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The Cleveland Show on Fox
The Cleveland Show has a lot of soul … music, that
is. That’s about the only positive thing one can say about the latest offering
from Seth MacFarlane, Hollywood’s pre-eminent purveyor of puerile potty humor.
True to form, this Family Guy spin-off is every bit as soul-sucking,
nihilistic, infantile, and crass as its predecessor -- the only difference
being, this serving of filth airs a half-hour earlier, so even more kiddies can
tune in! The series premiere that aired on September 27th at 8:30
p.m. ET contained explicit sexual content that rightfully earned it the title of
Worst TV Show of the Week.
In the MacFarlane universe,
Cleveland Brown would win the Father of the Year award by simple virtue of the
fact that he shows a minimal amount of concern for the children under his care.
In the real world, though, Child Protective Services might want to keep an eye
on him. Upon returning to his hometown with his son, Cleveland Jr., he
rekindles his crush for childhood sweetheart Donna, who has two children of her
own – Rallo (a five-year-old) and Roberta (a rebellious teen). Cleveland
quickly becomes a father-figure to both of them. But his parenting skills are
questionable, particularly given his preoccupation with sex. During his
send-off from Quahog, Lois asks Cleveland if there's anything he needs before he
goes. He requests to see Lois and Bonnie kiss. They coyly oblige him, but soon
they are groping each other as the men watch with mouths agape. Quagmire urges
them to “touch boobs.” When Cleveland and his fourteen-year-old son tour his
alma mater, Cleveland muses, “There used to be so much hot fur walking around
here. Nowadays, the way the ladies are all grooming themselves, I don't even
know what you'd call it. I guess you'd say there's so much hot area of skin
walking around here. I'm glad I grew up when I did.” Pubic hair? This is what
a father discusses with his son as they tour a high school? Later, Cleveland
lays down the law with Roberta’s boyfriend. He grabs him by the collar and
demands that he bring Roberta back at a reasonable hour: “There's a lady inside
who you're gonna bring home at ten o' clock. Not 10:01, not 9:59 because that
might be too soon. ‘Cause I'm hoping to get in a bit of petting myself
tonight. I don't know why I'm telling you this, but it's true. I want it
because it feels good. Damn! I put a lot of time into this one and I'm not
gonna let you mess it all up by coming home at 9:59.” So the curfew isn’t
necessarily for Roberta’s benefit as much as Cleveland’s sexual gratification.
Cleveland also helps Rallo get reinstated into his kindergarten class after, it
is implied, Rallo sexually harassed a teacher. Cleveland offers this sage bit
of advice: “Now remember, I’m not trying to stop you from being who you are. You
just gotta be cool about it. So, what are you going to do when you want to go
under the table to look up someone’s skirt?”
Rallo responds, “Create another
reason for why I would be going under the table.” Rallo pretends to drop his
pencil. He slowly crawls underneath the table while he looks up the little
girls’ skirts. When he emerges on the other end of the table he announces,
“Speaking of pencils, I got a golf pencil in my pants right now.” Fox.com’s
character bio describes Rallo as, “Donna’s 5-year old who loves the ladies…of
all ages.” Great. Apparently, it not enough to be a young, mischievous menace
anymore. In the MacFarlane universe, kindergarteners are hypersexual deviants
coached and encouraged by adults.
The episode ends with a
disturbing incest joke. After the priest pronounces Cleveland and Donna husband
and wife, Rallo observes that his new family is just like the Brady Bunch.
Cleveland adds, “Except I'm not a gay architect and my wife's not
sleeping with my son.
They all laugh.
Jr. chimes, “Not yet.”
This joke may have been funny
if it weren’t a distinct possibility. And in MacFarlane’s vile, twisted world,
it could conceivably happen.
The timeslot may be earlier,
but it’s the same old tune. It’s frightening to think that Fox has basically
ceded Sunday night to Seth MacFarlane, with Family Guy and American
Dad closing out the night. The Cleveland Show is the repugnant
opening act in MacFarlane’s weekly revolting revue.
For sexually explicit humor,
the series premiere of The Cleveland Show has been named Worst TV
Show of the Week.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.