I’m beginning to think The Cleveland Show fits into the same category as Law & Order: Personal Injury Lawyers and CSI: Sacramento. After watching Cleveland and his son, Cleveland Jr. — who looked like this the last time we saw him — reconnect with their roots in Stoolbend, Virginia, I thought to myself, “Wait a second, I don’t give a s**t about Cleveland!” The entire show, which follows the Family Guy formula a little too closely, spent much of its 30-minute premiere making a bunch of bad sex jokes. Don’t they know? Race is the last barrier!
Like I said, the show follows the Family Guy formula almost to the letter. There’s Cleveland, his wife Donna, and three kids. There’s even a little one who runs around and, well, I won’t tell you what he does, but man hehehahahaha…so the entire thing just feels derivative. I’m thinking MacFarlane and friends should have started from scratch and thought up something a little more fresh, but if The Cleveland Show was just screaming to get made, I wish they had taken the characters in different directions.
Cleveland Jr., like Chris Griffin and Steve Smith before him, is a socially awkward, angst-filled teen. Rallo, while a few years older than Stewie, fills the exact same role minus the humor. Donna’s daughter, Roberta, is a nice change of pace. Her personality is a lot different from Meg and Hayley, and that will help bring a different dynamic to the show. The supporting characters may prove to be funnier than they were in the pilot, but again, they really stick to that Family Guy formula. Three guys who hang out with Cleveland at the local bar. There are the talking bears, Tim and Arianna, Holt the hipster, Lester the redneck, and a family from England. There’s potential there, we’ll just have to see if it pays off.
A lot of shows start off shaky, so you can never make any real judgments after only a single episode. Having said that, I feel confident in saying that The Cleveland Show is the worst television show ever made. It really isn’t, but it’s going to have to get a lot better a lot faster to keep me interested.