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'Family Guy': DUIs and Brain Swaps

“Family Guy” was a rerun this week. I guess someone wanted to match up “The Simpsons” doing its  20th  “Tree House of Horror” with “Family Guy’s” Stephen King parody three-pack, though “Family Guy” did pick the three of the least horror-ish Stephen King stories out there. It’s Stephen King. That’s good enough to make for a scary night.

Since “Family Guy” wasn’t new, that left the weight of Sunday night on the shoulders of “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad!” It’s like hanging out with your best friend’s younger brothers. Without big bro around, you notice the ways they differ more.

Cleveland_BirthofaSalesman_0018F Cleveland continues to build his life outside “Family Guy.” He’s gone three episodes unemployed, but he finally went out and got a job with the help of his neighbor Tim the Bear. We got to learn a little bit more about Tim this week, seeing his wife (voiced by Arianna Huffington), his workplace and his blurred-out bare bear parts.

The strength of “The Cleveland Show” seems to be pulling humor from absurdity. And not only with jokes that come along with Tim being a bear, like “taking care of momma bear” or fighting bear AIDS; "Cleveland" also got laughs out of me from the telemarketing phones being filled with silver dollars and bees, and from the drawn-out moments like Mr. Waterman’s “You didn’t tell me he was…” throat-clearing. I do find it strange that they decided to make Cleveland’s boss … well, the kind of guy who drinks from a “Sex in the City” mug and forcing comparisons to Mr. Weed.

The show’s B-story centered on Roberta and Rollo trying to get Cleveland Jr. to cry.  I can’t help it, but I’m not that interested in the children yet. I’m sure with time, they’ll find their groove when it comes to the young 'uns. Or they could always ship them off at the beginning of the episode like “American Dad!”

AmDad_BrainsBrains_0033F “American Dad!” stepped up to the plate while “Family Guy” was on repeat. It started off with some of the best Roger moments in a long while, from when he burst into the show flying out the window of the bathroom after puking in the shower to when he slammed Francine’s head in the refrigerator; the show even went into his mind, a landscape of pill trees and Tom Skerritt. Francine got a big laugh out of me with her pork sweat and “I’m gross” comments. And it all centered around an honest fear of his wife finding him boring without the kids or pet alien to run interference. Everything that makes for a good “American Dad!”

The Smith children fared a little better than Cleveland and Donna’s kids. Steve and his buddies went off to summer camp and dealt with the problems brought on by their underwear choices, building to the hilariously dark ending of the underwear salesman. Haley appeared long enough to say three lines about going to live in a tree before vanishing the entire episode. Haley hasn’t had much to do this season. I hope she doesn’t end up becoming the Meg of “American Dad!”

Through line – Little light on the through lines tonight. Definitely no choking-on-a-corndog moments. The best I can do was the love for Buffy. In “The Cleveland Show,” Tim the Bear prayed for Jesus to bring back “Buffy the Family Slayer.” Then the CIA zapped one of their own into the brain of Osama bin Laden’s cat Buffy. If you think you found a better connection (and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could), let me know.

Obscurest Reference – “The Cleveland Show” had a very strong showing this week for obscurest reference with Cleveland’s commercial for the Flea Market. They even did the long version. But I think I have to go with the three grazing Urkels from inside Roger’s brain. Not only did it have regular Urkel, it also had Stefan Urquelle (Urkel’s alter-ego after he drinks the “Cool Juice”), and the Urkel-bot. Gotta give it to “American Dad!” for taking dorkiness to that next level.

Most possibly offensive joke – Again, “The Cleveland Show” had a valiant effort with all its references to bear penis, but “American Dad” won the prize when Roger went into seizures after eating rat poison and Stan told him to stop doing his Health Ledger impression.  Even Stan himself thought it might be a little too soon.

-- Andrew Hanson

Image credits: Fox Television

 
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