The Cleveland Show Season 4 Review “Grave Danger”

Well, looks like my potential prognosis of “The Cleveland Show” proved correct, as the show has seemingly been given its walking papers, at least according to Cartoon Brew, though FOX hasn’t yet given the official announcement. Given this alleged fact, it’s admittedly sort of appropriate that the next episode after- “Grave Danger”– should not only be an apt title, all things considered, but also revolve around Cleveland and the gang becoming regulars at a…wait for it…cemetery. Ah, the not-so-sweet ironies of life!

Regardless of the show’s ultimate fate, there’s no denying it’s been a bit tough going more often than not this season. As much as I like the self-referential and fourth-wall breaking jokes the show sometimes scatters throughout some of the episodes, a few clever moments do not a great show make, and what with MacFarlane having two other shows to fall back on- “Family Guy” and “American Dad”– I think he’ll live. As will the characters, being as how the show was a spin-off of the former, anyway.

So, when you think of it, it’s not really a loss so much as a reshuffling of the deck- a deck that maybe shouldn’t have been reshuffled in the first place, maybe, but still- it is what it is. Besides, it’s not as if the show hasn’t had its moments here and there. I, for one, got a tremendous kick out of seeing David Lynch as an animated character that he himself voiced, and a show that featured Arianna Huffington as a talking bear can’t be all bad.

I also liked some of the guest star bits, like George Clinton, Will.i.am, Fergie, Hall & Oates, and even Kanye West, showing that he has an occasional sense of humor about himself. And I don’t even want to know anyone that didn’t think that Balls Deep song wasn’t effing hilarious. (Some of the other songs were pretty funny, too, for that matter.) So, you know, the show was hardly a total loss.

Alas, this episode was pretty close to one. There were two funny meta-type jokes of the sort I mentioned, including the one where Cleveland Junior, who was absent throughout most of the show, walked into the scene and Cleveland commented “Hey, Junior, haven’t seen you much this episode” and he replied “Yeah, I got a bye week.” (As in, a week off, which is what happens when you notice a star mostly not featured in a given show, if not entirely. Apparently, Mila Kunis had one, too, as she wasn’t in that night’s “Family Guy” much at all.)

My favorite by far, though, was the one in which Rallo got left alone by himself in his father’s apartment for the evening and he heard all manners of noises outside, including the sounds of a helicopter, howling, screaming, Psycho-style sting-strings, and-speaking of Kunis- a Wicked Witch-style laugh. Cue a television newscast, in which a reporter announced, much to Rallo’s horror, that: “According to police, the crazy wolf-ghost-witch-violinist is believed to be armed and flying a helicopter and hunting for little boys who look like you.” LOL.

There were a few amusing references as well, including a bit about Garbage Pail Kids and their “ill-advised and discontinued” ‘Really Black Mack’ card; a possible “Evil Dead” reference (I’d almost swear Cleveland quoted that film’s Book of the Dead in his eulogy, but maybe it was wishful thinking); a funny montage set to Blue Oyster Cult’s classic “(Don’t Fear the) Reaper” (the hat collection was a nice touch, and I really got a kick out of the puppet bit) and an admittedly brilliant Siri joke (“What is happening? I can’t feel my legs…I’m so cold.”). Yes, Virginia, an iPhone has a soul, apparently.

As for good lines, there were a few okay ones, like Rallo’s dad’s advice that “A penis is freedom, man.” Oddly, most of the good ones came at the very end, with Cleveland trying to woo Donna at the aforementioned graveyard.

Donna, upon seeing that Cleveland has set up a dinner on top of a coffin: “Is this your idea of a romantic dinner? This is like something Nicholas Cage would do.”

Cleveland, after he and Donna fall into an open grave while making out: “Hey, Donna. You wanna join the six feet under club?”
Donna: “I don’t need to join, but I’ll renew my membership.” (TMI, Donna!)

I also laughed at the bit when he still had Donna wearing a blindfold, when she said: “Cleveland, if I take this off and see Big Boob June on a futon again, we are getting a divorce.”

So, yeah, a few worthwhile moments, but mostly a bit stale, I’m afraid. Perhaps the better way to go is to give Cleveland the occasional episode to himself on “Family Guy” and be done with it. I think the characters work better in small doses anyway. An entire season might be too much time to fill, when all is said and done. Or they could always give the show a half-season and just concentrate on making the episodes especially good. Better that than what amounts to filler episodes like this one.

What did you think of “The Cleveland Show”? Are you glad to see it go, or will you miss it? Do you hope they continue the characters on “Family Guy”? Or could you care less? Let me know in the comments!