Case Number 22585: Small Claims Court


Fox // 2010 // 484 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // October 23rd, 2011

The Charge

Cleveland: Danny Trejo, I loved it when you raped that guy in American Me.
Danny Trejo: That was Edward James Olmos.
Cleveland: You raped Edward James Olmos? Shame on you! He taught those kids math! !No es bueno!

The Case

The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Two sees a marked improvement in Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy spin-off, delivering 22 consistently funnier episodes...

* "Harder, Better, Faster, Browner"
Cleveland comes to question what he has achieved in his life, upon learning that his old whipping boy, Barry Obama, is now President of the United States.

* "Cleveland Live!"
Cleveland and Donna attempt to enjoy their anniversary in this "live" special.

* "How Cleveland Got His Groove Back"
When Lester strikes out Cleveland during a baseball game, he sinks into self-pity.

* "It's The Great Pancake, Cleveland Brown"
Cleveland tries to convince Cleveland Jr. not to go trick-or-treating, in an attempt to make his son "cool."

* "Little Man On Campus"
Cleveland is desperate to ensure his team, the Stoolbend High School Growler's, continue their winning streak, so much so that he's prepared to use Holt as a ringer.

* "Fat And Wet"
Cleveland Jr. attempts to make fat jokes illegal, after he is ridiculed for wearing a swimsuit.

* "Another Bad Thanksgiving"
When Donna's sister, Janet, arrives for the holidays, she begins an affair with Holt, leaving Cleveland with her unruly kids.

* "Murray Christmas"
Rallo learns about Hanukkah when he befriends an old man name Murray, after performing with his classmates at the local old folks home.

* "Beer Walk"
When Donna insists Cleveland do something during the weekend other than sit on the couch watching sports, he organizes the first Annual Charity Beer Walk.

* "Ain't Nothin' But Mutton Bustin'"
Cleveland Jr. grows jealous, when Cleveland begins to spend more time with Rallo.

* "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Roberta?"
Donna leaves Cleveland in charge of the kids, when he criticizes her parenting.

* "Like A Boss"
When a co-worker dies, Tim is given a promotion and quickly turns on his friends.

* "A Short Story And A Tall Tale"
Rallo befriends Marty, after becoming frustrated with being so short, never realizing his new friend is a gangster.

* "Terry Unmarried"
Cleveland is furious to learn Donna has still not made her divorce official, leading to an eye opening visit to a gay bar.

* "The Blue, The Gray and the Brown"
Cleveland becomes a local hero, when he sets out to save the town's drive-in movie theatre.

* "The Way The Cookie Crumbles"
Cleveland sets about buying his childhood belongings, when he discovers his parents are selling them off to pay their bills.

* "To Live And Die In VA"
A joint business venture causes tensions between Cleveland and Lester.

* "The Essence Of Cleveland"
Donna becomes jealous, upon learning that Cleveland has a secret admirer.

* "Ship'rect"
Cleveland's new friend, Barry, threatens to disrupt his plans to enter the Stoolbend Annual Regatta.

* "Back To Cool"
When Cleveland Jr. states that Donna's ex, Robert, is cooler than Cleveland, the two men partake in a "Coolympics."

* "Your Show Of Shows"
Cleveland starts his own public-access television show, while Rallo and his friends enter the school talent show with a rap stressing the importance of fiscal responsibility.

* "Hot Cocoa Bang Bang"
Donna's past in exploitation cinema is brought up during a visit to Comic-Con, where Cleveland hopes to sell his new comic book, "Waderman."

Season One may have frequently delivered on the laughs, but The Cleveland Show took its time to really establish itself, suffering the inevitable comparisons with Family Guy and (to a lesser extent) American Dad!. But here, in Season Two the show really finds its feet. Unlike Family Guy, which is reliant on pop culture references and bizarre cutaways for much of its humor, The Cleveland Show follows a much more traditional sitcom structure; albeit one with a habitually offensive sense of humor, not to mention David Lynch (Mulholland Dr.) playing the local bartender.

