We love our TV because we love its consistency – where real life is full of bitter disappointments, in TV Land, nothing ever changes, and everything is always sunshine and honeycomb and high school prom. At least, it is until one of your favourite characters is hit by a car and bleeds to death. Of course, we’re referring to last week’s episode of Family Guy, which saw fan-favourite Brian (the Griffin’s pet dog) written out of our hearts and plasma screens indefinitely. As soon as the episode aired, the Twitters were all ablaze, and fan-made Facebook pages and online petitions began springing up in an effort to convince the writers to bring Brian back to life. It seems audiences the world over had grown rather attached to the perverted, alcoholic house dog.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that a death in TV Land has caused a stir. More than a decade ago, The Simpsons made history when they offed Ned Flanders’ wife Maude. Years later, they also did away with Lisa’s blind saxophone teacher, Bleeding Gums Murphy – and while that did pave the way for a tear-jerking Lion King-esque duet with Bleeding Gums’ giant face perched up in the clouds, it kind of makes you wonder whether The Simpsons really has it in for women and disabled people. They’ve announced that another “major character” will be meeting their animated end next season, reducing the overall number of Springfieldians to… I dunno, like 8000?

In the world of live action, those of you from the Seinfeld generation will surely remember George Costanza’s bride-to-be Susan kicking the bucket after licking some toxic envelopes intended for their wedding invitations. And for those of you not from the Seinfeld generation, here’s an incredibly weird fan video that takes you through the whole of George and Susan’s doomed relationship, set to ‘Here Comes the Night Time’ by Arcade Fire.

And just this year, Melbourne-made show Offspring wasted Asher Keddie’s baby-daddy Patrick with a “subdural bleed in the meningeal layer between the dura mater and arachnoid” of his brain, which is a fancy way of saying the dude forgot to look both ways (much like a certain animated dog). It felt like half of Australia was in mourning the day after.

In fact, sometimes it feels as if TV writers are actually trying to be cruel. Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding, anybody? Or as the show’s sadistic writers probably referred to it, the let’s-see-how-many-beloved-characters-we-can-brutally-murder-in-less-than-30-seconds game? It’s almost enough to make you want to step outside and enjoy real life… or just keep watching and hope they all come back as ghosts next season.