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October 6, 2015

Sundays With Seth: 'American Dad' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 28th 2011 8:45AM
'American Dad' - 'I Am the Walrus'['American Dad' - 'I Am the Walrus']

In case you were missing the Smith family on Sundays, FOX wanted to make sure you noticed them by airing a special episode at a special time right after 'Family Guy.' No, not a new episode of 'Family Guy,' but a repeat.

Maybe they thought they'd catch the people tuning in hoping to find a new 'Cleveland Show.'

Honestly, I can't figure out FOX's strategy with the way they schedule and air these shows on their Sunday night lineup. They mix-and-match repeats and new airings like crazy. I guess they're hoping people will tune in each week for the ones that are new and malaise will set in and they'll stay through the repeats?

I know the three MacFarlane shows aren't related -- at least not until the big crossover event coming soon -- but it's weird when they're not all new in the same week.

'American Dad' is a very different show in tone than both 'Cleveland' and 'Guy.' In fact, many people consider it the best of the three, while still others only watch this one. Still, 'Dad' is consistently the lowest-rated of the three, which hasn't been helped by the scheduling FOX has given it over the years.

Luckily, even though they shift it around on Sundays and use it as filler for other things they're trying out, FOX keeps sticking by the show. It's already been renewed for a seventh season next year. So, as long as you're willing to seek out and find it, they're going to keep bringing it to us.

This week's installment again addressed Stan's unique take on fatherhood. Particularly his strained relationship with Steve, who isn't turning out as "manly" as his father would like. But, this week perhaps he was becoming too manly?

After Steve finished a meal before Stan, suddenly the father started to feel threatened by the son. Just as in the animal kingdom, Stan could see the day that Steve would take over.

I'd never really considered Stan's behavior in general like that of an animal, but you can see the parallels if you look back. He has a very straightforward way of looking at things, and dominance and control are always important to him.

Steve doesn't help things after Francine reveals to him Stan's insecurities. Instead, he rubs it in and starts threatening his father's dominant role in the house in more overt manners. Manly things like clogging a toilet with a massive movement.

I couldn't help but think of James Woods's love for "a piece of candy" when Stan lured Steve to his bedroom with comic books. I didn't expect him to reassert his dominance by having his son watch him make love to Francine. That's a moment that probably brought up a lot of unpleasant memories for anyone who walked in on something unexpected in their own youth.

The ploy led to Steve almost losing his virginity at Roger's childhood home -- how many lives does Roger have outside of the Smith house? Luckily, Stan's insecurity left Steve completely unprepared for his burgeoning manhood, so Stan won this battle, but is losing the war.

The B-story left me wanting. The writers are still trying to figure out the new dynamic of having Hayley married and Jeff living in the house with the Smiths. The whole thing has been barely addressed, and this week we got a fairly weak exploration of them having fairly standard marital problems.

It was more of a ploy to continue the outrageous development of Principal Lewis into a very dark and twisted deviant character. It's a funny direction for the character, and his house was just what you'd expect for that personality.

It was good to have 'Dad' back in the lineup. Roger was in fine form, and I can at least appreciate that they're trying to figure out how to make Hayley and Jeff work in the family dynamic. They never quite got there with Hayley alone, so maybe things will work better this way.


--The ottoman humping reference was as dated as most 'Simpsons' references. I'd actually forgotten about the awkwardly hilarious original video.

--I wanted some side-effects from Jeff eating Roger's father-popsicles.

'American Dad,' 'Family Guy' and 'The Cleveland Show' air Sundays at 7:30, 9:00 and 9:30PM ET, respectively, on FOX (though not every week together).

[Follow Jason on Twitter.]

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Did they even have 6 new epidodes of Family Guy. It's the only one we really like. But the commericials are killing us there are just so many at times I wonder where the FCC is? We're getting tired of watching...we've each one at least 3 times each. The few they had this season weren't as good as in past seasons.

March 31 2011 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can only think that Fox is betting on the high numbers the Seth-Toons get in reruns elsewhere. They can pull out first-runs over time and still get some solid numbers on their Sunday animation blocks.

March 28 2011 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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