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Author: Ben Mueller

Why ‘The Cleveland Show’ Was Inherently Destined To Fail

To the joy of his fans, Cleveland Brown will return to Family Guy and the town of Quahog this spring. After four uneven seasons, FOX finally decided to put The Cleveland Show out of its misery and canceled it earlier this year. I say misery because in typically self-aware Seth MacFarlane fashion, in-jokes on the series made it clear that everyone knew the end was nigh. In a late season four episode, a doctor tells Cleveland he has bad news, to which Cleveland replies, “I’m dying or we’re canceled! It’s one of them!” While laugh out loud at times—if you’re into Seth MacCray-Cray humor—the show never really found its footing. Perhaps that has something to do with its complex racial equation—three white men creating a black comedy—that never really resolved itself. More so, I think it goes back to why Seth and his crew can never touch the work of other animated greats: lack of endearing characters. The Cleveland Show was always the annoying third child behind Family Guy and American Dad, the one where the parents stopped going to his baseball games. Everyone knows Seth’s shows have characters that shamelessly overlay each other—but is he being cleverly shameless or just plain lazy? You can never tell. A quick glance at the cross section of Cleveland’s buddies reveals the frameworks of Quagmire, Joe, and Peter himself in Tim the...

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Meet Kyle Mooney: Web Weirdo Turned SNL Wonderboy

Miley Cyrus’ new episode of SNL had its share of ups (a “We Can’t Stop” parody about the government shutdown, Jay Pharoah’s outrageous Shannon Sharpe impression) and downs (a wholly bizarre cheerleader/alien abduction skit, and the Hillary Clinton TV sketch falling flat). But if you stuck it out, you caught a digital short by Kyle Mooney, one of six new cast members among this season’s bumper crop. To the untrained eye, “Miley Sex Tape” was a surreal short, maybe a tad bland, that featured a non-buff dude contemplating sex with the pop star. For us Kyle fans–affectionately dubbed “Schmooney Mooneys”–it was a polished, bigger budget version of the hilarious schmo we’ve adored from YouTube sketch comedy group GoodNeighborStuff (fellow Good Neighbor Beck Bennett is a new member as well). Kyle’s been kicking round the interly-net for quite some time now. So before he really turns Mr. Popular and stars in a summer flop as Fred Armisen’s son, let’s relive all his unplaceable accents, awkward sexual advances, and those mountains and mountains of purp skurp.  “ball champions” A perfect introduction to Kyle and one of his first viral hits. I challenge you to work “nah-mo nah-mo too-la-nye” into your daily vocabulary.  “smoking” Our second stop in descent to goofy accent hell. Insanely quotable and well-rehearsed (by which I mean very poorly), this may just be Kyle at his Kyle-est. “toast” A...

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South Park Skewers Cable Companies

South Park continued their promised rampage this week by taking on Mr. Pitt’s near summer flop and a little big man named Zimmerman. Last week’s episode, however, was devoted to something we talk about quite a bit here in our neck of the web woods: big cable companies. In “Informative Murder Porn,” the parents of South Park are infatuated by overly violent spousal murder reenactments on cable TV. Their kids fearfully put parental locks on the channels, so the parents head over to the Get Cable company. Much to Randy’s dismay, he finds out they’re the only gig in town (and their swirly logo may seem a tad familiar). The parental blocks can be removed as long as Randy has a technician switch out his cablebox… but he must be home from 6 a. m. to 3 p. m. for the entire month of November. The kids later try to drop channels from their cable bundles, but it’s impossible because of the company’s packaging. At episode’s end, a message from The President of Your Local Cable Company reveals that the customer is a little less than always right. As the crown jewel of the episode, all the cable workers have a sexual affectation that’s a little too NSFW to print here. Check out episode clips and you will not be disappointed. The episode’s gags are a spoof of Time Warner...

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Every Major Horror Movie Reference On American Horror Story – Imitation or Inspiration?

Prepare to get all your spooks out October 9th with the super-sexy, super-scary premiere of American Horror Story: Coven. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk–the minds behind both AHS and Glee–are devout horror fans who make a game out of referencing classic tropes from the genre’s past. Although they tamed their inspirations for Season 2–and upped the alien abductions and ax murders–do they continually pay homage where homage is due, or pilfer from horror classics for new fans who don’t know any better? You be the judge as we relive all the ghastly fun below. Season 1 Episode 1 Creepy Twins – The Shining (1980) You can’t put twins in horror without echoing the iconic creepy girls from The Shining, who drew striking resemblance to that one Diane Arbus photo anyway. Season 1 Episode 1 Bone Mobile – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Here’s a subtle one, but the bone mobile found in the first episode hearkens back to the bone room of Leatherface’s goodies in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Season 1 Episode 1 Tarantino Music for School Shooting – Kill Bill (2003) You can’t hear “Twisted Nerve” without picturing Daryl Hannah in all her eyepatched glory. No dice on this one guys: Tarantino has it claimed, even though it was composed by Bernard Herrmann for the 1968 feature Twisted Nerve. Season 1 Episode 2 Hitchcock’s Scores in the Nurse Stabbing...

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Is Fox’s Deadbeat “Dads” Already Dead?

It’s never a good sign when critics are trashing your show… before it even hits the air. FOX’s live action Seth MacFarlane/Seth Green collab Dads is set to debut on September 17th, but critics are already blasting the show as racist and unfunny. The Asian media monitoring group Media Action Network for Asian Americans has asked FOX to reshoot scenes in the show’s pilot before the episode plays to a home audience. The scenes in question are said to be “racist” and involve Asian stereotypes–particularly actress Brenda Song’s character dressing up as a “sexy Asian school girl.” The show stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as two friends who must deal with their raucous, politically incorrect fathers–played by Martin Mull and Peter Riegert–when they move in as roommates. A glance at the official FOX promo for the series reveals that Asian jokes are a crux of the first episode’s plot. For their part, FOX has said they will not reshoot the scenes. It’d be one thing if Dads was otherwise poised to be great, but critics aren’t in its corner. Jace Lacob of BuzzFeed called the show “horrifically unfunny,” and everyone else is jumping on the Dads-slamming bandwagon. The FOX promo treats us to jokes about “burp smell” and old men pooping between three and four in morning, so you be the judge. Alex Sulkin, another of the show’s...

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