy League school, Brown University but did not graduate. In the episode "Brian Sings and Swings" Brian meets Frank Sinatra, Jr., they both sing together in the episode and also in the episode "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing". As well as his vocal ability, he can also play the guitar, as shown in Meet the Quagmires, where he and Peter accidentally kill a member of a band, and Brian has to take his place.
He tends to hold liberal political positions even though Lois points out in the episode "Excellence in Broadcasting" that he is a contrarian. However many of his actions and aims throughout the series demonstrate his position as a liberal. For instance, his staunch efforts to get gay marriage legalized in Quahog, for his cousin Jasper. As well as his environmentalist behaviour, for example, the fact that he drives a Toyota Prius and his opposition to household air-conditioning in Hell Comes to Quahog.
It is also suggested on a number of occasions that Brian may hold repressed racist views, for instance barking uncontrollably at a black record producer in the episode Don't Make Me Over, and then apologizing profusely, saying "Oh my God, I am so sorry I keep doing that . . . I get that from my father." However, in the episode "Peter's Got Woods", Brian dates a black woman who he meets at a PTA meeting. He also has a reasonably good friendship with Cleveland. Although on one occasion, when Brian was a taxi driver in Deep Throats, he didn't pick Cleveland up when he passed him in his cab.
Despite his overwhelming human qualities, Brian still exhibits some traits associated with real dogs, such as being unable to resist playing fetch, being afraid of vacuum cleaners, taking pleasure in rolling around in trash, getting excited by going for a ride in the car, and occasional coprophagia (as in the episode "Brian & Stewie"). As well as this, he occasionally displays classic dog behaviors, such as growling, barking, licking himself and wagging his tail. He also fears the sound of the toilet flushing, so instead of using it, he defecates on the lawn like normal dogs (as shown in Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey). He also tells Stewie that he "uses his tongue for toilet paper" (in the episode Running Mates).
Brian's relationship with the Griffin family is different with each member. Peter and Brian are best friends. In the episode "The Man with Two Brians" (season 7, 2008), Peter states that Brian is the one who helps him get out of the trouble of his shenanigans. In the episode Dog Gone, when the family thinks that Brian is dead, Peter says that Brian is his "best friend in the whole world." Peter and Brian can sometimes struggle with their friendship, such as in "Peter's Got Woods" (season 4, 2005), where Peter replaces Brian with James Woods. However at the end of that episode, Brian and Peter become best friends once again, and Brian is seen sleeping at the end of Peter's bed.
Brian has an unrequited crush on Peter's wife Lois, which is used as a recurring joke in the series. In "Brian in Love" (season 2, 2000), it is revealed that Brian is in love with Lois and they both talk about it. Then in "Play It Again, Brian" (season 6, 2008), Brian tries to kiss her.  Lois does see Brian as a great help to her though, mainly due to Peter's regular incompetence to do basic tasks. In the episode Perfect Castaway, Brian marries Lois, after Peter is presumed dead (after being lost at sea). Peter returns, but Lois says that she cannot just divorce Brian after all the support he had given to the family in Peter's absence (getting a job at a Hummer dealer). After a short time, Brian tells Lois to go back to Peter, so the family returns to normal.
Brian has acted as a third-parent for the Griffin children on several occasions. This is most obvious with Stewie due to their close friendship (see below). Brian's relationship with Meg and Chris is more estranged, but he has helped them out on a number of occasions, such as when Brian accompanied Meg to her prom in the episode "Barely Legal." Also, in the episode Dial Meg for Murder, Brian calms Meg down by showing he does care about her (using an article he wrote as proof), after she had become an armed thug. Brian also gives Chris advice for growing up from time to time.
In the episode Jerome is the New Black, Brian learns that, despite their apparent friendship seen in episodes up to that point, Quagmire actually hates him. Brian tries to befriend Quagmire, but Quagmire retaliates by (somewhat hypocritically) furiously ranting at Brian, calling him, amongst other things, a "sad, alcoholic bore". In "Quagmire's Dad", Quagmire beats Brian up, after Brian had (unknowingly) had sex with Quagmire's transgendered father Ida (née Dan). The feud reaches a high point in "Tiegs for Two", when Brian tries to spite Quagmire by dating his ex-girlfriend Cheryl Tiegs. Quagmire gets revenge in turn by dating Jillian and, after an argument and trade of insults, both women leave in disgust. Quagmire and Brian apologize to each other and reconcile — until Quagmire purposely hits Brian with his car. Since that point, though, the two characters have simply ignored each other during those occasions when they've been in the same place. In the episode "Forget Me Not", Stewie puts both Brian and Quagmire into a simulated dream world where they assume Brian is Quagmire's pet, and it quickly becomes clear that their personalities are incompatible.
