When The Cleveland Show wasn’t renewed in the spring, Family Guy fans wondered when and how Cleveland might make his return to his original home.
At Comic-Con in July, it was revealed that after spending the last four seasons in Stoolbend headlining his own animated comedy, the genial, mustachioed character would journey back to Quahog in an episode this season titled “He’s Bla-ack.” Now, more details about his homecoming have emerged. Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan says that the plan is to fully reintegrate Cleveland into Family Guy by moving him into his old house on Spooner Street with his blended family from The Cleveland Show (including Donna, Roberta, Cleveland Jr., and Rallo). While Cleveland will buddy up again with Peter, Quagmire, and Joe, he’ll have some some obstacles to overcome in his welcome-back episode: When a conflict arises between Lois and Cleveland’s wife, Donna, the two women inform their husbands that they can’t be friends anymore either. “It’s up to Cleveland and Peter to reconcile the women and see a way to allow these two guys to be friends again,” Callaghan tells EW.
The episode, which is tentatively slated to air in the spring, will also poke fun at Cleveland’s attempt to seek greener pastures by moving back to his hometown of Stoolbend – and, yes, to anchor a spin-off series that ultimately was canceled. “Because this is Family Guy, we have the latitude to do some fourth-wall jokes here and there,” says Callaghan. “There’s a scene where the guys pretty mercilessly take shots at Cleveland for striking out on his own and for failing miserably, with not very veiled fourth-wall references to Cleveland’s show.”
Multiple episodes featuring Cleveland are already in the works, including one for next season in which he struggles to find an occupation and identity for himself as he readjusts to life in Quahog. “It is suggested to him by Peter that he become a therapist because he’s a good listener and good at mediating conflict,” Callaghan says. “The consequence is that he ends up wreaking havoc on Peter’s personal life by doing so.” While the scenarios may be new, look for Cleveland to resume his former place in the foursome. “I think the role will basically be what it was before he left,” says Callaghan, “where he was one of Peter’s gang of buddies who goes on various misadventures with him or gives him terrible advice.”