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'American Dad!': Oranges up the stairs

April 25, 2010 | 11:48 pm

AmDad_BullyForSteve_065F Once again, “American Dad!” stands alone as the only new episode amid a Sunday night of reruns. Last week, we got a heaping helpful of Roger, and I talked about how unique a sociopathic character Roger was. Thanks to April and Michael for reminding me in the comments that Bender from “Futurama” has a similar destructive narcissism. Ah, “Futurama.” That show has been out of my mind for too long. Like “American Dad!” it’s also the second creation of a cartoon mastermind. I look forward to it returning on Comedy Central. 

This week, “American Dad!” focus on the next best thing to Roger’s insanity: Stan teaching a lesson. Stan has his own unique perspective on the world. One thing I was afraid of when “American Dad!” started was that the character’s beliefs were so different from the creators', I thought it would be hard to make them likeable. For an example of that, check out “the Goode Family.” But “American Dad!” has managed to take great enjoyment from making Stan learn lessons from the lessons he tries to teach. Happened before in episodes like “Lincoln Lover” and “Surro-Gate.” A couple of classics.

Tonight’s lesson is carrying oranges up stairs. Stan worries that his son is too weak. Steve won’t return a homosexual giant-sized T-shirt, cross the street on his own, or fight for the last piece of pizza bread. Stan, after he catches his SUV from rolling away, decides Steve needs a bully. That’s the only way he’ll get the motivation to carry those oranges up the stairs and stop swinging his tush because he loves Chinese food. Since no one else will do it, Stan takes some time off work and following Francine around to be Steve’s bully.

Only one person more angered by this plan than Steve is overprotective mama-bear Francine. She tries to train Steve to battle it out with Stan, only to end up frustrated herself at Steve’s passiveness. Finally, Steve handles his bully the best way he knows how. He hire’s Stelios Kontos, Stan’s childhood bully with the coolest theme song in the world, to beat on Stan until he submits.  Only then does Stan learn that Steve will get those oranges up the stairs in his own way. 

If that wasn’t enough show for you, “American Dad!” juggled a plethora of side stories. The biggest being the first date for Hayley and Reggie (or "Koala-ty" time, as he calls it) where they run into Hayley’s ex, Jeff. Then there’s also Roger trying to break in as a crime scene photographer. Plus you could almost consider the school gardener werewolf as another side story. And how about the mini story of the old woman Steve uses as a disguise. This episode was just jam-packed with fun.

You know what else it was jammed packed with? Great lines. “Hill of Bananas.” “Where am I off to?” “Yurhugva Gina.” “Wanna go see where the clowns sleep” “I’m going to Sea World to punch a dolphin.” “You’re dead, Becky.” The entire “that’s what your mother said” running gag. Man, I love “American Dad!”

Through lines – We get another selection from the “American Dad!” book club. In the past, Stan has read books on furrowing his brow and thinking pensively. Tonight he was checking out “How to read with one hand.” Stan’s always working on self-improvement.

Most possibly offensive joke – I feel obligated to give it to the racially pure Europe line. That line was such a deliberate attempt for the award. 

Obscurest reference – When Stan runs away from Francine and signs along with “Drops of Jupiter,” it felt familiar. I could almost feel the T-bone coming. I’m not sure if that’s a reference or that I’m just getting used to expecting car crashes in those situations.

---Andrew Hanson


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-PHOTO: Fox Television