The Cleveland Show: Even Worse Than Previously Thought: An Early Review

Admittedly, it has been awhile since I’ve actually watched an episode of Family Guy. But I’m confident that I’ve seen enough. The show is so repetitive and obvious and cheap and dumb, and I’ve seen plenty of episodes without ever once being surprised by the show being anything other than repetitive and obvious and cheap and dumb, that I feel like I’ve gotten the best of what it has to offer, and that its best is awful. And so I live my life now mostly Family Guy-free. When the Earth is covered in ice, and the Future Mecha dig up Haley Joel Osment’s robo-body, buried beneath Ancient Coney Island, to uncover the last recorded history of human kind, they will notice, lying there at the bottom of what was once the ocean, vast containers containing this show, which our descendants will have buried there, finally, having realized our mistake.

All of that being said, if the opening scene of the premiere episode of The Cleveland Show, the Family Guy spin-off that begins as an episode of Family Guy before spinning-off, and of which this is supposedly an early review, is any indication, that show has actually gotten worse, and I am worried that it is taking so long for our descendants to plunge this thing face first into the fucking water. We should all be having a lot more babies, you guys. So that they can learn. So that they can bury it. Now.

This is the opening scene of the premiere episode of the Cleveland Show, when it is still basically an episode of Family Guy, right before it spins-off:

HOLY SHIT. A dull Saran Wrap condom non-joke followed by a casually tossed-off racist remark, and ending with a Kathleen Turner zing?

But this is not a condemnation of Family Guy, as I believe that Family Guy is enough of a condemnation of Family Guy. This is an early review of The Cleveland Show. Which is basically Black Family Guy. And never gets any better than that opening scene. And so it IS a condemnation of The Cleveland Show, which I guess turns it into a condemnation of Family Guy. Whatever. You do the math. I will be busy puking in between typing in ALL CAPS.

This show does not premiere until September, but I happened to get a tip from a Professional Internet Colleague on where to legally download the first episode because you should never illegally download things ever, it’s terrible. Super legal. This Professional Internet Colleague included a note with this information:

If you actually download and watch the leaked pilot of The Cleveland Show, you care about your job more than I.

“Would that I had taken the red pill.”
The Matrix

This is one of the laziest shows that I have ever seen in my life. It appears to have been written in about 10 seconds, on the back of a urinal cake, in urine. Cleveland and his son leave the fictional town of Quahog for California, but stop on the way in Cleveland’s hometown of Stoolbend, Virginia. GET IT? Because Virginia has had a long tradition of fine furniture craftsmanship, but also POOP. And that is the “wit” of this show. Here is some of the “comedy”:

Cleveland: It means you’ve gotta take chances in life to find true happiness.
Son: That sounds gay.
Cleveland: Gays are smart, just look at how many lines Gene Hackman has been able to memorize over the years.

THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE. I mean, in addition to the boring homophobia, and the lame attempt at disguising that homophobia with a nonsensical compliment that isn’t a compliment (gays are smart because of their ability to memorize sentences?), the worst part of this joke is actually the fact that GENE HACKMAN IS CONSIDERED A LEGITIMATE POP CULTURE TARGET. It’s 2009, what are we even talking about here? Between this and the Kathleen Turner diss, by the time the show gets to a character based on Kevin Federline (named Federline Jones) that actually feels RELEVANT AND TOPICAL.


Not that the non pop-cultural references are any better. “The office said they’d reimburse me for the gas mileage out there, and with gas prices these days, right your own punchline.” Ugh. Gas jokes? And also NO. YOU WRITE THE PUNCHLINE. THAT IS WHAT THAT 100 MILLION DOLLARS WAS FOR. There’s also a “joke” about genital mutilation. It goes like this:

Cleveland’s Love Interest: I don’t know what to do.
Cleveland: Have you considered genital mutilation?
Cleveland’s Love Interest: What?
Cleveland: Haha, I’m joking.

? Good joke.

I will leave the issue of race to someone more capable and better informed, although I do think it’s odd that Seth MacFarlane cast a racially mixed group of voice actors to play the black characters (except for the bear–that’s right, the fucking BEAR–just like the fucking DOG who came before him–because even Seth MacFarlane’s bizarre choices have to be repetitive–who is voiced by Seth MacFarlane doing his best impression of a miserable frat boy doing his Triumph the Insult Comic Dog impression to impress someone who is also drunk). But whatever. It is surprising that race is probably the least of this show’s many problems. And besides, they took care of it:

Problem solved.

Look, Seth MacFarlane has made an incredible fortune by churning out repetitive and obvious and cheap and dumb (and also thoughtless, and also immature) garbage. You can barely fault him*, since it’s obviously what America wants. The Cleveland Show, just like Family Guy, is not surprising. It seems to aggressively and efficiently work to meet its intended audience’s very low expectations. Certainly no more. Maybe a little less. The only thing about it that is even remotely surprising, still, every time, is the fact this show is probably going to do great. Because this world was not made for people like us. We can only hope that our children will do better. And that the Future Mecha will leave those sunken cases where they are, to rot. DON’T TOUCH THOSE CASES, FUTURE MECHA!

*But you will fault him.