REVIEW - American Dad! S8E04

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It’s impossible to discuss a Seth MacFarlane show like American Dad! without bringing up the formula that lurks in every work he’s released over the past eleven or so years. For those of you unfamiliar with it, many of Seth MacFarlane’s shows (and the movie Ted) resemble sitcoms of the early nineties and eighties with some generous helpings of black comedy and pop culture references. Despite this, he’s still able to produce entertaining content, even if some of it provokes eye rolling.

The episode ‘American Stepdad’ is one such episode.

Roger, after seven years of living in the attic, is finally being kicked out.

He’s being moved into the basement so Stan’s recently widowed mother can live in the attic instead.

Over the course of the series, we’ve come to learn that Roger is a manipulative little grey man who does things for two purposes alone:

  1. His own amusement
  2. To maintain his current lifestyle

I could probably write an essay on Roger’s behaviour if I had the time and the knowledge, but for the sake of this review I’ll summarise him as the character (since I’m not sure person would apply to this extra-terrestrial) with the most horrible personality on the show.

The audience knows this. Seth MacFarlane and his writing staff know this.

More importantly, Stan knows this.

Naturally, he doesn’t take Roger’s sudden marriage to his mother very well.

The episode that proceeds to unfold is one that has Stan struggling to get past his huge mistrust of Roger—to be honest, I couldn’t blame him for his behaviour at the start of the episode. Like Family Guy, American Dad! is prone to ‘snap backs’. Any time that Roger has tried to become a better person (either on purpose or by accident), he reverts to his usual self by the end of the episode.

You’ll likely mutter ‘this isn’t going to last’ as the episode goes on and Stan gradually grows to trust Roger and starts calling him ‘Dad’. You might be tempted to call out what’s going to happen before it happens, like I did. After all, you’ll be able to call most of the moments before they happen.

There is heavy emphasis on the ‘most’ in that sentence.

Like I mentioned before, Seth MacFarlane does have a formula that lurks in all his works—I somehow doubt that he and that merry team of writers failed to notice that. As the seasons of Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show roll on, there’s more and more pressure to do something new and unexpected.

Although they may not always succeed, we have got some spectacular episodes and interesting surprises from these shows (‘For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls’ and ‘Back to the Pilot’, anyone?). This might not be a standout episode, but the twist inside is still pretty good. You’ll get a few laughs out of it (even though the Fast & Furious related subplot fell a little short) and there’s enough warm fuzzy stuff in there to make you smile. I’d definitely check it out if you get the chance.

Review by Greta Rehak


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