Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Cleveland Show - The Complete Season Two DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
"The Cleveland Show" Season 2 follows everyone’s favorite soft spoken neighbor, Cleveland Brown (Mike Henry), as he settles into married life with his highschool sweetheart and their blended family in his hometown of Stoolbend, VA. Cleveland’s second wife, Donna (Sanaa Lathan), is a strong-willed and tenacious woman who puts family first and often has to come to her husband’s rescue or protect him from dangerous situations. Her two unruly kids – boy crazy teenage daughter Roberta (Reagan Gomez) and pint-sized 5-year-old Rallo (Henry) – can often be found conspiring with or against their insecure and na├»ve step-brother, Cleveland Jr. (Kevin Michael Richardson). Cleveland’s neighbors and sidekicks include loudmouth redneck Lester (Richardson); religious talking bear Tim (Seth MacFarlane) and his wife, Arianna (Arianna Huffington); and hipster wanna-be Holt (Jason Sudeikis).

Show (2 out of 5 stars)
I am a huge fan of Family Guy.  Stewie is by far my favorite character on that show and I am able to get past the idea of a young child constantly plotting his mother's demise.  Family Guy basically is the Stewie show already, but outside the Griffin family, I would have expected Quagmire to be the first to have a spin off...but definitely not Cleveland.  Quagmire's show would probably be seriously x-rated and probably wouldn't even make it on late night cable.  Since no one ever asked me my opinion on what should or should not be on television, I assume that the people making these shows know more than I do....I'm trying to be optimistic. 

Right off the bat, I hate the Cleveland Show theme song.  I really hate the song and it's ruining my optimism about liking the Cleveland Show. Cleveland Brown has a new wife Donna and has left Quahog.  His son Cleveland Jr. is now older, heavier, and sounds like a girl.  Donna's children Roberta and Rollo also live in the house.  Cleveland has his own set of friends, including a bear and they have their favorite drinking spot, the Broken Stool.

The Cleveland Show The Complete Season Two contains the following episodes:

Disc One
  • Harder, Better, Faster, Browner - Cleveland realizes that his childhood friend Barry Obama is actually Barrack Obama and this send Cleveland into a mid life crisis. At the same time, Cleveland tries to help Kenny West, played by Kanye West, get his career off the ground.
  • Cleveland Live! - Supposed to be a "live" episode centering around Donna and Cleveland's anniversary. I'm not a fan of actual live episodes, and I think its extra odd to watch an animated show as though it were live.
  • How Cleveland Got His Groove Back - Lester builds a drag racer and Cleveland decides he should be the driver. Lester strikes out Cleveland forcing him to take the family to Africa to get his mojo back.
  • It's the Great Pancake, Cleveland Brown - Children can trick or treat, adults can trick or treat but Cleveland Jr. is told he's at that awkward age where it's not okay. After being left behind to hand out candy (requiring signatures and bar code scans so the family knows he didn't eat them all himself) Cleveland Jr. puts on his pancake costume and heads out leaving the house unattended.
  • Little Man on Campus - Cleveland's star pitcher is mauled by the Mascot leaving the championship in jeopardy. Cleveland decides to pass off his tiny friend Holt as a transfer student.
  • Fat and Wet - Cleveland Jr. and Kendra push to make fat jokes illegal after numerous embarrassments about their weight.

Disc Two
  • Another Bad Thanksgiving - Donna's sister comes to town, leaves her bratty children behind and runs off to Vegas. The Cleveland family follows for an expectedly inappropriate Vegas Thanksgiving.complete with a trip to the wedding chapel and an escort for the young boys.
  • Murray Christmas - At an old folk’s home, Rallo meets a Jew named Murray who isn't interested in the Christmas songs the class is there to sing. It's a very politically incorrect Christmas special with guest star Carl Reiner.
  • Beer Walk! - Donna's charity work leads Cleveland and friends to hold a Beer Walk - where they take pledges for the beer they drink. Donna gets injured and Cleveland has to take over for her, and it’s not as easy as he thinks.
  • Ain't Nothing ' But Mutton Bustlin' - Cleveland takes Cleveland Jr. to take your kid to work day and Rallo feels left out. Donna suggests that Cleveland spend more time with Rallo and they discover he's a natural sheep rider.
  • How do you Solve a Problem like Roberta? At a school carnival, Rallo wishes himself to be invisible and that he can pull a prank in the nude. Cleveland winds two tickets to a spa which Donna uses with Kendra (after being criticized as a parent by Cleveland).Cleveland tries to bond with Kendra letting her spend time with Federline. He finds out she is dating an older guy Diego and forbids that relationship then tries to make up for it with a house party.
  • Like a Boss - Cleveland's superbowl party. His Waterman Cable supervisor drops dead Cleveland wants to arrange for his new supervisor but not have his superbowl plans interrupted. We learn that Tim is actually afraid of the woods, which is why he lives in the city.

