'Family Guy': A casserole of nonsense
What better gift for all the women who’ve reproduced than brand-new episodes of “The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy,” and “American Dad”? Maybe one would even have done a Mother’s Day show. No? None of them? Oh, well. Still good to have new episodes.
“The Cleveland Show” starts off celebrating Black History Month. Cleveland’s ready to party with confetti, music and a giant inflatable afro for his house. Rallo is less familiar with black history and learns for the first time about slavery and that Rutherford B. Hayes is a white man’s name. Rallo reacts strongly to the atrocities of the past and prods Cleveland into picking a rather goofy fight with Lester over the redneck-y things he says.
Cleveland gets arrested for committing a hate crime, and the world’s coolest judge sentences him to building a float for the Unity Parade. Must be a common occurrence because three floats at the parade are court-ordered.
While Cleveland and Lester show off their papier-mache busts of Larry Bird and Robert Parish, Rallo breaks into Lester’s house to take down his Confederate flag. After running into Kendra, Rallo gets trapped under her rolls of fat. They manage to find a common ground in their love for popcorn shrimp and the wonderful sides that come with it and essentially solve racism by deciding to ignore the stupid ignorant things the stupid ignorant white people say.
Next up, it’s a bad day for Brian on “Family Guy.” Right off the bat, Peter and Lois mistake him heading off for a seminar as him leaving forever and tremendously under-react. If that isn’t bad enough, Lois manages to get one more burn in about Brian’s seminar before chasing him out with a can of pennies. Nothing beats Brian acting like a dog.
While Brian’s out of town, Quagmire’s dad stops by for a visit. He’s in town to be honored by the Navy for his service and to get a sex-change operation. Quagmire’s oblivious to his father’s dance entrances and “Sex and the City” DVDs. Quagmire has a hard time accepting his father’s lifestyle, especially when he finds out Brian slept with his father/mother.
His first night back from the seminar, Brian picks up the newly reassigned Ida Quagmire in a hotel bar and takes her to a hotel room. He thinks he has an unmockable subject to talk about with his jerk family, but instead he spends the rest of the episode vomiting uncontrollably and getting beaten by Quagmire. No. It isn’t a good night to be Brian Griffin (his non-binding last name).
Stan has a bad night himself. He works so hard to make sure that everyone in his family is up to par and won’t embarrass him at the neighbors’ pool party, only to commit the single most heinous act one can in a pool. Let’s just say it is not a Baby Ruth.
Stan puts so much importance in what everyone else thinks that he packs up all his belongings, blows up his house (and Frank from under the sink) and takes his family on the road to find a new place to live. A place that will have no memory of the horrible, horrible act he committed. Thanks to the Internet and iPhones, nowhere is safe, so Stan devises an alternate plan to get Barack Obama to commit the same disgusting party foul.
Stan's plan doesn't work, but he does get good advice from the president about not paying attention when people laugh at him (after Klaus is blown to smithereens). Though it all turns out to be a figment of Stan’s imagination as he stands on the diving board about to make his pre-incident cannonball jump. Stan decides to make the jump and ignore the mocking he receives after. Too bad Obama didn’t advise him to not jump at all. Guess that’s why he makes it into the book of imaginary people who have given Stan bad advice.
Obscurest reference – "American Dad" made a play with the treasure map to Amy Carter's bleeped treasure, but “The Cleveland Show” really wanted the honor this week. When he’s woken up in the middle of the night to celebrate Black History Month, Rallo asks, “Is this real life? Is this forever?” just like "David After Dentist."
Most possibly offensive joke – For an episode about gender reassignment, “Family Guy” was remarkably inoffensive. “The Cleveland Show” also stayed relatively tame dealing with race relations (except maybe in reference to Cleveland’s lawyer). I’m going to give the prize to the “Family Guy” cutaway of people drowning in debt holding off on shooting the kids for another month. Mostly because it made me laugh.
Through lines – All three shows dealt with characters' sexualities: Quagmire’s dad as a woman trapped in a man’s body, Cleveland Jr. and Ernie sharing a candy necklace, and Roger getting black eyes in a truck top. Plus “The Cleveland Show” and “Family Guy” both had long fight sequences. But I noticed another connection between “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad.” The time it takes to animate a episode can come at the cost of being current. Seems like Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell’s short-lived belief that slavery wasn’t significant enough to be included in Confederation history could have been the source of great humor for Cleveland, and the “American Dad” version of Barack Obama felt very unspecific. Guess that’s the cost of quality animation.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photos: Fox Television
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