Sunday's Rankings (5, 3, 2, 1 scoring)
(1) American Dad! -- "Stan's Food Restaurant": This hasn't been the most entertaining start to a season for FOX's cartoon cavalcade of whimsy. But, Stan Smith and his family rallied big with two stories that were funnier than anything else that aired on Sunday night. The primary plot revolved around Stan and Roger as rival restaurateurs. The "exploding building/body parts" running gag actually worked while the assorted images of Stan and Roger's one-upmanship were effective, as well. The secondary story was about Stan's son Steve (increasingly written with a nod to Bud Bundy of Married…With Children infamy), a crazy nymphomaniac and a child's doll…that may have been alive. Of course, it wasn't. But, someone thought it was. Oh, shut up, it was funny. It was!
(2) Family Guy -- "Baby, You Knock Me Out": ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons hasn't made me entirely numb to references from the Rocky series of movies. Lois Griffin's adventures in the boxing ring leaned heavily on the major plot points from Rocky III, but the pulverized visage of the color commentator and the image of Lois' comically-triangular nose breaking (in the same way one would dog-ear the page of a book) were nice – albeit grotesque – touches.
(3) The Cleveland Show -- "Little Man on Campus": We're just a handful of episodes into the new season, but this show is continuing its uneven comedic feel from a year ago. The supporting cast is easily the weakest of any show on FOX's Sunday night slate (in fact, save for Tim the bear and his wife, Arianna, I can never remember any of their names) so, an episode that focuses on one of Cleveland's drinking buddies isn't going to do much for me. And, it was a baseball episode! I was still underwhelmed! I did love the final scene with Donna's wet blanket reaction when Cleveland fessed up to his shenanigans.
(4) The Simpsons -- "Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life": I really don't want to keep pointing out all the times The Simpsons seems to repeat previously-aired storylines. After 22 seasons – and an avalanche of fan criticism that's equal parts accurate and hackneyed – no one can reasonably expect every episode to be as fresh as it was 15 years ago. But, didn't Lisa already do the "new school" thing in The Secret War of Lisa Simpson? And, when Marge is shown to have taken on a
Lines of the Night
"We're kids! Incorporated! Before your time. OUR time!" – The Cleveland Show
"Soup is NOT a meal, Vera!" – American Dad!
"You couldn't open a French whore's legs with a wheel of cheese!" -- American Dad!
Family Guy -- 17
The Cleveland Show -- 16
American Dad! -- 11
The Simpsons -- 10