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Is American Dad really better than Family Guy now?

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 24th 2009 10:01AM
American DadI was one of those people who bought the Family Guy DVDs and helped bring that show back to Fox. As such, when word came out that Seth MacFarlane was branching out with a new show, I was beyond excited about it. And yet, try as I might I just couldn't get into American Dad. I didn't make it past the first season, and hadn't checked in with it since. Maybe it was too different than what I was used to.

When a friend of mine told me that Dad was better than Guy now, well I wasn't buying that at all. Lo and behold, suddenly it was summertime and I had all this freetime on my hands ... because I'm not going to watch Surviving Suburbia and CSI reruns and I'm certainly not going to go outside! I decided to take advantage of the time to catch American Dad reruns and see if the show got better. Fortunately for American Dad, Family Guy has been really hit or miss this past season with more episodes devoid of laughter than before.

American Dad seems to have found its voice in the few years it's been on the air, so I'm actually glad I came back and gave it another chance. Family Guy relies so much on the flashbacks and asides for its humor, that I find myself waiting for them on Dad when Stan starts rambling about his past. At the same time, I'm kind of glad we don't get those disconnected asides. Even though it has an alien and a talking fish, I see more King of the Hill in the evolution of American Dad than Family Guy.

It's a subtler approach to the humor that gives the whole series a sweeter presentation, like King of the Hill. Even when Stan and Francine are being just absolute morons, there's something endearing about the whole thing. I think MacFarlane has humanized the Smiths in a way he never really did for the Griffins. The Griffins are such extreme caricatures, that you don't become emotionally invested in them in any real way. How else could we cheer on the constant abuse of Meg.

But in the Smith household, we actually want Stan to take the time to connect with his son, and we actually hope Hayley finds her way. Roger we still laugh at, but I think that's kind of the point. Only Klaus seems to be a weak link, but I recall MacFarlane saying that he regretted making Klaus a fish, as it really limited what he could do with the character.

In the end, I think American Dad is maybe showing a higher level of quality because of that character commitment we're starting to have with this family. On Family Guy, it's all about the gags and the jokes. If those fall flat we have nothing left to hang our commitments on. And it's been a lean year for the gag crop.

It's actually hard to say if American Dad has surpassed Family Guy because it's gotten better, or simply because Guy has gotten so much worse that it's fallen below Dad's level. And I certainly don't think Family Guy should get more touchy-feely; that'd be disastrous to what made it work in the first place. I'm just saying that at least until it gets funnier, American Dad is the better show.

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Ill say this, Roger the Alien is Seth's masterpiece and an example of his genius. Stewie? Hes just Bart/Cartman on steroids. Peter? Homer for 2012. But theres something special about Roger.

August 27 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that family guy isnt really as good as american dad. When i watch american dad i find it easier to relate to characters and their jokes are more mild and i can understand them better. To the guy who thinks it unoriginal, well u could say that but i think its more that american dad took family guy, redid the characters and setting, developed the characters more and made it much more funny. In family guy the only parts i really cared for were stewie parts and chicken parts, but in american dad all the parts are funny especially roger.

February 14 2012 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Am I the only person who prefers the more recent seasons of Family Guy? Although I agree that the newer episodes are either absolutely brilliant or absolutely crap, I find myself despising American Dad. And there's one simple reason for it: it doesn't have Stewie. The only reason I watch F.G. is because it has Stewie and if it didn't, I think it would have been axed permanently a very long time ago. I feel that A.D. has too similar a plot to F.G. (a stupid dad who doesn't like his daughter, a talking pet, a gay family member), so when I compare the two shows of course I think F.G.'s better as A.D. just comes across as very unoriginal. Hopefully the brand new season of F.G. (premiering in September) will centre much more around Stewie - only then will F.G. regain it's title as the best anmated sitcom ever.

August 17 2009 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like both shows, but American Dad is by far better. I personally think The Simpsons is still the best, but according to everyone I talk to I am wrong.

June 30 2009 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not really and allways !


June 30 2009 at 4:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree. Family Guy had kind of an off-year, while American Dad has been getting pretty good. I seem to like Roger the most with all his fantasies and self-importance.

June 26 2009 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dad was better in Season 2 than Family Guy. FG's 4th season was horrible. The last one was brilliant so it was better than Dad. AD's last season bored me to death.

June 25 2009 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is exactly what I've been saying for a few years now. American Dad is by far the superior show of the two.

I think Family Guy just gets worse and worse as AD gets better and better. Even the best part about FG, Stewie, has been turned into a dumb caricature of a homosexual attracted to the family dog. Stewie no longer has weapons and plans to take over the world, destroy Lois, despise Peter. He just wears silly gay costumes, hits on Brian, and often acts as dumb as Peter (even though he sounds smarter with the Rex Harrison voice).

I laugh about once or twice - at the most - during each recent episode of FG. AD totally cracks me up, from the unreasonableness of Roger to the irrational stubbornness of Stan. I've even warmed up to Steve Smith's three friends, who have been developed a little without becoming unnecessary distractions.

I wonder how much time Seth McFarlane spends between the two shows - somehow I don't think it is a 50/50 even split. Now they have that Cleveland Show coming out, right? So it will be even less time per show. I wonder how much of AD's improvement and high quality is due to Seth McFarlane?

June 25 2009 at 3:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Neither are that funny, I did watch some episodes of Surviving Suburbia but think it could have been better if they added a lot more of Bob Sagets perverse sense of humor to the show!

June 24 2009 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

From following FG comments for some time I've concluded that you either get what the show is about and enjoy it or you don't and you don't. It is basically surreal/stream of consciousness silliness that targets everyone and everything with equal loathing and sarcasm. As I commented to a friend the other night, it is also the only show on television that requires you to have a thorough knowledge of the entire history of American/British culture if you want to get all the jokes.

I reject the idea that there is only one good kind of animated show: one with heartwarming characters and traditional sitcom plot development. I have always enjoyed nonsense humor, so I like FG.

I equally enjoy AD for many of the same reasons others here do. These are two very different styles of humor and comparing them seems pointless to me. Depending on individual taste, some people will like one or the other or both, but there is no way to declare one of them objectively "better" than the other.

June 24 2009 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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