THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

The Cleveland Show

We rarely get to see black people animated, and certainly not carrying an entire television series. Fat Albert is the first title that comes to mind when I think of prominent black cartoon characters, but the program existed more than 20 years ago. And of course there's Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks series. If anyone can think of others, specifically from the last 20 years, please share.

For the 2009 TV season, Fox TV will air The Cleveland Show, an animated TV series, and spin-off from the mildly popular Family Guy. The Cleveland Show will focus on the character of Cleveland Brown and his family. The story goes... Cleveland moves to Stoolbend, VA with his son, his high school sweetheart Donna and her daughter. Their wacky neighbors include a loudmouth redneck couple, a British family seemingly stuck in the Victorian era and a family of bears. I don't watch Family Guy, although I've seen pieces of episodes, so I really can't say what to expect from The Cleveland Show. The fact that the it's a comedy and the creators are white could be of some concern (I immediately think of the scene in Bamboozled, in which Delacroix creates the "Mantan Show," with a room full of white writers), but I'll wait until I actually see an episode before passing judgement. See the trailer below for more...

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
     

    "The fact that the it's a comedy and the creators are white could be of some concern (I immediately think of the scene in Bamboozled, in which Delacroix creates the "Mantan Show," with a room full of white writers), but I'll wait until I actually see an episode before passing judgement."

    Doesn't seem like you did wait, actually.

  2. The Obenson Report said...
     

    Forgive me... I forgot to take my anti-anxiety pills this morning :o)

  3. Invisible Woman said...
     

    I love Family Guy, but I've always had a huge problem with it's depiction of blacks, and it's comments on black people and culture. It became such an issue, I almost stopped watching. It will be interesting to see what they're going to do.

  4. The Obenson Report said...
     

    IW, I guess I should watch some full episodes of 'Family Guy' and see for myself what the hype is all about... thanks!

  5. H. Bomb said...
     

    IW and Obenson, do either of you have good examples of Family Guy's problematic depiction of black people + culture?

    From what I remember, they had a whole episode early on called "Peter Griffin: Husband, Father,... Brother?" which satirized racist attitudes and overall cluelessness to black people + culture.

    *Check out Lois' dad telling Peter's new black friends "My jacket is in the kitchen, please don't write on it" *

    *Also check out Peter's pull-over encounter with a police officer after he becomes "black" *


    On another note, it'll also be interesting to see whether or not the voice actors depicting Cleveland's family are black (Cleveland's actor is not).

  6. The Obenson Report said...
     

    @ h. bomb - As I said, I haven't really watched any full episodes of Family Guy, but I'm going to start doing so. Once I do, I'll be able to answer your question. So, for now, I'll have to defer to I.W. to share her thoughts.

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