Brian struggles with his romantic relationships, and his inability to find a long-term girlfriend is often used as a recurring joke in the series. His longest relationship to date was with Jillian Russell which lasted the length of Season Five, but ended when Brian admitted that he didn't want a serious relationship with her. Jillian has appeared in episodes since, usually with other men. None of Brian's other relationships have lasted longer than an episode. Some have ended due to the fault of others, for instance Carolyn (from Love, Blactually) when she cheated on him with Cleveland. The others have ended because the women found Brian to be too pretentious. To date, Brian has only had one relationship which has been with another dog. This was his one-time lover, Seabreeze (Carter Pewterschmidt's prized greyhound), from Screwed the Pooch. Brian was having difficulty controlling his canine instincts and he went as far as "violating" Seabreeze during a greyhound race.
All of Brian's ex-girlfriends (including Jillian, Carolyn and Seabreeze) appeared in the episode Valentine's Day in Quahog. Stewie gathered them to try and discover why Brian is so unsuccessful in love. Brian and his exes trade insults, before they are all shown in bed together in the final scene of the episode, having had an orgy.
In Family Guy's feature-length parodies of the Star Wars original trilogy — "Blue Harvest", "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" and "It's A Trap"  — Brian appears as Chewbacca. Brian, and most of the central characters on Family Guy, also appeared in the pilot episode of the show's spin-off The Cleveland Show.
Relationship with Stewie 
Brian and Stewie's relationship is one of the key aspects of the Family Guy series, as it is the basis for many sub-plots and several main plots during the series. Their relationship is very love-hate; they often fight, but are also very close friends.
In the past, they have gone on various adventures (usually under difficult circumstances). Namely in the "Road to..." series, which is a parody of the Road to film series, Brian and Stewie have gone on various trips to different locations, including Europe, World War II-era England, the Middle East, Aspen and Nazi Germany, Brian's hometown of Austin, Texas, as well as a number of different realities across the Multiverse. These episodes are generally considered to be the best episodes of the series, most notably the first Road to... episode, Road to Rhode Island, which remains as one of the highest rated episodes of the series to date.
In the episode "Brian & Stewie", Brian tells Stewie that he has considered suicide because he feels that his life has no purpose. Stewie talks to Brian about this feeling and eventually makes Brian see how valued and purposeful his life actually is. Stewie reveals to Brian that he would be lost without him and that Brian is the only person he cares about. He also says that Brian gives his life purpose, and vice versa. He then tells Brian that he loves him as an irreplaceable friend. Brian says that he also loves Stewie, in the same way.
Their close friendship has been shown in other episodes also, one being Jerome is the New Black, after Quagmire's rant leaves Brian in tears, Stewie comforts Brian and says that he likes him, so he doesn't need Quagmire to like him. Also in Dog Gone after Brian sinks into a deep depression after he learns that he is considered inferior because of his species. Stewie takes Brian's collar and plants it on a stray dog, before killing it by torching a liquor store with it inside. The Griffin family then believe that Brian is dead and they are all deeply saddened, as they see how important Brian is to the family. Seeing this reaction, Brian is cheered up and he thanks Stewie.
Thanks to their critically acclaimed episodes and their complex relationship, they are considered by many critics and fans to be the best characters in the series. Due to the way in which their individual characters have developed during the series and how their relationship has developed also.
Ahsan Haque of IGN has given Brian a positive review, calling him the best talking man-dog. He also praised Brian's adventures with Stewie calling them, "center of many of the show's best bits". Haque later made a list titled "Family Guy: Stewie and Brian's Greatest Adventures", where he stated that "Brian and Stewie paired together has always been a winning formula for Family Guy". They also praised the selection of Brian to play Chewbacca as they stated in the "Blue Harvest" review. In their list of "What Else Should Family Guy Make Fun Of?", IGN commented that Brian would be perfect to play Q, if Family Guy ever decides to make a James Bond parody. However, in a review of the seventh season, Haque wrote that Brian "unfortunately was terribly misused this season. He's degenerated into nothing more than a soapbox for the political views of the writers". In a review of the eighth season, Ramsey Isler stated that Brian "left his lofty position as the voice of reason and switched to pretentious loser".
