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I guess this show has its defenders, but I think we can all agree it's unnecessary. I mean, Cleveland? He was basically just a prop in Family Guy. His only characteristic was being the voice of reason towards the group of Peter, Joe, and Quagmire. So why does Cleveland get a show? I guess it's something to have an animated sitcom with a primarily black cast, but does that actually make it entertaining???
The Cleveland show focuses on Cleveland and his new family. He moves to the backwater town of Stoolbend, Virginia, where he marries his old high school sweetheart Donna. She has 2 children, teenage teenager (for this is a character type to Seth MacFarlene) Roberta, and poorman's Stewie Rallo. Cleveland also has his somewhat bland son Cleveland Jr. who is now in his early teens, although on Family Guy he was younger.
Anyway, like most modern animated sitcoms such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and Futurama, the humor comes from the dysfunctional characters and the unlikely or unusual things that happen to them. In this case, the characters seem somewhat bland so most of the humor is situational. Occasionally the show is very funny, but most of the time each episode has only a few smiles, hardly worth half an hour. It should be noted that much of the humor comes from the supporting cast, like Tim the Bear and Lester, a redneck who is voiced by a black man, while Cleveland is voiced by a white man. Make of that what you will.
Anyway, were TV Tropes to have a rating system, I would give it 2/5, for being a money grab that the network won't stop buying more of because it's from MacFarlene. I mean a second season was ordered before the season 1 premiere! It is sometimes funny but I don't like most of the characters, and it's easily the weakest of Fox's animation lineup. I prefer The Simpsons and Family Guy to sitting through this show.
The one thing about the cleveland show that I could never get over was the sheer amount of fat jokes. They're cruel and dehumanizing and the ONE episode where Kendra and Jr. are shown fighting for rights, and it ends with "Stop Being Fat America!" Seriously, Seth Mac Farlane? It's like TCS goes out of it's way every single episode to taunt the overweight.
In one episode, Donna tells a Formerly Fat Woman who's being a total bitch to "Stop Thinking Like A Fat Girl."
Why Thank You, Donna Tubbs, for insulting the millions of overweight female adolescents in the US.
While the show is a near exact copy of Family Guy, has its protagonist with a completely different personality, and is generally average, it has something Family Guy doesn't.
Spirit. It tries with its jokes, and the characters are at least somewhat likeable. That's because, unlike Family Guy and American Dad, they had no room to be flanderised into awful characters, because their new and the characters have mostly been built from existing traits that can't be flanderised. I got more laughs at it then Family Guy, and the cutaways are at least devoid of useless music vids and chicken fights. It reminds me of the earlier seasons of Family Guy and manages to at least pay tribute to it.
...It at least TRIES to be different than Family Guy. The Cleveland Show on the other hand? It fucking RELISHES in the fact that it's a FG clone. And it's not even a very good one at that. As others have pointed out, all the main family are just clones of the Griffin family, with the only exception being Roberta who is more like the pre-Falnderisation version of Meg rather than the current one. The show is guilty of using all the worst tropes from the show and making use of the same manatee gag brand of humour. Only this time it feels uninspired and more unoriginal.
The main gripe I have with this show, other than it's general unfunniness, is that it ruined the character of Cleveland for no good reason. I actually liked Cleveland in FG, he was the Straight Man to his wacky, dysfunctional group of friends. Heck, a show about him acting like that around a redneck town of weirdos could have been decently funny in my opinion. Instead, they just made him into a black Peter Griffin. And Cleveland Jr is just Chris Griffin in all but name, compared to the hyperactive lunatic from the old series that would have made for a more interesting character.
The supporting cast aren't much better. Cleveland's new family are a bunch of unlikeable jackasses, and any episode centring around one of them is usually a chore to watch through. Cleveland's new friends include Lester, a redneck (How original), Holt, a Straw Loser, and Tim the bear. He's Christian and German. I guess the writers felt that if they just jammed a bunch of random characteristics onto Tim, then that'd make him funny. It doesn't.
I don't have a high opinion on this show. I don't recommend it either. Really just go watch FG or American Dad if you want to see a good Seth Mac Farlane show.
The Cleveland Show. My god, is it awful. I'm a fan of Seth Mac Farlane, so I really did TRY to like it. But this show is just lazy and unfunny. It's basically a crappy version of Family Guy. I try to avoid screaming "rip-off!" every time a new show has a similar premise to an older show, but this time, it can't be helped. The main family characters are mostly just black, blander versions of the Griffin family. You have a fat, rude, obnoxious husband who works a white-collar job You have his more reasonable, and kind of hot, wife, where you have to wonder how an unpleasant character like Cleveland was able to capture her heart. (she is a bit ruder than the original Lois, but Lois in the later seasons has gotten a little... crazier, no doubt from living with Peter) You have the fat, slow, stupid son and the wisecracking toddler who acts older than he should. A few minor differences, but the show barely differentiates from Family Guy. It even has the Manatee Gags!
If they really had to give Cleveland his own show, did they really have to screw him up so much? Cleveland was originally a calm, nice guy. There was even an entire Family Guy episode where they tried to get him to be more assertive. But since he came to this show, he's just become another dumb, lazy, obnoxious, drunken idiot like Peter. As mentioned above, the family is pretty much the same. A new show should be an opportunity to explore new situations and create different opportunities of comedy. The underrated Mac Farlane creation American Dad! is a great example, as the radically different characters and premise prevent it from becoming a Family Guy rip-off. (not to mention it has a different style of humor) But with The Cleveland Show, it looks like they went out of their way to make it as similar to Family Guy as possible. (except, you know, without the funny)
I've heard rumors that Fox made Seth Mac Farlane do this show in hopes of attracting more black viewers. I hope to god that's true, I don't like to imagine a favorite comedian and show-maker of mine willingly making such a god-awful show. It honestly doesn't look like any effort was put into this, as if They Just Didnt Care.
This show seems to be getting an awful lot of hate from people, and to an extent I can see why, it does come across as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Family Guy at times and it's not quite as funny as the other Macfarlane shows, but it's still nowhere NEAR as bad as people say it is, it's more character-driven and less dependent on crazy situations then FG is(though they still do pop up on occasion). I actually like Cleveland's new personality, he was getting pretty boring in the last couple seasons of FG, so it was nice to see him become more interesting. the side characters supply most of the humor, Tim and Lester being the biggest contributers, the family members are decent, though not particuarly funny and somestimes tend to fade into the background(especially Roberta). So overall, The Cleveland Show is pretty decent and does it's job well enough, but I just don't have the urge to buy DV Ds of this show like I do for FG or AD.
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