Cleveland Brown, along with his only son Junior, left their animated home in Quahog behind to relocate to California. A quick stop in Cleveland’s old hometown of Stoolbend reunited him with an old friend named Donna Tubbs. Plans changed as the two immediately fell in love and joined their two families in one dysfunctional home. Each episode of The Cleveland Show is a new adventure in the lives of the Browns and their friends, including a lovable family of bears.
A Quirky Cast
Fans have known Cleveland for years, but the real surprise is the hilariously plump Cleveland Brown, Jr. Somewhere between Quahog and Stoolbend, he developed an endearing personality as he lacks the basic social skills that most teenagers have. His overweight physique makes him the target of jokes as he struggles with being somewhat sensitive and often cowardly. His stepmother, Donna, has two children of her own that she is raising on her own following the divorce from their father, Robert. Her teenage daughter, Roberta, is the belly-baring popular girl in high school. She is the opposite personality of her stepbrother, but quickly changes her attitude to guide him. Rallo is the youngest kid in the family and arguably the biggest star. Much like Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin, he is wise beyond his years in many ways. His mischief and humor are an absolute necessity to the family dynamic that make the Browns worth watching.
Things never have a chance to get stale with a steady stream of unique new characters coming in to stir the pot. Rednecks, bears and a tiny man that lives with his mom are just a few of the crazy neighbors that often join Cleveland for drinks at the Broken Stool. Kendra Krinklesac is the redneck neighbor that is married to Lester. She is extremely obese and rides around on a motor scooter, but it is unknown if she actually has a physical disability. Tim and Arianna are the religious bear friends that speak with Eastern European accents. Holt is a guy that is short in stature and tries to make up for his size with personality. Unfortunately, he comes off as more of a joke for trying way too hard at being cool. Celebrities, Quahog residents and additional personalities make their appearances from time to time to get involved in the antics of the show.
Talented voice actors on the show include:
-Mike Henry (Cleveland, Rallo)
-Sanaa Lathan (Donna)
-Nia Long (Roberta, season 1)
-Reagan Gomez-Preston (Roberta, seasons 2-4)
-Kevin Michael Richardson (Junior, Lester)
-Jason Sudeikis (Holt, Terry Kimple)
-Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson (Holt’s mom, girlfriend Jane)
-Seth MacFarlane (Tim the Bear, seasons 1-3)
-Jess Harnell (Tim the Bear, seasons 3-4)
-Arianna Huffington (Arianna the Bear)
-Jamie Kennedy (Federline Jones)
-Will Forte (Principal Wally)
-Craig Robinson (LeVar “Freight Train” Brown)
The Cleveland Show Is Nonstop Entertainment
Bringing an established character from Family Guy into a new series proved a smart business move. Rather than recycle the same jokes from the main show, there is a unique quality that audiences love about the Browns. It’s not all about cheap laughs and dirty jokes this time; The Cleveland Show builds value in the characters throughout the seasons. Plot-driven episodes that lack the punchline jokes are some of the best of the entire series. In one of the final episodes, Donna and the kids leave to stay with her mother when a rat is discovered living in the house. Cleveland names the pest Rat Lauer and they form a bond sharing the home alone. Things do not end well when DeeDee Tubbs eventually asks her daughter and grandkids to return home. Hilarity ensues as the rat and Donna face off to conclude the story. This is the type of humor that tickles the funny bone and gives the audience a new scenario to laugh at each week.
Four Seasons of Fun
Over the course of the show, Cleveland has built relationships with his stepchildren as though they are his own. Junior has come out of his shell and learned to stand up for himself and be proud of his eccentricities. Marital problems, religious struggles and learning right from wrong are part of the relatable scenarios in the show. We learn that Junior does not believe in God, though he is one of the most moral in the show. Roberta and Rallo find out that their biological father is actually a no-good deadbeat dad. Fortunately, Donna made the right decision marrying Cleveland and asking him to become the strong father figure that her children need. During its run on the network, producer and animated comedy mastermind Seth MacFarlane landed 6 nominations for the show with different award groups, including an Emmy nomination. It proudly brought home a major win at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards in 2013 for top television series. It’s unusual for a spin-off to do so well, especially an animated series with such veteran competition.
The Future of the Show
At the end of the fourth season in May of 2013, the show came to an abrupt end on the Fox network. Fortunately, you can watch The Cleveland Show online to revisit the funny moments and catch up on episodes you missed. Later in 2013, Cleveland made his return to Quahog along with his new family into the world of the Griffins. This does not absolutely rule out the possibility of a future for the series; however, there are no current plans to remove the Browns from Family Guy.