Stan Smith (American Dad!)

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Stan Smith
American Dad! character
Stan Smith.png
Stan Smith
First appearance "Pilot"
Created by Seth MacFarlane
Voiced by Seth MacFarlane
Information
Full name Stan Smith
Occupation CIA Officer
Spouse(s) Francine, Thundercat (Divorced), Joanna (Divorced)
Children Hayley and Steve
Relatives Parents: Betty, Jack and Hercules (Step-Father)
Half brother: Rusty
Non-human housemate: Roger and Klaus
Religion Episcopalian

Stan Smith is the title character and protagonist of the adult animated sitcom American Dad! He is voiced by the series' co-creator and executive producer, Seth MacFarlane.

Stan is the father/husband of the Smith family. As the family's breadwinner, he works for the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he once held the position of a case officer at the CIA, he is now a weapons expert for the agency.[1] Stan often makes the mistake of applying the same extreme measures suited and used for his job in his personal life and with his family.

Stan is portrayed as drastic, endangering, rash, insensitive, inconsiderate, dog-eat-dog, and very masculine. Early on in the series, he was heavily emphasized as a conservative Republican; however, these particular characteristics were toned down after the first few seasons.[2] Stan's exaggeratedly large chin has been described satirically as a "Jay Leno jaw."[3] He usually wears a blue suit with a lapel pin that is a simplified version of the U.S. flag, consisting of three red and white stripes and a blue square.[4]

Stan is married to Francine Smith. He is indisputably the biological father of only Steve. As evidenced in the episode "The Kidney Stays in the Picture," Hayley may or may not be Stan's biological daughter due to Francine's act of infidelity at a bachelorette party, but regards himself as her father despite this. In "Cock of the Sleepwalk," Stan adopted an unnamed little girl. Also living under Stan's roof are three housemates: Roger, an alien; Klaus, the family's man-in-a-fish-body pet;[5] and Jeff Fischer, who's Hayley's boyfriend turned husband.

Stan's mother is named Betty, and his father is a jewel thief (as revealed in the episode "Meter Made") named Jack Smith.

Personality[edit]

Troublesome sides & extreme-measure taking[edit]

Insanely drastic and rashly so, Stan at times acts on his first impulses which typically result in extreme measures.[6] Often, his extreme measures are of a conspicuously destructive, disastrous, offensive, or life-threatening nature to others.[6] Very inconsiderate, Stan never stops to think about the feelings, needs, or welfare of others, even in circumstances in which it's obvious that others have been/could be severely negatively impacted. Moreover, Stan often proves to be insensitive, completely unfazed when fully conscious of the distresses, displeasures and sufferings brought upon and felt by others. As examples:

In the series premiere, "Pilot," Stan at one point tackled Hayley down to the ground and with a suddenness upon her entering the Smith home. He then followed this up by frisking her with a full body scanner. His reason for this is that she is a liberal.
In the episode "Roger Codger," it's thought that Roger has died following hurtful remarks from Stan. After Stan is convinced of Roger's passing, he promises to give him a fitting funeral. This is followed by Stan chucking Roger's carcass into a dumpster from his car door window in the midst of making an order in a drive-through.
In the episode "I Can't Stan You," Stan evicted his entire neighborhood and his own family as his response to overhearing some of his neighbors gossiping about him behind his back.
In the episode "Francine's Flashback," after forgetting his wedding anniversary, Stan arranged to have the last 20 hours of Francine's memory erased (although he accidentally had 20 years erased and had to find a way to cure her amnesia).
In the episode "Bully for Steve," as a means to help Steve learn how to defend himself in school, Stan became his fulltime bully, fully embracing himself into the role by relentlessly tormenting, torturing, and brutalizing his son. Steve ended up hiring Stan's own bully, Stelio Kontos, to beat some sense into Stan.
In the episode "The Missing Kink," Stan's instant reflex upon Francine's legit accusation that he had misquoted the Bible was to knock her out cold with the Bible and leave her unconscious.
In the episode "Da Flippity Flop," Stan initially refused to put Klaus back in his human body, completely unfazed by Klaus's intense complaints over his life confined to a fish body in a fishbowl. He refused simply because he did not feel like it. Stan eventually attempted to only after being nagged by Francine.

