The Cleveland Show Season 4 Review “When a Man (Or a Freight Train) Loves His Cookie”

Well, it was Cookie and LeVar’s wedding anniversary on “The Cleveland Show,” and while Cookie had a surprise party planned, LeVar was off cavorting with…Diane Lane? (Does Josh Brolin know about this?) By the time he does show up, everyone’s passed out or drunk, leading Cleveland to paint a depiction of the sad scene.

Cleveland: “…And finished. I call it, ‘He ain’t coming, mom’.” (Great visual joke, with the pull-out from the painting, as if it were real.)

LeVar comes in, relatively unapologetic, much to Cookie’s chagrin. I laughed when Gus leapt out to surprise him and LeVar punched him and he yelled: “Ow! My breathing nose!” Anyway, it’s clear that Cookie isn’t going to let him off the hook easily this time, so Cleveland tries to smooth things over with tickets to his mother’s favorite band, George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars (the marquee bit was funny- ‘Tomorrow: Bill Clinton & the I-Funk Porn Stars.’)

This put Cookie in a decidedly better mood, which got even better when Clinton brought her up on stage and said: “Why don’t we just let the Mothership set sail into your Milky Way, baby?” On the sidelines, Cleveland enthused: “That’s my mom! That’s my mom!”

LeVar, on the other hand was not so amused, particularly when Clinton absconded with his wife to make her his “Bride of Funkenstein.” Bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yay!

He calls the cops to report her missing, but they’re no help, LeVar blames it on their race. “We’re black,” they point out. “All cops are white on the inside,” says he. Cleveland helpfully adds: “Like an Eskimo Pie! Like a coconut!”

Eventually, LeVar must admit the truth: his wife has left him for George Clinton. Especially when he sees Cleveland Skype-ing with her as Clinton looks on. He decides she’s dead to him now, and even has a faux funeral, complete with a preacher! His eulogy was hilarious, and had an unexpected and even funnier pay-off at the end.

Preacher: “And so we bid farewell to Evelyn Champagne Brunch Brown, aka “Cookie.” First host of “Friday Night Videos,” former long-haul truck driver, five-time Libertarian candidate for Mayor and Jezebel. There’s no place for you in Heaven! Amen.”

LeVar wasted no time drowning his tears in the ladies, which led to a great exchange between him and Gus, as played by director David Lynch. What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall during that recording session! Especially that last line.

Gus: “Shut the front door! You’re saying you were with two girls?”
LeVar: “Yep. And if you add both of them together, they were almost age appropriate.”
Gus: “Say, blood, where you get these bitches?”

Big LOL. Whoever wrote that line & convinced him to say it should win a medal of some kind for awesomeness. I can only imagine how that script reading went!

He leaves shortly thereafter, supposedly to meet up with some Asian girls he met on Craig’s List.
Cleveland is duly impressed.

Cleveland: “Oh, he gone get him some and dim sum.” (Corny, but funny.)

But when Cleveland goes to LeVar’s house, he finds no ladies, but instead his father a crying mess, clearly having a rough time with Cookie’s abandoning him, despite his very real philandering in the past. Cleveland decides to help him father out by assembling the gang to confront Clinton at their next concert and take matters into their own hands. Dressing in their best pseudo-Parliament/Funkadelic Sunday Best, they send Tim the Bear to stir things up in Clinton’s bus. Things do not go well, as reported by the stage announcer.

Announcer: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret to inform you that George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars have been mauled to death by a bear. On a lighter note, that bear plays guitar! So, put your hands together for Freight Train and the Palpitations!”

LeVar’s band was more old-school the Parliaments than 70s-era P-Funk, but their song was pretty sweet: “I’m Feeling Ookie, Cookie.” My favorite line was probably the Sesame Street-referencing line: “I think Cookie Monster put it best, when he said ‘C is for Cookie and that’s good enough for me’,” though the bit with him calling his girls on the side to break it off for good was funny, too: “Okay, now put your mother on.”

LeVar cradled Cookie and told him how he really felt, in amusing fashion: “I’m sorry, Cookie. I love you and your cooking, and your tall boy-sized belly button and your Libertarian politics and your ability to drive a big rig 1000 miles without changing your diaper.” Cookie let bygones be bygones and took him back: “Oh LeVar, let’s go home. You’re gonna get some cookies out of this cookie jar tonight.” LeVar had a caveat, though: “Well, first we’re gonna run that cookie jar through the dishwasher.” Good stuff all around, and always fun to see (and hear) Clinton.

The subplot with Cleveland, Jr. was less satisfying, but it had its moments. After the store took away his beloved office display that he used to play at being a businessman, Cleveland Jr. stowed away in a filing cabinet and posed as an office worker at the place the set was being sent. There, he had an amusing exchange with a co-worker that he told he was from Sarasota.

Co-Worker: “Long shot…but do you know Steve Mazepa?”
Cleveland, Junior: “Oh yeah, sure. He’s the guy about three feet tall, huge calves, lives in a tree, hands covered in fur, right? Head looks like an anvil?”
Co-Worker: “Uh…maybe.” (Would have loved to see him crop up later, as described, but no such luck.)

Posing as Frank Lefkowitz, he does well enough playing office that he gets his own parking space. Cleveland, Jr. can’t resist a celebratory moment, as he lies in the space, doing what amounts to Snow Angels, only in oil- and apparently broken glass. He sang an amusing bit to the tune of “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross (though some of you may know it better from Puff Daddy’s use of it in the Notorious B.I. G. hit “Mo Money Mo Problems”).

Cleveland Junior: “Frank Lefkowitz/Has his own parking space/And there’s shards of glass/Slicing up my calves. (Screams in agony) AAAAGH!”

Eventually, to hold on to his “job,” Cleveland Junior hires his sister and brother to pose as his wife and son, respectively. It does not go well, with Roberta going off character almost immediately, and tearing him a new one in no time. His boss, Mr. Oxnard, is surprisingly understanding, though.

Mr. Oxnard: “I’ve had marital problems with my young, black wife, too.”
Cleveland Junior: “Like what?”
Mr. Oxnard: Oh, she didn’t like my brother watching us.”

Cleveland Junior realizes he has to “resign,” but not without regrets. He tells his boss he will be back with a GED and good to go someday. Oxnard promises to keep a light on for him.

All in all, definitely the lesser subplot of the two, but it had a few good bits here and there. Still, you can’t beat the stuff with Clinton and LeVar’s bits, not to mention the Tim the Bear rampage. It wasn’t quite as good as the somewhat in the same wheelhouse “Menace II Secret Society,” but that song was pretty priceless, and there were some great lines, so I’m gonna give it a pass, though if the other plotline had been nearly as funny, this could have achieved classic status, so that’s too bad.

What did you think of “The Cleveland Show”? Was “When a Man (Or a Freight Train) Loves His Cookie” good enough to eat, or did it leave a sour taste in your mouth? Did you think the Cleveland Junior stuff derailed the show somewhat or did you like it more than I did? Was Clinton already one step away from being a cartoon anyway? Why must I be like that- why must I chase the cat? These and other burning questions are yours to answer in the comments section!

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