Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Cleveland Show

     I wonder what the rest of America is doing on Sunday evenings between 8:30 and 9 PM Eastern/Pacific (7:30 and 8 PM Central/Mountain).  Because that is the half hour between The Simpsons, which is the longest running animated series in the history of history, and Family Guy, which is the other cash cow for the Fox Network.  That is the slot where Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show resides, and I can't imagine a whole lot of people are watching that.
     Which is sad, because it is not a bad show.  It has its moments for certain, and I will admit that it has made me crack up on more than one occasion.  It has the Family Guy/Seth MacFarlane penchant for hitting the topical one liner on the nose, and that is good, but there is something about it that just doesn't seem right to me.  It's like it is striving to fit into the Family Guy mold without using the Family Guy formula, which just won't work.  It needs to just be itself.  I understand that I am probably trying to look at it through the Family Guy lens, and so I am a little biased, but it's almost impossible to not look at it that way.  That is the problem with spin off, they are always seen in relation to the original, and they have to establish their own identity like Frasier did, or Laverne and Shirley.  And that is what The Cleveland Show needs to do.
     Anyway, all that being said The Cleveland Show is alright, and it doesn't draw badly.  It rated a 9.4 upon its debut, which means that 9.4 million people watched, which is really pretty good, but I still just don't know.  Part of that is because Fox really wants this thing to do well, and how can it not fare well sitting between The Simpsons and Family Guy.  But just because those 9.4 million TVs are turned on, is anyone watching?
      My TV was turned to it, I was one of those millions, last Sunday, but I will have to say that I wasn't actively watching.  I was paying bills and making a little dinner and putzing around.  I wasn't on the davenport paying attention to what was happening.  It was more like just background noise for my other Sunday evening activities.  And I imagine other people in America were doing the same.  Somewhere a couple was taking that time to make out I am sure, and I bet some of those guys were able to seal the deal.  Oh, what are we talking about, I know some of those guys sealed the deal.  Somewhere someone took that time to tuck their dog out and pack their lunch for the next day.  Elsewhere, someone took that time to run to the store, another brushed their teeth and washed their face, and six people in Oklahoma paged through a magazine while the show showed on their television.  I bet at least one person used that time to watch their neighbor try to pull their frozen boat out of the snowbank.  Lots of people took the Sunday paper into the lavatory and eliminated waste.  Some people even probably switched over the The Amazing Race, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, or even Nature over on PBS.
     I wonder what else went on.  I am certain that just about everything under the sun went down during that half hour while 9.4 million of us were supposedly watching The Cleveland Show, sitting contentedly in our living rooms.  I suppose that a fair amount of people actually watched, but I am equally sure that at least the same amount didn't.  And that's okay, because in the end the decision makers at Fox really only care about the numbers, not the actual viewership, so then The Cleveland Show will live on.  And good for it.  Remember, you chore and errand time is Sunday nights at 8:30 Eastern/Pacific, 7:30 Central/Mountain on Fox.

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