The Cleveland Show Season 4 Review “A General Thanksgiving Episode”

In the latest “Cleveland Show,” we had a holiday theme of sorts, though it was mostly handled in an incidental way, making the title, “A General Thanksgiving Episode” more or less appropriate. In other words, the Thanksgiving element wasn’t made into a big deal, and mostly relegated to a scene in which the family ate dinner together. That said, it was still a decent episode, if not quite up to the standards of last week’s instant-classic “Menace II Secret Society.”

We started with a typical holiday conundrum- getting a friend to the airport on time to catch an out-of-town flight. I did find it amusing that the gang, rather than facing the typical obstacles, encountered quite the opposite: a friendly, borderline psychotic helpfulness from everyone they encountered at the airport: “Do you swear you’re not a terrorist?” asked airport security, waving them in. “I swear to Allah!” said Cleveland, amusingly. (Later, Cleveland couldn’t resist his making a bomb threat as well, albeit in an entirely hyperbolic fashion.)

When they noticed the lack of an obvious bar at the airport, the gang pitched helping Gus out opening one. Can I just take a moment to say how delightful it is that director David Lynch- who just happens to be my all-time favorite director- has a newfound and thoroughly unexpected outlet for his boundless creativity? Granted, he’s done animated stuff on his own before, such as the comic strip “The Angriest Dog in the World” and the animated series “Dumbland,” but who could have seen him doing voice-over on a show from the creator of “Family Guy” coming? (He also killed it as- of all things- a network executive on “Louie,” which Lynch fans will surely appreciate the irony of.)

Gus is usually played for laughs, this being a comedy show and all, but this time around we got some glimpses of his darker side when he casually mentioned that his “Dad killed mom and then himself” and how, if anyone got in the way of his realizing his promised dream to send his beloved Cheryl to college, he would “cut off their nose and lips” (what, no ear?). He then gave an example by shouting “Got your nose!” and taking Cleveland’s off in one fell swoop, in a nifty visual joke.

Though the gang failed in their goal, Gus let them off the hook when he announced later on that she was dead! This should have all been pretty disturbing, but Lynch’s vocal work was so endearingly upbeat that it ended up being perversely funny, much like his own work in real life.

Meanwhile, Rallo helped out a downtrodden Holt, who missed his flight to attend an “Entourage Dream Vacation” by serving as his wingman to help him get some. Giving ladies sob stories like “he takes care of me cause my daddy lights the spoon on fire,” Rallo opens the door and Holt seals the deal, reimbursing him for his troubles with cash and toys and whatnot. I liked the bit with the girls who said: “Uh! I don’t get your references or anybody’s references!” helpfully adding that “I’m hot, so I’m a bitch.” Lord knows, Holt needed the assist with groaners like “Talk about Parks and Recreation- I’d Amy Pole-her!”

The two did a cute song about “paying a young boy for sex,” eliciting a seal of approval from the creepy old man: “That was catchy!” Eventually, though, the relationship hit a roadblock when Rallo sent for Holt’s father, who he was long estranged from. A hard-nosed military type with a penchant for assigning everyone he met with push-ups, he was not the easiest to get along with, with no help from Rallo’s inside info: “You told him about my limp-wristed panty waist modeling?” Said Rallo: “When you’re 60, you’ll look back and be glad you got those pictures!”

The episode ended with Cleveland high-jacked a plane because the keys were in it (!), then getting in trouble when he ran out of fuel and realized he couldn’t land it. There was a hilarious tweet about the situation that sounded all the world like some of the more poorly-worded missives you can find on Twitter- naturally it was attributed to Gary Busey! “It had had been there was plane on the sky had fled itself but update had said not so. Man fly plane name of Cleveland. He in there. Crash soon.” Funny stuff.

Though not as good as last week, there were definitely some funny lines here and there. (My fave: Rallo: Looks like we won’t be hitting the stores on Black Friday/ Holt: I don’t know about your peoples’ holidays.) I also liked the bit about “Mystery Science Magic Johnson Theater 3000” and the bit with Gus and the llamas: “Good majestic llamas!”

I also laughed, though I have no idea why, when Cleveland told Tim the Bear he looked “like Rutger Hauer.” Is he known for wearing Hawaiian shirts? Whatever the case, I giggled my ass off.

Ditto when Cleveland said he had, and I quote, “Ham’roids like a muh.” The sign at the airport bar reading “You must at least look 21 to drink in this establishment” was cute, too. Some nice visual puns as well, including the “Lost luggage Burning Man” and Rallo’s pimped-out alarm-protected scooter.

It wasn’t a perfect episode by any means, and there were definitely stretches where I didn’t laugh for a while, but hey, at least like Cleveland said, it wasn’t a “disaster like Airplane II,” even if it wasn’t as “funny as Airplane.” What did you think? Was “The Cleveland Show” solid by holiday episode standards, or was the Thanksgiving angle incidental at best? Di you prefer to the previous episodes this season, or was it a step backwards? Let me know in the comments!