Fox’s Animation Domination lineup debuted last night with four season premieres. The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad all unleashed cartoon chaos. But were they any good? Let’s go show by show…
The Simpsons’ “The Falcon and the D’ohman”
After 22 seasons of The Simpsons, you’d think that even the most dedicated fans would be tired of Bart and Co. Not I, my friends. Tonight’s episode gave me plenty of reasons to watch the show’s 23rd season. In the season premiere, Wayne, a former U.S. secret agent turned detached security guard at Homer’s nuclear power plant (voiced by former 24 star Kiefer Sutherland), is charmed into a friendship with his dimwitted coworker and later has to save Homer from an old Ukrainian enemy who kidnapped him.
Funniest moment nominee: “How are you going to find him?” Marge asks Wayne. “Homer is implanted with several highly powerful tracking chips,” he responds. Marge wonders, “How did that happen?” “I put them out in a bowl and he ate them,” he replies. Ha! Fat jokes!
Verdict: This is why I still love The Simpsons. Tonight’s episode featured goofy bar humor and a Kim Jong-il musical. What a combo, right? And I laughed at both.
The Cleveland Show’s “BFFs”
Season four of the Family Guy spinoff finds Cleveland in a sad place after he discovers his old friend Peter Griffin came to visit his Stoolbend, Va., neighborhood for four days and didn’t even try to see him. Cleveland takes an emotional drive back to Quahog, R.I., to find out why his buddy dissed him.
Funniest moment nominee: When Cleveland rings the Griffins’ doorbell, Stewie asks Brian, “Has he been canceled already? He doesn’t get to just come back!”
Bonus funny moment: When Peter finally speaks to Cleveland, he explains, “My phone died… of AIDS.” With his arms folded, Cleveland retorts, “AIDS is no longer a death sentence.”
After Peter tells him that they were never really friends, Cleveland decides that he and his crew should attend Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair’s friendship camp. Wooo! Canoes! Cleveland and friends are then kidnapped by a gang of back-country woodsmen. But Peter saves them from hillbilly rape (“Let go of my Negro,” he yells), later saying that a psychiatrist revealed his fear of rejection and that he dumped Cleveland before he could be dumped himself.
Verdict: I geeked when I first found out Cleveland was getting a spin-off years ago and I’m equally elated I can laught at him and his family now. I’ll definitely tune in this season.
Family Guy’s “Lottery Fever”
In the season 10 opener, Peter responds to the tough financial times by opening a second mortgage to purchase 200,000 lottery tickets. Yeah, it’s a dopey plan. But he’s got a good hunch the odds are in his favor. Enter one of the night funniest moments.
Funniest moment nominee: “I got lots of good karma from doing the USO shows,” says Peter. Cut to him in Bob Hope mode on a U.S. ship performing for soldiers. “So apparently the found a weapon of mass destruction: My putter,” Peter quips. “Now please welcome Mr. Bruce Jenner.” The Kardashian stepdad and former U.S. decathlon gold medalist comes out in track and field attire to perform a burlesque-type of dance for the troops. “Just wanted to remind you fellas what you’re all fighting for.”
They win the lottery! Peter has a power trip now that he’s rich and demands that his friends do as he pleases. Of course, they go broke thanks to several stupid purchases—including a suit made of solid gold. “I had to fight three rappers down at the Nonsense Store for this,” he brags. Hilarious. Fortunately, Quagmire saves the day and gives back Peter’s original investment on his penis-enlarging business so that he’s able to buy back the home he lost.
Verdict: Sure, the plot is over the top, but this was the night’s strongest premiere. For such a basic storyline, the jokes were tighter and more unexpected. Did you see Stewie’s giant mobile? Come on!
American Dad’s “Hot Water”
Plot: Full disclosure here, folks. I’ve never been much of an American Dad fan. For some reason, I have an easier time accepting Family Guy’s genius baby and talking dog than Dad‘s alien son. Don’t ask me why. The guest star in the show’s Season 7 premiere made me a huge fan tonight. Portly R&B stud Cee Lo Green begins by warning us that we’ll be seeing a “cautionary tale that may greatly influence your next hot tub purchase.” Oh boy.
Stan throws his back out and a friend recommends he get a Jacuzzi for the pain. He purchases a talking one, voiced by Mr. Green, who charmingly sings, “No need to hide/ Come all the way inside.” His first experience in the tub transforms him into a suave horndog. Still dripping as he leaves the Jacuzzi, he meets his wife in the bedroom and gets right to naughty business.
Funniest moment nominee: After having her world rocked, his wife [sort of] compliments him.”That. Was. The. Best. Sex. I’ve. Ever. Had,” she says. “With you.” Stan then becomes a party boy, ditching his family and work for a good soak. “Choose, Stan,” his wife demands. “Your family or this hot tub?” He sends his family packing.
But after turning down a Jacuzzi threesome with “two emotionally insecure girls who are half his age,” Stan realizes that he misses his family. But it won’t let him go so easily.
In a strange twist, we find out that the Jacuzzi is a damaged soul itself. In a random twist, the Jacuzzi was was made for Joe Nakash, the founder of Jordache Jeans. Apparently the one-time playboy ditched the tub when he became a family man. And now won’t let anyone be taken away from him again.
The fight for a tub-free house is a epic one. Call me crazy, but sometimes I enjoy an unhappy ending. So when the tub kills Stan, I was pleasantly surprised. No goofy save? Stan couldn’t just pull out the plug or something? Nope. Then Cee Lo returns to assure all that the show’s over. “That’s our story. Stan’s dead! Goodnight!”
Verdict: It was probably because this show turned into an R&B musical, but I loved this episode. Between Cee Lo’s songs and Steve and Roger’s ballad about their absent daddy (did they kiss at the end?), I got exactly what I didn’t expect: a wonderful close to Fox’s premiere Sunday.
What did you guys think of tonight’s Animation Domination lineup? What were the funniest moments to you? Let us know.