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American Dad! Vol. 1 [Import]
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From the delightfully twisted creative minds behind Family Guy comes American Dad, the animated tour de force featuring CIA operative Stan Smith, his outrageous family, and Roger, the alcoholic extra-terrestrial who lives with them! Follow the adventures of the Smiths from the California desert where Stan's wife Francine relieves her wild youth at the Burning Man Festival to Saudi Arabia, where the entire family is sentenced to death by the Vice and Virtue Police! Whether it's rigging elections, erasing memories, chasing sleazy strip clubs, or staging "bum fights," it's all in a day's work for Stan, and it's all here in the side-splittingly hilarious first 13 episodes of American Dad!
Whether American Dad! will ever enjoy Family Guy's cult status remains to be seen, but the first 13 episodes of its inaugural season, collected in this extras-laden three-disc set, are promising. After a few episodes, CIA agent Stan Smith and family gradually emerge from the Griffins' formidable shadow, and the show finds its own comic voice. And it sounds a lot like Paul Lynde. That would be Roger (voiced by McFarlane), the housebound alien who saved Stan's life at Area 51 and now lives with the Smiths. Not as inspired a creation is Klaus, the German-accented goldfish who lusts after Stan's wife, Francine. He does, though, have an inspired meta-moment in the episode "Bullocks to Stan," in which he provides faux scene-specific commentary (during the episode!) in anticipation of the show's release on DVD ("I wasn't sure about the Squeaky Fromme reference," he offers, "but it's a smart joke, and the fans have come to expect that from us"). As for the rest of the clan, Steve's children are the typical dysfunctional siblings: Steve, a socially awkward geek, and Hayley, a liberal counterpoint to red, white, and blue-blooded Stan--at least liberal enough to sleep with Stan's boss, Bullock (playfully voiced by Patrick Stewart) in the episode "Bullocks to Stan."
Though the jokes in American Dad! are not as free-associative as in Family Guy, McFarlane cannot seem to resist dispensing with character integrity for a gratuitous potshot at, say, Lisa Kudrow. But as with Family Guy, American Dad! tears at the sitcom envelope. The blasphemous episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man," had the distinction of being voted "Worst TV Show of the Week" by the Parents Television Council. And American Dad! has its own version of Family Guy's surreal titanic bouts between Peter Griffin and that chicken. The episode "Homeland Insecurity" features a digression in which a Department of Water and Power worker greedily kills his partner over a gem-encrusted gold "turd," only to find out his wife is having an affair. As he wails to the heavens, the words "To be continued" appear onscreen. According to the audio commentary, the writers do indeed intend to continue this compelling soap opera. So that's something to look forward to. --Donald Liebenson
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Top Customer Reviews
right-wing moron father who works for the CIA, and his very bizarre family; which includes a pet goldfish with
the brain of German Olympic athlete and a fey alien, uses a scatter-shot approach to humor. A lot of the jokes
don't work, but a lot do, and some of those are laugh-out-loud funny.
Gleefully jumping all over the concept of good taste, it can often be sophomoric, but sophomoric can still be
very amusing. Sometimes it's the very pushing the bounds of bad taste that, as with 'South Park' is what makes
it as shockingly funny as it is, and gives it a bit of an edge as well (although it can't compete with South Park's more
sophisticated political and topical humor). Lots of great guest voices add something as well.
On the other hand, I didn't find it well suited for marathon viewing. The humor is too similar and one note. It starts to
burn out. Best taken in small doses.