December fools! Following weeks of return speculation after 'Family Guy' killed off one of its most iconic characters, going as far as to replace him in the opening credits, Sunday night's "Christmas Guy" saw a yuletide miracle return the character to life, after all. Series creator Seth MacFarlane even reached out to confirm the resurrection, poking fun at the gullibility of audiences outraged by the death.

Spoilers for Sunday's "Christmas Guy" and previous shocker "Life of Brian" not withstanding, it seems the Griffin family pet has been returned to life, after all. The November 23 episode killed Brian Griffin off for good, making things so that Stewie couldn't utilize his time machine to prevent Brian from being hit by a car, the apparent permanence of which led to several resurrection petitions circulating online.

As predicted, however, "Christmas Guy" saw Stewie wishing for his friend's return, telling a mall Santa, "I want my friend back. My best friend, my dog, Brian; he's dead. It's our first Christmas without him, and no one has even mentioned his name. I don't care about this stupid carnival or Christmas; I don't care about anything but Brian." In the interim, Brian had been replaced by the new Griffin family dog Vinny ('The Sopranos' star Tony Sirico), even among the opening credits.

Cue Stewie spotting his past self at the mall, whose backpack contained a working time machine to finally go back and right the wrong of Brian's death, leading to a happy ending for all, even thanking a departing Vinny for his aid. Of course, fans of he series will note that the production cycle dictated Brian's return to have been planned all along, as series creator (and Brian's voice) Seth MacFarlane confirmed over Twitter during the East Coast airing:

And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash. I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be f---ing high. Oh and hey... thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.

We have indeed been had, though if a gag at our expense means Brian's full-time return, so be it. What say you? Are you happy to have Brian Griffin resurrected, or would you have been willing to give things a shot with Vinny in his place? Watch the tender goodbye again below, and give us your reactions in the comments!

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