It's been a busy year for Cleveland Brown. He's been to the NBA All-Star Game and Comic-Con and now he's going to the movies. For The Cleveland Show's holiday episode (airing Sunday at 8:30/7:30c, on Fox), the Stoolbend gang tackles its first movie parody with a sly homage to Die Hard, the 1988 blockbuster that introduced us to Bruce Willis's scrappy NYPD detective John McClane.
In the episode — mischievously titled "Die Semi-Hard" — Cleveland (voiced by executive producer Mike Henry) plays the iconic McClane role, spectacularly thwarting a terrorist attack in L.A — while barefoot. Donna (Sanaa Lathan) takes over for Bonnie Bedelia as McClane's wife, and Tim the Bear (exec producer Seth MacFarlane) assumes the part of Alan Rickman's terrorist leader. Huey Lewis guest stars as a "guy who looks like Huey Lewis," a nod to one of the film's terrorists who bore an uncanny resemblance to the '80s rocker. (As for the holiday element, the terrorists spring their plan during an office Christmas party.)
"We've done more than 60 episodes with these characters and it's finally fun for us to do a full-length parody," says exec producer Rich Appel. "In 22 minutes we tried to collect our favorite and the most memorable moments, from [McClane] taking off his shoes and getting his feet cut up with glass, to the moment when the building explodes with the helicopter on the roof."
At the end of the episode, Cleveland is asked if there will be parodies of the Die Hard sequels. His meta response: "Let's wait and see how the internet responds to this one first."