The Vacation Goo

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"The Vacation Goo"
American Dad! episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 1
Directed by Albert Calleros
Written by Josh Bycel, Jonathon Fener
Production code 2AJN22
Original air date September 30, 2007
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Joint Custody"
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"Meter Made"
American Dad! (season 4)
List of American Dad! episodes

"The Vacation Goo" is the first episode of the fourth season of the animated series American Dad!, an episode produced for Season 2. It originally aired on September 30, 2007. This episode centers around the Smiths, whom start to develop communication issues with each other. Francine becomes aggravated that the family cannot congregate with each other during dinner. Stan later plans for a vacation in Hawaii, only to be interrupted by Roger. The family subsequently go on several virtual vacations, only to have Francine go into an emotional breakdown. The Smith family go onto a cruise, but Francine's suspicions get the best of her and the Smiths are stranded on an island.

This episode was directed by Albert Calleros, and written by Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener. It received mixed reviews from most television critics. According to the Nielson ratings, it was viewed by 6.03 million households during its original airing, and acquired a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic.[2] Elizabeth Banks guest stars as Becky Arangino in the episode.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

When Francine becomes frustrated that she cannot get the family together for Sunday night dinner as a new tradition, Stan suggests a vacation, and the Smiths have a great time in Maui until Roger interrupts them. Francine, Steve and Hayley find themselves floating in virtual reality chambers filled with a green, gooey substance. They then learn that Stan programs a vacation in the goo chambers every year, and Francine demands they go on a real vacation. Twice they appear to do so, first skiing and then going to Italy, but each time they end up in the goo chambers, with Steve and then Hayley programming the vacations. Finally, when the others offer to take Francine on a cruise, she remains suspicious until Stan shows her he is returning the chambers to the CIA. On the cruise, only Francine has fun until Steve meets Becky (Elizabeth Banks), the attractive cruise activities director, who hits on him (because she is attracted to younger boys).

Meanwhile, Roger, who wants to become a famous movie star, lands a movie part, but quits when he cannot cry on cue. He then becomes an Olivia Newton-John impersonator on a cruise ship—the same ship that the Smiths are on. When Francine sees Stan and Hayley acting happy, Steve with Becky, and Roger singing "Xanadu," she becomes convinced she is in one of the vats and jumps overboard, expecting to wake up at home. The others, plus Becky, follow her and rescue her, but realize nobody told the ship to come back for them. They land on an island, then learn that hunters living on the island plan to hunt them down for sport, causing them to take refuge in a cave.

In Puerto Rico, Roger is thrown off the ship for stealing silverware and is forced to become an exotic dancer at a strip club. When his career hits rock bottom, he resorts to prostitution and is finally able to cry on cue.

In the cave, Becky is crushed to death when she tries to collect rainwater, and the others reluctantly resort to eating her to survive. The hunters then find them, and the Smiths learn that the island—and the hunt—was part of the cruise. Considering the topic of Becky, Francine says (while the entire family nearly vomits in disgust) that nothing bonds a family like a dark, horrible secret, and Stan quickly changes the subject, asking where the family wants to go next year.

The scene then changes to the Smiths happily floating in a hot-air balloon over a vast canyon, and holding a toast "to the goo"; it is then revealed that they are using the goo tanks once again, this time as a family.

Reception[edit]

"The Vacation Goo" aired on September 30, 2007 as part of the animated television line-up on Fox. It was preceded by The Simpsons, King of The Hill, and its opposite show Family Guy. It was watched by 6.03 million, according to the Nielson ratings, and garnered a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographics.[5] This episode was down 32% in total viewership compared to "Camp Refoogee", the previous season premiere of American Dad which was viewed by 8.9 million homes during its original airing.

"The Vacation Goo" was met with mixed reviews from television critics. In a simultaneous review of the episodes of The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Family Guy that preceded the show, Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club gave it a mixed review, writing, "What surprises me more than the show's continued existence, though, is the fact that it's actually pretty funny, which makes the fact that it remains so unremarkable so, well, remarkable. While I usually find the bajillion-megawatt "political satire" of the show to be pretty tiring, the family-oriented storylines can be pretty fun, in a campy way."[6] She went on to criticize the subplot, calling it "weird".[7] She gave the episode a B, the third highest grade of the night, beating out King of the Hill episode "Bobby Rae", but scoring lower than The Simpsons episode "Homer of Seville" and Family Guy episode "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)".[8]

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