|Created by||Seth MacFarlane
|Voices of||Seth MacFarlane
Dee Bradley Baker
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||174 (List of episodes)|
Lesley Wake Webster
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Fuzzy Door Productions
Fox Television Animation
20th Century Fox Television
|Original channel||Fox (2005–2014)
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) (2005–2009)
720p (16:9 HDTV) (2010–present)
|Original run||February 6, 2005– present|
|Related shows||Family Guy
The Cleveland Show
American Dad! is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman for the "Animation Domination" lineup on Fox. American Dad! is the first television series to have its inception on Animation Domination. Though the series premiere aired on February 6, 2005, following Super Bowl XXXIX—separate from Animation Domination and the rest of the show's first season which both commenced on May 1, 2005.
Creative direction of American Dad! has largely been guided by Barker (up until [including] production of season 10) and Weitzman as opposed to MacFarlane. This is believed to have resulted in a series that is distinguishable from its counterparts. Unlike its sister shows, Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, American Dad! is not filled with intentional humor, such as through the use of repeated cutaway gags and other blatant joke-telling deliveries; rather its humor is subtler, focusing on the nuttiness and oddities of its characters and their circumstances. As opposed to joke references to every pop cultural target possible—a staple of MacFarlane's Family Guy material—Barker and Weitzman have structured American Dad! so as to center on a bizarre concept in combination with an everyday-life human story that grounds it. While the core issues and resolutions are relatable in most episodes, the execution tends to enter into wild and crazy extremes, thus an observational comedy/farce. As absurd as the show gets, there is typically a family story with cozy elements behind it.
American Dad! has been nominated for numerous awards, most prominently two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Annie Awards. In June 2013, it was awarded as top television series by "American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers." Since its debut, American Dad! has broadcast 172 episodes. The show's age is obscured by a season number discrepancy that presents it as existing in two differently numbered seasons: one of the conflicting reports would imply that American Dad!'s first season consists solely of its first 7 episodes, while the other would imply it consists of its first 23 episodes. Wikipedia acknowledges the former.
American Dad! has been renewed through its 11th season. Its 10th season premiered on Sunday, September 29, 2013. Three additional episodes will air on Fox on September 14 and 21. On October 20, new episodes will begin airing on TBS. TBS has picked up the series for two additional seasons. The first, a 15-episode 11th season, is slated to begin airing in October 20, 2014. Fox did begin what it called an "11th" season with three episodes airing in September of 2014 (See "Network relocation from Fox to TBS" below)
- 1 Plot
- 2 Details of main characters
- 3 Setting
- 4 Production
- 5 Plot techniques
- 6 Intro and closing themes
- 7 Season number discrepancy and episode misreports
- 8 Adjustments in on-air presentation, production and broadcasts
- 9 Reception
- 10 Other media
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The series focuses on the eccentric Smith family and their three housemates: Father, husband, CIA Agent, and breadwinner Stan Smith; his wife and homemaker/housewife, Francine Smith; their college-aged daughter, Hayley Smith; and their high-school-aged son, Steve Smith. Outside of the Smith family, there are three additional main characters, including Hayley's boyfriend turned husband, Jeff Fischer; the family's man-in-a-goldfish-body pet, Klaus; and Roger, the alien, who is "full of masquerades, brazenness, and shocking antics".
Details of main characters
American Dad! centers on the absurd circumstances, adventures and domestic life of its title character Stan Smith, his immediate family, and their three housemates. Adding to all the ridiculousness and absurdity are the various personality traits of all the show's eccentric main characters, listed as follows:
- Stan Smith is the exaggeratedly masculine husband of Francine and father of Steve and Hayley. Though Hayley may or may not be Stan's biological daughter—Francine revealed to have cheated on Stan at a bachelorette party in the episode "The Kidney Stays in the Picture"—Stan still regards her as such and refused to learn the results of a DNA test to determine who her father was. As the Smith family's breadwinner, Stan is an agent for the CIA. Tending to take extreme measures with no regard for others nor potentially disastrous consequences, Stan is portrayed as insanely drastic; endangering; rash; dog-eat-dog; and both inconsiderate and insensitive of others. Early on in the series, Stan's mentality was that of a staunchly Conservative Republican and self-proclaimed American patriot. His Conservatism was expressed ludicrously with him often coming off as severely intolerant, self-abnegating, and wrongheaded. His traits in this regard are largely limited to the first few seasons and have since largely worn off, with Stan progressing as a person throughout the course of the series. All the same however, Stan has numerous alternate ways of taking drastic measures beyond politics. As examples—in the episode "Dope & Faith" when Stan found out one of his friends was an atheist, he tried getting him to pray by blowing up his home, spreading the bird flu at his restaurant, brainwashing his wife into thinking she was a lesbian, and taking his kids away; in the episode "I Can't Stan You", Stan evicted his entire neighborhood and his own family just for overhearing some of his neighbors gossiping about him behind his back; in the episode "Four Little Words", Stan framed his wife as a murderer all so as not to hear her say the words "I told you so"; etc.
- Francine Smith is Stan's housewife and mother of Hayley and Steve. Francine is often seen indignant, nagging and scolding her family (mostly Stan) over wrongdoings, sometimes even becoming berserk in these moments. Seemingly a voice of reason, Francine also nags at her family to uphold certain virtues as well as over anything they engage in that is unwholesome or reprehensible; paradoxical in character however, it is right in the midst of her moralistic nagging that Francine displays total inelegance, inappropriateness, and impropriety. Sporadically, while engaged in moralizing others or just in general, she will randomly throw in remarks and behaviors that are in bad taste and lack all sense of propriety. In the episode Virtual In-Stanity for example, Francine calls up Stan nagging and lecturing him about his neglect of Steve to which Stan responds by hanging up on her. Francine then calls back, shrieking "Bitch, did you just hang up on me?!" Adding to her paradoxical nature, Francine's behaviors have been known to become downright fiendish, all the while trying to get her family to live more wholesomely and do what is right. Very random, Francine is also given to making wacky and peculiar asides out of nowhere. For example, in the episode "The Scarlett Getter", while Francine was engaged in an angry rant about Stan, she stated "Those two are stuck on each other like gum on a hot summer sidewalk on a summer afternoon. I'm sorry, I'm taking a creative writing class."
