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Brian Griffin

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Brian Griffin is a fictional character from the animated television series Family Guy, and is voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane uses his normal speaking voice for Brian, as opposed to the vocal modifications he makes when voicing other characters in the show such as both Peter and Stewie Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire. In the Larry shorts, MacFarlane provided the same voice as Brian for a dog named Steve, who also had a similar personality. Brian's image has appeared in numerous publications and merchandising for the series.

Family Guy uses a floating timeline in which the characters do not age, and as such the show is always assumed to be set in the current year. In several episodes, events have been linked to specific times, though this timeline is often contradicted in subsequent episodes. Brian 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 being afraid of the vacuum cleaner, he also possesses various anthropomorphic qualities, such as the ability to speak intelligently and attending college.

Role in Family Guy

Brian's hobbies are mostly reading, eating, writing, and drinking (especially martinis). He wrote a novel, Faster Than The Speed Of Love, which shares many similarities with Iron Eagle and Aces: Iron Eagle III[1] and failed to sell any copies despite having an Oprah's Book Club sticker.[2]

He is also the only one who understands and talks to Stewie on a regular basis, as opposed to other characters who can only understand Stewie to the writers' discretion. Although there are times where Brian and Stewie do not get along, they are depicted as friends throughout the series. Occasionally, Stewie and Brian go on adventures together. These include, Germany circa World War II,[3] traveling back to their home of Quahog Rhode Island,[4] current Europe,[5] and a variety of universes.[6]

Brian has dated Lauren Conrad,[7] Jillian and a middle-aged woman named Rita who he proposes to. In "The Former Life of Brian", it is revealed that Brian has a son he never knew. Though the two initially do not mix well, they end up reconciling over a shared appreciation for marijuana.[8][9][10]

Glenn Quagmire, one of Peter's friends, despises Brian because he sees him as pretentious, hypocritical, judgmental and vain. This all comes out in the episode "Jerome is the New Black". Brian is deeply hurt by Quagmire's revelation.

The episode "Dog Gone", cements how important Brian is to the Griffin family, and made him realize that his existence had meaning to them.



When he was still in college, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon short entitled Life of Larry.[11] The short centered around a middle-aged man named Larry and his anthropomorphic dog Steve.[12] In 1999, when MacFarlane was working for Hanna-Barbara Studios, writing for shows such as Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Cow and Chicken,[13] he made a sequel to Life of Larry, which Cartoon Network broadcast in 1995.[14] The short caught the eye of 20th Century Fox representatives, who asked him to create a TV series revolving around the characters.[12] 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".[13]

In three months, MacFarlane created the Griffin family and developed a pilot for the show he called Family Guy.[15] Peter's character was largely based on Larry and Steve would be the main inspiration behind the Brian character.[16] MacFarlane based Peter's voice, which was similar to Larry's.[16]


Brian's design came from Steve the dog from Larry Shorts.[17] Brian was designed as a white Labrador Retriever, and stayed bipedal, and anthropomorphic. Brian's voice is provided by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane,[18][19][20] who also provides the voices of other major characters like Peter, Stewie and Glenn Quagmire, and also those some recurring characters, or guest stars like Tom Tucker, Jake Tucker, Jesus, God, Stan Smith and Roger..[21][22][23] Brian's voice is the original voice of Seth MacFarlane,[19][20] as he is the only character that MacFarlane does not modify his voice to perform. In the Larry shorts, Seth MacFarlane provided the same voice as Brian for a dog named Steve, who had a similar personality.[18][24] MacFarlane said that he knew what kind of voices he wanted for the main characters, so it was easier to do them himself.[19] He stated that with emotional lines, Brian's voice is the hardest to do for him, because there is "no silly voice to hide behind".[25] Brian has had many episodes featured on him as he has developed.[26]


Brian has lived with the Griffin family since Peter picked him up as a stray. Peter is his best friend, despite Brian's superior intelligence. Seth MacFarlane has once described Brian as "a dog who has a wit as dry as the martinis he drinks."[27] Brian is often the voice of reason in the family, frequently reminding Peter how stupid or corrupt his ideas are, although there are several few exceptions, such as in PTV, Brian praises Peter's idea of airing original, uncut, and uncensored television programming to combat against the FCC's policies of censoring out many of America's channels due to their overreacting of the David Hyde Pierce incident at the Emmy Awards.

