The SmarK DVD Rant – The Cleveland Show, Season One
“I pooped my pants at school today.”
“Well, we all have accidents.”
“Oh, it weren’t no accident.”
Here’s the annoying thing about The Cleveland Show – Cleveland used to be a really likeable character on Family Guy. Admittedly, there wasn’t very many of them to like, so it made it easy by comparison. And Mike Henry is a really funny guy and an incredibly talented voice artist. But there’s just no reason for this show to even exist, let alone get a cushy timeslot in between The Simpsons and the mothership. Even the show itself acknowledges that the only real audience it has consists of people waiting for Family Guy and stoners too wasted to change the channel. And it’s not that it’s even a bad show, because it’s not. There’s some good ideas and funny bits here and there, most of which involve Cleveland Jr and sometimes man-child Rallo. For instance, the musical number “Balls Deep” was funnier than any song Seth has come up with for Family Guy in quite a few seasons. But Cleveland isn’t Cleveland any longer, he’s a totally different character who happens to look like the same guy for the purposes of carrying a spin-off. The original would never get insanely angry and beat up his daughter’s boyfriend, or accidentally start a drug ring because he’s too dumb to notice, or constantly whine to his wife about wanting sex. He’s just not a very nice person anymore, and really he’s become a black version of Peter Griffin. Further, there was an interview with Seth MacFarlane about the original cancellation of Family Guy a few years back, where he talks about how the writers had gotten so burned out by the end of season 3 that they were falling back on poop and sex jokes because they didn’t have time to write anything else. Well, here in 2010, that’s all The Cleveland Show brings to the table. Cleveland gets a visit from Tyler Perry parody “Auntie Mama”, and she farts and poops! Cleveland accidentally pimps out his friend Terry! That’s pretty much the most memorable gags of the season, which isn’t saying a lot about the show in general. Even stuff that could have been clever a while ago, like the idiot boyfriend being named “Federline”, have lost all their cultural sting because the target of parody has already faded out of the public eye. It’s really just a show that’s there because the network decided they wanted one there. And I don’t often take this stance, but it’s a really a show where a little network meddling might not be a bad thing. It’s not going anywhere, and it could use a fresh look by someone who hasn’t been part of the Seth money-making machine for the past 10 years.
In terms of bonus features, you get unedited versions of each episode, complete with them sticking the word “fuck” in there at least once an episode, and commentaries on a few of them. I really dislike the trend on the Seth MacFarlane shows of cutting back on commentaries. You also get Cleveland’s fuzzy moustache on the front cover, so there’s that.
It’s a show that’s on TV, and some people watch it. It’s rarely bad, and rarely great, it’s just there. If you like Family Guy, you’ll probably pick it up and enjoy it, then immediately forget about it too. Mildly recommended.
Tags: Family Guy, Fox, Kanye West, seth macfarlane, SmarK Rants