003797Reviews & Counting
American Dad (V1)
DVD disk
04.25.2006 By: Jason Coleman
American Dad (V1) order

Seth MacFarlane
Wendy Schaal
Scott Grimes


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AMERICAN DAD follows the mis-adventures of a lovable all-American family, the Smith's – father Stan Smith, a over masculine CIA man whose booming voice is only outmatched by his enormous…chin, wife Francine, a feisty, yet loving homemaker, son Steve, a geeky comic-con fan who tries to get out from his father’s looming shadow (and not just from the chin!) and daughter Hayley, a 70’s flower child rebel who would rather vote for none of the above. Throw in the family pets, Klaus, a goldfish with the brain of a horny East German Olympic Skier and Roger, the witty, sarcastic and alcoholic alien that lives with them and the family unit is complete. Welcome to Volume One of the Fox comedy series from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
While AMERICAN DAD doesn’t exactly have the most original characters (not counting Klaus and Roger), it makes up for it in sheer laughs. The star of the show is the script, hands down, as the writers manage to keep the plots lean and the laughs non-stop. Each episode here has its own memorable lines and new interestingly voiced characters, so to review it in two quick paragraphs seems like a disservice to the show’s writers, who have week after week, come up with fresh and original material. So here’s a look at what makes each episode special - mini style!

Disc One:

American Dad (Pilot) (21:51): A great introduction to the Smith family, with Roger realizing that he has to lose weight, while Dad Stan tries to get his late blooming son Steve a date. Add a little Curtis Armstrong, Booger from REVENGE OF THE NERDS, and you’ve got one hell of a funny episode! Best Line: Stan - “Did you see Memento? It’s not as good the second time!”

Threat Levels (21:53): Wife Francine decides to go back to work, much to the dismay of macho husband Stan. But things go from funny to hilarious when Stan, in an attempt to make more money then his newly successful wife, starts a sport using the homeless called Bum Fights! (The prize is a pile of raw meat, priceless!) Love hearing that Milton-esk bastard Stephen Root in here as Dick (no pun intended!), more, more! Best Line: (After Hayley threatens to expose his new venture) Stan - “Go ahead, then your homeless pals will be right back on the streets where the nights are cold and the fights are meatless.”

Stan Knows Best (21:53): When Hayley takes up with Hippie boyfriend Jeff and moves out of the house to get away from her overbearing dad, the feminist female finds herself working in a strip bar just to earn the rent. Empowerment indeed! Best Line: (After he sees that Haley has dyed her hair green) Roger - “Wow Hayley, some dye job. The carpet match the curtains?”

Francine’s Flashback (21:53): Stan, after getting the scolding of a lifetime the year before, still forgets his anniversary, so he tries to erase Francine’s memory of the last 24 hours, instead erasing the last 25 years! With Francine in full horny slut mode, Stan must re-win the heart and sexual appetite of his free wheeling’ wife! (Burn the bra!) Best Line: (In response to the question “Hey Jackson, you ever do it with a dead mermaid?” from Stan) Jackson - “Mermaid? No.”

Disc Two:

Roger Codger (21:53): After much stress, Roger goes into a coma, but the family thinks he’s died. When he wakes up in the garbage (literally!), Roger must decide if he wants to go back to the Smith family or hang with the racist granny he’s hooked up with! (Decisions, decisions!) Best Line: (After Roger drops dead) Stan - “Bravo, bravo, ladies and gentleman, Mr. Ethan Hawke, up and at them Ethan, time to make another awful Richard Linklater movie!” (The next morning…) “What commitment, wakey, wakey Mr. Hawke, GATTACA 2 finally got its financing!”

Homeland Insecurity (21:53): In a great look at the paranoia over 911, Stan suspects his neighbors of being terrorists and declares martial law, in the form of a prison camp in his back yard! And ending this one with a creepy and compelling dramatic spoof with the great voices of William Fichtner and Elias Koteas, makes this officially my favorite episode! Best line: (To his son) Stan - “Common sport, there are plenty of kids in heaven to play with, your cousin Billy, that little girl from POLTERGEIST, she must be at least 16 by now, you could totally hit that!”

Deacon Stan, Jesus Man (21:52): Stan goes up against fellow rival Chuck, an obnoxious neighbor, for the religious position of deacon. And he uses everything in his arsenal, including Roger’s breast milk in potato salad and evil doer Karl Rove as an advisor, to win. (Love it when Karl burns when he tries to step foot in the church!) Best Line: (After he sees Chuck’s acrobatic daughter) Steve - “Jesus, Joseph and Mary Lou Renton!”

Bullocks To Stan (21:53): When Hayley’s verbal fights with Stan’s boss Bullock have a Moonlighting sexual ending, Stan must decide between his promotion or the honor of his daughter. And to add insult to injury, Stan must help promote loser Jeff to Hayley, not to mention prank calls by Roger and Steve on the numbers found in Dick Cheney’s Blackberry and its Coke-shooting-out-of-the-nose-laugh-time! Best Line: Roger - “Hello, Argentina, is your refrigerator running? No? Well, maybe you shouldn’t have privatized your water and power department!”

Disc Three:

A Smith In The Hand (21:54): Stan decides that the school system is too racy to teach sex education, so he takes it upon himself to show Steve the birds and the bees, and the birds just flew away! They got everything in this episode, masturbation issues, Roger as a suave bartender and a sex education film that should go down in history! (Love it all!) Best Line: (To the school Principal) Stan - “My wife didn’t spend thirty-six hours squeezing Steve from her birth canal so you could shove his face right back in there!”

