So the awkward first few episodes continue, but I will say that The Cleveland Show has more going for it than American Dad did at its exact stage when it started.
Stan Smith was a colossal jerk and unlikable in every way when AD started. The series turned around as soon as Stan developed redeeming qualities and became semi-lovable. Cleveland's the single most lovable character of all of the MacFarlane shows, so it's hard not to like him and root for him.
The trouble is, the character work isn't accompanied by any actual comedy. Like AD in its first episodes, The Cleveland Show is trying to be Family Guy-Lite by adding random manatee jokes that wouldn't be funny if they were on FG. They were really reaching with the Kurt Cobain and Talking Toaster bits.
It's not hard to like the characters on this show. Cleveland and Cleveland Jr. are both total awesome and Rollo will grow on me. As soon as they get some actual funny material to work with, the show will pick up.
This whole show really feels like Family Guy 2.0 to me, complete with all the jokes that weren't funny enough to make it to the A show. I'd agree that the show's funnier than AD was at the same point in time, but AD at least had its own distinct identity. Cleveland Show is a complete retread right now.
I agree with Tenken347, it felt too similar to Family Guy at times. I like FG, but I don't want two of the same thing. It's too bad too because the episode started off pretty decently with the talking toaster and Cleveland ghost riding his car. But once they went to the cutaway with him as Halle Berry at the oscars, the show screeched to a dead halt and never fully recovered, IMO. A better episode than the pilot, but it needs a lot of improving.
I would guess it would have to be both, which would be kinda strange. Unless Linden just decided to stay in Seattle and they already hired Holder so they kept him. Boy, the AV Club (and those that commented on the article) DOES NOT like this show: