Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TBG TV: FOX's Animation Domination – 02/21/2010

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

(1) The Simpsons ("The Color Yellow") - Best. Episode. Ever in Years. A brilliantly subversive – but, good-natured – assault on African-American culture and Black History Month. Seth MacFarlane wishes he could capture two minutes of the wit here for The Cleveland Show each week. The rapid-fire one-liners were a throwback to The Simpsons' heyday while the assorted points-of-view were trimmed with the storyteller's character traits (Grandpa's senile inclusion of Abe Lincoln, for example). Hunt this one down (Hulu?) if you've sworn off the show in recent years. Two little things did bug me, though: (1) Didn't Lisa already answer the "Do I have any relatives who aren't degenerates?" question in
Season 9? (2) Not one scene with Mabel (19th century Marge) and Virgil (19th century black Homer) kissing? Huh.

(2) The Cleveland Show ("The Curious Case of Jr. Working at The Stool") - Maddeningly inconsistent from week-to-week, this was one of those episodes that's given me false hope all season long. The younger Cleveland's subtle, meticulous sabotage of his father's life was a splendid array of sight gags – and for my money the non-alcoholic beer bit was better than the shaved 'stache gag. Not everything worked, as Madonna-bashing was played out 20 years ago and David Lynch's voiceover work as Gus the Bartender was awful, but then again, I'm guy that was laughing at Junior's fright-induced "moo", so what do I know?

(3) American Dad ("The Return of the Bling") - In an accidental bit of nice timing, this hockey-themed episode aired the same night as the United States vs. Canada Olympic hockey clash. According to's Bill Simmons (on Twitter) the U.S. win is the first time his "Stomach Punch" level of losing applied to an entire country. Speaking of things that don't make no damn sense: I've never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies, so all the references were lost on me. And, is there a point to the "Reginald" character? He's written exactly the same as The Cleveland Show's "Rallo", but he's a koala bear. A "Ko-Rallo" Bear? A "Ko-Rallo" Bear! Feel free to use that.

MVP: Ian Maxtone-Graham and Billy Kimball…the writers for "The Color Yellow". For real, y'all…I could've had a half-dozen quotes of the night from that episode alone.

Quote of the Night: "Take it outside, Lassie. We've still got three 'Jackie Robinsons' and a 'Tuskegee Airman'. And, SO many 'Obamas'." - Groundskeeper Willie, backstage at Springfield Elementary's Black History Month pageant.

Current Standings

The Simpsons – 50
The Cleveland Show – 43
American Dad! – 30
Family Guy – 26


SHough610 said...

I, too, loved Jr.'s "moo!" as well as Cleveland's reaction. I also thought the mustache bit was not as funny as the rest.
However, I did love David Lynch but that's because I just love that crazy bastard (incidentally, were you a Peaks fan? It's sort of a proto-LOST in terms of all the mysteries. The series drops off into nigh-unwatchable or about five episodes in the second season but the rest is gold).

You know how much I loved the Simpsons. I thought the "are there no decent Simpsons?!" plot wasn't a retread because these were relatives who were Grandpa's parents generation or above. Assuming that Lisa was looking there she might have found some unassuming relatives.

I also could have sworn there was a kiss between Virgil and 19th century Marge.

As for Seth MacFarlane's wit... I hate to be elitist but I think if you look where the Simpsons (and Futurama, are you a Futurama fan?) draws writers from (Harvard, Harvard Lampoon, Cal Tech) and the nature of the show (Family Guy has always hit more low-hanging fruit and gone for the jugular more) you're not going to have the rapier wit that Simpsons has.

Not to be hyperbolic, but I think that the "Classic Simpsons" (Seasons 3-9 or 10) is our era's contribution to societal satire in the vein of Mark Twain.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I saved The Simpsons on the DVR so I could watch it with Mrs. Bootleg. I have no doubt she'll love it (although it's competing with the DVD of "Good Hair" that arrived from Netflix the other day).

Also, there's a scene at the very, very end where it looks like the interracial animated couple is kissing, but after a few DVRewinds, it's just an embrace.

(Hey, old white folk have the JFK footage...I have this.)

SHough610 said...

Not just OLD white folks, I've written two or three papers on the topic