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'Family Guy': Women problems

March 22, 2010 |  7:39 am

[Update: 3:30 pm - If I ever worry that no one's reading my posts, all I need to do is make some mistakes. Thank you to the commentor that pointed out I'd called Lester Cletus and Tim the Bear nearly every other name that starts with T. My supportive, loving reader also said that "American Dad" wasn't just off this weekend due to "Sons of Tucson" but off for the rest of the season. I'm fearfully looking into it, but either way, we won't be seeing the Smith family anytime soon.]

Cleveland_OnceUponATyneInNY_0027F “Sons of Tucson” continues its visit to the Sunday night Fox lineup, so once again the MacFarlane block is incomplete. This week, “American Dad” sits it out on the bench, leaving “The Cleveland Show” and “Family Guy” to pick up the slack of offensive, nonsensical and at times confusing humor we come to expect before we start a new workweek. Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.

Down on Stoolbend, Cleveland follows in the path of so many married men before him and lets himself go. His late-night pork-and-beans feasts and belched greetings are starting to wear thin on Donna, so he decides to make things right by finally taking his new wife on a honeymoon to New York City. Just the two of them. Plus Coach McFall. It was his idea, and he needs to reconnect with lost love Tyne Daly. Oh, and Lester, because he’s driving. And Tim the Bear for some apparent reason. Plus Holt. And the kids sneak along as well. So basically, everyone.

Cleveland ends up balancing his time between hitting all of Regis Philbin’s recommended romantic New York hot spots and saving his friends from an angry crowd in Harlem, the one gay bar in town and a Donald Trump business idea. By balancing, I mean he spent all his time on his friends and ignored his wife. Up until just before the end, when Cleveland makes a passionate plea for forgiveness for ruining the honeymoon that was itself a passionate plea for forgiveness. Will dumpy television husbands ever learn?

“The Cleveland Show” had so much going on this episode, it didn’t get to do any of its patented “let’s see how long we can draw this out” jokes, but it did have its moments. Surprisingly, a couple of my favorites came from the kids’ story line of selling MTV a reality show. We got to learn where community college drama teachers come from and what happens to television executives when no one watches anymore. Though the best moment of the episode had to be Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte playing themselves. Now I’ll picture every "SNL" after-party as a picnic.

FGuy_Peterassment_0042F Meanwhile, up in Quahog, the Little Clam Pre-School is putting on its annual production of “Terri Schiavo: the Musical,” and don’t worry, Brain and Chris make the “too soon/too late” joke before we have to. Stewie is cast in the role of the plug, but when his moment comes, he’s struck dumb by a case of stage fright. Makes sense. Stewie’s only performance experience includes acting classes, touring as part of a singing team, performing in exchange for a camel or helicopter or to escape Nazis. 

While filming Stewie’s embarrassment, Peter lucks into filming Richard Dreyfuss, which leads him to becoming a paparazzo, which leads to him getting punched by the weather guy, which leads him to getting sexually harassed by his boss. Easy as 1-2-3. 

Peter’s harassment is made more difficult by the fact that everyone belittles his pain. Lois explains how men can’t be sexually harassed by women and uses Meg’s horrible experience with a teacher as an example. All the guys at the bar mock him, and Quagmire decides Peter’s boss is too unattractive for even him to have sex with while hiding in Peter’s clothing. Who knew Quagmire had standards.

With the help of a Rite-Aid fake mustache, Peter manages to give his lonely boss the night she longs for, and with the help of the Jewish guy hiding in his pants, he doesn’t have to cheat on his wife. Everybody’s happy.

Through lines – Other than the fact that Tyne Daly sounded overwhelmingly like Lois, the big connection between “The Cleveland Show” and “Family Guy” Sunday night was mistaking black men for each other. Cletus thought every guy in Harlem was Cleveland, and then Peter confused Ollie Williams with every black celebrity he could think of. Maybe not the best bit to repeat twice in the night. Let’s just stick with the Lois voice.

Most obscure reference – Plenty to choose from. Both shows reached into the history books. We heard references to Whitey Ford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Robert Mitchum slapping women. Even Ted the bear had to call his grandmother to find out who Tyne Daly was. I’m sure all the 13-year-old viewers could do the same.

Most possibly offensive joke – It takes a lot to top “Terri Schiavo: the Musical,” but “Family Guy” makes good attempts with an American finding his brother in China and the tricycle picked up on Peter’s drunk drive. Why can’t they all be winners?

-- Andrew Hanson


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Photo credit: Fox Television