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October 31, 2014

Sundays With Seth: 'American Dad,' 'Family Guy' and 'Cleveland Show' Recaps

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 21st 2011 8:05AM
'American Dad' - 'You Debt Your Life'['American Dad' - 'You Debt Your Life']
['Family Guy' - 'German Guy']
['The Cleveland Show' - 'Terry Unmarried']


While 'Cleveland' seemed to tackle the most serious issues, 'Dad' had the most laugh-out-loud moments and 'Family Guy' just came together as an all-around excellent episode. It was one of the new brand of 'Guy' episodes that featured a tighter plot and fewer cut-away gags. What that means is, more jokes that are organic to the actual storyline.

'American Dad,' on the other hand, managed to be brilliant with one very simple joke: Andy Dick is Roger.

From there, all they had to do was come up with the kinds of outrageous things Roger does on a weekly basis and replace him visually with Andy Dick. It was so beautifully simple, but it worked.



What that says about the public persona Andy Dick has created over the years is another story entirely. By this logic, we'll be having an episode next year with Charlie Sheen temporarily replacing Quagmire. Actually, it's kind of scary that celebrities act so much like outrageous cartoon characters.

The B-Side, if you will, of 'American Dad' wasn't nearly as funny, as it was also the same two jokes over and over again. Power corrupts and nobody remembers that live mics are on.

I did appreciate the fun of Roger trying to save Stan's life so he can justify having to move back in with him. That and the salve in his fanny pack giving Stan baby legs. That's the kind of visual that sticks with you. I loved the dramatic jump over the can in the hallway with those tiny legs.

But if we're going to talk about stunning visual presentations, nothing this week could top the climactic battle at the heart of this week's episode of 'Family Guy.' Herbert may be an old perv, but he was telling the truth about the kind-hearted new German guy, Franz, being an old Nazi.

'Family Guy' - 'German Guy'This led to two of the funniest sequences I've seen on 'Family Guy' in a long time. The first featured a surprisingly fast-thinking Peter disarming Franz and Chris picking up the gun. Suddenly, out of nowhere Chris couldn't figure out who to shoot between Peter and Franz.

It was as if he was channelling one of those movies where the bad guy makes himself look just like the good guy. Peter's completely flummoxed responses to Chris's confusion were just so perfect. This is an example of what I'm talking about when I say that non-sequitur humor within the context of the main plot can be so much funnier.

This was followed by Herbert coming to the rescue, creating an epic fight scene the likes of which we haven't seen since Peter vs. Giant Chicken. For sheer length, it may just rival some of those. But the feebleness of the two old men futilely slapping one another just made its length funnier and funnier as it went on and on.

Breaks to take pills and get a nurse to help Franz up only made it better. Then, the final blow and Franz fell down the porch step in sunset as the doves took off! John Woo would have been so proud!

The dramatic was much more subdued on 'Cleveland,' but there was one issue that's still a hot-topic. Throughout the episode, Cleveland slowly became a bit more tolerant of homosexuality, while Terry and Paul absolutely refused to bow down to the stereotypes.

It was a little strange that the illegal marriage of Cleveland and Donna was only used as a plot device to justify them joining Paul and Terry on a trip to Vermont so they could all get married together, but I guess everything existed to serve the plot. It seems, though, that they missed a story opportunity there.

'The Cleveland Show' - 'Terry Unmarried'I wasn't as enthused by the booger storyline, but then again that could be because I don't find boogers particularly entertaining. In fact, they're kind of gross. I'll admit to a prejudice here, so you may have found it the funniest storyline of the night.

Maybe it was for the same reasons that I wasn't impressed with Rallo's song-and-dance number either. It didn't seem to have the catchiness of many of Seth MacFarlane's other efforts. In fact, the whole episode felt like they had these two ideas -- breaking a nose-picking habit and gay marriage -- but didn't really take the time to flesh either of them out into complete stories.

They did put more work into them than 'American Dad' did on the morning announcements plot as that one just went nowhere over and over again until it finally ended. Thank goodness the Andy Dick stuff was so funny to save the episode.

Random bits of funny:

--Roger's life flashing before his eyes explained a lot of history (so we don't have George Lucas to blame for Jar-Jar Binks, huh?)
--"This has been inside someone," Roger picking up a feather boa we later realize belongs to Andy Dick
--"I'm pretty sure our washing machine is pregnant." --Lois, referring to Chris's extra-curricular activities that shattered his clothes and blanket
--Mr. Googlesearch
--Chris and Peter insulting Meg rather than calling for help when trapped in the basement
--Herbert remembering to call Meg "thunder thighs"
--"As long as you're filming and selling, it's legal ... She's not a whore if she's an actress." [Though I doubt the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is going to find it all that funny after they were tagged onto the end of it]
--Cleveland's "Stupid/Smart" list for his son is something all parents probably do with their children ... they just don't write it down
--Donna's attempts to help bring gay marriage to Virginia barely lasted a second

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

[Follow Jason, @ultraversion21, on Twitter.]

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Jenny

How appropriate was it that the German-themed episode of Family Guy aired during the same first weekend run of the new Liam Neeson Berlin-set movie 'Unknown'!! Talk about coincidence!! It certainly was a big deal 4 me.

February 22 2011 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rangerleroy

I'm guessing that those who hated the slow motion fight are also members of the camp that hated the [in]famous incident where Peter grabs his knee and moans seven times. Part of what makes this sort of thing funny for me is the sheer minimalist audacity of it.

February 21 2011 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rangerleroy's comment
Sarah

i actually liked that gag.

February 22 2011 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janice

My god!! That fight sequence on family guy was just exscrutiating.It kept going and going and going. I couldnt take it. And i couldnt even watch Cleveland show because of that booger. Please!!

February 21 2011 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

Sorry, but I thought this was one of the worst Family Guy episodes in a long time. I thought the fight sequence was long and it just kept on going. To me it seemed like it was just filler for other things. I did enjoy the confusion that Chris had when he couldn't tell who his father was. That was funny. But the fight was just plain dumb.

February 21 2011 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment
Sarah

i completely agree. the first 15 seconds of the slap fighting was brilliant, but it got old really quick... and then we had to suffer through like 3 more minutes of it to get to the epic ending. Mr. Googlesearch and Mr. Poopenchest were the funniest lines of the night.

February 21 2011 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jay

I found Family Guy to be one of the funniest episodes of the season, but why does Seth seem to think there is a need to have a singing number in one of his shows every week? The second Rallo's singing number came on, I turned off the tv. I'm not watching a Seth McFarlane show for singing! LOL

February 21 2011 at 8:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jay's comment
rangerleroy

Well a lot of the rest of us do, so get over it. (Though, in this case, Justin Timberlake was just wasted on what was far from one of the best musical numbers.)

February 21 2011 at 10:35 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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