In a 2004 interview, Seth MacFarlane noted his similarities to Brian. He also revealed that Brian is his favorite character from Family Guy, because he feels most comfortable when playing that role.
In IGN's "Family Guy: Top 10 Fights" Brian's fight with Stewie in the episode "Patriot Games (season 4, 2006) is ranked number 5. In IGN's top 10 musical moments in Family Guy Brian ranked number 6, number 5 and number 3 with the songs, "The Freakin' FCC" from "PTV" (season 4, 2005), "Never Gonna Give You Up" from "Meet the Quagmires" (season 5, 2007) and "This House Is Freakin' Sweet" from "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" (season 2, 1999) respectively.
In a list of the Top 25 Family Guy characters compiled by IGN, Brian was placed second on the list (behind Stewie). They stated that "man's best friend is a poor understatement" with regards to Brian.
In other media 
Brian is featured in a Family Guy parody in the South Park episode "Cartoon Wars Part I". The scene depicted a conversation between Peter and Brian leading to one of the show's trademark cut-away gags; like Peter, Brian was rendered in South Park's distinct animation style.
Brian was also featured, along with Stewie, in an advertisement for Wheat Thins. He and Stewie also introduced the 2007 Emmy Awards with a song which recapped the events in television, over the past year. The song was adapted from the one sung by Brian, Stewie and Peter in the Family Guy episode, PTV.
Brian is featured on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD, and also plays a significant part in Family Guy Video Game!, the first Family Guy video game, which was released by Sierra Entertainment in 2006. He (along with Stewie) features at the center of Family Guy's second video game, Back to the Multiverse.
MacFarlane recorded exclusive material of Brian's voice and other Family Guy characters for a 2007 pinball machine of the show by Stern Pinball. In 2004, the first series of Family Guy toy figurines was released by Mezco Toyz, each member of the Griffin family had their own toy, with the exception of Stewie, of whom two different figures were made. Over the course of two years, four more series of toy figures have been released.
As of 2009, six books have been released about the Family Guy universe, all published by HarperCollins since 2005. This include Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One (ISBN 978-0-7528-7593-4), which covers the entire events of the episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One", and Family Guy and Philosophy: A Cure for the Petarded (ISBN 978-1-4051-6316-3), a collection of seventeen essays exploring the connections between the series and historical philosophers. which include Brian as a character. A book written from Brian's point of view (actually written by Andrew Goldberg) was published in 2006. It was called Brian Griffin's Guide to Booze, Broads and the Lost Art of Being a Man.
See also 
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- Haque, Ahsan. "Family Guy: "Brian in Love" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
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- "Family Guy Presents :Blue Harvest". Family guyblueharvest.com. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
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- Hughes, Jason (2010-05-24). "Sundays With Seth: Cleveland Strikes Back". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Conroy, Tom (2009-10-08). "Cleveland Show, acquired lack of taste". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Phelps, Ben (2009-10-16). "Relying on stereotypes, ‘Family Guy’ sticks to its formula, ‘Cleveland’ shows a softer side". Tufts Daily. Tufts University. Retrieved 2010-08-06. "The show kicked off its eighth season with another entry in the now-classic "Road to ..." series, which allows for many different sight gags and opportunities for a wide range of humor."
- Love, Brett (2007-01-29). "Family Guy: Road to Rupert". TV Squad. America On Line. Retrieved 2010-08-06. "The FG team went back to familiar territory this week, bringing us another "Road to..." episode."
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- Haque, Ahsan (February 11, 2010). "What Else Should Family Guy Make Fun Of?". IGN. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
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- "Philosophy Professor Jeremy Wisnewski Publishes Book on Family Guy". Hartwick College. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2009-08-23.[dead link]
- "Family Guy: Brian Griffin's Guide: to Booze, Broads, and the Lost Art of Being a Man". Amazon. Retrieved 2012-12-27.