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Brian Griffin is the tritagonist in Family Guy. He is the Griffin family's pet dog and one of their best friends.
In "Life of Brian," he dies after being struck by a car. However, two episodes later, in "Christmas Guy," Stewie soon saw his past time traveling self and was able to steal his return pad and transport back to the point where Brian was killed. Before the car could hit Brian, Stewie pushed him out of the way and saved his life.
Initially, Brian is a comparatively more grounded and reasonable character, acting as a decent foil towards Peter. However, as with many characters, Brian has started to show more of an atrocious side as the series progresses into more of a dark humor series. He became very egotistical and severely egomaniacal (This may be because of his bad behavior (which he continuously blames on somebody else rather than himself, showing him to be a narcissist) and being very obsessed with his failed book Faster Than the Speed of Love and then his best-seller Wish It, Want It, Do It), inadvertently turning even more into Lois' father Carter in later seasons.
However, some of his old personality almost remains and still acting sometimes empathetic on the Griffin family, mainly Stewie for protecting reasons. He and Stewie are the most intelligent of all of the members of the Griffin family.
Brian is a talking white dog. He was born in a puppy mill in Austin, Texas and has lived with the Griffin family since Peter picked him up as a stray. While he exhibits some typical dog behaviors such as eating garbage and licking himself, he also possesses various anthropomorphic qualities, such as the ability to speak quite intelligently and walk on two legs. He also has a particularly sharp wit. Peter is his best friend, despite Brian's vastly superior intelligence. Brian is often the voice of reason in the family, often reminding Peter how stupid his plans are.
Brian has a cultured background; he loves opera and jazz, has talented vocal ability, being able to sing all four parts to a barbershop quartet simultaneously. He is depicted speaking fluent French, Tagalog, and decent Spanish. He attended Brown University, is also a member of Mensa, and is an avid writer (in Brian Goes Back to College, he is invited to write for The New Yorker). Brian is apparently working on a novel, but the fact that he just can't seem to finish it has become a running gag.
While not seen holding a regular job in Quahog, Brian is depicted owning a 2004 Toyota Prius, paying bills, and maintaining a credit card. In an episode he has been a substitute teacher at Chris' school, a contributor for the The New Yorker, a taxi driver and a drug-sniffing dog for the Quahog police department. He also worked selling cars while the Griffin family thought that Peter had died in the episode "Perfect Castaways." Brian held several jobs while living in Los Angeles including waiter, car wash attendant, screenwriter and pornographic film director.
In "Love Blactually," Brian is shown to be an atheist. He attempts to purchase a copy of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, meeting love interest Carolyn, who reaches for the same copy. However, this is questionable after the episode "I Dream of Jesus," when he saw Jesus perform a miracle.
He shares a very close friendship with Stewie, and in the episode, "Brian and Stewie" (season 8), they admitted that they love each other - not as lovers, but as irreplaceable friends. In the twelfth season episode "Life of Brian," aired November 24, 2013, he is fatally wounded after being run over a mysterious Car Driver. He later dies on the operating table. His last words were "You've given me a wonderful life, I love you all." However, in the episode "Christmas Guy" (two episodes later), aired on December 15, 2013, Stewie goes back in time to before Brian was killed and saves him, making it so that he never died.
- Brian once dated a neglectful preschool teacher known as Miss Emily and looked past the neglect of the children (including Stewie) to continue being with her. He only reports her after he learns she has another boyfriend. This is considered his Moral Event Horizon by some, as he turns her in to the authorities only because she has another boyfriend.
- In Killer Queen, Brian tormented Stewie with a Queen album's creepy imagery, almost driving Stewie to commit suicide over the trauma. He then discourages Stewie into showing it is just an album cover.
- He once took Principessa off of Lois so he could fondle her breasts but when she wakes up he hits her on the head with a lamp and drives away.
- Once, he shot an innocent man and said to him, "Later, Dink."