- Hayley Smith is Stan and Francine's new-age hippie daughter. Despite being a married adult for much of the series, she still lives under her parents' roof along with her husband, Jeff. As revealed in the episode "The Kidney Stays in the Picture", she may or may not be Stan's biological daughter—Francine revealed to have cheated on Stan at a bachelorette party. Nonetheless, Stan still regards her as such. Hayley is passionate, insistent and vocal in her convictions. In mentality, she's portrayed as a Liberal, what was originally intended to be the antithesis to her father's ultra-conservative mentality. These character traits were particularly emphasized in the show's beginnings but heavily toned down afterwards. Intuitive and insightful, Hayley is able to instinctively grasp the hidden, inner, and obscure nature of situations. As examples, instantly upon entering the room in the episode "Finger Lenting Good", she realizes what Stan and Steve are up to in trying to get Jeff to hug them so as to lose his finger for engaging in his [Jeff] vice. As another example, in the episode "Da Flippity Flop" when the essence of Klaus has entered Stan's body and taken control over it, he attempts to deceive Hayley and Francine into thinking he's truly Stan; however, Hayley instantaneously and halfheartedly acknowledges that it's Klaus. At times, Hayley can be casually rude and insulting in attitude especially towards her brother, Steve, which can be described as sibling rivalry. Several story arcs have been used with regards to Hayley's romantic relationship to Jeff. Back when the two were dating, they had several breakups.
- Steve Smith is the baby of the family, Stan and Francine's high-school aged son. He attends Pearl Bailey High School. Steve is portrayed as an enthusiastic, ambitious, and wimpy nerd. In the official series, he is not presented as nerdy as he is in the show's unaired precursory pilot when his appearance, voice and manner greatly contrasted from what they would eventually become. In the precursory pilot, Steve was also gawkier, scrawnier and voiced by Ricky Blitt (as opposed to Scott Grimes). In the official series, he's become emphasized as soft, emotional, cute and endearing. As part of his emotional and sensitive character, Steve is combined with a screechy wail. Despite his wimpy and nerdy characteristics, Steve is particularly conceited and obnoxious. He is all too often a showman, always ready to put on a performance and show off his "talents", typically singing/dance wise. Steve is usually accompanied by his equally uncool friends: "Snot", Steve's closest friend with whom he shares a bromance, the two once even having shared in a kiss together (in the episode "License To Till"); Toshi, who is an Asian American and only speaks Japanese; and Barry, who is morbidly obese with an inarticulate, strident, and sloppy vocal quality. Steve possesses a keen interest in the opposite sex and has had an obese girlfriend, Debbie, to which Stan disapproved. Steve's relationship with his father is strained with Stan often behaving judgmentally and intolerantly over Steve's nerdiness, immaturity and sensitivity. Steve has been known to cop attitude, sometimes rightfully so at Stan over his offensive acts.
- Roger is the Smith family's very zany alien. Blithely so, he is depraved, devious, and cruel. Roger typically displays a lighthearted, carefree temperament while at the same time engaging in his freakish grossness, outrageous malice, and rascally shenanigans. Roger was tricked into coming to Earth in 1947, led to believe he was "The Decider" in whose hands the fate of mankind rested. In the episode "Naked to the Limit, One More Time" however, it is evidenced that Roger remains on Earth by will, the episode revealing that he can simply call for his aliens' spaceship to return him to his birth planet if he so desires. Details on Roger's actual family and pre-Earth life have yet to be shown on the series. Although in the episode "Lost in Space", a brief clip revealed that prior to Roger's life on Earth, he was involved in a homosexual romantic relationship with another member of his alien race, Zing; however, Roger cheated on Zing, blatantly making out with a human male in front of him. It's also been revealed that Roger has lived on Earth for many years prior to his life spent with the Smith family. Roger came into contact with the Smith family when he saved Stan's life back when Roger was a fugitive of Area 51 (four years prior to the show's beginnings). Feeling he owed Roger a life debt because of this, Stan rescued him from government capture and allowed him to live in his home. Stan has allowed this in defiance of his employer, the CIA. Roger now covertly lives in the Smith home. The Smiths use their attic as a hideout/bedroom for Roger. Stan feels that it would endanger him and the rest of his family if it were to be discovered that Roger is an alien and living with them; however, Roger is able to skillfully use disguises to exist in the outside world. Adding to this, he's created countless alter egos to go along with them. Roger has, however, abused this practice, leading numerous lives and outrageously deceiving numerous people. In fact, some of Roger's characters are in prison, while others are widely despised, and others somehow have full-fledged human families, etc.
- Klaus Heissler is the family's attention-starved, hapless, saturnine pet goldfish. He is consultative and full of sage advice, sometimes even taking on a scholarly appearance and wearing reading glasses. Not your average goldfish, Klaus is actually a man in a fish body. He was once an East German Olympic ski-jumper until his brain and presumably vocal cords were transferred into the body of a goldfish. The CIA did this to Klaus at the 1986 Winter Olympics to prevent him from winning the gold medal. This has resulted in Klaus permanently trapped in the body of a goldfish. Klaus still hasn't come to terms with this, at times malcontent and gloomy. Not confined to his fishbowl, he is often seen uniquely scooting himself about the Smith residence, reclined in a glass of water. In these moments, it is only his very lower back that is actually in the water. In the early going, Klaus had an obsessive crush on Francine and often made sexual advances at her. For much of the series discounting its beginnings, the Smith family and particularly Roger have been shown to treat Klaus with disdain and take him for granted. Ironic to that, Klaus started out in the series as a bully, known for his ridicule and cruel teasing of all the show's main characters, particularly Roger. As Roger took on more cruel and brazen behaviors, however, this became nonexistent. The rest of the Smiths have also become more abrasive in their own right.
- Jeff Fischer is Hayley's mellow, stoner, hippie boyfriend and later whipped husband. An unemployed high school dropout with no apparent skills, he is emasculated, weak-willed, pathetic and frequently behaves naively. Jeff is often shown to be infatuated with Hayley's mother, Francine, having made subtle passes at her on many occasions. Jeff's own mother abandoned him early on, giving birth to him in a van, within which he lives until moving in with the Smiths. His relationship with his father, Henry, is abysmal, with Henry viewing and treating Jeff as a failure. Before moving in with the Smiths, Jeff lived from his van, which he had parked in front of the Smiths' residence when he started dating Hayley. In the episode "Joint Custody" however, Jeff moves in with the Smiths as a result of Stan having a demolition crew crush his van into smithereens with a wrecking ball. Stan effected this in an effort to get Jeff away from his [Stan] property. Throughout the series, Hayley repeatedly dumps Jeff for being a needy, clingy pushover, leaving Jeff crushed until their inevitable reconciliations. In the show's one-hundredth episode, the two finally marry. In the episode "Naked to the Limit, One More Time", Jeff learns that Roger is an alien. Because of this, Stan informs that he must kill either Roger or Jeff to protect his family. Roger, however, informs that he will call his fellow aliens to take him back to his birth planet; however, Roger surprise chucks Jeff into the spaceship while he stays behind on Earth. In the Season 9 episode "Lost in Space", Jeff escapes from an alien spaceship and starts to make his way back to Earth. In a Season 10 episode "Longest Distance Relationship," Jeff is able to communicate with Hayley though a CB radio and discovers a way to return to earth through a wormhole. Jeff and Sinbad's Ghost arrive 60 years in the future and learns that he cost her a chance to have a great life with Millionaire Matt Davis. Unhappy with having upset the family and giving the elderly Hayley a heart attack, he and Sinbad's Ghost return through the wormhole. Jeff tells the again-young Hayley to move on with her life as he sadly gives up on her unaware that Matt is killed by Roger very shortly after.