Disc Three
  • A Short Story and a Tall Tale - Rallo is sad that he is looked down on for being young and small and finds a friend in another small person, Marty; he meets at the grocery store. Enjoying Marty's lifestyle gets Rallo into trouble.
  • Terry Unmarried - Donna has been lying to Cleveland about loving his coffee. Cleveland demands to know what else she has been hiding and learns that she never finalized her divorce. Cleveland, technically single, make plans to go drinking and end up in a gay bar, where a friend is outed.
  • The Blue, the Gray and the Brown - Cleveland fights to save the towns drive in from demolition and the Stoolbend Preservation Society takes notice of his efforts.
  • The Way the Cookie Crumbles - Cleveland’s father is selling his stuff, and a friend has bought it, and Cleveland wants it back. Donna says they have no room for the extra junk and Cleveland puts it in storage where he discovers his parents live and a con artist is involved.
  • To Live and Die in VA - Stuck in traffic Cleveland gets the idea of running a beer truck for just such people.
  • The Essence of Cleveland - A robbery makes it obvious that Donna knows little about Cleveland. In this episode Cleveland gets himself a secret admirer.

Disc Four
  • Ship'rect - Cleveland and pals prepare to enter the regatta. Cleveland is interested in his celebrity idol in town, who turns out to be gay.
  • Back to Cool - Robert is told that if he wants to continue receiving alimony checks he has to spend time with his children.
  • Your Show of Shows - Rallo and friends perform at the school talent show and are not well received and Cleveland gets his own public access show.
  • Hot Cocoa Bang Bang - The Season Finale. Cleveland shows off his comic book Waderman and takes the family to Comic Con.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)

Current animation always look pretty good, but unfortunately this is only a DVD set, not high definition.  It is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 ratio.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)

Presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, the dialogue and sound effects are clear and at a consistent level, but I hate that damn theme song!
Special Features (4 out of 5 stars)

I actually enjoyed the special features a lot more than the show.  The commentaries are interesting, and not always about the Cleveland show in particular.  
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Murray Christmas Commentary - with Richard Appel, Mike Henry, Kirker Butler and Carl Reiner. An amusing commentary, with a lot of discussion about Carl Reiner's career having nothing to do with this cartoon. 
  • Cleveland Jr's Worry Journal - All the things that Cleveland Jr. worries about. My favorite was the worry he will have to sit down and have coffee with M. Night Shyamalan. 
  • Guest Star Showcase - A look at the guest stars like Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. Seeing real people doing the voices is interesting...even the regulars. 
  • "Hot Cocoa Bang Bang Trailer" - The season finale episode's trailer. 
  • Cleveland at Comic Con 2010 - Actual footage from the panels at Comic Con. I love that Richard Appel and I wear the same Dexter lanyard holder. 
  • "Hot Cocoa Bang Bang" Commentary - with Richard Appel, Mike Henry, Kirker Butler, Ian Graham and Robert Rodriguez - Discussion of the season finale. 
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents - Life After Film School with Mike Henry - Three students sit down with Mike Henry to discuss the show and his career.

Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars)
The Cleveland Show missed the mark with me big time.  As a big fan of Family Guy I was disappointed with how unamusing I found the whole thing to be.  I never got involved with the characters and certainly cannot say if you loved Family Guy you'll love this.  As Seth MacFarlane shows go....I would have much rather spent my time re-watching any previous season of Family Guy or even American Dad.  I'm amazed how much more enjoyable I found the features than the show.  A lot of the features made me laugh which is something Season Two of The Cleveland Show failed to do even once.

Order your copy today! 

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