Family Guy

Season 1 Episode 7

Brian: Portrait of a Dog

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 16, 1999 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (30)

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  • Great first seaosn finale

    Quahog is in the grip of an unusual heatwave and, not having air conditioning, the Griffins are suffering. Peter learns of an upcoming dog show offering a top prize of $500, which he sees as the perfect way to buy an air conditioner. He persuades a reluctant Brian to participate. Before the dog show, Brian acts like the director, Joe Gideon, in All That Jazz, using eye drops, taking a deep breath, and then saying "Showtime!" Brian performs his tricks at the dog show and almost wins first place for the family. Peter puts a bone biscuit on Brian's nose; Brian finds this demeaning and becomes angry because he refuses to "perpetuate the stereotype of the 'good dog.' " Brian subsequently exits in a huff. Peter and Brian performing at the dog show.On the way home, Peter and Brian argue until an angry Brian gets out of the car. The police give Brian a ticket for violating the local leash law, which Peter has to pay, only further widening their rift. When Peter and Brian get into another argument, Peter mentions that he found Brian on the road (as a stray dog). Angry that Peter brought that up, Brian leaves the house, whereupon he is treated badly and unfairly by the community, and ultimately forced to sleep at the bus station. Peter buys a new cat, which turns out to be mischievous, abusing the Griffins to no end; they get rid of it and search for Brian. By the time Peter decides to apologize to Brian, Brian has hit rock bottom, has been kicked out of a restaurant, out of a public store, and chased by the police when they find him drinking from a water fountain. Brian becomes a homeless person; having actually attacked a man on the street for treating Brian as a drunken hobo and not believing that Brian was a good dog. He is subsequently taken away by the police. Peter writes to MacGyver asking him to save his dog; he sends him a drinking straw, a rubber band and a paper clip, referencing the character's ability to concoct ingenious uses for mundane household items.

    At the pound, Brian is sentenced to be put down, while Peter works on Brian's appeal. Brian decides to study the laws as much as he can and goes to court to defend his own case, but when he finally gets the chance to plead his case, the court decides that it's stupid to listen to a dog. During Brian's parole hearing, he references the court case Plessy v. Ferguson, an infamous U.S. Supreme Court case that approved segregation in 1896. Just when he's about to be dismissed, Peter steps in and delivers a last-ditch emotional appeal on his behalf; his speech deeply moves his family to confess some of their own personal crimes (Chris stole $10 from Meg, who stole that money from Lois, who had actually counterfeit it). The people still aren't on Brian's side, but Peter promises to give them $20 which convinces them to free Brian. The charges against Brian are finally dropped and the town shows him new respect, allowing him to finally drink out of a water fountain, showing his equality amongst the other citizens of the community. The final scene, in which Brian drinks from the "people" water fountain, is a reference to the ending of the novel and TV movie, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, in which the title character, a black woman in the segregated South, does the same at a "white" water fountain. Back at home, when the two are alone, Brian licks Peter's face in a dog gesture, and tells Peter that if he tells anyone about that, he will kill him.My Fav refrence was the family watching Murder, She Wrote Peter exclaimes, "Ah ha! So she's the murderer!"
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