Thursday, May 20, 2010
Jonesing with Family Guy, gambling with Cleveland and Kanye
Sunday's Family Guy had an interesting feel to it, as Peter, Joe and Quagmire attempted to find the source of all the world's dirty jokes. I felt like I was watching a cross between one of the better Indiana Jones movies, because of the feel of adventure to it, and Stand By Me, because Peter was providing (funny) narration.
The episode also provided a bit of a compromise between the normal comedy of the previous week's episode, and the poignancy of two weeks ago. There were less "manatee jokes" and cutaways, although there was still plenty of random humor. (My favorite of which is represented by the picture to the right, when the gang somehow traces the origin of a dirty joke at one point to Bender from Futurama. p.s. New episodes of Futurama start in June on Comedy Central!)
Anyway, the gang traces the joke back to Virginia, and then eventually, to Cleveland. And by that, I mean the black dude who used to be on the show, not the city that will be losing Lebron James. (Okay, I'm sorry Cleveland - That was a low blow.) As I've done at the top of this entry, Peter bitterly complains that FOX ruined the surprise by featuring Cleveland in all of the promos for this week's episode.
Most of the show is vintage Family Guy - inappropriate jokes about the Vietnam War, the March of Dimes and stabbings. If you're usually a fan though, this is one of the season's better episodes, mostly because it isn't jerking around the perspective and timeline constantly with cuts to other action.
Although it doesn't receive as much attention as Family Guy, either from myself or critics, I do follow The Cleveland Show consistently. While this week's episode wasn't anything super special, it did feature one really great visual - Tim, a usually mild bear that acts like Steve Martin's "wild and crazy guy" character from Saturday Night Live, went on a rampage when the riverboat casino the guys were out ran out of buffet food.
However, the bigger shock to me came from the previous week's episode. In that one, Cleveland Jr. tries to gain the heart of a classmate with the help of Rollo, only to find out that she already has a man, Kenny. As I was watching, I thought, "This Kenny sounds like a spot on clone of Kanye West..." Uh, whoops.
I was stunned that West voiced himself, because outside of a Saturday Night Live skit with Mike Myers, he doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor about himself. He's also apparently already signed up for an episode in the second season, so I'm looking forward to that as well. His appearance on the show only added to my appreciation of an already-solid episode. While The Cleveland Show is still just a more wholesome, derivative version of Family Guy, it is worth the 30-minute investment each week.
Season grade: B+
The picture of Kanye in animated form is from this site.