• Worst Show of the Week: The Cleveland Show

    by  • March 6, 2013 • Worst of the Week • 7 Comments

    One week after exposing adult Hollywood actors to his horrendously racist and sexist “humor” during his performance as host of the 85 th Academy Awards telecast – thereby drawing outraged comments from everyone from feminist bloggers to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League – this past Sunday, Seth MacFarlane was back to his more familiar stomping grounds: exposing millions of children to his horrendously racist and sexist “humor (and graphic violence) BEFORE the Family Hour! As a result, the Sunday, March 3rd episode of Fox’s The Cleveland Show (7:30 p.m. ET) has more than earned the title of Worst TV Show of the Week.

    The episode opens with Cleveland telling his wife Donna he has to get up early if he wants to avoid “being one of [his boss] Waterman’s victims.” “But you’re not a 19 year old Cuban boy who sells cologne at the mall.” Wow. Less than a minute in, and already, “joking” about borderline pedophilia.

    Meanwhile, Donna’s teen daughter Roberta has broken up with her wanna-be white rapper boyfriend “Federline.” Little Rallo sees an opportunity: “Now we can find you a real man, i.e., black!” Rallo talks to his iPhone feature Siri. When the mechanical voice answers, Rallo asks, “Can I talk to Black Siri?” Siri’s voice shifts from stilted dialogue to the racist slang, “Whut up, playa? Whatchoo need?” Rallo then attempts to introduce Roberta to stereotypical black men, including Reggie, “a black guy with a black guy name,” and “Black Muslim Jamal,” who is clad in a suit, bowtie, and glasses, and tells Roberta, “Cover your head, woman!”

    After this parade of racist stereotypes, Roberta meets a black male supermarket checker who whips off his shirt and uses it to bag her groceries. When Roberta admires his physique, he replies, “I got in shape building a school in South Africa, for all the kids that got molested at Oprah’s school in South Africa.” (Because nothing is funnier than joking about child molestation! Also note how MacFarlane goes out of his way to slam Oprah — just as he slammed accomplished actresses with his misogynist song “We Saw Your Boobs” at the Oscars. MacFarlane really must hate women and blacks, mustn’t he? By contrast, he apparently thinks that sexually molesting children is hilarious.)

    There is a plot, of sorts, to the rest of the episode; but as is typical of MacFarlane’s totally lazy approach to “writing,” the “story” serves as nothing more than a frame on which to tack various other racist, sexist, misogynistic, and sex-themed lame one-liners:

    When Cleveland tells his wife he’s been laid off, she replies, “Good! Because there’s so much for you to do here. Clean the gutters, paint the house inside and out…” thus playing out the sexist stereotype of the nagging wife. A bomb-wielding Arab terrorist is shown at an airport plotting to blow up a plane. A random passer-by complains, “No one will hire me just because I have long hair. And I’m a sexual predator.” (AGAIN with the child molester jokes! MacFarlane really seems to have a one-track mind, doesn’t he?) Cleveland and his friends ride on a sailboat. He asks a group of gangsters in a boat next to him, “You guy’s hiring?”

    Gangster: “As a matter of fact, we’re about to have an opening.”

    Gangster #2: “We are?”

    Gangster: “Yeah, in the back of your ___ (bleeped f******) head!”

    The gangster takes out a gun and fires a bullet in his friend’s head, then kicks the corpse into the water.

    Later, Cleveland tries to talk his way out of trouble by offering the following:

    “I wasn’t looking for a job

    I was acting like a slob

    And now, I look like a knob

    In front of this mob.

    Sorry, I was doing a Jesse Jackson, trying to rhyme my way out of this.”

    And just to tie up the Roberta plot: tiring of Roberta’s handsome but strait-laced boyfriend, Rallo persuades “Federline” (now going by his real name of Gabriel Friedman) to return to her. Warning,

    “She’s never going to take you back looking like a nerdy J-O-O,” Rallo lures Gabriel to a ”discount yarmulke warehouse,” where Gabe’s father (speaking with a grossly stereotyped Jewish accent) convinces him to once again embrace his identity as “Federline.”