All About Steve (21:54): Worried that his son is too much of a geek (Sci-Fi Con alert!), Stan tries to get his son into baseball, just in time for the father/son office game! But when Stan replaces Steve with a real ballplayer, has he gone too far? (Nah!) Best line: (About to be thrown in the street while wearing a big Jumbo Juice character cup) Roger - “Why does everyone hate the juice?”

Con Heir (21:53): Stan’s real Dad comes home, a seemingly rough and tough agent, but has a sinister plan in mind! But the weirdest and most horrifying moment is Steve getting it on with an old Grandmother! (Note to writers – you guys are really sick, I like it!) Best Line: Stan - “What’s that, children are still starving in Africa because wife love is worthless to you, what an odd policy!”

Stan Of Arabia (Part One) (21:54): When Stan messes up boss Bullock’s party, he gets shipped out to Saudi Arabia. But his initial anger turns to bliss when he learns that he truly is the man of the house, including being able to have multiple wives at his beck and call! Love the Michael Moore references at the beginning, hell even Moore would appreciate his scenes of getting it on with Angelina Jolie! Best Line: Stan - “Michael Moore, oh you mean Michael Bin Laden!” (Still love you Michael, but funny is funny!)

Stan Of Arabia (Part Two) (21:52): Love it when Francine does her oppression song and dance in her underwear! (Forget the musical Hair!) And why does only Steve get to see the Angelina’s (or God’s!) rack of infinite wisdom, share the wealth man! But it’s a little song and dance and our family is back home. (See you guys next season!) Best Line: (to a Saudi Prince who wants to have sex) Roger - “Listen, honey, this isn’t a good time, I’m riding the cotton camel right now, know what I mean?”
This set is anything but short on the extras, providing full length dialogues for all but one of the 13 episodes, as well as a bevy of cool featurettes and DVD treats. Here we go!

Ready for 12 different commentaries? Well this one is chocked full of them and players include directors, writers, producers, and even actors. The players (in various increments) are Ron Hughart, Matt Weitzman, Mike Barker, Seth MacFarlane, Anthony Lioi, Craig Thomas, Carter Bays, Matt Fusfeld, Mark Douglas, Matt McKenna, David Hemingson, Brent Woods, Chris McKenna, John Aoshima, Nahnatchka Kahn, David Zuckerman, Rodney Clouden, Albert Calleros, Steve Hely, Dan Vebber, and Kenny Schwartz. You think this list is long, so is watching all these commentaries, covering everything from cleaning up Superbowl spots, to how different cast members got cast, to being inspired by FARGO, IN COLD BLOOD, and BLOOD SIMPLE for the dramatic ending in the episode Homeland Insecurity. (Plus that to be continued…bit at the end of that storyline, we are told that it will continue, yess!!!!) These each contain tidbits that may or may not interest fans, but it will keep you entertained. (Or at the very least occupied!)

All In The Family: Creating American Dad (20:33): Love when this one shows the interviews with the creators and voice talents, but this one could have done with a lot less show footage. Goes from everything to creating the show, to analyzing each of the lead characters. Again, interesting but lose the footage, that’s what the episodes are for!

How’s Your Aspen?: American Dad Performance At HBO’s 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (25:46): A live table reading of the episode A Smith In The Hand from the U.S. Comedy Festival, which by itself would be something to watch. Problem here is that it’s only presented in a split screen with the animated episode, then sometimes not at all! This one cried out for options, one of which should have been just the table read! But still love watching Scott Grimes do Steve’s voice, classic!

Secrets Of The Glass Booth: Recording American Dad (5:31): There is some repeated info here, which is death for a featurette! Best when it shows the voice talent doing their things, of which here there is not very much. Cut to the booth, you bastards, the booth!

American Animatics! (14:22): You guys must be doing this on purpose! This one combines three squares, one has the final show, one the still drawings and the other the voice talent recording…with a mic and stand right in front so we can’t see them! Why the frig didn’t they move the camera to the side????? Not to worry, because then they just have two squares, skipping the voice over square all together! (Is it just me or do they not want to show close-ups of these people recording?!)

Episode 2, “Threat Levels” Table Read/Animatic Comparison (39:28): A much better look at the actors at the table reading, intercut with live action and still drawings. But dammit to hell if we still get the back of Scott Grimes head! (They really are doing this on purpose!)

Deleted Scenes (17:35): I don’t know if these were for the DVD or just goofs in the recording studio, but the lot is funny with a capital F! A total of 42, with the option of a Play All, which is the only way these should be watched, as these are mostly quick snippets as opposed to long and new scenes! These are bigger, longer and definitely uncut! (The filthier, the better!)

The New CIA (3:08): A jerky and quirky promo video for the CIA featuring Stan the man! It was probably a promo to be run on Fox and it does capture the show nicely!

Also included is a Superbowl Pre-Game Promo (1:35), as well as a Family Guy “Bored” Promo (0:33). And now you know!
This Volume One set is big enough to fill even the biggest American’s gullet, with commentaries, deleted scenes and multiple featurettes sure to bust a gut! (Or at the very least pop a rib!) But what makes Seth MacFarlane’s seemingly typical series AMERICAN DAD great, is completely atypical writing, the core of any good animated sitcom. Watching these episodes, owning this set, and displaying it amongst an already extensive DVD collection, is enough to make anyone proud to be an American.
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