Sundays with Seth: Race for the Punchline
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 22nd 2010 5:33AM
Carrie Fisher guest-starred on 'Family Guy' as Peter's boss, Angela, and was clearly having a hoot playing the sexual harasser. It was pretty funny that the difference in Peter's appearance that turned Angela onto him was the absence of his glasses; particularly because the artistic difference is a matter of a few lines.
The glasses were destroyed by Ollie Williams after Peter identified him by a string of different black celebrities, riffing on the stereotypical joke that white people think black people all look alike. In a very bizarre parallel, 'The Cleveland Show' had a sequence in it that explored the exact same stereotypical racist joke; this time with Lester in Harlem mistaking everyone he sees for Cleveland.
Both episodes also ran in tandem with their sexual harassment storylines. Coach McFall made a return appearance, and convinced Cleveland to help him reunite with what he claimed was a long-lost love: Tyne Daly.
I didn't expect the twist that McFall was actually a crazed stalker who'd been harassing Daly in the past. That was just one piece of the insanity that New York offered Cleveland and his friends. Tim in the night club where "bears" were welcome led to a nice little punchline about cartoon bears never wearing pants.
Roberta, Rallo and Cleveland Jr.'s attempts to get a reality show based on them (but mostly Roberta) was the most frenetic and bizarre sequence of events of the night. climaxing with the MTV executive quite literally blowing away as sand after declaring that nobody watches television anymore.
I wish that were true because then we wouldn't have shows like the trashy tabloid 'TMZ' anymore. I'd like to be able to say that 'Family Guy' got them pretty good with a brutal satire, but what they really did was portray the show rather accurately -- I'm sure Renee Russo was flattered with that cartoon version of herself. Peter's attempts to get all TMZ on the celebrities of his town did give us another great moment with Mayor West. I'd throw him down in my den as the carpet.
The storyline with Angela actually went to pretty uncomfortable levels. First, with the levels of sexual harassment she was subjecting Peter to. Lois completely laughing off even the possibility that a man could be sexually harassed is a sentiment that does exist in society, and so it was a strong statement for 'Family Guy' to show us that harassment can and does go both ways.
Of course, things then went to the expected extremes with Angela attempting to commit suicide and then Peter disguising himself to try and boost her self-esteem. Even though it's all just a cartoon, I was actually glad to see Mort fall out of Peter's pants proving that Peter hadn't actually gone so far as to cheat on Lois to help Angela out.
Over on 'The Cleveland Show,' Cleveland spent so much time helping his friends out of their respective jams in New York, that he was neglecting the real reason for coming there: Donna. In the end, though, she realized that his commitment to everyone in his life is the reason she loves him so much, which means it was, of course, a happy ending for the newlywed couple.
Unfortunately, things didn't end up so well for their kids. I doubt 'Cleveland' is going to pick up events next week with the discovery that the kids were left behind in New York, but I kind of found myself wishing they would. It would make for a pretty funny episode in its own right.
[Check out clips and full episodes of 'The Cleveland Show,' and 'Family Guy' with our friends at SlashControl.]