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'Family Guy': Reunited

April 12, 2010 |  7:17 am

Cleveland_GoneWithTheWind_0128FHow long has it been since we’ve had the full set? Valentine’s Day? Nearly six months since Cleveland, Peter and Stan all had wacky new adventures on the same Sunday night. Feels good to have the gang back together. Mostly because I missed "American Dad." I’ve gone too long without Roger. 

Tonight, each of the MacFarlane toons had a single line of dialogue that summed up my feelings about the show. Very convenient.

"The Cleveland Show":  "I still don’t know if you’re smart or stupid."

When a show’s story is 60% fart jokes, instinct says it’s probably going to be pretty stupid, but "The Cleveland Show" and Cleveland Jr. share the tendency to do something smart every so often to make you wonder.

Cleveland went on a high-fiber diet, leaving him with a high level of gaseous emissions. Cleveland’s doctor gives him a literal Fart Card, which he and the writers exploit to the fullest. Tornado farts, flaming farts, nearly silent farts. “The Cleveland Show” runs the full gambit of fart jokes until it stumbles onto the second story of the episode and the death of Loretta Marie Calendar Brown.

Bold move killing of a character like Loretta. Makes sense. Loretta connected to “Family Guy” so strongly, they had to have Quagmire drive her body down (and do Quagmire-type things on the way). Getting rid of her was a logical thing to do, so much so that even I forgot she was Cleveland Jr.’s mom until Tim the Bear reminded me too. 

Turns out that Cleveland is far more affected by Loretta’s death than Cleveland Jr. ended up being. He cried, diving on top of the casket. He blames survivor’s guilt for all the time he escaped the same tub crash unharmed, but the truth is Cleveland’s not quite ready to let go of the past. Instead, he opts to hide it. A smart move.

FGuy_AprilInQuahog_0035F "Family Guy": "We’re like the worst table at a wedding."

It was either that line or: "The kids bore me."

Everything starts with Peter getting picked for jury duty. Such a rich possibility for comedy, it’s surprising the show hasn’t done it before. The premise proved weak in some areas (Peter’s prejudices against ants) and soared in others (Peter’s recess discussion of the case and pestering of the judge for “the answer”).

Next thing you know, "Family Guy" connects back to the seemingly pointless opening with Stephen Hawking, and Quahog faces the apocalypse. The whole city takes the opportunity to punch the Orion logo, sleep with neighbor wives and make angry phone calls to Megan Fox. Before it turns out to be an April fool’s joke, Peter confesses that the Griffin children bore him.

Honestly, who hasn’t thought that? Peter has even told the audience to change the channel in the past when it turned out to be a Meg episode. Though it’s hard to lump Stewie in with the other two. You’d think Peter would love Stewie most, especially with his “Robot Chicken”-level action-figure collection.

Peter makes a halfhearted attempt to reconnect with his children. Then he decides to buy them a new Xbox 360 instead. Much quicker.

"American Dad": "That was unexpected."

I was so happy when I saw “American Dad” on my recording schedule. Apologies to “Sons of Tucson,” but I was starting to fear that we wouldn’t be visiting Langley any more this season.

In the first episode in forever, Roger seeks out his masculinity when he and Francine are mugged after a day of girling out, "Traveling Pants"-style. Roger’s search takes him to the Langley Falls Police Academy. At first, he is both inept and slightly sexual harassing, but after training with Stan to the tune of “You Have the Touch,” he rises to the top of his class, wrecking the lives of two young boys on the way.

Roger’s only on the force three hours before he’s corrupt. A lot of it comes from his partner, Chas, but as Roger points out himself, he’s a sociopath, so it all works for him. Roger’s parking, pie decorating and treatment of Berry and Snot go above and beyond even for a corrupt cop.

In the end, Roger does the right thing with a flying elbow to Chas’ head. The results were definitely unexpected. A juicy, detailed head explosion. 

Ah, yes. It’s good to have “American Dad” back with the family.

Through lines – There were many tonight. Although I do believe all three shows have unique dynamics, they share a similar sense of humor. Fart jokes weren’t merely contained to Cleveland’s proximity. Both “Family Guy” and “American Dad” shared in the toots. “American Dad” had its slow-motion exploding head, but “Family Guy” splattered face too when Peter shot the squaw and the effects of crystal meth. And that’s not even mentioning Quagmire’s cameo road trip. 

Obscurest reference – Hermaphrodite yogurt. Jason Mraz. Kellie Pickler. Closeups of knees. There were obscure references I caught, obscure references I had to look up and obscure references that might not have been references but felt like it.

Question of the day – Who would you rather be? Weird Al or Dido? 

-- Andrew Hanson


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Photos: Fox Television