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'Family Guy' offers fans a holiday gift

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
updated 1:21 PM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
 Fans were upset when Brian, the talking family dog, was killed off of the animated series
Fans were upset when Brian, the talking family dog, was killed off of the animated series "Family Guy."
  • "Family Guy's" MacFarlane had a special treat for fans
  • Sunday's episode had a plot twist
  • The show's creator tweeted about the lesson

Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of "Family Guy."

(CNN) -- Call it a Christmas miracle.

"Family Guy" has resurrected the beloved character Brian, the dog, after killing him off in an accident that had fans howling with grief. On Sunday's episode, Stewie travels back in time to keep his canine buddy from being run over by a car. According to the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane who also voices the character of Brian, it had to happen.

'Family Guy' shocker: Major character killed off

"I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you?" MacFarlane tweeted. "Jesus, we'd have to be f***ing high."

Some viewers had been so up in arms about the tragic plot twist that they started a petition to bring Brian back. The petition quickly amassed thousands of signatures and maintained that "Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experience," and that the show and Fox Broadcasting "will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back to the show."

'Family Guy' fans petition to bring back Brian

On the latest episode, after the character of Stewie expresses to Santa Claus how sad he is over the loss of his best friend and family dog, Stewie goes back in time to just moments before the accident and is able to push Brian out of the way right before he would have been hit by a car. MacFarlane tweeted "And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash."

Brian's resurrection was not completely unexpected. New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff, speculated on Twitter, soon after Brian was killed: "Everyone will cover Family Guy just as fervently when the 'dead character' comes back in a week or two, right?"

Of course we did.