Much in the same manner as Stan takes to extremes, he also has a dog-eat-dog nature, willing to do anything to accomplish his goals—even if it means disaster or harm to others. As examples:

In the episode "Dope & Faith" when Stan found out one of his former 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 "Four Little Words," Stan framed his wife, Francine, as a murderer all so as not to hear her say the words "I told you so."
In the episode "Joint Custody," Stan became irritated with Hayley's then boyfriend (now husband) Jeff Fischer and him living from his van parked out in front of the Smith's house. Since Stan could not legally have the van towed, he concluded that he'd have to come up with a subtle, sneaky way of getting rid of Jeff. This scene is followed by an enormous wrecking ball crushing Jeff's van into smithereens with Stan shown directing these series of events, yelling from his house.
In the episode "A Piñata Named Desire," a play was reduced into Stan and Roger—the show's outrageously depraved and devious alien—desperately trying to outdo each other. During a love scene, Roger was confident that Stan would not be able to kiss him, but Stan more than got past his disgust, and the two competed in increasingly raunchy sex acts until they were both arrested for public indecency and sexual intercourse on stage; etc.

Masculinity[edit]

Stan is also shown to be very virile and masculine. He often bears out his chest, stands up rigidly straight, and possesses a deep, thick voice quality. Moreover, he has expressed macho beliefs. For example, he has expressed opposition to showing emotion, associating it with being a woman. He once told Steve, "Son, feelings are what women have. They come from their ovaries."

Troublesome/redeeming qualities[edit]

Though Stan typically tries to effect a masculine image and repress his feelings, his emotions, sensitivity, and endearing side still manifest themselves from time to time. For example, on several occasions, it has been revealed that even as an adult Stan has desperately desired the fatherly love and attention that he never got as a child, such as in the episode "American Stepdad" when Roger became his stepfather.

At the same time however, his incredibly drastic, dog-eat-dog, and inconsiderate qualities tend to show through in combination with his sensitive and redeeming qualities. For example, Hayley once told Stan, "Dad, I've never seen this side of you. It's so sweet." Stan playfully replied, "Well, if you tell anybody I'll kill you." The two laughed together for a moment before Stan suddenly took a serious, browbeating manner and added, "I'm serious, I will kill you. I will reach into your chest, pull out your beating heart and eat it. All of it, every last bit!" He concluded by affectionately stating, "Well, sweet dreams, angel." As another example, in the episode "Oedipal Panties," Stan went to extremes to keep his mother, Betty, from finding a romantic partner for fear he would lose her. In the episode, Stan was revealed to have captured and detained all of Betty's former lovers to an uncharted island.

Original persona[edit]

In the beginning of the series, it was heavily emphasized that Stan was a highly Conservative Republican, bordering on right-wing authoritarianism. He idolized then United States President George W. Bush and former President Ronald Reagan. Combined with these traits, he was also portrayed as patriotic and Christian. Stan regularly caused havoc, disorder, and great catastrophe with his bigotry, Conservatism, patriotism, chauvinism, xenophobia, and paranoia.[7] MacFarlane has likened Stan's original character to Archie Bunker from All in the Family.[8][9]

Under his initial persona, he also opposed homosexuality and gay marriage for a time. He changed his views on homosexuality, however, in the episode "Lincoln Lover," once becoming associated with the Log Cabin Republicans. Stan's stance on homosexuality further softened in the episode "Surro-Gate" when Francine acted as a surrogate mother for gay couple Greg and Terry's baby. In the end of this episode, Stan realized what a loving family Greg and Terry were.

