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TV Review: Fox's 'Brothers' and 'The Cleveland Show'

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Brothers
One star
7 p.m. Friday on WFLD-Channel 32

The Cleveland Show
Three stars
7:30 p.m. Sunday on WFLD-Channel 32

To be honest, I was hoping it would be Stewie who'd make a break for it. I'd like to see Seth MacFarlane's demonic baby finally crowned dictator of at least the tri-state area, if not the world. But this "Family Guy" spinoff doesn't focus on Stewie, or the talking dog, or perma-bachelor Quagmire, or even Mayor Adam West. It's Cleveland Brown -- the mild-mannered deli owner who would be voted least likely to succeed-- who's movin' on up.

"What the hell? He's getting his own show?" grouses Stewie in the first episode. Indeed.

But the creator of "Family Guy" and "American Dad" seems to know what he's doing. He reportedly signed a deal with Fox worth $100 million, making him television's best-paid writer and producer. (He's single. I checked.) And Fox renewed "The Cleveland Show" for a second season before the premiere even aired.

If Fox trusts MacFarlane, that's good enough for me.

But if you're not a "Family Guy" fan, stay far, far away from "Cleveland." The new show is more conventional and warm-hearted -- but only slightly. If I had to sum up the humor in one word, it would be "random." The first episode references the Regal Beagle, President Obama, genital mutilation and Gene Hackman. (Thankfully, not all at once.)

Newly divorced Cleveland heads back to his hometown (Stoolbend, Va.) and romances his high school crush, Donna (Sanaa Lathan). In no time, Cleveland's attracted a gaggle of pals, too: a redneck, a short guy, and a religious talking bear. The bear's wife, also a talking bear, is named Arianna and is voiced by Arianna Huffington. Random, yes?

So far my favorite character is a teenager named Federline Jones, voiced by Jamie Kennedy. About time he resurrected "Malibu's Most Wanted's" B-Rad.

Cleveland may be an unlikely hero, but he's endlessly more enjoyable than the gentlemen of Fox's other new comedy, "Brothers." I suppose you could say that the show has admiral goals -- to pay homage to the art of the insult, and to break new ground in paralysis humor -- but it's uncomfortable to watch.

Michael Strahan, a former New York Giant, plays Mike Trainor, newly retired football star. Daryl Mitchell plays Chill, his wheel-chair-bound brother, who is bitter about Mike's success. He has nonetheless capitalized on Mike's fame by opening a restaurant decorated with his memorabilia.

They don't like each other. Mike makes fun of Chill for being paraplegic. Chill makes fun of Mike for having a gap between his teeth. I am worried that Chill will run out of offensive jokes first.

Their mother (CCH Pounder) wants the two to reconcile. Their father (Carl Weathers) seems to be around mainly so his sons can mock his worsening dementia when they get tired of sniping at each other.

Why one star? I gave the show half a star star because of Mitchell, who was a regular on "Veronica's Closet." In 2001, he suffered a spinal injury in a motorcycle crash, but didn't give up acting. I happen to be a huge fan of his work in 1999's "Galaxy Quest." The other half a star goes to Strahan, who is adorable.

The show, not so much. "I know he's an ass, but he's my son and I love him," says Mom at one point. You, of course, have no such obligation.

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6 Comments

I haven’t seen The Brothers, but I am a fan of The Cleveland Show. At first I was skeptical about the show, but it works on so many levels! I can’t say enough good things about it, pure entertainment! I have been a fan since I watched the pilot episode, and now that I have Sling technology with DISH Network, I never miss any episodes. I live a very busy life and I use my iPhone to see his shows while on my lunch break at work. Being that I am an employee and customer of DISH I can’t recommend the TV Everywhere feature enough to anyone with a busy lifestyle.

You find the humor, off color, yet, you probably like Tyler Perry's drivel on television. Brothers was not all that bad at all.

The Cleveland Show was awful and offensive and not in a creative or comedic way. Unlike Family Guy, who's brand of humor is meant to be irreverent, The Cleveland show never once comes off as natural nor does it come off as interesting. The plot line was terrible and thin even for Seth Macfarlene. And I never noticed how completely obnoxious Cleveland's voice is until now. They canceled King of the Hill for this??? Really???

OMG! Everything is not about race. Geesh. I'm black and Chill happens to be my Uncle. The show was funny but it may not appeal to all audiences. Especially because of the way the brothers interact by ragging on each other. That type of comedy is really specific. Anyway, I hope the show continues.

don't pull the race card, it's so overused. Nobody wants to hear you piss and moan about what is "real" black comedy and what isnt. It's all just comedy.

Example: I'm sure you LOVE everything Tyler Perry puts out on TBS, but something tells me your not a big Always Sunny in Philadelphia fan.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

So let me get this straight, you're a self professed Family Guy fan, which means you must enjoy irreverent off color humor. Your review of these shows gives 3 stars to THE CLEVELAND SHOW and 1 star to THE BROTHERS? Huh? The Cleveland show stars and features two white guys playing black men and The Brothers actually has Black people but it is "uncomfortable to watch" due to the off color humor. Your love of Galaxy Quest and the "adorable" Strahan don't change the fact that, to be honest, this reviewer clearly has no close friends with sickle cell anemia.

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This page contains a single entry by Paige Wiser published on September 25, 2009 4:14 AM.

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