For this final blog I wanted to touch on some sociocultural aspects of death as they relate to the death of Brian Griffin from the hit TV show, Family Guy.
This tragic event took place at the beginning of Sunday’s brand new episode of “Family Guy”, and believe me this episode was one for the books. As an avid viewer of “Family Guy”, the show established a firm basis with the Griffin family and their dog Brian. By killing-off one of the most comical characters from the show, “Family Guy”, could have not only altered their viewer ratings, but potentially the lives of the viewers’. According to articles from CNN and the Washington Post, after the airing of Sunday’s episode a petition arose to bring back the deceased character. A petition signed by approximately 35,000 people was created in an endeavor to have the show return the character, but that would be the first time such a resurrection has occurred. Even after strong lobbying attempts, it seems as if this attempt to shake things up within the Griffin family and their viewers will stick.
Now you’re probably wondering what this episode has to do with sociocultural aspects of dying and how all of this ties in with the real world we live in today. I was watching the episode with some friends and the visual reactions I observed them having were similar to the reaction of losing an actual dog. I used the Kubler-Ross’s coping model to explain the actions that I observed my friends having and even though their reactions were fast, they were noticeable and I myself tried to cope with the situation; completely unaware. What baffled me more than the death of one of my favorite TV show characters was the type of responses I viewed from my friends and the people I have read about.
“The writers of family guy didn’t just kill off one of their creations, they killed off the dog who has lived in our homes for the last 15 years,” reads the online petition. “They killed the dog we all have come to love. They killed America’s dog!”
This excerpt from a CNN article of the event really helped capture my attention on how people react to a “big” sociocultural variation! When “Family Guy” became a prominent figure in social media I had a feeling that little to anything would be changed on the show, but something I failed to realize about socialization is how dynamic it can be. It was about that time that “Family Guy” needed a change. The show advertised the arrival of a new dog, Vinny; how the new pup stands in comparison to Brian only viewers can decide, but what all of this seems like to me is the refusal of the shows viewers to accept change, specifically, by death. Petitioners and my friends alike, all were shocked, sadden, and frustrated over Brians death, but none of them chose to accept the death as something that could be, only something that once was.