Cleveland might have had to skip his own new episode so that he could make the drive to Quahog for a cameo appearance this week. "This was worth the 500 mile drive," he declared upon his arrival in one of the funnier absurdist sequences on the night.
Love was in the air this week, with Stewie joining the American production of his favorite children's show, only to find love with one of his co-stars, while Lois' growing insecurities about her age led her to cougar Meg's new boyfriend as hard as she could.
As expected, the event had more of a Comic Con feel to it then the normally more reserved Paley atmosphere. Obsessed fans of 'Family Guy,' 'American Dad' and 'The Cleveland Show' (or fans of all three when you consider they're all kind of the same show) packed into the lavish Saban Theatre to watch MacFarlane sip a little booze, take a few potshots and soak up the adulation.
MacFarlane was joined by Seth Green, Alex Borstein, Dan Palladino, Steve Marmel, Rich Appel, Mike Barker, Danny Smith and Kara Vallow. But MacFarlane held court as the center of attention.
Unfortunately, the presence of Bill Maher (someone who never really was that funny) as host of an event dedicated to MacFarlane (one of the industry's most influential and powerful comedic minds) steered the agenda away from discussing the shows' collective content and future to a more sociopolitical agenda.
Remember when 'The Simpsons' was the most controversial show on television? Now it seems tame by comparison to a plethora of others. Of course, now 'Family Guy' will set the standard for the future in terms of crudeness.
Mind you, the FCC only investigates complaints about network channels (the ones that can be seen for free). So programs like 'South Park' and 'Jersey Shore' are safe ... for now.
And what sort of depraved and immoral activities will the animated sitcom of the future hold? Will it have baby eating? Sex with vegetables? Politics? Whatever the lowest common denominator program of the future is, the only guarantee that can be certain in the future is that it will be shown on Fox.
This time, Ellen, a character with Down syndrome voiced by actress Andrea Fay Friedman who also has Down syndrome, goes on a date with Chris and says that her mother is "the former Governor of Alaska." This sent the Palin family into an anger spiral that prompted her to trash the show and characterize it as an attack on her young son Trig, who also has Down syndrome, and everyone suffering from mental illness.
However, what Palin and the rest of the outraged among us fail to realize is that they suffer from a far greater disability: a lack of a sense of humor.
Could season 4 be the final one for 'Mad Men'? Which hit sitcom is on its way to Hawaii? There was lots of TV scoop (and more than a few laughs) found at the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards, which were handed out to television, film and video game writers on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City, California.
The evening kicked off with a promise from host Seth MacFarlane ('Family Guy') to do the best "Tom Bergeron, Jeff Probst, Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest and Howie Mandel" job he could do, a reference to the five reality show hosts' critically panned performance at the 60th Annual Prime Time Emmys.
This week managed to be both boring and wonderful at the same time. In fact, 'American Dad' and 'The Cleveland Show' paralleled one another in this sense. Both had very strong lead stories featuring their respective fathers and sons, and both had rather dull back-up installments featuring the daughters.
What is it with Seth MacFarlane and female daughters? The fact that he can't find anything to do with Meg has become a running joke on 'Family Guy,' but he has the same problems with Hayley and Roberta.
Did you notice anything different about Roberta this week? Did she sound a little more like Sarah Chalke than Lecy Goranson (that's a 'Roseanne' joke for those paying attention)? That's because Nia Long, who's been the voice of Roberta thus far was replaced this episode by Reagan Gomez-Preston. I know, it's almost as shocking as when Darrin went from one Dick to another on 'Bewitched.'
Despite dealing with a cyborg Stan from the future, 'American Dad' gave us the strongest Valentine's outing of the night. The final image, albeit a little morbid, was genuinely sweet and emotionally satisfying for anyone seeing true and lasting love. For all his buffoonery, and there is a lot, Stan always comes through on the side of love in the end. Tonight's battle was with his own selfishness.
Stan proved it by taking himself to the Hershey park, and then eating Francine's promised breakfast-in-bed himself, and even agreeing to be turned into a cyborg in the future by the CIA, rather than spend eternity in a joint coffin with Francine. It took future Stan coming back, after 1000 years alone, and trying to steal Francine away from him, for Stan to realize that he did care about her.
I'm not sure if it was by bizarre coincidence or divine -- by which I mean Seth MacFarlane -- intervention, but all three MacFarlane episodes this week were mired in illegal activities. 'Family Guy' saw Meg go from a sweet innocent teenaged girl into a hardened criminal, Cleveland Brown inadvertently became a drug trafficker, while Stan Smith found himself overwhelmed with a drug problem of his own.