    Let’s see: sexism? Check. Racism? Check. Anti-Semitism? Check. Jokes about child molestation? Check and double check. Yes, this is a typical Seth MacFarlane production, all right.

    But the question remains: why is a program rated TV14-DLV – nearly the most extreme rating any program on broadcast TV has ever been given – aired at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (only 6:30 p.m. Central/Mountain time)? Is there no understanding by Fox of the notion of “appropriate place, time, and manner” of broadcasting adult-themed content? Apparently not; for while this start time was a bit earlier than usual, for the better part of a decade MacFarlane has been allowed to pollute Sunday nights with his raunchy gore-fests, replete with graphic blood, bone, and brain matter spraying about, non-stop lewd commentary, and “jokes” about such subjects as child molestation. (Nothing like teaching children that being sexually molested is something to laugh about.) Why is MacFarlane’s garbage allowed anywhere near children? Why are MacFarlane’s programs permitted on the aired by Fox at all?

    But while others proclaim the “popularity” of Seth MacFarlane and celebrate his dive into depravity, the PTC is proud to strike at least a small blow in defense of children…by naming Fox’s The Cleveland Show the Worst TV Show of the Week.

    McDonalds sponsored this program. To contact them with your concerns, click here.

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    7 Responses to Worst Show of the Week: The Cleveland Show

    1. Andrew Flores
      February 19, 2015 at 7:28 am

      See people like you ruin the joys of watching Seth MacFarlane’s comedy, it may definitely not be the most of appropriate shows but that doesn’t mean it was the worst show ever. People sometimes enjoyed the dark humor because at a certain point in time in life you come across these things. I for one loved the Cleveland show and all their jokes and MacFarlane’s shows but blind parents like I’m guessing all of you are, you prove yourself to be a model parent and let your child watch this show then have the courage and stupidity to say “hey let’s have this removed” no. You people need to take responsibility and be better parents, stop ignoring your kids for your cellphones and maybe just maybe you will realize that those dark brand of humorous jokes insult people like you cause it’s true.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        March 9, 2015 at 8:55 am

        I’m sorry to hear that I “ruin the joys of watching Seth MacFarlane’s comedy.” Well, no, I’m not; actually, I’m delighted. I had no idea I was so powerful.

        As for parents: part of being a good parent is fighting for change you believe is necessary, so your children will have a better world to live in. Enjoy all the “dark humor” you want; but why does it need to be imposed on everyone?

        • Pamela West
          March 11, 2016 at 8:25 am

          You made the choice to put that channel on your tv. And you made the choice to watch it. No one imposed anything on you. Maybe we dont enjoy. Rappers going around imposing there gang crap on our kids. It goes both ways. Get over it. Naturally you don’t hear bout anything that offends white people.

          • Pamela West
            March 11, 2016 at 8:27 am

            Or how they teach there sons to disrespect women. Or how they teach our girls it’s ok to dress like sluts and stick your ass out and shake it.

    2. Pamela West
      March 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

      I’m watching an episode now, that is racist against whites so. Watch more than a few episodes cry baby. It’s always black lives this and black lives that. We’ll there’s more than just black lives in the world. I’m native american,you apparently didn’t pay attention in history class when they taught the part where millions of native Americans were murdered and raped, then had there homes burned and then robbed of there land. So stop pointing out only when blacks are talked about and point out for everyone. I guess it’s ok for blacks to go around rapping about bitches and whores and being gangster and killing or how much yayo or white girl they sell. yeah thats something to be proud of, having the best drugs that kill children. Funny you give a dam about those black lives when your counting your money. But yet get mad when there called animals. they do so much and get away with it all the time. But go around acting like the world’s against them.

      • Bbb
        August 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        Amen

      • Bbb
        August 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        Amen brotha

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