- In The Thin White Line, Brian became addicted to cocaine. This led to some uncomfortable turbulence as he became more aggressive with his family.
- Brian is in love with Lois Griffin, constantly flirts with her, and, in Play It Again, Brian, tries to show it by nearly raping her.
- In another instance, Brian dates a blind woman and tries to hide the fact that he is a dog. When exposed, she breaks up with him for the lie. However, he is shown at the end of the episode taking advantage of her blindness by pretending he's another guy with a different voice with the implication that he will trick her into having sex with him.
- In a cutaway gag, Brian accidentally runs over Dean Koontz and backs over him again once he found out he wasn't Stephen King.
- Brian steals the Golden Clam Trophy due a fondness for shiny things, which causes great tension between the residents of Spooner Street (which led to accusations of theft), and sway them from learning the truth. He also presumably killed Rod Serling in a cutaway gag following this incident.
- When Brian got a gag self help book called "Wish it, Want it, Do it" published, he became extremely selfish, ungrateful, and arrogant when the book became a success. Even though Stewie had helped him get the book published in the first place and had offered to be his publicist, Brian abused him many times. Such examples of this abuse included forcing him to return to their hotel alone just because they had eaten dinner in the back room of a fancy restaurant, blaming him because Brian was standing under an air vent, and firing him for forgetting to tell him about a change in a talk show. At the end, Brian still blames him for his own mistakes on said show.
- Brian is also shown to have a nasty habit of being unreliable with paying up, such as with his bet with Stewie and setting up his date Ida to pay for drinks after promising he would cover it (although the former led to one of Stewie's more villainous moments when he tortured Brian multiple times over the bet).
- When Stewie offered Brian one free punch, Brian used this to terrify Stewie, to the point where he beats himself up. In the end, Brian kicks Stewie into a double-decker bus. However, considering Stewie viciously beat him up twice, shot him in both knees, and torched him with a flamethrower in the same episode, they would be considered even.
- During their attempt at doing Santa's job in Road to the North Pole, Brian and Stewie murder a little girl's parents to prevent them from calling the cops.
- Despite having good intentions in that he was trying to convince Mayor Adam West to revoke the gay marriage ban, Brian still held the mayor hostage at gunpoint.
- While hanging out with Frank Sinatra Jr., he decided to live life at the fullest. But as a result, he became an alcoholic, abandoned Stewie, where he was attacked by man-eating deer and lost an ear, and even bit Peter.
- In Stewie B. Goode, Brian gave Stewie alcohol and made him drunk, although it was originally to teach him a lesson.
- In the same episode, Brian brought Stewie to the Drunken Clam, which is illegal to bring children to bars. Both Brian and Stewie drank so many martinis that they ended up crashing into the Drunken Clam, causing property damage, and, unintentionally, made Peter lose his job in You Know What Grinds My Gears?.
- In the video game Back to the Multiverse, Brian is shown freely engaging in attacking, killing, and other atrocious acts, including a disgusting sense of "humor" when he ignores Joe's calls for help after the boss fight against Crippletron. He even assassinates Mayor MacCheese on behalf of "Evil Mayor West" in order to retain a favor in one dimension, and is really only concerned about Evil Mayor West backing out on his deal; although in fairness, Brian is trying to keep Evil Mayor West from providing weapons for Bertram's plot. He also has an odd Even Evil Has Standards moment when he considers Stewie "sick" for killing the Santa Claus of one dimension by dropping a TV set on him.
- Brian has shown to be a hypocrite from time to time:
- A second example is in Brian & Stewie, in which despite being liberal, he keeps a pistol because of protective reasons and pretends to be against using a gun itself over the "national tragedy at Combine".
- Another example of Brian being a hypocrite is when he deliberately runs over a squirrel, which, unbeknownst to him, traumatizes Stewie. He also hires a hitman to kill Quagmire's cat. Also during a date in Love, Blactually, he mauls a rabbit at a pet store. These actions make him a hypocrite because in several episodes he supported animals rights and was against violence towards animals.
