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'Family Guy': I’m Outrageous!

November 23, 2009 | 10:48 am

Cleveland_BrownThanksgiving_0366F I love holiday episodes. Whether it’s New Year's Eve on “Night Court” or Halloween on “The Real Ghostbusters.” One of my favorite “American Dad” episodes is the Christmas that Stan dies and crashes Jesus’ birthday (and the classic bit of what happened to Jim Henson when he tried to sneak into heaven). Now, “The Cleveland Show” adds to the classic tradition of holiday episodes with “A Brown Thanksgiving.” Brought to you by Cascade (not really brought to you by Cascade).

Cleveland is excited for his first Thanksgiving with his new family, especially since his mom, Cookie, is joining them. Unfortunately his father, Freight Train, has returned from running away with a waffle house waitress for the second time and comes for the holiday as well. Freight Train spends his time putting down Cleveland and Cookie, and in turn Cookie spends her time putting down Donna. It’s just like a real family!

Then Auntie Momma arrives. Donna’s outrageous aunt lightens everyone’s mood. That is until Cleveland finds out she’s pulling a Tyler Perry. Guess her name should be Uncle Daddy, though that sounds incredibly creepy.

The sexually charged dialog between Kym Whitley’s Auntie Momma and Craig Robinson’s Freight Train was hilarious. I’m surprised that all of it got past the censors for an 8:30 show. It was made even better by Cleveland’s knowledge of what Auntie Momma was hiding under her dress. The dinner scene with Auntie Momma and Freight Train molesting the turkey while Cleveland can’t stop vomiting might be my favorite moment of the series so far.

Then on “Family Guy,” Peter and the boys still lament over losing their fourth (and only black) friend. Even to the point of mistaking a lamp for Cleveland. They end up recruiting newcomer Jerome into the group, though things get complicated when Peter finds out that Jerome and Lois dated before she met Peter. The story seemed kind of short, mostly due to the extended cutaways. Some that worked (like the results of biting into a Peppermint Patty) and some that didn’t as much (like the English Gentlemen’s club).

The part of “Family Guy” that people will probably be talking about this week, though, is the side story of Brian trying to figure out why Quagmire doesn’t like him. After accidentally offending Quagmire about his domestically abused sister, deaf brother, and long-lost love, Brian gets the rundown of everything Quagmire dislikes about him. Basically a list of all of Brian’s flaws from his constant hitting on Lois to his fake liberalism and going to the bathroom in Peter’s lawn. It’s like a gift to the long-term fans.

AmDad_MyMorningJacket_0049F Rounding out the night on “American Dad,” Stan becomes obsessed with the band “My Morning Jacket.” It’s a cornucopia of guest stars. Not only do we get all the members of the band, but Zach Galifianakis also pops up in a surprisingly short cameo as Norman the bootlegger.

The episode was a bit of a letdown, though that might be due to how much I enjoyed last week’s “Shallow Vows.” Though there were lots of fun details: Stan checking out girls at the concert while he has earplugs in, Johnny 5 enjoying the show and all the havoc Stan causes while listening to his music. In the end, we get an “American Dad” happy ending with Francine cracking out all her groupie skills (the girls and ma’am) to get Stan backstage only for him to find he should be sharing his soul with his wife, not some random singer.

I might have liked the episode more if I was more familiar with “My Morning Jacket.” Though I’m more interested in Maureen Jacket and why Stan hides the fact that he’s still talking to her.

Most obscure reference – I’m going to call it a tie between Jerome and Quagmire’s moment quoting jive from the movie “Airplane” and Auntie Momma saying she was going to turn into a Blumpkin. I won’t even try to explain that one.

Most possibly offensive moment – “The Cleveland Show” spent most of the night on the edge with all the innuendo, but you can’t top “Family Guy” when they’re dealing with race/religion/nearly anything. You’ve got Peter dressed up as a “fire carrying ghost” and Stewie waking up to see Jerome and assuming they’re being robbed. Though I think the majority of offense might come to Quagmire’s sister’s boyfriend beating on her, only to stop and yell at Brian.

Through line – Farting. It’s a cornerstone of comedy. Right up there with distinguished people falling down and puns. We got three uses of comedic flatulence. “The Cleveland Show” used farting as a running gag. Auntie Momma was a steady stream of gas until her final burst thrust her into the sunset (“I’m outrageous!”). “Family Guy” used farting as a button. In the dark at the end of the episode, Brian farted while sleeping in Stewie’s room as one last reminder that he’s kind of a jerk. And “American Dad” had a marathon fart joke. The bootleg of Jim James gurgling had an extended serious of Zack Galifianakis vapors.

Yep. A whole evening of fart jokes. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

-Andrew Hanson


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