As is exemplified by the festive episode "Murray Christmas," the show is perhaps the most balanced of the MacFarlane stable, blending genuine warmth with MacFarlane's familiar line of conservative-baiting gags. In the aforementioned episode, Rallo befriends a curmudgeonly old Jewish man at an old folks home. After trading racial insults, the two form an unlikely friendship which sees both gain a better understanding of the other by noting the familiarities they share. Meanwhile, Cleveland is forced to relive the traumatic events his youth. It turns out that Boxing Day was not a time of peace and goodwill for young Cleveland, as his father forced him to fight, earning one present for each round he could last against his old man. It's this blending of the sacred and the profane that perfectly encapsulates The Cleveland Show.

The episode "It's The Great Pancake, Cleveland Brown" sees Cleveland continue to struggle with what he considers to be the odd behavior of his son. With Halloween looming, Cleveland Jr. is desperate to go trick-or-treating, much to the chagrin of his father who wishes to see his son grow up. The episode offers an amusing, but no less poignant look at how parents often unknowingly force their children into growing up too soon. The episode is also a timely reminder of just how wonderful a character Cleveland Jr. is. Prone to bursting into song at the slightest provocation or stripping down to a rather risqué cowboy outfit for an impromptu hoedown, he is the sweetest, most peculiar, and endearing creation in the show.

"Hot Cocoa Bang Bang," featuring the "Worst. Cameo. Ever." is a real season highlight, as it lovingly lampoons Comic-Con and its "nerds" who enjoy nothing more than spending time in a musty convention center that smells of "ass and corn chips." The story also explores Donna's past in exploitation cinema; something she is keen to forget, and something director Robert Rodriguez is keen to exploit. What's notable about this episode is how it delivers a higher percentage of laugh-out-loud moments than usual. Not to say The Cleveland Show isn't funny -- it really is -- but the comedy is more likely to keep a smile on your face than create a hernia from laughing too hard.

Season Two features several guest stars including Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), Kanye West, and Will.I.Am; comedy legend Carl Reiner (Ocean's Eleven) also provides the voice of Murray, in the episode "Murray Christmas," as well as writing the story for the episode "Your Show Of Shows." Perhaps most unlikely of all is the appearance of Justin Timberlake as a singing booger. That has to be worth the price of admission alone, doesn't it?

The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Two comes to DVD with a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. Colors are strong, and complement a sharp picture. The Dolby 5.1 audio features crisp dialogue within a mix that makes good use of the rear speakers.

The 4-disc set sports a number of special features, not all of which impress. "Cleveland Jr's Worry Journal" is, as Rallo puts it, "not funny enough to be a DVD extra," and probably shouldn't have been excluded. "Guest Star Showcase" features a look at the celebrity cameos featured throughout the season, with behind-the-scenes footage of the show's writers discussing how these famous faces were integrated into each episode. The stars themselves occasionally turn up to talk about their roles. The Mike Henry starring episode of "Life After Film School" is an interesting inclusion, and sees the director discuss his career and influences. "The Cleveland Show At Comic-Con 2010" features their panel and includes a short table read. Four episodes ("Cleveland Live!," "A Short Story And A Tall Tale," "Murray Christmas," and "Hot Cocoa Bang Bang") come complete with audio commentaries, which see the likes of Reiner and Rodriguez providing their contributions. We round out the set with a selection of deleted scenes and the full trailer for Donna's exploitation flick Hot Cocoa Bang Bang.

Though the DVD case makes it clear, it's worth pointing out that The Cleveland Show on DVD is uncensored, and clearly NOT suitable for those of an impressionable age. This is exemplified by Carl Reiner's vulgar, yet no less hilarious, ditty that brings the episode "Your Show Of Shows" to an end.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 484 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Featurettes

* IMDb

* Official Site