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July 23, 2014

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

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 21st 2011 8:30AM
'The Cleveland Show' - 'To Live and Die in VA'['Family Guy' - 'Trading Places']
['The Cleveland Show' - 'To Live and Die in VA']


This week was about stepping outside of your life. Sometimes, doing so can give you a whole new respect for what you have, while other times it can spotlight what you've maybe missed out on.

Our two Seth MacFarlane entries this week took that premise and ran with it, one in each direction.

'Family Guy' went down the fairly cliché route of having the parents switch family roles with the kids. Then, on 'The Cleveland Show,' it was Lester's turn to explore what his life could have been like had he not settled down with Kendra.

In fact, we learned some things about Lester and Kendra's relationship that I never would have guessed. We also learned something about Donna that was startling, but could lead to a fresh new look for her. We'll have to see if it sticks.

I hate to admit that I was completely oblivious to the obvious perils of Cleveland's Beer Force One idea. In fact, I was on board with it being a great idea until they showed the massive pile-up from all the drunk drivers. So, I'm an idiot. Luckily, I can drink and write with no harm to anyone. What couldposs'blyg'runnnggg???

It was all a set-up for Lester to set himself up to escape the miserable redneck stereotype his life has become. The reveal that Kendra was his guidance counselor when he was in high school was unexpected, but it fits in with the idea that they're every negative stereotype of lower class middle America.

As a resident of middle America, I have to say -- they've kind of got a lot of those points right. I've seen plenty of people like Kendra who would be lost if Wal-Mart expected them to use their own two feet to traverse that entire store.

I just continue to hope that this isn't how the Coasts think everyone and everything in the middle of the country is. Actually, Lester is in Virginia, so this one's on them. East Coast rednecks! Excuse the rant.

I should have seen it coming, though. Nobody in the Midwest would turn to a perfume counter for their new life after walking away from all ... of ... that? I was referring to his horrible house and poverty-level existence, but I guess I could have been referring to Kendra as well.

Is the portrayal of Kendra on this show offensive to heavy people? This week, with her moving into the Brown house for a while, we saw plenty of jokes built entirely around how fat she is. It's certainly an easy point of reference, and they've done a good job of adding more layers to her personality, but her portrayal is still mostly one fat joke after another.

There isn't much to say about the B-story featuring Rallo and the barbers, other than I do strangely enjoy his friendship with Murray. That, and it just might have given Donna a much-needed makeover. Other than that, it was kind of dull and pointless.

'Family Guy' - 'Trading Places'If the overweight are offended by Kendra, the housewives of the world have to be infuriated at Meg's ripping into Lois about how easy housework and cooking dinner is every day. It was just one joke they got out of having Meg and Chris switch roles with Peter and Lois.

Sure, we've seen it a million times, but it was set up by the kids wrecking Peter's dirt bike. We've never seen that bef... Oh wait, yes we have. Well, Peter won it by keeping his hand on it the longest. That's never used on tele... Geez, were there any unique ideas in this episode?

Well, the big beats of the episode might have been cliché, but 'Family Guy' took it to that next level. I actually enjoyed seeing Meg step up as a character and be more than the butt of her family's hatred. Plus, Seth Green was absolutely hilarious during Chris's psychological breakdown leading up to his heart attack.

Peter summed up the message of both episodes beautifully: "I guess what we all learned is that no matter who you are, or where you come from, life is a terrible thing," he said. Amen, brother. But the good news is that it's finite.

Wait, that's a terrible lesson to take away from the show. Thank goodness there were laughs along the way.

OTHER NOTES:

--Peter should have told Mr. Pewterschmidt he really liked that backhoe.

--Peter didn't take long to set up a murder-killing spree at the high school. Poor Lance.

--A spit-bull? That was insane, but I laughed anyway.

--Who saw Peter's police sketch artist drawing being a real mugger?

--I hope Donna keeps the new hair; the James Brown look is so last season.

--Don't feel bad, Junior. We're all jealous of how beautiful Legolas is.

--Was that a tease for a Quagmire show? Why not give MacFarlane another half-hour? With 'Two and a Half Men' gone, a Quagmire show could fill that missing hole.

'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 on Twitter.]

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M-D

"--Was that a tease for a Quagmire show? Why not give MacFarlane another half-hour? With 'Two and a Half Men' gone, a Quagmire show could fill that missing hole."

Giggity giggity giggity.

(In all seriousness, please no. Work on Cleveland & American Dad - no need for a 4th 1/2 hour.)

March 21 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

i actually think Family Guy is pretty funny this season. sure, some of the plotlines aren't very unique... i still am laughing out loud and scaring my neighbors a lot this season. as for the fat jokes, it pretty much mimics real life. even the most unfunny person i know can utter out a fat joke at other people's expense.

March 21 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandinbox

Love seth MacFarlane and his writers humor on Family Guy but, I don't like Cleveland ,it's just not funny . American Dad is a little better but, even family guy this season hasn't been as funny as past shows. Me thinks Seth MacFarlane is spread to thin or not as interested in the comedies as he is in music. I hope he doesn't give up his day job though. I'm sure being funny all the time must be so difficult without some long breaks...but his real life singing voice lacks heart. He sings better in Family Guy when he mimics other voices. Looking forward to Ted the movie in hopes that it will be as funny as family guy. like all the stars wish seth had a human role. He's cute. never seen him act in person so don't know how good he'd be. Love to see him and Mila Kunis remake "Two for the Road" a 60s movie with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn. They'd be the perfect match for that movie. They could make it really funny. By the way I'm tired of the media always asking us if something is offensive. Satire is offensive so if you're too thin skin for it don't watch it. But please stop asking all these idiots who don't understand satire what they think of it. They don't know what the word satire means. Give them their stupid reality shows but, do let those of us who like offensive humor have our laughs please!!!!!!!!!

March 21 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mtlamar

They've been teasing a Quagmire show since long before they came up with The Cleveland Show. I doubt it will ever happen, since he pretty much remains a one-joke character despite an occasional moment of added depth.

As to Kendra being offensive: every character on all of Seth's shows is offensive to somebody. Since he covers all the bases, you either refuse to watch, or accept the fact that sooner or later he's going to get around to you and you just have to laugh and move on.

March 21 2011 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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