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The Cleveland Show: 'Family Guy in blackface'?
How race is handled in Seth MacFarlane's new show
 

Seth MacFarlane's new animated series The Cleveland Show is "basically Family Guy in blackface," said John McWhorter in The New Republic. MacFarlane didn't bother to make Cleveland (formerly of Family Guy) and his family interesting, or different from the characters on Family Guy—"as if the blackness alone was enough" to make them entertaining. The Cleveland Show is "retrograde," offensive, and "reductive," and Seth MacFarlane and company should have known better.

It's also "unfortunate that a real-life African-American actor couldn't land" the speaking role of Cleveland—he's voiced by white actor Mike Henry, said Vibe.com. And although "the covert blackface doesn't impede the show's racial humor," it does seem to "make the jokes more cliché than Tyler Perry gags: a smack-talking son, a white neighbor attempting slang ("Sup dog?"), an obligatory black president remark."

But race "isn't the central issue" of The Cleveland Show, said Hanh Nguyen in Zap2It. It's simply a show about a family that happens to be black. And "as much flack as MacFarlane receives for his controversial content," racial issues in his cartoons "have always been treated—with directness or tongue-in-cheek irony—as something to be mocked, not celebrated."

 

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