The Smith family and their three housemates reside on 43 Cherry Street in the fictional suburb of Langley Falls, Virginia. It is worth noting that there is an actual Langley, Virginia (home to the headquarters of the CIA, which is where Stan works in the series) and a Great Falls, Virginia, both communities located in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Smiths and their three housemates live in a large, two-story residence with a basement and an attic. In addition, the Smith house is apparently enhanced with numerous secret rooms, facilities, and large habitats, these unorthodox attachments usually only seen once for each (i.e., the episodes "Of Ice and Men", "The Missing Kink", "The Full Cognitive Redaction of Avery Bullock by the Coward Stan Smith", etc.). The house is also shown to be filled with many pitfall traps, one of which is filled with alligators and another named by Stan as the "Pit of No Return." Greg and Terry are a gay couple that live across the street from the Smiths. Within the neighborhood, they are portrayed as running a neater and tidier home than the Smiths. Greg and Terry are also the local news anchor for W-ANG-TV. Also in the area is the high school attended by Steve, Pearl Bailey High School.
When asked what first spurred the idea for American Dad! Seth MacFarlane answered, "It was right after the  election, and me and co-creator Matt Weitzman were so frustrated with the Bush administration that we would just spend days bitching and complaining, and we figured we should channel this into something creative and hopefully profitable." In early February 2005, Barker stated, "About a year and a half ago, Seth called and asked if Matt and I would be interested in working on a show about a right-wing CIA agent and his liberal daughter. It was right up our alley, and everything just fell into place." On September 14, 2003, Variety reported that Fox Broadcasting had ordered a pilot presentation of the then tentatively titled American Dad! and "If greenlit, American Dad! could launch as early as fall 2004." At the time, Fox was aiming to develop a new lineup of adult animated sitcoms.
American Dad! had a mid-season debut. Its first episode, titled "Pilot", was originally shown directly following Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005. The rest of the first season, however, would not launch until May 1, 2005, on Fox's Animation Domination lineup which had its debut on that date. Initially, it was a replacement for the originally failed series Family Guy (1999–2002). American Dad! was originally intended to be Fox's answer to the hordes of fans left behind from the original failure of MacFarlane's previous animated venture. Just three short months after American Dad!'s debut however, Family Guy was revived, leaving American Dad! with a formidable expectation: whether the series could distinguish itself from its counterpart and succeed on its own merits. Instead of taking over creative direction of the series, MacFarlane left the job largely in the hands of Barker and Weitzman so as to distinguish American Dad!
In its early going, American Dad! brought in strong ratings but fought an uphill battle in gaining widespread acceptance and approval from viewers and critics alike. The popularity of MacFarlane and his involvement with Family Guy have led to foregone conclusions and prejudices against American Dad! as a rip-off of the predecessor. Many of these prejudgments have even predated American Dad! Critics had already written off American Dad! prior to its birth as nothing more than a pale imitation of Family Guy and MacFarlane's attempts to get his old show back on the air. One example, prior to the American Dad! series debut, a writer of The Washington Post published a piece that reads "But those same executives have also given MacFarlane a whole new animated half-hour to play with in the disappointing American Dad! The new series officially premieres in May but has a sneak preview tomorrow night in the coveted post-Super Bowl time period ... The look and pace of American Dad! is the same as Family Guy."
In actuality, however, the program's beginnings take cues from the TV series All in the Family, almost a farcical animated version of the live action sitcom. Both shows make use of political satire, bigotry, ludicrous expressions of Conservatism from their paternal main character (Stan likened to Archie Bunker), and sensible expressions of Liberalism from their daughter character (Hayley likened to Gloria Stivic). Moreover, the daughter in both series each have a Liberal hippy boyfriend turned husband (Jeff likened to Michael Stivic) of whom the daughter's Conservative father is antagonistic towards (Stan likened to Archie). Also in both, the daughter lives in her parents' home with her boyfriend turned husband as a housemate. American Dad! in its original form was even said to have been inspired by All in the Family. In American Dad!'s initial seasons, however, MacFarlane was described as focusing more attention on his coexisting obligation of Family Guy. This was to the extent that American Dad! was completely secondary to him, and he did not understand the show. Because he was not getting the show at the time, he was described as "just going along for the ride." Likewise, the rest of the show's creators Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman were also trying to figure out the show and where it was going.
After American Dad!'s initial couple of seasons and as it progressed, the show began to increasingly develop its very own distinct approach and identity, becoming more and more distinguished from all other programs on the air. Standing out from its counterparts increasingly with each passing season, the series has been described as eventually becoming the weirdest show in network prime time. It has been characterized as serving up distinguishing blasts of surrealism. As the series progressed, MacFarlane realized that Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman were on to something uniquely appealing; moreover, he realized they were on to something that sharply contrasted from Family Guy, which audiences appreciated.
After the show's first several seasons, MacFarlane not only came to fully understand and appreciate American Dad!'s value but also came to consider himself a huge fan of the series. Taking note of his Twitter followers increased fanaticism and excitement over American Dad! and the "Roger" character, MacFarlane began putting considerable amounts of his time and efforts into the series, more so in the last several seasons than ever before (this observation made in fall 2012). In describing American Dad! comedy styles, Barker noted that it is not as reference-laden as Family Guy or South Park. He added that American Dad!'s humor more frequently derives from "the human condition and emotions that everyone can relate to: ego, the feds, etc. And for that reason, I think our humor is a little more evergreen."
Developing plot lines and scripts
On developing screenplays for American Dad! episodes, co-creator Mike Barker revealed that he and the rest of the show's staff never know when and from where plot line ideas will emerge. "Just as an example," Barker explained, "All About Steve" is an episode where Stan wants his son to be more of a jock and more like he was when he was his age. That whole episode came about from one of our writers Dave Hemingson coming into our office, telling us he just visited the dentist and he may need to get braces. And the idea of a grown man with braces appealed to us, and we just decided what if we put Stan in braces, and he understands for the first time what it's like to feel like a geek."
During the 2012–13 season, Barker revealed that much of his inspiration for American Dad! plots has come through listening to music. Barker's revelation to use music as a muse for his American Dad! writing came from attending the 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. During that event, he watched the rock band My Morning Jacket perform a four-hour set in the rain and realized from the experience that he could generate ideas for American Dad! by tapping into music: "From that point on, I realized that music should be playing a bigger role in my writing", Barker told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Writing is hard for me, and when you hear music that inspires good ideas, you're really grateful."
