Wednesday, February 3, 2010

TBG TV: FOX's Animation Domination – 01/31/2009

Sunday's Rankings (5-3-2-1 scoring)

(1) The Simpsons ("Million Dollar Maybe") - A sweet, solid little diversion that was the easy winner on a Sunday night in which Seth MacFarlane's trifecta of cartoons simultaneously (uh, in their respective time slots) stunk up my TV screen. As is so often the case with today's Simpsons, several elements of the plot harken back to past seasons. But, Homer winning the lottery was a decent twist on the done to death "Homer, Marge, falling out, reconciliation" show. Nifty little visuals, too, like Bart log-rolling a helpless, weightless Homer and the liquidated Circuit City spoof.

(2) Family Guy ("Dial Meg for Murder") - OK…points for Stewie's "Oh, NOW everyone can understand me" line. Otherwise, there wasn't much more to like. Whenever Peter isn't the focus of the episode, it seems the writers have no earthly idea what to do with him. This week's solution: have him raped…in two different scenes. Roughly, 15 minutes apart from each other. Hilarious. And, any potential that "Prison Meg" might've had was negated by the fact that the character is barely on screen most weeks. (C'mon…is Mila Kunis that busy?) I just couldn't get into her animated, pretend plight.

(3) American Dad ("A Jones for a Smith") - Yeah, see, here's the thing. The comedic aspect of crack cocaine has been played out since In Living Color and Arsenio Hall made Marion Barry a night-in, night-out national punchline in 1990. Piling on with the "government assistance" and "fellatio-for-pay" jokes seemed equally lazy and unoriginal. All of MacFarlane's shows brazenly wallow in gross-out gags, but American Dad is almost always the worst of the bunch. The last few shots of Stan – in nothing but his, ummm…"distressed" underwear – might've set a new low.

(4) The Cleveland Show ("Our Gang") - I couldn't help thinking there were several movie references in play here, but, if so, none of them resonated with me. Cleveland as the oblivious drug lord was 22 minutes of unfunny. His character works best when he's playing directly off his son, Cleveland Jr. or his stepson, Rallo. Instead, they're both shoved into the background with a story that builds to an unsatisfying extended riff on feel-good endings with a bit of deus ex machina tossed in for kicks.

MVP: Oh, it's Homer Simpson, I suppose. He ends up doing the right thing in the end (natch), plus dribbled a small ball made of Twizzlers in one scene while being dribbled, himself, by Bart in another. He might be the hardest working man in show business (with apologies to 1998-2002 Nate Dogg).

Quote of the Night: "Wait…I'm shooting AT the Nazis? That's not how I remember it." - Montgomery Burns

Current Standings

The Simpsons – 40
The Cleveland Show – 38
American Dad! – 25
Family Guy – 25

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