Family Guy Review: Roof Baby


Okay, I get it, Family Guy Season 12 Episode 20. You're embarrassed by how badly The Cleveland Show bombed. It's fine. Calm down!

But you didn't have to be a Cleveland show fan to be weirded out by the degree of effort this episode took in distancing itself from the failed spin-off.

(And "failed" is a questionable word choice here - it had four full seasons, which is a lot more than many of the network shows I've loved (Trophy Wife, we hardly knew ye!)).

Yet an air of brittle shame about The Cleveland Show, its low ratings and supposed weak writing hung over the first half of this episode, particularly the bar scene re-introducing Cleveland into the Drunken Clam gang, despite a few sharp Family Guy quotes.

It was a grab for clever self-awareness, but fell short. The jabs at The Cleveland Show felt insincere, especially coupled with the oblique praise for Seth MacFarlane's Ted, and the entire enterprise felt like a fifth grader making fun of his own Disney Princesses lunchbox before you can.

In fact, the episode's many stabs at self-awareness - like the off-hand comments about Brian and Stewie talking to each other, and Brian having a gun - seemed aimed more at the MacFarland obsessive/ apologist than anything the casual viewer could enjoy.

Does Cleveland's return to Quahog make a difference to the show's dynamic? Probably not; the bar gang did do so well without him these past few years, I often forgot that he was gone.

But Cleveland does provide a softer, sweeter element that the show is often lacking. It's probably why his own show failed, but it serves as a real asset on the occasions when Family Guy becomes too weird and bitter to swallow.

Though actually, if he always helped cut the show's occasional strange bitterness, wouldn't he have kept that opening scene from happening?

What do you think of Cleveland's return to Quahog?

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