'Family Guy': Sweet eggs and chicken legs
Peter, Stewie and the rest of the Griffin family took the night off. Probably for the best. Gives them more time to read all the comments on Sarah Palin’s response to last week’s episode. Seth MacFarlane even had the chance to stop by “Real Time With Bill Maher” to recite a monologue from an obscure episode of “Star Trek.” Impressive and nerdy at the same time.
Though “Family Guy” replayed the multi-verse episode, “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad” were both brand spanking new. “The Cleveland Show” brought in a bevy of special-guest voices for an episode with the longest title ever, and “American Dad” stayed remarkably topical with an episode featuring the Winter Olympics, which raised my Olympics-themed TV watching to 22 minutes (Colbert will raise that next week).
The night started off with Cleveland wondering whether his son was actually smart or stupid. A reasonable question. He knows player pianos and the song “The Entertainer,” but he also mimics a player piano playing “The Entertainer.” One point in each column.
Impressed that the neighbor boy already had a job and concerned about his son’s intelligence, Cleveland set out to find Cleveland Jr. a job. After a dangerous encounter in the slaughterhouse triggered Cleveland Jr.’s tendency to moo when scared and a brief trip to the unfortunate world of print media, Cleveland Jr. ended up taking a job at the Broken Stool, his father’s favorite watering hole. Cleveland Jr. cleaned up the place a little too well, especially in the running-tabs department, so Cleveland got him fired, sparking a prank revenge plot.
“The Cleveland Show” always seems to a have a lot going on, and everywhere you turn there's another guest star. David Lynch incompetently runs the bar, Ed Asner snaps when his newspaper folds, and over in the nearly forgotten B-story about Roberta passing Rallo off as her adopted African baby, you’ve got Ashly Tisdale and Kristen Wiig. They even squeezed an out-of-nowhere reference to “Lost.” Like I’m not thinking about that show enough already.
Later, on “American Dad,” Stan belittled Steve’s choice of Legolas from “Lord of the Rings” as his hero only to find out that Roger played on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, one of his two heroes. Remember the Miracle on Ice? Me either. I was 3. Luckily, Roger and Stan visited a gathering of the old team and saw a few incredible photos from the game. I picked out one to post here, but I wish Fox would have released them all. I’d love to have Roger threatening the Soviet goalie with a sword as my desktop.
Stan’s hero worship spread to Roger but quickly faded when he discovered Roger played with the help of his Uncle Roy-d. Disgusted by the cheating and inspired by the automatic writing of Nancy Reagan, Stan set out to return Roger’s gold medal in a grand Tolkienesque adventure.
This is really “American Dad” at its best. I’ve always thought Roger worked best as a side character where he could be insane without the responsibility of pushing forward the story, but he makes an even better villain. Sure, having him Golem it up might seem a little out of date, but it sure was fun. Talking to himself, his love-hate relationship with Helen, biting off Stan’s finger. This was Roger’s best performance since "Tearjerker."
And though Roberta’s side story seemed to fizzle tonight, Haley’s came out of nowhere to deliver strongly. It took me a minute to place Reginald, the homeless guy turned koala turned C.I.A. agent who first showed up last season, but it didn’t really matter. He popped into the Smith house to do some laundry and tell some tales of Tangier and unwittingly offended Haley with a dryer mishap. He eventually won back her favor by beating up a hippie, which made me happy. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Koala Reginald. Especially since the show seems to have given up on Klaus.
Through Lines: Try as I might, I couldn’t really pick up any connections between “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad” tonight. Hopefully, “Family Guy” will return soon and make those connections more apparent.
Obscurest Reference: I’m going to have to make this a tie between the catching stance of Tony Pena and Gus’ hair (an excellent reproduction of David Lynch’s own mane). Though I’m sure there were a lot of obscure references to the 1980 U.S. hockey team, but they were too obscure for me.
Most Possibly Offensive Joke: I totally missed last week with the reference to being the child of an Alaskan governor. This week, I’ll put my money on “American Dad” and its depiction of Nancy Reagan and her use of the Secret “Service.” Ew.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photos: Fox Television