In particular, Barker has credited music from Wax Fang for his inspiration in writing certain American Dad! plots. Said Barker, "There's just something so inherently cinematic about Wax Fang's music. [Scott] Carney's voice is stunningly clear and dramatic. And his lyrics are specific enough to build stories around while staying flexible enough for different interpretations." Barker added that through listening to the Wax Fang track Majestic, he was able to come up with major plot elements for the episode "Lost in Space" (this episode features the Wax Fang songs Majestic and At Sea).
Barker has stated that once he and the rest of the show's staff get the idea for the plot line, they spend a couple of weeks in a room with all the screenwriters. There, they break the story and make sure that each act of the two act breaks are strong. As another procedure, Barker stated that they make a point of twisting the story in such a way so as to make audiences come back for more after the commercial break.
"The final process," Barker explained, "is sending a screenwriter out to write the script. The screenwriter gets two weeks to write the script. The script then comes back." Barker explained that they then all edit and rewrite it, "hopefully keeping as much of the first draft as we can and punching the jokes and making sure all the motivations are there, and then we take it to the table and read it."
In February 2005, Barker stated that as creative directors, all decisions made about the plot line and direction of the series go through himself and Weitzman. He explained that the show had reflected their point of view since the beginning. Barker has also credited the program's other staff beyond himself, Weitzman, and MacFarlane, remarking "We couldn't have made it all happen without them." At the time, it was noted that the series had a staff of 17 writers, which was described as "a big undertaking."
When Barker was asked what his favorite part was of the American Dad! pre-production process, he answered, "I like the story breaking process, personally—coming up with the stories. To me, that's the most gratifying."
Barker and Matt Weitzman have stated that they are accustomed to feeling scruples with adding certain material into the plots, but always follow this up by going ahead with incorporating the material anyway. They added that their goal is to create laughs combined with groans and going over the line.
MacFarlane played a lead role in the animated character designs for American Dad!.
In describing the characters' appearances, Weitzman remarked "It's all very bright, very easy on the eyes."
In explaining the animated side of the job, Barker stated, "Fifty or so animators from the Fox animation group are involved. A lot is done in-house: poses, models, props, all storyboards and timing."
Editing, completion, and deadlines
Barker has explained that because American Dad! creators are working in animation as opposed to live action, they have the ability to redraw and rewrite up until the show is aired. This is as opposed to live action where individuals must shoot the show and work with whatever has been put together in the editing room long beforehand. In live action, studio production crew, equipment, sets and actors/actresses cannot be reassembled with new lines and procedures to memorize mere moments before airtime.
However, Barker has also stated, "It's really hard to accept anything less than perfect when you start to get wrapped up in this process of being able to constantly make changes. Eventually you have to kind of bring down the hammer at the color stage and live with what you've got."
Barker has explained that, ultimately, the creation process of an American Dad! episode is completed upon the producers' say-so, not anyone else's.
When American Dad! co-creator Matt Weitzman was asked what his favorite part was of the show's pre-production process, he answered, "I probably enjoy the editing process a lot. I think I like the fine tuning of things and making things happen just so. Making the episode just kind of pop in its own subtle ways."
American Dad! creators have revealed to working significantly in advance of newly broadcast episodes. As many as 20 to 42 unaired episodes are typically ready for finishing touches. Barker explained that a key to this system is making sure that the writing is timeless, as opposed to topical and contemporary. He added that if any material within the script deals with contemporary issues, the creators have to hope that they're also contemporary issues two years down the line. When asked whether or not this method has ever brought on difficulties, Barker answered in the affirmative and explained:
- Harriet Miers was, like, the White House Press Secretary, I think, and we had a joke about her. (Miers was a former White House Counsel, who was briefly nominated for the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush.) And I remember watching on air and having to Google who our own joke was, because it had been so long since the joke was pitched. But in terms of stories, we're less likely to be burned by a current-event issue no longer being current.
In discussing the creation of American Dad! and animated sitcoms in general, MacFarlane has stated:
- It's an enormous amount of work. What goes into putting together an animated show, it's just staggering ... I always knew there was a lot of work that went into making an animated show. Doing a traditional sitcom, process-wise it feels like a breeze compared to doing an animated show. You can get it all done in a couple of months as opposed to a year. Doing an animated show, it's like putting together a little movie every week. Everything is storyboarded with the intricacy of a feature film action sequence. You have to edit with a musical score in mind. And of course, we use an orchestra for each episode. So it's really like putting together a little feature each week and I was just shocked at how much—not to underplay all the work that goes into live-action sitcoms—but my God, it's definitely a much more difficult medium to me.
Conversely, Barker has stated:
- Working on animated shows like American Dad! is such a breath of fresh air. You don't have to worry about sets and such that you have to worry about for live-action. Animation can give you more freedom.
The voice actors are not assembled as a group when performing the lines of their characters; rather, each of the voice actors perform their lines privately. The voice actors have stated that because of their personalities and tendency to goof off when together as a group, they would never get anything completed if they performed their lines collectively.
- Seth MacFarlane voices Stan Smith (father/husband) and Roger (alien)
- Wendy Schaal voices Francine Smith (wife/mother)
- Scott Grimes voices Steve Smith (Stan and Francine's son)
- Rachael MacFarlane (Seth MacFarlane's sister) voices Hayley Smith (Stan and Francine's daughter)
- Dee Bradley Baker voices Klaus Heissler (the Smiths' man-in-a-fish-body pet)
- Jeff Fischer voices Jeff Fischer (Hayley's boyfriend turned husband)
- Patrick Stewart voices recurring character, Deputy Director Avery Bullock (Stan's CIA boss)
|Seth MacFarlane||Wendy Schaal||Scott Grimes||Rachael MacFarlane||Dee Bradley Baker||Jeff Fischer|
|Stan Smith, Roger||Francine Smith||Steve Smith||Hayley Smith||Klaus Heissler||Jeff Fischer|
Recurring themes have included
- Stan's attempts to get Steve to behave and carry himself by Stan's masculine codes of conduct so as not to embarrass Stan as a father. This is often expressed by Stan in a judgmental and tyrannical manner (e.g., the episode "Toy Whorey", in which Stan will stop at nothing to get Steve laid). Another example is the episode "The Magnificent Steven", in which Stan imposes laborious and burdensome tasks on Steve and his friends so as to get them to grow up.
