THE CLEVELAND SHOW “Hot Cocoa Bang Bang” Review

THE CLEVELAND SHOW

THE CLEVELAND SHOW “Hot Cocoa Bang Bang” Season 2, Episode 22 – Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was able to pick up on most of the Comic-Con related jokes in this season finale of The Cleveland Show, but this episode had me laughing from start to finish.

Cleveland’s terrible comic book, “Waderman” leads the family to San Diego so that Cleveland can follow one of his delayed dreams to sell a comic book at Comic-Con. I laughed out loud at Cleveland Jr.’s uncontrollable shaking excitement over the prospect of this vacation because I’ve seen 10 year old kids react in the exact same way to the mention of Comic-Con. Cleveland Jr. seems to have a pretty good idea of what the family should expect and I loved his description when he tried to explain it to Donna, “imagine a hundred thousand unwashed comic book fans in costume, shoe horned into a musty convention center that smells like ass and corn chips, all waiting in line to see three minutes of something the rest of the world will have to wait two weeks to see. Now don’t you feel silly?”

Even Donna can’t escape her ties to Comic-Con when she discovers that Robert Rodriguez is screening a film that she acted in when she was young and stupid. I really liked the way Rodriguez was worked into the plot and his guitar music for entrances and exits were pretty funny. He was also the cause for one of the most ridiculous chase scenes on The Cleveland Show, a low-speed pedicab pursuit along the sidewalks of San Diego with a number of civilian casualties.

There’s a little bit of irony in Cleveland Jr. being the nerd revolution leader upset about the over commercialization of Comic-Con in San Diego. I suppose The Cleveland Show is taking a jab at it’s own presence at Comic-Con in prior years. I especially liked the lampooning of the FOX booth that rotated holograms of Katee Sackhoff, Eliza Dushku and Emily Deschanel that sent the crowds racing towards the stage.

The Cleveland Show deserves credit for painting a very humorous and relatively accurate scene of San Diego during Comic-Con. There were so many background details in the costumes and booths for a number of comics, anime, artists and cult films, that I feel like I’d have to spend a couple hours scanning each scene to compile an accurate list of all the references (if someone has already done this, let me know – I’d love to see how many of them I caught and which references I’d have to go back and look for. If there isn’t already something like that, maybe we should start a running list in the comments below.) Even the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons showed up to critique Cleveland’s Waderman comic book and concluded “Worst. Cameo. Ever.” before venturing onto the rest of the exhibit hall.

There was a lot of attention to detail that allowed the humor to be built into the scenes without using the cutaway gags that The Cleveland Show often uses for humor. I’m probably biased because all the gags and references were right up my geek alley, but I thought this episode of The Cleveland Show was frakking hilarious and it was a great finale to a good season.