- And the last example is his views on LGBT rights, which he violated in Family Gay when Lois is depressed that Peter is leaving her for another man, Brian then takes Stewie's idea for ending Lois' depression by kidnapping Peter and taking him to an ex-gay center to "turn back to his old self".
- In Brian's a Bad Father, Brian has neglected to visit his human son Dylan. But upon hearing he is a famous TV star, Brian sets to become a writer on his show. Dylan realizes Brian only took the job for his own advantage and pointed out what a bad parent he really is. Brian also steals a table of food from the studio. Fortunately, they make up later on thanks to Stewie.
- In Herpe the Love Sore, he gives Stewie and Chris herpes by transmitting blood, knowing very well that he himself has the incurable disease and kept it a secret from them. The two exact revenge on Brian as a result.
- In Brian the Closer, Brian gets a job as a real estate agent after undergoing surgery. He cons Quagmire into buying a run-down apartment loft, despite the fact that Quagmire consoled and helped Brian earlier in the episode (Quagmire calls him out on this later on). Later Brian apparently comes to the realization of his actions and admits what he did was selfish and pretentious - until revealing it was part of his devious plan.
- In Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure, Brian ends up telling Chris that he built the time machine, thus taking credit for Stewie's work. Brian also ends up taking a detour on their time travel tour to go see Ivan Pavlov, a man who experimented on dogs and he ends up beating him to death.
- In This Little Piggy, while Brian and Stewie are at the Folk Festival, they both meet a hippie girl who ends up overdosing on cocaine. Afterwards, Brian and Stewie both decide to dump her body in a pile of other dead hippies, Brian feels nothing over dumping her body or seeing the other corpses. Stewie regarded him as a monster for his sexual objectification of the hippie girl and knowing nothing about her.
- In the episode Stewie is Enceinte, Stewie decides to impregnate himself with Brian's seed, in the hopes of having his babies so that they can grow closer. Brian constantly tries to kill the unborn babies by pushing Stewie down the stairs or through other various evil acts. When the babies do finally come, he ends up getting closer to them, but once they clear up a misunderstanding, Brian suggests they get rid of them, by giving them to a pet shelter.
- In the episode American Gigg-olo, Brian tried to save an attractive young woman whose car had crashed into the sea, but after finding out she had a baby, let them both drown. He then gets a job at a hardware store to reclaim his health insurance but shows zero interest in helping customers.
- This is the only character for which Seth MacFarlane uses his natural speaking voice, as opposed to the voice changes for other characters such as Peter Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, and Stewie Griffin.
- Seth MacFarlane has revealed that Brian is his favorite character. He say he feels comfortable while playing the part of Brian, he also has a picture of Brian to the side of his name on his office door.
- Brian is infatuated with Lois and on more than one occasion has tried to have sex with her.
- In "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", it's revealed that Brian became a Griffin during his adulthood, when Peter offered him a home with his family in Quahog, but in The Man with Two Brians, Brian shows the family videos of him as a puppy, already living in the Griffin's house.
- He drives a silver 2004 Toyota Prius, as it is seen in The Juice Is Loose pulling up on the Griffins' driveway while Stewie was stuck on the roof. The license plate reads "BRI-D0G" and it has a 'Kucinich 04' bumper sticker.
- Brian is the first Family Guy character to appear in an episode American Dad!. He appears in The People vs. Martin Sugar, where Stan names his top ten fictional dogs, and Brian is named number one. He is seen drinking a martini on the courthouse steps, and claims Stan does not exist. Stan berates him for the claim.
- The DVD commentary for Brian Griffin's House of Payne explains that the "H" in "H. Brian Griffin" does not stand for anything and was a way to express Brian as a pretentious douche.
- Following his death in Life of Brian, Brian is not even mentioned in In Harmony's Way, making it the only episode where he doesn't appear (until Dr. C and The Women, in which he is only referenced as a brief joke).