- Steve's showy, urban side is another recurring theme. It is usually revealed via his performance of R&B songs or by expressing himself with other popular forms of African American entertainment
American Dad! has commonly made use of farces as most of the predicaments that befall the main characters have escalated into the extremes, to the point of getting outrageously out-of-hand. For example, in the episode "Home Wrecker", Stan and Francine's marital harmony breaks down from a difference of opinion on remodeling the house. It gets to the point where they divide the house in two, each decorating their half of the house in their desired fashion. Not satisfied with this however, they both attempted to drive the other out of the home and eventually erected a colossal block wall, dividing the two halves of the house. The rest of the family members were forced to spend one holiday after the next alternating between Fran's and Stan's place (the sides of the house treated as distinct homes). As another example, in the episode "Stan's Food Restaurant", Stan asks for Roger's help in starting a restaurant. As things progress, Roger makes heavy changes in the layout, eventually kicking Stan out of the project. Stan retaliates by opening another restaurant next door, which becomes a smashing success. Roger responds by blowing up Stan's restaurant but destroying his own in the process. Stan threatens to kill Roger, but backs down after Roger pulls a gun on him and tells him to relax.
American Dad! plots are generally teeming with surrealism and nonsensical elements. Many of the occurrences, circumstances, and behaviors are unrestrainedly preposterous, senseless, and illogical.
As further examples of surrealism on American Dad!—in the episode "Hurricane!", a ferocious bear pauses in his attack, lowers his eyelids halfway, and repeatedly shakes his head horizontally, shaming Stan for missing him in a harpoon shot and instead spearing Francine into a wall; in the episode "Why Can't We Be Friends?", the hallways of the Smith house transform into dark and dangerous ghetto alleyways for every time Roger ambushed, stole money from, and even tried to forcibly rape Jeff Fischer; in the episode "The Missing Kink", Steve and family fish Klaus are shown competing in a one-on-one basketball game between each other, the score nearly tied at 11 to 10; also in the "Missing Kink" episode, the Smith house is shown to consist of a never-before-seen underworld to which various friends and acquaintances of the Smiths party and frolic; in the episode "The Full Cognitive Redaction of Avery Bullock by the Coward Stan Smith", Stan has a never-before-seen secret control room hidden underground just beside the house. The control room door's exterior side is camouflaged with the grass surrounding it. The room is filled with highly advanced, state-of-the-art equipment. Access to the control room is achieved through a handprint reading device that extends from the ground when Stan extends his arm/hand at it; etc.
Among one of the many forms of surreal humor and nonsense elements that have been used by American Dad! is the non sequitur. This arises when the show's focus becomes sidetracked by entirely unknown and unrelated characters in circumstances that are irrelevant to the episode's main plot. Typically when this happens, it is after the show has maintained focus on its main characters for much of the episode; following this, the scenes randomly lose focus and become deeply wrapped up into the lives of never-before-seen characters who are non-central to the plot. A prime example of this is in the episode "Homeland Insecurity". As opposed to scenes focusing on main characters, attention is redirected deep into the lives of unknown characters who gain possession of Roger's transforming feces turned gold. As another example, in the episode "The Missing Kink", the show's focus is sporadically sidetracked with brief scenes revolving around the life of a drug abusing bird and Francine's inexplicable ability to both understand and communicate with the bird's chirping.
Plot twists and unexpected elements
The series has abounded with random, unexpected occurrences and surprise plot twists as result of the characters and the very makeup of the program. For example, in the episode "The Full Cognitive Redaction of Avery Bullock by the Coward Stan Smith", Steve refers to Roger for help in dealing with a school bully. Because Steve is able to correctly predict Roger's original game plan of handling the situation himself under an alter ego, Roger throws him a curveball: he not only hires someone else, Stelio Kontos (from the episode "Bully for Steve"), to handle the matter but hires him to bully Steve in combination with Steve's original bully. As another example, in the episode "The Vacation Goo", Francine becomes frustrated that she cannot get the family together for Sunday night dinner. For family time, Stan suggests a vacation, and the Smiths have a great time in Maui as a family. This is up until Roger shuts down the mechanism Francine and the kids are all attached to so as to believe they are all on vacation. Francine and the kids then learn that Stan has been programming a pseudo-vacation every year in a contraption dubbed "the goo chambers". After learning of this, Francine demands they go on a real vacation. Twice they appear to do so, first skiing, then to Italy, until it is ultimately revealed that they are in the "goo chambers" all along, with Steve and then Hayley having programmed the vacations, respectively. In the episode "Spelling Bee My Baby", Steve deliberately misspells his words in a spelling bee so as to express his love for Akiko (who is also competing), instead spelling random Tyler Perry/Madea films.
Story arc use
Another plot technique used by American Dad! is the story arc. On several occasions, a circumstance expands and progresses across a collection of episodes. As an example, one of Hayley's temporary breakups with Jeff expanded across a string of episodes, in which she instead temporarily dated a black man in a koala bear body, Reginald Koala—known for his very urban mannerisms and behaviors. As another example, since the 9th season episode "Naked to the Limit, One More Time", Jeff Fischer has been absent from the Smith house and planet Earth altogether. In that episode, Jeff is blindsided when Roger hurls him into a spaceship. This spacecraft belongs to Roger's race of aliens and was intended to return him back to his birth planet; however, Roger remains behind after casting Jeff into the spaceship. The spaceship immediately takes off and Jeff is not seen until several episodes later, the episode "Lost in Space". During episodes that aired between the two aforementioned episodes, allusions to the ongoing plot line are made. For example, in the episode "Spelling Bee My Baby", Hayley is shown holding out hope for Jeff's return. In the episode, Roger and Stan attempt to rush Hayley through her grieving process so she will be willing to be their tennis official. As of the completion of the show's 10th season (2013–14), Jeff has yet to return to Earth.
In discussing the cartoon's distinguishing story arc element, co-creator Mike Barker explained:
- We just try to obey basic rules of continuity. We try to avoid stories where a character is taking a big step like marriage and then not going back to it. I think by doing that, then in the future when we have big changes, the audience knows that they're going to be living with those changes for a while. So it's not just a thrown-away bit. It kind of endows that story beat with more power because it's going to last. It's not just going to be a reset button.
Much of the wit used in American Dad! has come in the form of gallows humor as many of the predicaments and circumstances have made fun of the characters in life-threatening, disastrous, terrifying, and traumatic situations. As an example, the episode "A Ward Show" is chock full of suicide and murder: Roger became Steve's legal guardian and responded to him getting picked on at school by rigging the teachers' cars with explosives and killing them all. Later on in the episode while Principal Lewis was driving his vehicle with Steve as the passenger, he informed Steve that he was about to drive off the Grand Canyon in a murder-suicide. This culminated in Roger saving the day, his love supernaturally allowing the car to fly once Principal Lewis drove off the Canyon; however, another vehicle with a random white man and a black boy in it (opposite of Principal Lewis, a black man and Steve, a white boy) had also, coincidentally enough, driven off the opposite side of the Grand Canyon in a murder-suicide attempt. This resulted in a midair collision between the car with Principal Lewis and Steve in it and the car with the white man and black boy in it. Another example, in the episode "Da Flippity Flop", Roger leaves a long series of harassing answering machine messages for Steve, trying to get him to sign up for his gym. In these messages, Roger is also heard snapping on various people, killing three individuals from reckless driving, landing himself in court, and subsequently becoming irate and shooting up numerous people at the city courthouse for being scolded to turn off his mobile phone.
