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Fox’s Animation Domination Sunday night programming should be renamed the Seth MacFarlane Block Featuring The No Longer Funny The Simpsons. Because that’s exactly what it is, and this week’s premieres are a perfect example of the sad truth: The Simpsons is barely even a shadow of its former self. Family Guy is clearly the anchor of the evening.

Even the new opening for this week’s Family Guy features a better version of the couch gag during the epic opening dance sequence. But while I laughed a lot during Family Guy’s premiere, this is the same old show you’ve grown to love. Or loathe, if you hate things that are wickedly funny and mainstream.

Surprisingly for me, The Cleveland Show was nearly as good as Family Guy. I gave this show a handful of episodes, and called it quits. But it looks like I was wrong, because The Cleveland Show has grown into a program that feels in tone like Family Guy, and still retains its own identity.

The Simpsons is an institution, and I have to believe that is the reason it remains on the air. Who still watches this tired program? Cultural references are always a year behind, and the smart writers who used classic American culture to bring wit to the series have been replaced by those who want to mimic South Park and Family Guy. They fail miserably, and it’s gotten so bad that I now no longer care about the relationship between Marge and Homer. That’s depressing because they were once one of television’s greatest couples.

Between Family Guy and Cleveland, MacFarlane is in clear control of Sunday nights on Fox. Even American Dad has found a sort of groove that works for the series. Sunday nights are still full of fantastic adult animation programming, but you have to wonder when it’ll be time to let the folks of Springfield go on with their lives.

The Animation Domination block featuring The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad returns Sunday September 25 at 8:00 PM ET on Fox.

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