Good morning, USA!!! With that classic intro now ringing out from Stan Smith’s mouth for nearly 20 seasons, Seth McFarlane’s hit animated show is still continuing (somewhat) strong. So, with the Smith family providing us political commentary, satire and humour for so long, what better time is there to look back at the best American Dad episodes? Before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
American Dad first debuted in February 2005 and follows the dysfunctional Smith Family who live in Langley Falls. The Smith Family is made up of hardline Republican CIA Agent Stan, his wife Francine, nerdy son Steve, rebelling Liberal Hayley, their pet fish Klaus (a man’s brain in a fish’s body) and Roger (a drunk, sex addicted alien who lives in the attic) So, what happens in American Dad? Well, imagine Family Guy meets the Simpsons without the cutaways. Now that may not seem great but it’s actually very funny. So, without further ado here are the best American Dad episodes.
10: Rapture’s Delight (S5, E9)
Kicking off the best American Dad episodes is Rapture’s Delight. One, great pun title. Two, this is a properly blasphemous sendup of Christianity. So, what happens? Well, Stan and Francine find themselves left behind when the rapture happens on Christmas Day. And somehow it gets more crazy. To summarise quickly, Stan tries to run away to Heaven, fights the Antichrist with Jesus and saves Francine. Damn, that is mad. Despite all the wacky nonsense of the story, this episode is held together by its epic feel and pop culture references.
What’s better than one Roger persona? Two Roger personas and why should we stop there! That seems to have been the thought process for the Two Hundred. To quickly explain, because he’s an alien Roger dresses up as ‘personas’ to move around incognito outside the Smith household. So when Roger gets in a hadron collider all of his personas split and cause the apocalypse. In the midst of all that nonsense is Stan trying to reunite the rest of the Smith Family. The 200 is a real treat for long term fans who have watched all 200 episodes (at that point) Why are some of the best American Dad episodes apocalypse based…..
8: Bully For Steve (S5, E16)
Now while bullying in animated sitcoms is not a new topic, American Dad somehow comes up with a new take on an old issue. And it somehow ends up being funny and messed up simultaneously. So what happens in this episode? Stan decides he needs to toughen Steve up by becoming his bully. Ok, that’s messed up on so many levels. Anyway, what happens next is Steve gets Stan’s old bully, Stelio Kontos, to beat Stan up on his behalf. Besides very messed up, Bully for Steve also features lots of your mum jokes and Roger somehow getting a photography promotion. Yeah I don’t know how either.
7: Hot Water (S7, E1)
Next up on the best American Dad episodes is Hot Water. Before I summarise the plot, brace yourself because this is weird even by American Dad standards. So what starts out as a normal episode with the Smiths buying a hot tub, turns into a horror film with the hot tub killing all the Smiths. Oh, did I forget to mention Cee-Lo Green voices the hot tub? If that’s not enough, the hot tub kills through singing. And if that’s not enough Cee-Lo Green appears in live action form to speak directly to the audience. Good lord that is just the most stuff going. Also, the cut to black ending still works today.
6: May the Best Stan Win (S5, E2)
This is definitely the best Valentine’s Day/Terminator crossover never filmed. So, after Francine feels overlooked again on Valentine’s Day a Cyborg Stan comes back from the future. Cyborg Stan then goes full Terminator and tells Stan he needs to train to stop a robot rebellion. But, shockingly, that was a ruse! All of this was designed for Cyborg Stan to woo Francine with his Spanish-American-Canadian accent. Man, that’s weird. Besides all the nonsense, May the Best Stan Win probably ranks as one of the best Stan and Francine episodes.
5: Cops and Roger (S5, E14)
At the halfway point of the best American Dad episodes is Cops and Roger. So, what sort of madness does Roger get up in this episode? Well, he trains to be a cop, becomes a cop and becomes a dirty cop in the time it takes you to say that escalated quickly. To quote Stan ‘Roger’s a dirty cop. He’s been on the force for three hours’ Also the ending visual gag might be one of the funniest (and gruesome) in American Dad. Now that is saying something. Also, Cops and Roger shows how much fun American Dad can be when it goes full Roger. Overall, besides Roger’s antics the string of visual gags keep this episode perpetually funny.
4: Ricky Spanish (S8, E17)
Ricky Spanish…. Those hushed tones signal the arrival of Roger’s worst persona, which is so bad he ‘retired’ it. Now, that is saying something. Anyway, what did Ricky Spanish do? Well, he murders Stan’s boss’s wife on her birthday, abandons Brian Lewis in Tijuna without any means to get back and leaves Steve high and dry when he tries to stop him committing a robbery. And, that is just scratching the horrible surface of Ricky Spanish’s misdeeds. Also, the fact that Ricky Spanish could have flopped due to the sheer potential behind the idea. But it managed to stick the landing, so well done I guess….
3: Tearjerker (S3, E10)
Sneaking into the top three best American Dad episodes is Tearjerker. So, we’ve seen American Dad parody Terminator and apocalypse films but what about James Bond? Well, they can parody 007 as well as anyone. So, with a mysterious villain Tearjerker (Roger) up to no good, Agent Stan Smith sets out to stop him. What is Tearjerker’s evil plan? Making the world’s saddest film so everyone who watches it cries themselves to death. Also the comparisons between the characters and their American Dad counterparts are just so much fun with Hayley filling in as Miss Moneypenny and Francine starring as Bond Girl Sexpun. Also, the fact Tearjerker ends up being a somewhat subversive take on Bond is just the icing on a very sad cake.
2: The Talented Mr Dingleberry (S12, E21)
Maybe this is a controversial pick for number 2 on the best American Dad episodes but it ranks this highly for several reasons. One, it is probably American Dad’s best foray into the world of horror. Two, it is an amalgamation of Annabelle, Scarface and the Ventriloquist from DC and Shutter Island all at once. Three, it’s somehow more insane than Hot Water. So, Steve decides to enter his high talent show with Roger posing as his ventriloquist ‘dummy’. But, as usual Roger gets far too into character and starts trying to kill other competitors. Even Steve isn’t safe from Mr Dingleberry aka Roger. Truly mad stuff from Seth McFarlane.
1: The Great Space Roaster (S5, E18)
And the best American Dad episode is The Great Space Roaster. Basically, Roger asks for the Smith Family to roast him for his birthday. Shockingly, the most petty character asking for a roast goes about as well as you’d expect. So, the Smiths end up fleeing to space to try and escape Roger’s wrath but he tracks them down. What follows is a fantastic parody of Alien with Roger singing Ace of Bass as Stan hunts him down like Ripley. SOmehow in all of this, McFarlane finds a way to have a heartwarming ending with the Smiths assuring Roger he is still loved. Aww, but damn also messed up.
What are your favourite American Dad episodes? Let me know in the comments below!