If minor spoilers frighten you, turn back now. “The Cleveland Show” season premiere opens with Cleveland behaving really inappropriately with children. Donna even joins him. Probably the best development of Cleveland’s character in his spinoff is that he’ll get really angry and swear. He’s not the harmless neighbor anymore, but his anger is really only personal frustration.
This is another Kanye West episode. You may remember, or you may be hearing for the first time right now, that he plays local rap artist Kenny West. He seems to have a good sense of humor, giving voice to Kenny’s self-referential comment on the women in his videos, and dissing Rock of Love.
More after the jump…
He actually still makes a joke about Beyonce not winning the VMA. Cleveland does the “So and So doesn’t care about black people” joke. Sorry, did I need to say spoiler alert? You knew they were going to go there.
You get a full Kenny West song, which means an original Kanye West song, even if it is a spoof performed in character. There’s also a bit of Cleveland doing a good song spoof, which I wish they would have let go on longer but I get it, they have to move on.
A subplot of the episode is Cleveland’s obsession with Barack Obama. It’s a silly reference but it gets some comedy mileage out of the running gag, and there’s a really sly political dig in the first riff. The Obama impersonator who ultimately does the voice doesn’t really sound like him. They couldn’t get Fred Armisen?
There are no cutaway gags. Have they given that up on this spinoff? They were always “Family Guy” light, but at least it gave it more edge than “American Dad.” They make references within the show, but there’s no “This is worse than the time that so and so did such and such.”
This episode does have an ‘80s style montage, a Twitter reference in irreverent “Family Guy” style, a mainstream hip hop Planet Hollywood-esque restaurant and a mistaken appearance by a “Family Guy” B-player. Freeze frame the Billboard charts to see the real jokes.
There are also some real reaches setting up extended sequences that aren’t as funny as they think they are. Cleveland acts the opposite of the way he should given the information he received. That’s just trying to make a joke out of something that’s not a joke.
I’m not really as into the spinoffs at I am the original “Family Guy” so I’d say if you’re like me, there’s nothing really amazing in this episode. I’d imagine if you are a “Cleveland” fan, the Kenny West stuff would be gold, and Rallo gets a good subplot too.