Brian has a cultured background; he loves opera and jazz, and is vocally talented, being able to sing all four parts to a barbershop quartet simultaneously.[28] He attended Brown University, and is an avid writer. Brian also has aspirations as a novelist, and fleeting mentions of his novel are a running gag on the show.[29][30]

Despite the fact that he is a dog, Brian dates human women regularly. His past love interests have included bulimic, stereotypical "dumb blonde" Jillian Russell (portrayed by Drew Barrymore); Lauren Conrad, real-life star of the reality show The Hills; Tracy Flannigan, the mother of his illegitimate son, Dylan; and Rita, a middle-aged woman whom he proposed to. Other than humans, Brian also dated Carter Pewterschmidt's greyhound Sea Breeze, who is assumed to be pregnant with Brian's puppies, but that the real father turns out to be Ted Turner, as stated in Screwed the Pooch.

Political and religious beliefs

Brian has a liberal political philosophy mirroring MacFarlane's.[31] In the episode "You May Now Kiss The...Uh...Guy Who Receives", Brian goes to extremes to prevent a gay marriage ban proposed by mayor Adam West after his cousin Jasper comes to Quahog to get married to his Filipino boyfriend. Brian is an atheist, something referred to many times throughout the show's run (although he was seen at least once crossing himself in Catholic fashion during the series). Though Brian tries to be conscientious about his racial biases, displays of unconscious racism occasionally escape, for which Brian is usually ashamed.

Similarities to Seth MacFarlane

In 2004, in an interview with The Daily Princetonian, MacFarlane noted his similarities to Brian on Family Guy, revealing, "I have some Brian type issues from time to time — looking for the right person — but I date as much as the next guy."[32] He made a similar statement on the radio show Loveline, on which he frequently appears as a guest. During an interview with KTLA, when asked to whom of the characters MacFarlane relates the most, he replied: "Easily Brian... because he drinks, because he's complex, because he over-analyzes everything; he's a delightfully charming neurotic."[33] In a review of the episode Brian's Got a Brand New Bag, Todd VanDerWerff of The AV Club called Brian "McFarlane's most obvious stand-in".[34]

Reception and cultural influence


Brian appeared in several TV Guide issues.[35][36] In the 1000th issue of Entertainment Weekly, Brian Griffin was selected as the Dog for "The Perfect TV Family."[37] In a review of the episode Dog Gone, Todd VanDerWerff of The AV Club wrote that Brian is Family Guy's best and most developed character, who is "the best possible foil for every other character on the show".[38]

Brian was awarded High Times Magazine's 2009 Stoner of the Year Award due to his pro-cannabis stance the episode "420" from season 7. He was the first animated character to receive the honor.[39]


Alongside t-shirts, Brian has been included in various other Family Guy-related merchandise, including air fresheners, baseball caps, bumper stickers, cardboard standups, refrigerator magnets, key rings, buttons, dolls, posters, figurines, clocks, soapstone carvings, Chia Pets, bowling balls and boxer shorts.[40][41][41][42][43][44]

Family Guy: Brian's Guide to Booze, Broads, and the Lost Art of Being a Man[45][46][47][48][49] {C , a book about Brian's personality and attributes, was released in 2006.[50] The plot sees Brian breaking down and telling his thoughts about what is wrong with men today; as it is his belief that they have "gone all soft" and are now not taking notice of fashion and other mistakes which make him angry. Throughout the book, Brian also discusses his relationship with a dog's master (in this case, Peter.) Brian also speaks about his belief on adult films and their industry, as well as how hard it is for a dog to find a bone.