And in both 'The Cleveland Show' and 'American Dad,' we got reminders that marijuana isn't really a drug. 'The Cleveland Show' listed for us where we can get it legally (with a prescription), while 'American Dad' mocked the notion of someone becoming addicted to pot to the point they would need rehab.
At least 'Family Guy' kept it simple. Drugs weren't an issue throughout the entire episode, though Meg was certainly acting like she was on drugs. What she was really doing, though, was acting out over years of abuse by everyone around her.
As busy as he is, MacFarlane also produced 'Something, Something, Something, Dark Side', the DVD movie that spoofs 'The Empire Strikes Back', the second installment in the first 'Star Wars' trilogy. AOL TV recently chatted with the creative genius about his plans for future movie spoofs ('Khan'!!), the importance of opening theme songs, Jay Leno returning to late night and how biting humor can change people's hearts and minds.
(S01E11) While Cleveland and the boys down at the bar were trying to come up with the next great invention, Roberta was learning a lesson in what it's like to not be gorgeous. And who better to teach her the lesson than Jane Lynch. With Glee on hiatus until sometime in 2147 -- at least it feels that long -- I'll take what Lynch I can get. And she was great here as a bitter teacher ... wait, that sounds familiar.
I think she was woefully under-utilized, though, as the storyline involving her never really achieved any resolution. More specifically, it started as a storyline for Roberta, became a storyline for both Roberta and Cleveland, Jr. and yet it was really only Jr. who got a somewhat satisfying conclusion. Of course, I'm probably just bitter that Lynch didn't show up again.
Between The Rock's bizarre guest appearance on Family Guy, and Stan's dirty deed on American Dad, it was a strange week in the twisted mind of Seth MacFarlane. But in a twist M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of, it was Family Guy's Meg Griffin who had the most memorable stand-out moment of the night. Uncomfortable, but memorable.
We also got the first episode of American Dad in the 16:9 widescreen ratio for the first time, and they didn't take advantage of the change to make any modification to the intro sequence at all, or spotlight it in any self-aware way. I still wish last week's epic could have been in widescreen, but with Family Guy now the only holdout on Animation Domination, the whole thing feels a little weird. Shouldn't the marquee show for Seth MacFarlane be in widescreen before its offspring?
If you want to be a great comedic actor, you can never let on that you know you're being funny. Your character never knows what the joke is. That's why Rodney Dangerfield was a great, legendary stand-up comedian, and a fairly poor comic actor.
Everyone on this list excels at the comedic poker face. Steve Carell and Ricky Gervais, in their Office boss characters, don't know that most of the rest of the office is laughing at them. Or at least they don't understand why. Stephen Colbert, despite all of the attention The Colbert Report have received, may be the most underrated comic actor, because the character is so seamless, sometimes it's hard to tell it's a character. Shatner is a legend for playing campy with a poker face. And Neil Patrick Harris as a cad? A straight cad? Perfect.
Here are a few of our favorite comedic actors from the past decade, and may their characters never realize the joke's on them.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network will serve up 13 new episodes of 'Bob's Burgers.' The show is based on Loren Bouchard ('Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist,' 'Home Movies') and Jim Dauterive's ('King of the Hill')12-minute presentation, with a voice cast that includes H. Jon Benjamin, 'Flight of the Conchords' alum Kristen Schaal (pictured), Eugene Mirman and 'Important Things with Demetri Martin' writer Dan Mintz.
The show centers around Bob, a struggling burger joint owner, his "tightly wound wife" and their three reckless kids. Bouchard told the Reporter that the original idea was to write a show about a family of cannibals, but the latter aspect was ultimately dropped -- probably for the best, considering the family runs a burger joint.
Hey look, Scrubs is back early!
Oh wait, never mind. That's just Donald Faison on American Dad. How could I have possibly gotten those two things mixed up? I don't know why, but I still get a kick out of guest appearances on animated shows, particularly when the actor who plays the actual character jumps in to do their own voice, as Faison did here.
Plus, it was an interaction with Roger. Ah, Roger. Let's talk about what has to be the single greatest presence of all three Seth MacFarlane shows. I probably don't mention him enough, because sometimes he's not as integral to the plots of AD. But, he's always a huge part of the laughs. As soon as he waddles into a room, you just wait for the zingers or the costume or the antics that will send you off your rocker. His turn this week as a "madame" was sheer brilliance.
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