The Cleveland Show – Season Three
It’s hard to believe that this Family Guy spin-off has made it into a third season. But being the only black character, and the most relatively unknown member of Peter Griffin’s group of friends, it transpires that this show could be afforded the creative freedom to cut loose, and is doing pretty well for itself. The less we knew to begin with, the more room their was to maneuver. Unlike Family Guy's season premiere, this one was actually more amusing.
Cleveland and his friends, Holt, Lester, and Tim, are at their local drinking spot, The Broken Stool, when they mention that Peter Griffin was in Stoolbend and didn't let Cleveland know. Cleveland is upset that his friend didn’t contact him and drives off to Quahog to figure out why he would do such a thing. Peter brushes him off completely, considering him a drinking buddy more so than a close friend, and Cleveland returns home rejected and unhappy. In an effort to keep a strong friendship going with his new friends in Stoolbend, he recruits them to join a Male Bonding Camp, hosted by “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, ending in a near rape by some local hillbillies (if you're bread and butter is pop-culture parody then you simply must do Deliverance at least once), until Peter Griffin (and the evil monkey living in his son’s closet) show up to save the day.
Meanwhile, Rallo (Donna’s biological son), having joined a student quiz show after his daycare class reunion discovers that the other kids have a higher intelligence than he does. Not to be outshone by the other mothers, Donna tries to have Rallo go to a tutor whom Rallo himself tutors by beating him in poker. Later, Rallo has a monologue of his lack of intelligence, but his street-smart capabilities. Donna realizes this and with a very hilarious goodbye to the women who tried to belittle her mothering, Rallo and Donna leave the quiz show and head home.
While this premiere has a short cameo of Cleveland, Jr. and an even shorter cameo of Roberta (Donna’s mostly forgotten daughter), it didn’t really need either of them to further either plot of the episode. In actuality, the episode carried itself very well. It had more hilarious moments than the Family Guy season premiere, such as Brian and Stewie’s back-and-forth about why Cleveland was allowed back in Quahog (and the Family Guy “set”) and a very hilarious montage of Cleveland and Peter’s moments reconsidering their once-strong friendship.
Truly, Cleveland doesn't need Peter Griffin anymore. The Cleveland Show is doing just fine.