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TV Series Review

Seth MacFarlane is the creator of a bevy of envelope-pushing animated programs, including Family Guy, The Cleveland Show … and this fierce farce.

American Dad pushes that envelope so hard, in fact, that the Parents Television Council recently asked its members to complain to the Federal Communications Commission, hoping to get the series sanctioned or fined.

"This past summer the United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld the congressionally mandated authority of the Federal Communications Commission to enforce the broadcast decency law, which prohibits the airing of indecent material on the publicly-owned airwaves during times when children are likely to be in the audience," PTC president Tim Winter said in a statement. "In the past, American Dad and MacFarlane's other programs have included scenes mocking people with Down syndrome, implying father-daughter incest, a man masturbating a horse, a baby eating horse sperm, and a character eating vomit and excrement out of a baby's diaper. Some of those broadcasts are under review at the FCC for violating the broadcast decency law."

Several years ago, Newsweek called Family Guy "a traditional domestic sitcom soaked in battery acid." The same could be said of American Dad. A virtual clone of its predecessor, Dad follows the Smith family, led by kooky CIA agent Stan and his levelheaded wife, Francine. Sharing their house are two teenagers (daughter Hayley is now married), a talking goldfish and an effeminate, disguise-wearing alien.

This satirical series operates on a single guiding principle: Nothing is off-limits, from necrophilia to cocaine and from mindless murder to eating excrement. The family goldfish constantly hits on Francine (an obsession birthed after it glimpses her without underwear). Hayley becomes a stripper at one point, and to show their unconditional support and love as "good" parents, Stan and Francine sit in the front row during one of her routines, cheering, making crude comments and tossing money. Stan sits naked in a hot tub with two gay neighbors. Etcetera. Ad nauseam.

In the meantime, a blitz of tasteless material targets God, Christians, Muslims, blacks, the homeless and handicapped people. MacFarlane admits, "It's not the most cutting-edge comedy in the world, but there's just a flavor to that stuff that I think is just so wonderful. … In the design style and music, it's very traditional, but we layer the outrageous comedy on top of that. What you get is the best of all worlds."

Exactly how American Dad can be considered the best of anything is as incomprehensible as an alien family member and a lustful goldfish.


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Episode Reviews

AmericanDad: 10-7-2012



Readability Age Range



Voices of Seth MacFarlane as Stan Smith; Wendy Schaal as Francine Smith; Dee Bradley Baker as Klaus; Scott Grimes as Steve Smith; Rachael MacFarlane as Hayley Smith; Mike Barker as Terry Bates; Curtis Armstrong as Snot; Patrick Stewart as Avery Bullock; Eddie Kaye Thomas as Barry; Jeff Fischer as Jeff; Erik Durbin as Reginald






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On Video

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Paul Asay Marcus YoarsSteven Isaac

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