After the first few seasons and as the series progressed, Stan was portrayed as growing out of these particular traits and they were largely dropped from his character. Branching out, he later began displaying his wrongheadedness and penchant for taking to extremes in numerous other ways beyond ultra right-wing politics.[2]

Occupation[edit]

Stan is an official officer of the CIA. Stan has shown expertise and knowledge in hand to hand combat, small arms, covert survillence methods, torture, the ability to fly aircraft and the handling of assault weapons. Even though he has been arrested several times on several felony charges, such as animal cruelty, child pornography (though this was a wrongful accusation), attempted murder, drug trafficking, possession and use of crack cocaine (he almost flees to South America), transporting infected cattle to be slaughtered for food, impersonating a U.S. Marshal, and identity theft, he retains his official position.

Though it is well known he works for the CIA, very little is actually known about what exactly he does. Sometimes he is seen as a field operative, sometimes an undercover agent, sometimes surveillance officer, even presidential bodyguard, but most often he is seen working in a small cork-walled cubicle with a few of his buddies: Jackson, Sanders, Dick Reynolds, and others. Smith's assumption of these different roles may indicate that he works as a sort of troubleshooter; taking on different responsibilities as required. However, since assuming the role of Deputy Deputy Director, his duties do not appear to have changed.

In the episode "Chimdale", it is revealed that Stan Smith has been bald since college and wears a wig (however, this episode contradicts several past episodes, including "Frannie 911," in which Roger scalped Stan while roleplaying as an American Indian and "Choosy Wives Choose Smith," in which Stan's hair grew after spending months on a deserted island). He drives a black Ford Explorer but has also been seen driving a black Chrysler 300C and owns a DeLorean despite not having seen or even knowing about the movie Back to the Future. Stan is also known to have an unexplained fear of seagulls, first mentioned by Francine in "American Dream Factory", although he got over it in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith".

Despite his traditional values, he has been married to two other women. In Saudi Arabia, Stan married an Arab woman and named her "Thundercat" because he could not pronounce her name, though Stan married her mainly as a servant. At one point Francine divorced Stan so that he could have pointless sex, and he met and married a woman named Joanna, but went back to Francine, though Stan reports that he did consummate the marriage. Both Stan and Francine admit that each married the other for what Stan describes as selfish reasons. That is, that Stan admits that he married Francine because she was attractive. Francine, for her part, says that she wants someone to take care of her financially and both go so far as to admit this during their vow renewal ceremony to a room full of people. In the episode "Stan's Food Restaurant" it is revealed that Stan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hobbies[edit]

Stan also enjoys a number of hobbies. Chief amongst these is collecting Franklin Mint Plates as well as a number of creative outlets such as designing and making themed stuffed bears, fly-tying, gun cleaning, wood burning, figure skating, and writing right-wing children's literature. He also enjoys reading books about the things he is doing at that very moment (i.e. he was reading a book called "Reading While Waiting",[citation needed] as he waited for someone). Other examples include "How to do a Spit Take", "How to Furrow your Brow", "How to look Chastened", "How to read with one hand" and "Anticipating Doorbells".

Cameo appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Written by David Zuckerman. Directed by Brent Woods. "Threat Levels". American Dad!. Season 1. Episode 2. FOX.
  2. ^ a b McFarland, Kevin (2013-04-15). ""The Missing Kink" | American Dad | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  3. ^ The Gospel According to the Simpsons, Bigger and Possibly Even Better ... - Mark I. Pinsky. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  4. ^ http://zebratigerfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/american-dad-altered-mini-us-flag-pin.html
  5. ^ Written by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman. Directed by Ron Hughart.. "Pilot". American Dad!. Season 1. Episode 1. FOX.
  6. ^ a b hwww.awn.com/articles/people/iamerican-dadi-touchdown
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 Through 2010 - Vincent Terrace. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  8. ^ Norton James."Seth MacFarlane's Third Act". Flak Magazine. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  9. ^ Written by Rick Wiener, Kenny Schwartz, and Nahnatchka Khan. Directed by Brent Woods. ""Lincoln Lover"". American Dad!. Season 2. Episode 27. FOX.

External links[edit]