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Sundays with Seth: 'Cleveland Show' and 'American Dad' Recaps (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 6th 2010 7:00AM

'The Cleveland Show' - 'Murray Christmas'['The Cleveland Show' - 'Murray Christmas']
['The Cleveland Show' - 'Beer Walk!']
['American Dad' - 'The People vs. Martin Sugar']

For the second week in a row, 'Family Guy' took a break from the Seth MacFarlane line-up. Instead, we got a double-shot of'The Cleveland Show' so 'Family Guy' can air its hour-long Christmas episode next week. But, as we got surprise guest appearances from the cast of 'Family Guy' in both 'Cleveland' and 'Dad' this week, so it almost felt like they were right here where they belong.

Because it's been bumped from next week's holiday Seth-travaganza, 'Cleveland' had to air its holiday-themed episode tonight. It had a rather sweet message about love and family, so MacFarlane had to hurry up and get it out of the way so he could move on to more serious fare like the roles of men and women in the household, the importance of our justice system, and the tragedy surrounding the condition known as HLS.

This, friends, is why the legalization of marijuana is so important. As we saw with poor, sick Jeff, if he's not in a perpetual state of "cool, man!" then he is in a perpetual state of self-pleasure. Hyperactive Libido Syndrome is real, and it strikes every healthy male who walks this planet, and probably most of the females as well! The only solution is to live in a cloud of pot smoke at all times. It's all-natural!

While Hayley was getting yelled at by Francine for not being able to keep up with Jeff's libido, and Jeff was getting caught soiling every corner of the Smith household, Stan was doing his civic duty by serving on a jury. He takes great pride in the justice system, which became problematic when Roger showed up and proved that charisma and likability can mean more than the facts of the case when it comes to a jury of your peers. Let's face it, most of your peers are morons.

'American Dad' - 'The People vs. Martin Sugar'It created an interesting situation, because Roger was clearly twisting the system to his own gain by manipulating the jurors emotionally, but Stan manipulated them just as much when he basically bullied them into a guilty verdict. Sure, Roger was guilty, but it was the reason they changed their vote that was questionable. It wasn't the compassionate arguments of 'Twelve Angry Men.' It was just one angry guy and eleven other people who just wanted to go home. Is that really how our justice system works?

In the comments recently, it came out that while 'Cleveland' and 'Guy' co-exist in the same universe, 'Dad' is off on its own, and isn't acknowledged as real by the others. This was addressed directly in an amusing "aside" when Stan went down a list of his favorite dogs. Brian from 'Family Guy' topped the list, and was abruptly standing there, martini in hand.

"Who are you?" he asked, to which Stan shouted, "Stop pretending I don't exist!" It was a fun nod to the situation between the shows. I kind of think MacFarlane wishes he'd placed them in the same universe, now that he has two shows that can cross over more directly and one that technically isn't supposed to. I say continuity be damned and let Superman, Batman and Captain America hang out as often as they want. The nerds will get over it.

They did just that this week, as 'Cleveland's second installment featured a clever charity benefit idea by Cleveland. To sponsor Donna's charity (she does that, you know), he declared a "Beer Walk," where the guys would get sponsors who'd then give them money for every beer they drink. In a fun crossover, Peter, Joe and Quagmire came over from Quahog to participate in the walk.

The bulk of the episode involved Donna and Cleveland tricking one another, in classic sitcom fashion. She faked a severe injury to get him to appreciate the housework she does, and have him do it for a while, while Cleveland tricked her into thinking she wanted to do the housework. It's the age-old debate of men's and women's domestic roles and responsibilities.

'The Cleveland Show' - 'Beer Walk!'For most families, I think the reality is summed up in the opening montage of Cleveland sitting on his butt all weekend watching sports and drinking while Donna cooked, cleaned and corralled the kids. Cleveland proved more than capable of managing the tasks, but he was even better at convincing Donna that her self-identity was tied up in those things.

It's an eerie reflection of the roles many take in our lives, but I don't think it's because men are as devious and malicious as Cleveland. First of all, we'd have to do all that work for awhile to convince the women that they should be doing it, and it looks hard. Plus, the game's on.

The holiday episode took on a much sweeter tone, as the main story involved Rallo and an elderly Jewish man at a retirement home becoming friends despite their passive racism of one another's people. It briefly touched on the subject of quality of life vs. quantity of years, which we struggle with in this country, but it was more of a simple reminder that the issue is out there, and not a direct tackling of it as MacFarlane has done for other hot-button topics.

Instead, he spent the other side of the episode exploring what a jerk Cleveland's parents are to him, and apparently have been for years. His weak and whiny tendencies come from years of literally having to fight his father, and lose, in an attempt to get presents, and being presumed a homosexual because he didn't fit their ideal of what a man was. I wonder if his dad would have been proud of how his son pulled one over on Donna in the next episode.

With all the old people tottering around, MacFarlane did get a dig in on CBS by declaring that the elderly are our most precious resource, followed by a declaration that we were watching CBS. They also managed to get in a dig at 'True Blood' as well, with Donna calling it some gay guy's nightmare. All in all, it was good to see both shows back in form after a disappointing outing last weekend.

'The Cleveland Show,' 'Family Guy' and 'American Dad' air Sundays, from 8:30PM ET on FOX.

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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becki schmuecker

American Dad pulling way ahead of Family Guy this year in quality and 'spit your beer out' one-liners from Roger!

December 08 2010 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They've aired 6 new episodes this season???Very interesting...how did I miss them. We watch every Sunday night. Do the new episodes run on any other night so i can catch them and know if I'm missing anything funny or not?

December 07 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm very disappointed that family guy has only had two new episodes this season and they were not very good......

December 06 2010 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alex's comment

Actually, they've aired six new episodes so far this season. Whether they were any good, that's another issue.

December 06 2010 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Family Guy and American Dad characters have been depicted (once) as inhabiting the same universe.
In the Family Guy episode "Lois Kills Stewie" (2007), American Dad characters Stan Smith and Avery Bullock appear to combat Stewie's access to the CIA's supercomputer. But since the whole episode was revealed to be a computer simulation, maybe this doesn't count?

December 06 2010 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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