When American Dad first premiered it met with some harsh criticism from Seth MacFarlane fans who felt the show was just an uncreative rehash of Family Guy. Patriotic patriarch Stan Smith seemed like just another dumb oaf with a hot wife and weird kids—much like Family Guy’s Peter Griffin. However throughout the years, American Dad has broken away from its sister show to stand-out as MacFarlane’s funniest, most creative animated comedy to date. Here are just a few reasons why American Dad stands out as the crown jewel of the Seth MacFarlane empire.
No Cutaway Gags
The humor in American Dad is largely connected to the plot or the characters themselves. The show rarely relies on cut-away gags like Family Guy and the few times a cut-away has been used, it has been relevant to the plot. Family Guy likes to fill up time with random comedy or musical segments, but American Dad uses every precious minute of screen time focusing on the Smith family.
Characters Not Caricatures
The Smiths are a much more well-rounded family than the Griffins from Family Guy. Peter always fills the big idiot role, while Stan is actually capable and intelligent; he’s just blinded by patriotism. On Family Guy, everybody hates Meg because that’s the joke. On American Dad, the conflict between Hayley and Stan is because both are passionate about their political views. In fact, that’s the biggest difference between the two shows—the Smith family is always going out to pursue their passions while the Griffins sit around riffing on pop culture.
A Man of Action
It’s always funny when Peter and the Giant Chicken get into a fight, but Family Guy’s extended fight scenes rarely have anything to do with the plot. On American Dad, Stan is a CIA agent, which means the show can spice it up every now and then with big action sequences because they are relevant to his profession. After all, there’s a lot of humor in a CIA agent’s son thinking the controls to a UAV drone plane is actually a portable video game system.
An Alien with Personality
It Gets Better
Like any good sitcom, American Dad needed a few seasons baking in the TV oven before it could come out just right. The first season is not as well developed as later seasons, but once the voice actors and the writing staff locked down the characters, it has consistently dominated the Animation Domination lineup. If you haven’t checked in with the Smith family in awhile, you should tune in because you might be pleasantly surprised.