'Family Guy': Valentine's Day
Ah, St. Valentine’s Day. That special time of year that we celebrate a composite of three different Roman martyrs with signs of love, a tradition based off a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of two 15-year-olds. At least that’s what Wikipedia says. And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than watch a bunch of cartoons and write about them? Right?
In Stoolbend, Cleveland sticks his nose into his neighbor Holt’s love life. You’ll know Holt from not being the bear or the redneck. The short guy voiced by Jason Sudeikis. Apparently, Holt’s life is run by his mother. After Holt forgoes the opportunity to go to Stoolfest and marvel at the fact that there are still people in the world who have the job of farmers in order to help his mom pick out dresses you can’t see through, Cleveland talks his diminutive buddy into showing some independence. Holt takes it one step further and also breaks up with his sex doll.
Feeling responsible, Cleveland sets Holt up with a woman from work. She’s obsessed with her cats, is “working on herself” and is voiced by Fergie, but even with all those warning signs, no one sees trouble. Jill turns out to be a domestic abuser, and since they all have a strong “don’t-hit-girls” policy, none of Holt’s friends can help him. Luckily, Donna’s ready to come to the aid of her man in a fantastic girl fight. Cleveland helps Holt get his plastic girlfriend back. Everything is back to normal. Well, normalish.
Seem like a lot? That’s not even mentioning the side story about Cleveland Jr. swallowing Rallo’s pet fish and waiting for it to be born Danny Bonaduce-style. But it’s nothing compared to how much happened in Quahog this week.
It was interesting to see Chris and Stewie bonding. I think it's the longest stretch of time when Chris understands everything Stewie says, and we do learn some interesting facts, such as that Chris’ bacne spells out Citibank and Stewie needs to dig a hole to sleep on his side. When things look their worst, Stewie promises that, if they survive, he’ll continue his political aspirations and Chris promises to ask out the girl he likes. Of course, they do get rescued, and Stewie presses Chris to go through with his promise.
That’s just the beginning. Turns out, Chris’ dream girl has Down syndrome. Stewie leaps to his brother’s aid in the best way he knows how: a drawn-out song-and-dance makeover. At the same time, Lois grows more and more dependent on the psychic who predicted her sons’ safe return, and Brian makes it his mission to disprove this seer. And just when you start to wonder “where’s Peter?” the Griffin patriarch shows up just in time to become convinced that he too is psychic. So much going on. What does this show thing it is? “Big Love” or something?
Peter gives up on communicating with the other side after groping the family members of a man kidnapped and buried with a bomb. Chris gives up on his dream girl when he realizes she’s kinda mean. Chris’ break-up speech hides an ingenious message that people with Down syndrome are just like anyone else, and some of them are jerks. Those “Family Guy” writers. The do have hearts in there somewhere.
I almost feel sorry for “American Dad.” By the time 9:30 rolled around, I felt like I’d run an animation marathon. But you can always count on Stan and the whole Smith clan to put a strong button on the end of the night.
“American Dad” comes out swinging with Francine and Klaus watching their Roomba clean. Francine glues googly eyes on it because she like to stare down her cleaning help. I’m not sure if I’d rather have Francine’s googly-eyed Roomba or Tom’s DJ Roomba from “Parks and Recreation.” Both would be better than the "SNL" female hygiene product the Woomba (man, I watch too much television).
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and Stan couldn’t seem any less interested in his wife’s wants or needs. He goes to Hersey Park without her, steals her pillow and passes on physical intimacy in order to “scratch a spider bite.” He doesn’t even have a Valentine’s gift planned for Francine, and she went ahead and bought them adjoining grave plots and a couple’s coffin.
Stan tells Francine her gift is pointless because he’s signed up for the CIA to turn him into a cyborg after he dies. Almost on cue, Stan’s half-robot self comes back from the future, speaking in a half-Canadian, half-Mexican accent and predicting the rise of the machines.
Cyborg Stan actually comes back to steal Francine away from Current Stan. After a thousand years of loneliness, Stan finally learns how much he appreciates his wife. I guess all those past episodes where he had to learn to appreciate her didn’t hold. Current Stan follows Cyborg Stan and Francine up the Hersey Tunnel of Love to battle his future self. The MacFarlane cartoons have had more than their share of fight scenes, but this one stands out, with Current Stan grabbing a random kid while being dragged away and the two little people in the candy costume.
Of course, Stan learns his lesson and sends Cyborg Stan flying into the world’s largest hot chocolate with a perfect Chad Lowe kick. Everyone lives happily ever after with fun Japanese funk music.
Did I even mention Steve and his buddies remaking “Mannequin” and “Goonies”? Or Roger constantly forgetting it isn’t real and trying to steal their treasure map? No? Well that’s just how jam packed the night was.
Obscurest Reference – This week, I’m awarding Obscurest Reference to “The Cleveland Show” when Rallo finishes up telling rumors about David Geffen. How many people outside of Hollywood know the name of the recording tycoon? But then again, how many people inside Hollywood have heard or told rumors about him?
Most Possibly Offensive Joke – A couple good nominees for this award. Cletus’ opinion of Holt’s possible bird watching. Stan putting the rice cooker in an internment camp. But I’m going to have to give it to Meg and Stewie’s bath time. Ew.
Through Lines – Of course, all three shows circle around love and romance on this Feb. 14th, but as you look closer, you get a little understanding of the writing staffs’ opinions on women. Both Holt and Chris’ love interests turn out to be overbearing, pushy women. And what's with appearances of sex dolls in both “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad”? And how come Yoshi’s parents speak perfect English but he doesn’t? So many questions.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photos: Fox Television