Cringe comedy and shock value
Much of the comedy on the show has come in the form of cringe comedy and shock value as circumstances and behaviors on the series have been presented with humor intended to elicit sharp disgust, discomfort or shock. The show's creators have stated that if material attracts laughter combined with groans and offense, it is a shoo-in for American Dad! As an example, in the episode "Can I Be Frank With You", during a massage treatment in which Roger had a nurse reaching her arms/hands up his anal/colon region to squirt water inside of him, it was revealed that Roger knowingly had a live house cat residing up his anus and colon regions. Roger chided the cat for coming out during the massage. Another example, in the episode "The Scarlett Getter", Steve magically started having good luck whenever wearing his sister Hayley's panties.
Some examples of these humor forms have hinted at incest. On more than one occasion, Stan has flexed and showed off his derrière at his own children, Steve and Hayley, once even making attempts to get them to grab onto it. In the episode "Great Space Roaster", Stan remarked, "Steve, don't steal glances. If you want to check out my meatballs in this thing, go right ahead. I'm your dad." In the episode "Why Can't We Be Friends?" as Steve turned around and walked away from an upset Stan who had just finished scolding him, Stan quietly admired his son's derrière, remarking to himself, "Kid's got his mother's ass, lucky bastard." Further, in the episode "Pulling Double Booty", Hayley was seen making out with a man that was identical to her father. Mistaking him for Stan, Francine disgustedly passed out. Stan later revealed the look-alike to be a body double of his, named Bill, who worked for the CIA. Hayley was convinced that Bill was the one and if he dumped her, she would go "maximum insane": She would kill Bill, burn down the neighborhood, and rape Roger according to her. While the four spent time together at the beach, Stan gave Bill a detailed account of Francine's sex drive, leading Bill to seduce and attempt to have sexual intercourse with Francine. Stan later kicked Bill out of his house. He then passed himself off as Bill to Hayley. With Hayley under the impression that Stan was Bill, the two traveled to a romantic resort, with Hayley all the while attempting strong sexual advances on her own father.
Intro and closing themes
Original intro theme
American Dad!'s opening titles for the early seasons commence with a shot of the American flag hanging in the Smiths' front yard. This is followed by an approaching scene towards the Smith house—specifically Stan and Francine's bedroom window. Inside Stan and Francine's bedroom, Stan is shown jauntily leaping out of bed into his slippers, wearing nothing else but briefs. An outdoor scene then shows Stan opening his bedroom window. A scene from the kitchen follows this with Stan roughly taking hold of the entire family in a hearty embrace. Another outdoor scene follows with Stan leaving the house. After standing tall and giving a salute, Stan picks up his morning newspaper.
There is a different newspaper headline for each episode, usually featuring a topical satirical joke directed at the United States Government, the media, or current affairs (for example, "Pedophilia Down as Childhood Obesity Goes Up", "Israel Pulls Out of Gaza, Gaza Not Pregnant", or "Economy Takes a Turn, Falls Down Flight of Stairs").
Stan then performs a series of cartwheels over to his vehicle. While pulling away from the house, Stan waves goodbye to his family. Upon his arrival at the CIA, Stan leaps out of his vehicle and gestures up to the American flag. During this sequence, Stan sings the lyrics to the show's opening theme song. The final "Good morning USA" line is sung by an off-screen choir.
Second intro theme
Since season 5, American Dad!'s opening titles similarly commence with the shot of the American flag; an approaching scene towards the Smith house; and Stan waking up in the morning in nothing but his briefs, jauntily leaping out of his bed into his slippers and flexing his muscles. However following this, Stan is shown coming down the stairs and through the living room, approaching the front door to leave for work. In the process, he collects his briefcase, keys, and handgun from each of his family members and Klaus, all the while expressing his goodbyes. In these moments unbeknownst to Stan, Hayley attaches a peace sign to his back which Francine removes shortly thereafter. Stan then drives to work.
During Stan's drive to work, Roger surprisingly springs up from hiding in the passenger's seat. In these moments, Roger is shown in disguise, a different disguise for each episode. Roger sings the penultimate "Good morning USA!" line in the show's lyrics before Stan shoves him back down. This causes Stan to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a flagpole outside of the CIA. Again, the final "Good morning USA" line is sung by an off-screen choir.
The final frame of the introduction was changed for seasons beyond the first season. At the end of the credits in the first season, all that could be seen was a big "American Dad!" logo in front of the American flag. In all subsequent scenes, this logo was shrunk to fit the names to the series creators on the same screen.
Following each episode's ending credits is a live action video of a security guard representing the Underdog Productions logo. In the logo, the security guard always breaks the fourth wall, waving and typically stating "Bye, have a beautiful time", into the camcorder. There are, however, different versions of this logo where his comments are different from the above.
Season number discrepancy and episode misreports
Season number discrepancy
There are 2 popular conflicting reports and beliefs as to the number of seasons American Dad! has had. The two claims diverge by one season. The discrepancy emanated from Fox's unconventional scheduling of the program's first 7 episodes. The series premiere aired on February 6, 2005; the remaining 6 episodes aired from May 1, 2005 to June 19, 2005. The series then went into a summer hiatus before returning under a conventional television schedule from September 11, 2005 to May 14, 2006, in which 16 episodes were aired.
One of the beliefs follows A) a one-season-fewer numbering scheme: Under this belief, season 1 is a combination of both the first 7 episodes and the following 16 episodes, despite the separation of these two episode collections by a summer hiatus. Under this system, season 1 is uncharacteristically longer in contrast to the rest of the show's seasons, consisting of 23 episodes. The other belief follows B) a one-season-more numbering scheme: Under this belief, season 1 ended after the program's first 7 episodes leading into the summer hiatus. Season 2 then picked up when the following 16 episodes began that September. Under this system, season 1 is uncharacteristically shorter in contrast to the rest of the show's seasons, consisting of only 7 episodes.
