Life in the Slow Lane

September 28, 2009

Macfarlane overload convolutes Fox animation lineup

Filed under: Entertainment,Television — pauljlane @ 2:29 pm

Sunday night marked two firsts for this TV viewer: It was the first time I saw “The Cleveland Show” (which premiered Sunday night), and it was the first time I sat through all three of Seth Macfarlane’s animated programs.cleveland-show
It will be the last time, as well.
I really enjoy “Family Guy,” which I watch whenever I can on network and cable television. It’s sharp, witty and funny, even if it’s a bit too reliant upon obscure references (references to “Robot Chicken” and Disney films made this last episode pretty much an instant classic).
But the same can’t be said for Macfarlane’s other two shows. “American Dad” seems like “Family Guy Lite,” as it replaces the talking dog with a talking alien and the pop culture references with nods to government happenings. Nothing in any episode I’ve watched has made me laugh out loud.
As for “The Cleveland Show,” well, it seems the creative juices have run dry. A talking bear is the oddity this time around, as Cleveland Brown settles into the Southern town he grew up in and marries his high school sweetheart. More obnoxious kids, more off-beat humor directed at about 5 percent of the audience, you get the idea. And a black man in the South calls for some of the laziest, most predictable jokes that can be made; Macfarlane has delivered far better material in the past.
I will faithfully watch “Family Guy” for as long as it’s on, but that show clearly gets all of the best ideas devoted to it, and the other two shows almost seem to just ride the coattails of its reputation (and that of its creator). Neither of the off-shoots offer anything new, and recycled “Family Guy” is quite stale.
All three shows will probably enjoy fairly decent runs. But for the two newer shows, I won’t be a part of said runs.



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