Proving the continued effectiveness of grassroots protest, Family Guy has answered the call of hundreds of thousands of angry petitioners and agreed to bring back Brian—bowing to the will of the people in a way that is, no doubt, a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Truly, Madiba’s spirit lives on today, in the Entertainment Weekly-reported news that a talking cartoon dog will be a part of his show’s Dec. 15 episode, as so many rallied for in the wake of his demise.
Of course, there are some cynics who might say this entire, short-lived affair was all just a publicity stunt from the get-go—that the upcoming episode’s logline, “Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas,” was even telegraphed back in the same episode where Brian dies, with its rather obvious cutaway to a time-traveling Stewie getting his Christmas presents early. These skeptics might also argue it was clear the show would never kill such a central, marketable character, even without already knowing he was still listed in the titles of future episodes. But in this moment of democratic victory, anyone who might dismiss the “Bring Back Brian” campaign as pointless would be denying the power of the people that Nelson Mandela spent his life fighting for. Shame on them.