|Family Guy / The Cleveland Show character|
|First appearance||"Death Has a Shadow" (Family Guy)|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voiced by||Mike Henry|
|Full name||Cleveland Orenthal Brown|
|Occupation||former Deli owner/Cable Television Installer|
Cleveland Orenthal Brown is a character from the animated television series Family Guy, and its spin-off series The Cleveland Show. He is voiced by Mike Henry. In the first seven seasons of Family Guy, Cleveland is a frequently recurring character. As one of Peter Griffin's neighbors and friends, Cleveland is also one of the few recurring African American characters on the show. He was conceived during the seventh-inning stretch of a Cleveland Indians game. His established profession was that of a deli owner. In the earliest seasons of Family Guy, Cleveland frequently appeared alongside his wife Loretta Brown (voiced by Alex Borstein), until their divorce was portrayed in the Family Guy season 4 episode "The Cleveland–Loretta Quagmire". The pilot episode of The Cleveland Show depicts Cleveland's farewell to the familiar characters and settings of Family Guy. The Cleveland Show establishes its setting of Stoolbend, Virginia as Cleveland's childhood home town, and introduces a new family and set of characters supporting Cleveland as lead.
Cleveland is usually depicted as exceedingly peaceful, patient, and sweet, and only on rare occasions has he been known to lose his temper and resort to violence. However, Cleveland gets visibly annoyed with racist behavior. He often acts as the voice of caution when other characters hatch harebrained schemes. Cleveland's speech is slow, almost elongated. Various flashbacks give conflicting histories of his speech patterns. A flashback in the episode "Death Lives" shows that Peter Griffin met Cleveland in the 1970s, when Cleveland already spoke in the slow manner that he is known for. Likewise, in the premiere of his spin-off, it is revealed that Cleveland talked in a slow manner when he was in high school. In the fourth season episode "Blind Ambition", an out-of-continuity flashback depicts Cleveland as a fast-talking auctioneer when a totem pole falls over onto his head, resulting in a slower rate of speech.
One of the running gags throughout the series is that Peter's shenanigans frequently destroy the front wall of Cleveland's house, revealing him in the bathtub. He then exclaims: "What the hell?! No, no, no, no, no, no!" as the upstairs floor tilts and the tub crashes to the ground. In the pilot of his spin-off, this gag was the last straw that convinced Cleveland to leave Quahog. However, even several states away, the Griffins' antics are still seen to cause this event, such as when debris from the missile that Brian, Stewie, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase destroy happens to fall right on Cleveland's new house in the episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us". In "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", Cleveland's old, and now unoccupied house is destroyed when Peter watches the movie Road House and beats up Brian, which results in a car crashing into the house, and the empty bathtub crashes to the ground. Afterward, Peter says "Oh, that's right. Cleveland moved." In the Cleveland Show episode "Gone with the Wind", the same running gag affects his former wife Loretta Brown, and she winds up dead after breaking her neck on the ground. In Something, Something, Dark Side, this gag is parodied when R2-D2 (played by Cleveland) slips off Luke's (Chris Griffin) X-Wing ship and falls into the swamp after they crash land on Dagobah.
Cleveland's bathtub accidents have been caused by Peter's giraffe stumbling backwards into his house, the flying missile as stated above, Peter and Lois trying to move their mentally retarded horse by driving into it, missing, and driving into his house, and other accidents.
Cleveland sometimes will show some sexual deviance or arousal towards attractive women. This is shown in the episode "Petarded", when Peter brings seven prostitutes into his house to get back custody of his children and prove to child services that Cleveland is an unfit father. Cleveland responds, "Peter! You and five of those prostitutes get out!" In the Family Guy episode "Love Blactually", it is suggested that he may have contracted genital warts by having sex with a woman that Brian was previously involved with.
Writers named the character Cleveland Brown in reference to the similarly named football team, although his last name wasn't revealed until after Family Guy returned from cancellation in 2005. Furthering this connection, a commercial aired during Super Bowl XLV that showed many TV characters wearing NFL jerseys, with everyone in Quahog wearing New England Patriots jerseys except Cleveland, who is wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey in reference to his name.
Mike Henry voices both Cleveland Brown and Herbert, as well as some minor recurring characters like Bruce the performance artist and The Greased up Deaf Guy. Henry met MacFarlane at the Rhode Island School of Design and kept in touch with him after they graduated. A few years later, MacFarlane contacted him about being part of the show; he agreed and came on as both a writer and voice actor. Henry based Cleveland's voice on one of his basketball partners in Virginia. During the show's first four seasons, he was credited as a guest star, but beginning with season five's "Prick Up Your Ears", he has been credited as a main cast member.
During a live broadcast of "Loveline," Seth McFarlane announced that a Family Guy spin-off featuring Cleveland was currently in the works with the studio and writers. The series was the first new product of MacFarlane's $100 million deal with Fox. The series was mentioned in the final moments of the Family Guy season 7 episode "Baby Not on Board", with Cleveland telling Quagmire "Did I tell you I'm getting a spin-off". It premiered on September 27, 2009 on Fox, right after The Simpsons. The Cleveland Show is an animated series focusing on the character of Cleveland Brown and his family as Cleveland moves from Rhode Island to Virginia. His newly introduced family includes his high school sweetheart, Donna, who is now his second wife, her 15-year-old daughter, Roberta, and her 5-year-old son, Rallo. Cleveland Jr. also is in the family but is now much fatter than he appeared on Family Guy, and also suffers from astigmatism. Though several of these details were changed, it was announced that Cleveland's neighbors would include a family of talking anthropomorphic bears, a redneck couple and a Victorian-era British family, and one of his son's soccer rivals includes a boy voiced by Kanye West.
Cleveland was officially written out of Family Guy during season eight before The Cleveland Show was broadcast; however, it had been hinted that he might come back for a visit in the future, including the episode "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", although fantasies and film parodies are generally accepted as non-canon Family Guy episodes. He appeared in a cameo in "Spies Reminiscent of Us", in which he dealt with the indignity of having his new house wrecked in the same fashion as his old one in Quahog, as well as appearing in the season 8 episode "The Splendid Source", where he joins the gang on a road trip to find the source of a dirty joke Chris Griffin told at school. In the Family Guy episode "Life of Brian", Cleveland and Donna are seen mourning over Brian's (now undone) death. Again he appears for a full episode in season 10, Cool Hand Peter where him, Peter, Joe, and Quagmire go on a road trip to Louisiana together. Cleveland makes yet another short appearance in season 8, Episode 13 Go Stewie Go, where Cleveland appears in the griffins house along with other characters just to investigate Meg's normal boyfriend. Another idea had been that Peter Griffin and possibly other Family Guy characters would be traveling in the South and make a guest appearance on The Cleveland Show.
The Cleveland Show aired its last episode on May 13, 2013 and was cancelled on July 16. On the same day, Seth MacFarlane revealed that Cleveland will return to Family Guy during the 12th season in the episode "He's Bla-ack!". In that episode, Peter, Quagmire, and Joe mock The Cleveland Show, but still accept him into their group of friends.
According to Hunt, "Having a white actor portray a black cartoon character is not inherently offensive. But I think the burden of the proof is on the creators of the show to show they have gone beyond the bare minimum that's necessary to address the concerns that black audiences might legitimately have."
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