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October 9, 2015

Sundays With Seth: 'American Dad' and 'Cleveland Show' Recaps

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 24th 2011 7:15AM

'American Dad' - 'Stanny Boy and Frantastic'['American Dad' - 'Stanny Boy and Frantastic']
['The Cleveland Show' - 'Like a Boss']

Growing up and growing older. With 'Family Guy' taking the week off, these were the themes explored in the other two Seth MacFarlane comedies.

I like when a comedy speaks to me on something I can relate to. And I think 'American Dad' was clever enough in approaching how our lives change as we get older in a way that both sides of the situation can relate to.

Those of us in the older demographics can feel for Stan and Francine wanting so desperately to be able to keep up with their young friends, while the youth among us can laugh about how lame old people are.

While I haven't yet reached my 40s, I've definitely gotten to a point in my life where the non-stop energy of my college years is more of a memory than something I can channel in my every day life. And I fear, like Stan and Francine, that I may just try to take on more than I should because I certainly don't feel any older than I was. So why shouldn't I be able to do what I used to be able to?

Our bodies do a great job of reminding us of our limitations, if not necessarily as dramatically as Stan's broken shin bone did for him.

The urge to sabotage someone else's pregnancy prevention has never crossed my mind, but the Smiths are absolutely right in that having a baby is usually enough to slow you down. It was a rather aggressively harsh statement about how we're waiting longer and longer to have babies. After all, this was a woman around 30 years old and the pair of them absolutely freaked out at the thought of her being pregnant.

Maybe by 30 we should be starting to settle down and slow down. Maybe we're delaying growing up a little too much in this country. Granted, being an adult isn't nearly as awesome and fun as being a kid, but you can't be a kid forever.

Or is it that with each generation living longer and longer, we've decided to add those extra years to our youths instead of our adult lives? Maybe it isn't weird to see a 30-year old skateboarding or free-running any more.

'The Cleveland Show' - 'Like a Boss'The alternative is to settle into the boredom of adulthood. Once there, most men spend much of their time trying to recapture the simple joys of their younger years. On 'The Cleveland Show,' Cleveland and Terry thought of a promotion not in terms of greater responsibility and more money, as their wives did, but rather as a chance to slack off even more.

When Tim got the promotion, they could scarcely understand why he was taking the job seriously. Who wants to be all "adult" about it? Certainly not the two guys who still like to splash in the creek and frequent strip clubs. One channels the little boy inside of them, and the other the teenage pervert that never quite goes away.

At the top of the episode, Seth MacFarlane nailed the absurdity of office relationships when he had a coworker die. This is someone you've spent perhaps years with, and while you feel obligated to be sad about it, you're actually more concerned about who's going to get his chair, his office, or even maybe his stapler.

We're petty and selfish, and his depiction of that side of us was painfully accurate. Humanity is squeezed out of us in corporate America, so all we see is opportunity in death. How can I benefit from this? That's how you end up with people like Chad, who threaten to shoot up the office. I'm wearing red as I'm writing this, Chad.

How great was it that Chad took out his revenge by shooting Tim, but we later found out he got away with it because he had a valid hunting license? Speaking of Tim, is this the first time we found out why he built a house and lives in a neighborhood? How hilarious that he's terrified of the woods.

The side stories this week didn't have great pay-offs, but I did enjoy Rallo's teacher having a drawer full of turtles. Rallo convincing Junior it could talk just didn't take us anywhere really funny. I just tried to imagine if this were Brian and Stewie how much more outrageous they would have taken it. As it was, it just kind of petered out.

The same thing happened with Roger and Steve's holding for two weeks to return a shoddy product they impulsively bought online. The best bit about that whole side gag was that it was purchased with Greg and Terry's credit card, and Roger's explanation as to why they don't notice his charges each month.

Other Funny Moments

--The suicide pit in the Smith kitchen with Francine teasing the alligators.

--Loved the sight gag after Francine and Stan try to fix their screw-up regarding their pregnant friends. Just him with a hanger and her with a vacuum agreeing they're glad they're on the same page: Clean up the house and hang up those clothes and then figure out what to do.

--Cleveland as the FOX NFL robot busting through the wall like Kool-Aid Man was great.

--Bob the Builder doesn't like Building Inspectors first thing in the morning.

'American Dad,' 'Family Guy' and 'The Cleveland Show' air Sundays at 7:30, 9:00 and 9:30 PM ET, respectively, on FOX.

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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