In the latest episode of “The Cleveland Show”, the cheekily-titled “Of Lice & Men”, Rallo ran afoul of some critters that spelled doom for his heretofore unquestioned coolness factor- the dreaded hair lice. Forced to shave his head, Rallo must don a wig to escape ridicule, but alas, his fellow students smell a rat…or at least a toupee.
Friend: “You wearing a wig? Your hair smells like street-ball and weed!”
Rallo: “It’s Herbal Essence.”
Not fooled for a second, his friend rips off the wig, exposing Rallo for the imposter he is, bald head and all. This leads to a decidedly hurtful nickname: Mr. Peanut, due to the unusual shape of his head sans hair. This matter is not helped when classmates provide him with a monocle, a top hat and a cane!
Rallo doesn’t get much understanding from his mother: “Like I was just yelling at Gwyneth Paltrow on the TV- you’re not the center of the universe!” Retiring to his room, he contemplates never leaving his room ever again: “I have become a shell of my former self- a peanut shell. That’d be good if it were someone else.”
Enter Cleveland Junior, who offers some solace in the form of escape, offering up his stuffed animals to play with- save Larry the Leopard, of course: “To the naked eye, they may seem like dolls, but they’re an eclectic crew of personalities, like you’d find on a NBC sitcom nobody would watch.” Um, way to call the kettle black, pot; given the show’s iffy fate as of late. (But not this one!)
This ultimately leads to the show’s best scenes, bits where Rallo and CJ imagine themselves as space warriors (see above pic), with Rallo as Leroy Jenkins, space cadet. In no time, Rallo is in much better spirits (“We won space!”), admitting to CJ that “I almost forgot I’m a bald weirdo.” Replied CJ, in an odd recurring joke: “Like Nathan Fillion.” Not sure what this show’s beef is with Fillion, but his name came up as the butt of toupee jokes no less than three times on this episode. Might MacFarlane know something we don’t know, or is he just having a little fun at a buddy’s expense? Probably the latter, as this came off too goofy to be mean-spirited, unlike jokes at the expense of Kristen Stewart, Lindsay Lohan, and so on in recent episodes.
Speaking of celebrity references, the one involving a certain blonde Gossip Girl was pretty amusing, too, as Rallo talked of the elusive Blakelivelium, which I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on myself. Hey, better that than Paltrownium, am I right?
The B-story-line was not as amusing, revolving around Cleveland house-sitting for his parents while they were out of town, and trying to fend off his buddies from messing up his folks’ stuff, notably his father’s beloved RC Cola stash, a drink that is notably absent in all of Virginia. Naturally, someone does, namely Ernie and pandemonium ensues, not to be confused with Paltrownium.
We got a somewhat amusing “Breakfast Club” homage that was more funny in theory than execution, followed by a silly bit of business with a buxom cashier when Cleveland frantically went in search of RC. Ultimately, the RC was replaced, but his dad found out and there was a confrontation, which turned out to be a test to try and get the guys to stand up to their fathers, who congratulated them for finally stepping up to manhood, although, in Tim’s case, it included coming to terms with his dad banging his wife, so he kinda got the short end of that stick! (Talk about “having each other’s back door”!)
So, not the greatest episode in the world overall. I really did love the brief segment with CJ and Rallo imaging themselves in space battling alien ships and the like. I could have dealt with more of that, no problem, but it was unfortunately very brief. There were some moderately amusing sight gags- the store Ralphed, with a sign that declared “Clean up on Aisle Everywhere” and the so-called Hick Mart, which announced that it was “a great place to get high in front of.”
My favorite line, far and away, was Donna’s off-screen roar when she saw her lady shaver was missing: “Where the hell is my Schick Hydro at? I’m getting cactus legs up in here!” It wasn’t so much the line itself, but the delivery, really, which was spot-on and hilarious. It must be said that some of Sanaa Lathan’s line readings often redeem even the most ridiculous lines just by the way she says them. She might well be the show’s VIP, now that I think about it.
Of course, from the looks of things, I won’t be thinking of it much longer, as FOX has yet to officially renew the show, so it doesn’t look good for the show’s future. Although, the fact that they’ve neglected to outright cancel it says to me that they might just opt to keep it on the backburner, just in case they have a hole they need to fill if one of the new shows doesn’t fly, so you never know.
The great thing about cartoons is that they never age, even as the cast does, so “Cleveland” could conceivably pick up elsewhere on down the line, much like “Family Guy” did way back when, when it switched networks for a spell. The question is, does anybody want it to? I like the show, but it can admittedly be awfully erratic. I guess we’ll find out eventually what fate the show has in store.
So, what did you think of “The Cleveland Show” this week? Let me know in the comments!