Commentary from American Dad! co-creators Matt Weitzman and Mike Barker has largely been consistent with the one-season-fewer numbering scheme: on September 28, 2012, the two were interviewed and reported that they had 20 episodes completed for the then imminent "2012–13 eighth season," and were in the process of doing early work on the show's "2013–14 ninth season." On the other hand, Fox contradicts this as it presents the show's official website as being consistent with the one-season-more numbering system: in listing all episodes from the 2012–13 season, Fox reports each as existing as part of the show's "ninth season." In addition, Fox contradicts its own American Dad! website, also supporting the one-season-fewer numbering scheme: Fox Flash, which is the publicity center for Fox, labels the 2012–13 broadcasts as the "eighth season." Websites releasing the show's season-based ratings have also used the one-season-fewer numbering method.
Season installments by airing dates
- See also: List of American Dad! episodes
Of the two conflicting numbering schemes, American Dad!-based Wikipedia articles follow the one-season-more numbering scheme:
- American Dad (season 1), airing from February 6, 2005 – June 19, 2005
- American Dad (season 2), airing from September 11, 2005 – May 14, 2006
- American Dad (season 3), airing from September 10, 2006 – May 20, 2007
- American Dad (season 4), airing from September 23, 2007 – May 18, 2008
- American Dad (season 5), airing from September 28, 2008 – May 27, 2009
- American Dad (season 6), airing from September 27, 2009 – May 16, 2010
- American Dad (season 7), airing from October 3, 2010 – May 22, 2011
- American Dad (season 8), airing from September 25, 2011 – May 13, 2012
- American Dad (season 9), airing from September 30, 2012 – May 12, 2013
- American Dad (season 10), airing from September 29, 2013 – May 18, 2014
- American Dad (season 11), airing starting October 20, 2014
Episode misreporting by Fox
It is evident that Fox either miscounts American Dad! episodes or at least intentionally discounts one episode of the series. This was established in Fox advertisements for the episode "Lost in Space." The episode was promoted by Fox as American Dad!'s 150th episode. Subsequently, numerous mainstream media reports also labeled the episode as the 150th. In actuality, however, it was the show's 151st episode while the episode "The Full Cognitive Redaction of Avery Bullock by the Coward Stan Smith" was the 150th episode of the series. In addition, Fox has misreported the "Lost in Space" episode as the revealing of Roger's birth planet. In actuality, the setting of this episode is a spaceship owned by members of Roger's alien race. To date, Roger's birth planet has yet to be revealed.
Adjustments in on-air presentation, production and broadcasts
The unaired precursory pilot
While the series premiere of American Dad! is entitled "Pilot", "Pilot" is not the show's actual pilot presentation. The actual pilot is a 6-minute version of the first 6 minutes in the series premiere. This precursory pilot was used by MacFarlane, Barker and Weitzman to sell American Dad! to Fox and was never aired along with the rest of the series. While much of the dialogue and general scenery was simply redone as between the precursory pilot and the following series premiere, there are sharp distinctions as between the two works. In the same manner, sharp distinctions also exist as between the precursory pilot and the official series as a whole. Most of these distinctions in question are in pictorial technique. For example, scenes from the pilot are all drawn in rougher, more cursory fashions with weaker coloration as compared to scenes from the official series. As a most prominent distinction, Steve's physical design and outfit in the predecessor greatly contrast from his official design and outfit. In addition, Steve is voiced by Ricky Blitt in the precursory pilot while voiced by Scott Grimes in the official series. There are also variations in Steve's persona as between the precursory pilot and the official series.
Early episodes of the series featured political banter between the conservative Stan and liberal Hayley. However, the creators learned quickly that political banter between Stan and Hayley had only "a limited shelf life." Creators described the approach as not providing them as much as they originally thought it would. Said co-creator Matt Weitzman, "There are times when we still have that kind of dynamic between them, but not nearly what it was in the first season. And I think the show, honestly, has grown and benefited from it, because that would have gotten boring after a while."
Roger was enhanced by being provided with a running gag of alternate disguises and freedom to exist outside of the Smith house. The show's original concept basically portrayed him as being similar to Alf, having him sit in the house all day while commenting on life. The creators, however, have stated that the character was far too much fun to keep restricted to the house, and having him interact with different people provided for lots of material. The creators have further appreciated the direction of Roger for the fact that he almost serves as a different guest star for each episode what with his many alter egos. The show's staff believe this element of the show examples MacFarlane's versatility as he voices Roger and his countless alter egos.
There have been three versions of the "Steve" character, the creators having twice made considerable adjustments to his design. Steve's initial design would end up being a one-off execution limited to the unaired precursory pilot (not to be confused with the series premiere, entitled "Pilot"). By the season premiere, Scott Grimes had begun voicing Steve, and his design was made taller, more filled out, and less geeky. After early seasons of the series, Steve was remodeled again. This time, he was made softer, more emotional, cuter and more endearing, creating a sharper contrast to his father Stan's ruggedness and machismo.
Between eighth and ninth seasons there were significant changes in the show's writing staff, Mike Barker mentions (with one-season-less numbering) "We lost some animators, and we lost a lot of writers. Season eight, our writing staff is about 65-70 percent new."
Network relocation from Fox to TBS
On July 16, 2013, it was announced that American Dad! had quietly been cancelled by Fox. Shortly thereafter, however, the cable station TBS had picked up American Dad! for a 15-episode 11th season, slated to premiere on October 20, 2014. Currently, TBS airs reruns of American Dad! in syndication. The tenth season was planned to be the final season, but on July 20, 2014, FOX announced they had three unaired episodes left for broadcast, scheduled for two back-to-back episodes on September 14, 2014, and the final episode on September 21, 2014. On the show's upcoming network relocation, Barker has stated, "It's going to be the same American Dad! just in a different place." Barker also joked that the network relocation was to execute a Tyler Perry crossover they [Barker and American Dad! production staff] had long aspired to. In reality, the purpose of the network relocation is to make room for new animated broadcasts on "Animation Domination." It has been reported that the relocation of American Dad! has made room for another animated series from Seth MacFarlane called Bordertown. Bordertown is slated to begin its run in the 2014-15 television season.
Mike Barker's exit
On November 4, 2013, it was announced that Mike Barker had departed American Dad! over creative differences, production not running smoothly enough. Barker had served for ten seasons as the show's co-creator/executive and producer/co-showrunner. Matt Weitzman is now serving as the show's sole showrunner. The news came as early production for season 11 commenced. As of November 2013, the show's production crew is developing its first four episodes for season 12, slated to begin airing on October 20, 2014 when American Dad! moves to TBS. Barker remains under an overall contract with 20th Century Fox Television.
The series premiere
To date, all except for one episode of American Dad! has originally aired on Animation Domination (and will continue to up until the show's 11th season when the series moves to TBS). The program's series premiere is the only episode that predates the Animation Domination lineup. In addition, American Dad!'s series premiere predated the rest of the first season by roughly three months. The series premiere episode, "Pilot", aired directly following Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005. The episode aired alongside The Simpsons and pulled in 15 million viewers, with 23 million viewers overall. Both Animation Domination and the rest of the show's first season commenced on May 1, 2005. The show returned with the episode "Threat Levels", obtaining 9.47 million viewers, after the season premiere/revival of Family Guy.