  1. "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)". Family Guy. No. 2 (100), season 6.
  2. "420". Family Guy. Fox. 09-4-19. No. 12, season 7.
  3. "Road to Germany". Family Guy. Fox. 08-10-19. No. 3, season 7.
  4. "Road to Rhode Island". Family Guy. Fox. 00-5-30. No. 13, season 2.
  5. "Road to Europe". Family Guy. Fox. 03-2-7. No. 3, season 20.
  6. "Road to the Multiverse". Family Guy. Fox. 09-9-27. No. 1, season 8.
  7. "Family Guy: "We Love You Conrad" Review". 
  8. "The Hollywood Reporter". 
  9. "The Former Life of Brian". Family Guy. Fox. No. 11, season 6.
  10. Rock, Greg (2008-05-02). ""Family Guy" on Fox". Worst TV Show of the Week. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  11. ""Family Guy Seth MacFarlane to speak at Class Day". Harvard Gazette. November 5, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Bartlett, James (March 12, 2007). "Seth MacFarlane – he’s the “Family Guy”". The Great Reporter (Presswire Limited). Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 MacFarlane, Seth (2006). "Inside Media at MTR (2006): Family Guy 2". Yahoo! Video (The Paley Center for Media). Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  14. Graham, Jefferson (January 29, 1999). "Cartoonist MacFarlane funny guy of Fox's 'Family' Subversive voice of series is his". USA Today: p. 7E. 
  15. Dean, Josh (October 13, 2008). "Seth MacFarlane’s $2 Billion Family Guy Empire". Fast Company (magazine). Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Strike, Joe (February 13, 2007). "Cartoon Network Pilots Screened by ASIFA East at NYC's School of Visual Arts". Animation World Network. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  17. "". 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Brian Griffin Fictional Character Information". 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane".,8599,1844711,00.html. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Cartoonist MacFarlane funny guy of Fox's 'Family' Subversive voice of series is his".'s+'Family'+Subversive+voice+of+series+is+his&pqatl=google. 
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  25. "Interview with Seth MacFarlane". IGN. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  26. "". 
  27. "Fox revisits 'Family Guy'".'Family+Guy'&pqatl=google. 
  28. "". 
  29. Goodman, David. (2005). Family Guy season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Brian Goes Back to College". [DVD]. 20th century Fox. 
  30. "Brian Goes Back to College: Recurring roles.". Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  31. Voss, Brandon (2008-02-26). "Big Gay Following Seth MacFarlane" (Magazine). The Advocate (PlanetOut): pp. 22–23. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  32. Rusli, Evelyn. "'Family Guy': Today Princeton, tomorrow the world". The Daily Princetonian (Princeton University). Retrieved 2008-01-05.  Published February 5, 2004.
  33. Family Guy celebrates 100 episodes with Seth MacFarlane. KTLA's YouTube channel. Retrieved Apr. 3, 2009. 
  34. VanDerWerff, Todd (November 9, 2009). "Man in the Moonbounce"/"Brian's Got a Brand New Bag"/The Seth and Alex Almost Live Comedy Show/"Hannah Banana"/"Cleveland Jr. Cherry Bomb". The A.V. Club. 
  35. "". 
  36. "". 
  37. "TV: Breaking Down the List," Entertainment Weekly," #999/1000 June 27 & July 4, 2008, 56.
  38. VanDerWerff, Todd (November 30, 2009). ""Rednecks and Broomsticks"/"From Bed to Worse"/"Dog Gone"/"G-String Circus"". The A.V. Club. 
  40. "". 
  41. 41.0 41.1 "". 
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  45. "Family Guy: Brian Griffin's Guide: To Booze, Broads, and the Lost Art of Being a Man". Powell's Books. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  46. "Family Guy: Brian Griffin's Guide: To Booze, Broads, and the Lost Art of Being a Man". Powell's Books. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
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  50. Family Guy: Brian's Guide to Booze, Broads, and the Lost Art of Being a Man. Google Books.,+Broads,+and+the+Lost+Art+of+Being+a+Man. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Brian Griffin. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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