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Monday, October 4, 2010

American Dad celebrates 100th episode in season premiere

     Seth MacFarlane teased us.  When last night's season premiere of American Dad began on FOX, Roger (voiced by MacFarlane) stepped in front of a curtain and told the viewers that since it was the 100th episode, 100 beloved characters would die in the episode.  Now, for a twenty-plus-minute animated show, that seemed unrealistic, so I didn't really buy into the whole premise.  Especially when I made it through the first half with no deaths.  But the fact that there was not one single recognizable character that died (96 of the 100 perished in a three-second-long fiery traffic accident) was a bit disappointing.

     That being said, it was a good, solid episode in the American Dad story.  Daughter Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane, Seth's sister) decided to run away with her ex-boyfriend, Jeff (Jeff Fischer), and get married.  Hayley's father, Stan (MacFarlane), and mother, Francine (Wendy Schaal) are furious.  Stan offers, on television, a $50,000 reward to anyone that can stop the marriage, the $50K being what he had saved up for Hayley's wedding.  In homage to at least one old movie, as many of MacFarlane's episodes of all of his television shows are, Jeff and Hayley concoct a plan wherein Jeff offers to dump her in return for the money, and then the couple escape much richer to begin their future together.  Next week will be a sort of part two, as Roger goes to Thailand to track down the couple.

     This is a bit of a make-or-break moment for American Dad.  While MacFarlane's first show, Family Guy, occasionally advances a serial plot, most animated shows do not.  So far Dad hasn't brought about any big, lasting changes.  Hayley, a member of the central family, getting married would certainly do that.  It would also end a season-long competition between Jeff and koala bear Reginald (Erik Durbin) for Hayley's affections.  Dad has been consistently funnier than Family Guy the last couple of years, and so I am hoping that the show allows a bit of growth and change.  It would really push the series up a couple of notches, and may earn it some deserved recognition.

      The second possible serial moment would involve Principal Lewis (Kevin Michael Richardson), who, in pursuit of the reward money, spectacularly quit his job and stole a police car.  Surely, Lewis cannot return to the school and his old occupation.  Even in a cartoon, that would push the believability boundry way too far.  I hope that Dad chooses a new principal the next time we see the school.  Principal Lewis has appeared in fifteen episodes, so he's sort of important, though this episode was probably the most focus he's gotten to date.
 
     To find out if American Dad will allow the changes to stick, tune in Sunday nights at 9:30pm on FOX.

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