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December 19, 2014

Sundays With Seth: 'Family Guy' and 'Cleveland Show' Recaps

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 7th 2011 9:15AM
'Family Guy' - 'The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair'['Family Guy' - 'The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair']
['The Cleveland Show' - 'The Blue, the Gray and the Brown']


Stan Smith must have been called away on some big-time CIA mission because 'American Dad' is off the schedule until the end of the month. Luckily, we still got a solid hour of Uncle Seth's special brand of humor. That meant yet another original song on 'The Cleveland Show' and yet another drawn-out fight on 'Family Guy.'

Still, I thought these were a couple of pretty solid installments. 'Cleveland' took an intelligent look at the issue of slavery and Civil War re-enactments, while 'Family Guy' showed us what would happen if Stewie had no conscience at all. It's not pretty.

The other side of the story was Meg-centric and, get this, it was pretty damned good, too. Meg is great as the incredibly needy, creepy, crazy, stalker type. When Lois pawned off taking care of Joe and the baby on her while Bonnie was away, Meg took it a step too far when Joe was actually nice to her.

Mila Kunis was deliciously disturbed in her performance here, channelling the best in horror movies. I almost expected her to turn into Annie Wilkes from 'Misery' and strap Joe to a bed (I know it's a closer parallel to 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,' I just don't care). Alas, our Meg isn't that strong, no matter how much crazy she's carrying around.

The Stewie storyline was an interesting moment in that it seemed to be an introspective analysis of the character's progression over nine seasons. Basically, Stewie's gotten soft. He's no longer the homicidal matricidal mini-assassin with no conscience that we originally met. Dare I say, having a dog has softened him.

So, Stewie decides to do something about it, and in doing so unleashes the unfettered evil incarnation of Stewie Griffin. As disturbing as it was to watch Evil Stewie in action, it was darkly hilarious as well. By the time Stewie was spitting out Brian's tail and vomoting on the carpet as Brian was trying to jam his tail back on his backside, I was laughing despite myself.

The drawn out fight sequence was a little too cliché because we've seen long fights over and over again and, more importantly, we all knew where it was going. Of course the two Stewies were going to wind up where Brian couldn't tell them apart.

I wonder if this was an acknowledgement that Stewie has changed with an intention to try and bring some of his edge back, or more like a swan song farewell to that level of callousness. How do you like your Stewie?

'The Cleveland Show' - 'The Blue, the Gray and the Brown''The Cleveland Show' stuck pretty much with one major plotline, though it took a few wild turns. Along the way, we got a fairly substandard -- if pleasant enough -- song about small town life. At this point, these things are so frequent, they're rather losing their specialness. Maybe save them for when you've got some great material to write, Seth. This one was just okay. In fact, it was almost sincere instead of funny.

We got a glimpse of the rich Southern history of Stoolbend, and I'm sure it won't sit well with many Southerners as it depicts a town that was not only founded on slavery, but that still has its founding families living in that narrow-minded world of bigotry.

I did love how Cleveland was able to make his point in a Civil War re-enactment by fake-shooting people. Per the "rules" they have to die, even if he's not following the script. I actually went to one of these things, as I thought it would make a memorable experience. What I remember is that it was cloudy, noisy and we could barely see a tenth of the battle.

I doubt breaking the script would go over as smoothly as it did for Cleveland, but the people who participate are very passionate about the accuracy of their performances, except for the ones who are texting or otherwise shifting around to get more comfortable after they "die."

HIGHLIGHTS

--"I stole Meg's cut-away" -Peter

--Patrick Stewart as the voice of Susie. More of this, please!

--"I need these voiceover checks to support my gambling addiction." -Bonnie (Jennifer Tilly)

--The random 'Thriller' ending to the Evil Stewie storyline

--Tim sends Cleveland's newspaper headline flub, 'Brown Saves Drive Ib,' to Jay Leno's "Headlines"

--Smurf meat?

--The horse who re-enacted dying better than any of the humans

--The PBS-style 'Civil War' voiceover and presentation

'American Dad,' 'Family Guy' and 'The Cleveland Show' air Sundays at 7:30, 9:00 and 9:30PM ET, respectively, on FOX (though not every week together).

[Follow Jason, @ultraversion21, on Twitter.]

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Monica

I couldn’t believe evil Stewie would get the Kool-Aid man like that, though it was funny. I’m so glad I have and work for DISH so I don’t have to worry about the contract negotiations going on with DirecTV and FOX. I just read that starting November 1st, they’re going to stop airing FOX channels until they come to a resolution. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about any of that, I love catching off-the-wall references like the cat eyes at the end of the episode.

October 23 2011 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
purplesparklez13

shutt upp .! uqqh youu juss madd mee madd .! youu dnt liive family quyy .? what iis wronqee wiit youu womenn .? even myy damn kiids watch family quyy .! andd w/o stewiie family quyy would bee nothiin !!!!!!

March 16 2011 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
purplesparklez13

anywayss .! ii lovee stewiie no matter HOW NIICE HEE ISS ORR NOTT .!!! iim aa truee fan .!!!

March 16 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Enemy of Mediocrity

Frankly, I like the "nicer" Stewie. We've seen the homicidal one already; nine season's worth. It'd gotten pretty old. I thought the way Stewie acted in the "New Kidney In Town" episode was freaking amazing and wonderful. I never thought Family Guy could touch me like that. If Stewie is going back to the violent psycho who doesn't care about anyone, then I might start tuning the show out. *shrug* There's other stuff to watch out there.

March 08 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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