Nielsen ratings by season
(Note: American Dad! has a season number discrepancy in which there are two popular differences of opinion as to how many seasons the series has had. Websites that have released the show's season-based ratings use the one-season-less numbering method as opposed to the one-season-more numbering method, as shown in the following chart)
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||# Ep.||Premiered||Ended||TV Season||Rank||Viewers
|1||Sunday 9:30 pm||23||
|2||Sunday 8:30 pm||19||
|3||Sunday 9:30 pm||16||
|6||Sunday 9:30 pm
Sunday 7:30 pm
|7||Sunday 9:30 pm||18||
|10||Monday 9:00 pm||TBA||
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Outcome|
|2005||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer Series||American Dad!||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice V-Cast||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2006||Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing in Television Animated||American Dad! for episode "Homeland Insecurity" (1.6)||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Animated Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2007||Annie Awards||Best Writing in an Animated Television Production||Dan Vebber for episode "The American Dad After School Special" (2.2)||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Award||Outstanding Individual Episode||For episode "Lincoln Lover" (2.4)||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing in Television Animated||American Dad! for episode "Dungeon and Wagons" (2.5)||Nominated|
|2008||Teen Choice Award||Choice TV: Animated Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2009||Prism Award||Comedy Episode||For episode "Spring Break-Up" (3.16)||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Animated Program||American Dad! for episode "1600 Candles" (4.1)||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Animated Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2010||Annie Awards||Directing in a Television Production||Pam Cooke and Jansen Lee for episode "Brains, Brains & Automobiles" (5.4)||Nominated|
|Artios||Outstanding Achievement in Casting||Linda Lamontagne||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Animated Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Animated Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2012||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Animated Program||American Dad! for episode "Hot Water" (7.1)||Nominated|
|2012||POPrepublic.tv IT LIST AWARDSM||Favourite International TV Show||American Dad!||Nominated|
|2013||American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers||Top Television Series||American Dad!||Won|
|DVD Name||Release dates||Ep #||BBFC/IFCO/ACB rating||Additional information|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Volume One||April 25, 2006||April 24, 2006||May 24, 2006||13||12/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes all 7 episodes of Season 1, and 6 of Season 2 ("Pilot" through "Stan of Arabia: Part 2"). Special features include commentaries, featurettes, and animatics. It was renamed 'Season 1' on region 2 and 4. When a compilation comprising Volumes 1–3 were released in the UK, Season 1 was renamed to Volume 1 much like its US counterpart.|
|Volume Two||May 15, 2007||May 28, 2007||May 21, 2007||19||12/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes the remaining 10 episodes from Season 2 and the first 9 episodes from Season 3 ("Stannie Get Your Gun" through "The Best Christmas Story Never"). Special features include commentaries on all episodes, featurettes, multi-angle scene studies, and deleted scenes. An uncensored audio track is also available on the episode "Tears of a Clooney".|
|Volume Three||April 15, 2008||May 12, 2008||May 14, 2008||18||15/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes the remaining 10 episodes from Season 3 and 8 of the first 9 episodes from Season 4 ("Bush Comes to Dinner" through "Frannie 911"), though "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" does not appear on the DVD. Special features include commentaries on all episodes, unrated audio, table read, and deleted scenes.|
|Volume Four||April 28, 2009||April 20, 2009||November 18, 2009||14||15/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes the remaining 8 episodes of Season 4 (including "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever") and the first 6 episodes of Season 5. Bonus features include commentary on every episode, storyboards/animatics, multi-angle scene studios, deleted scenes and optional censored audio. On the Region 2 DVD release a typo was made on the back cover.*|
|Volume Five||June 15, 2010||June 14, 2010||November 3, 2010||14||15/15/M||This 3-disc boxset includes the remaining 14 episodes from Season 5. Special features include commentaries on all episodes, deleted scenes, and a Power Hour Drinking Game.|
|Volume Six||April 19, 2011||June 27, 2011||July 13, 2011||18||15/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes all 18 episodes from Season 6. Special features include commentaries on selected episodes, deleted scenes, and the making of the episode "Rapture's Delight".|
|Volume Seven||April 17, 2012||May 14, 2012||May 16, 2012||19||15/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes all 19 episodes from Season 7, along with commentaries on select episodes, deleted scenes, American Dad! at Comic-Con 2010, and "I ❤ Sir Patrick Stewart".|
|Volume Eight||September 24, 2013||August 5, 2013||August 21, 2013||18||15/15/M||This 3-disc box set includes all 18 episodes of Season 8.|
|Volume Nine||July 1, 2014||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Volume Nine includes all 19 episodes of Season 9 in a 3-disc-set. It is also an Amazon exclusive being manufactured on demand on DVD-R's by CreateSpace.|
- The Volume One release was retitled Season One for the Region 2 and 4 releases, however the subsequent releases retained the Volume titles.
- On the packaging for the Season 1 release on Region 2 DVD, there was no mention of audio commentaries or some of the bonus features, leading many to mistakenly believe they had been omitted from the release.
- The Region 2 and 4 DVDs do not have censored audio tracks on any episodes; however, Volume 3 has so-called "uncensored tracks" on the set (probably an error from the transfer because the tracks are already automatically uncensored on the set).
- The Volume 4 DVD release blurb contained information on the episode "Phantom of the Telethon", which was instead featured on Volume 5.
- On Volume 6, despite claims of being uncensored, the bleeps from "Home Adrone", "My Morning Straitjacket", and "G-String Circus" are not removed.
- Volume 9 features all episodes from Season 9, but features the poster from Season 10's "Poltergasm".
Potential film adaptation
At Comic-Con 2013 on July 20, Mike Barker revealed that an American Dad! movie—centering on Roger and set on his birth planet—may take place in the future. Barker did not announce any specifics as it relates to the nature and type of film he and the rest of the show's creators had in mind for the series; however, he strongly suggested that a movie is where the show's staff and creators would like to take things. Barker further hinted that an American Dad! movie may already even be in the works and partially written. No further information about the movie was released following Barker's exit from the series in November 2013.
Crossovers with other animated sitcoms
American Dad! characters have appeared on other animated sitcoms and vice versa. To date, all of American Dad!'s crossovers have involved two other animated programs. The other two animated programs were also created by Seth MacFarlane: Family Guy (the crossover episode "Bigfat" also consisted of King of the Hill characters), and the cancelled series The Cleveland Show.
On December 8, 2013, Bart Simpson from The Simpsons made a cameo appearance in the American Dad! season 10 episode, "Faking Bad". Though unofficial, this marked the first ever Simpsons/American Dad! crossover.
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