Stan Smith (American Dad!)

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Stan Smith
American Dad! character
Stan Smith.png
First appearance "Pilot"
Created by Seth MacFarlane
Voiced by Seth MacFarlane
Full name Stanford Smith
Occupation CIA Operative
Family Jack Smith (father)
Betty Smith (mother)
Hercules (deceased stepfather)
Rusty Smith (half-brother)
Spouse(s) Francine Smith (née Ling)
Thundercat (divorced)
Joanna (divorced)
Children Hayley Smith (
Steve Smith
Relatives Roger (housemate)
Klaus Heissler (housemate)
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 the father of Steve and Haley Smith. In one episode it is revealed that Hayley may not be the biological daughter of Stan Smith. 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 "Con Heir") named Jack Smith.


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 same episode, Stan openly expresses in an angry and serious tone to Hayley about killing her by ripping her heart out and eating every last bit of it should she tell anyone about the nicer side of him.
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. It is also revealed that Stan was the one who switched his brainwaves with that of a goldfish in the first place to prevent him from winning the 1986 Winter Olympics gold medal.
In the episode "Great Space Roaster," Stan went directly to the escape pod on the space shuttle to escape Roger's violent wrath, all the while being completely indifferent to the horrifying situation the others were in and outright ignoring Francine and Hayley's desperate cries for help and screams of terror over the intercom.
In the episode "Stanny Boy and Frantastic," after taking all four tickets from her, Stan showed intentions of happily kicking Hayley in a suicide pit if she didn't let him and Francine keep the tickets for themselves.
In the episode "The People vs. Martin Sugar," Stan hits a real federal marshal in the back of the head with a stone just so he can get to wear his jacket and pose as a real marshal himself. In the same episode, he refused to let the rest of the jury go home if they didn't vote Roger guilty, despite him being the only one who thought so and thus being in the minority of the verdict. It is also indirectly stated that he has been known to stab the babies of men and women who don't have regular childcare so they can be eligible to stay on the jury.
In the episode "The Scarlett Getter," when Stan sees Scarlett Reynolds (a woman whom he went to CIA bootcamp with) and invites her to dinner, Stan shows little to no interest whatsoever of listening or even outright acknowledging Francine to the point where he makes a casual remark about "wishing someone [he] knew would die". In same episode, he shows extreme anger and jealousy when Roger decides to take an interest in her.
In the episode "Threat Levels," Stan threatens Hayley with a punch in the face when she toasts Francine's independence.
In the episode "A Jones for a Smith," Stan angrily refuses to help Francine with her dress, Steve with his homework or even perform the Heimlich maneuver when Hayley is choking to the point of stopping Francine from helping her therefore forcing Hayley to do the technique herself using a chair while he casually reads the paper. After putting the piece of turkey sausage that Hayley was choking on in his mouth he says to her "You know I don't like turkey sausage, why'd you give me this?" Then later, he takes an entire industrial-sized pot of soup away from the soup kitchen (that Francine is working at to feed the homeless during her community service after getting arrested) for himself.
In the episode "Honey I'm Homeland," Stan (and later Bullock) repeatedly says to Hayley that [she] and everything she says is annoying. Later at the end of the episode, he shoots her with a tranquilizer dart to avoid talking to her on the long drive back home.
In the episode "The Wrestler," Stan nonchalantly burns Steve's straight-A report card, showing his complete lack of interest in his son's academic achievements.
In the episode "May the Best Stan Win," Stan buys a heart-shaped box of chocolates just because he wanted some while giving the empty box to Francine. He also doesn't remember that it was Francine who told him that she wanted to go to Hershey's Park where he bought the chocolates in the first place. Later, he promises her breakfast in bed only to eat it himself then tries to get out of buying her a Valentine's gift by pulling his gun out to shoot her. He then tells her that he plans to be turned into a cyborg while leaving her to be buried alone saying unconcernedly "It's to death do us part".
In the episode "Moon Over Isla Island," Stan condescendingly apologizes to Roger for snubbing him at a spray-tanning booth that he promised to go to, afterwards he tells Roger to pick up Nancy Regan stamps irritably telling him "what do you think?" when Roger asks what kind he wants picked up. Hayley then reveals that anytime Roger really wants to hang out with Stan, he merely uses the alien as a runner for his little errands.
In the episode "Hurricane!," Stan repeatedly ignores and refuses to follow the rationally sound advice from his family only to get them into more desperate and dangerous situations every time he does so.
In the episode "Virtual In-Stanity," Stan causes vast amounts of grief and emotional pain for Steve (which Francine points out), but Stan is only concerned by the fact that he was there for his son.
In the episode "License to Kill," Stan repeatedly scares Francine to the point where she subsequently hurts herself and even pretends to understand the kind of surprise she wants (a romantic one) making her break down in tears which he then says is ruining it for him.
In the episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man," Stan went to extreme mesures all for the purposes of winning the position of church deacon. This came to a head when Stan hooked Roger up to a force-feeding apparatus in order to make Roger produce breast milk and release it via drainage which ended up making Roger seriously ill and dangerously obese. Despite the fact that Roger had become inflated to the point of nearly bursting open and could therefore have actually died, Stan was hardly fazed.
In the episode "Return of the Bling," Stan matter-of-factly says to Roger that he doesn't like to think about him because he finds it confusing.
In the episode "The Vacation Goo," Stan puts Francine and Hayley in goo chambers, programs the vacation they said they'd take, implants fake memories for them, then ditches them. In the real world, Stan spends Steve’s college money savings all on himself alone. After which he sells nearly all of Steve's possessions for a vacation only to do the same thing: put the girls into the goo chambers, while he spends all the earnings on himself.
In the episode "White Rice," It is revealed that whenever Francine wants to talk about something, Stan completely dismisses it (such as not getting Hayley's twin brother vaccinated which results in his death), and every year he takes her to a hypnotist to be forced into doing stuff he prefers while he gets a sandwich and has been doing so for twenty years. Later, it is shown that Stan remodeled Francine's work space that she had when she had a stand up comedy stint into a room to show off his collection of commemorative plates from the Franklin Mint. Stan then says he did it because she started working nights and that it effected his schedule due to his aversion to change.
In the episode "Homeland Insecurity," Stan, due to his xenophobia, gets rid of his new neighbors by keeping them in a terrorist detention camp.
In the episode "Permanent Record Wrecker," Stan assigns Steve pointless assignments. These get worse when he is fired from the CIA as, at one point, he gives Steve the dangerous task of sweeping up an entire boxful of broken spare lightbulbs with no shoes on. Later at the grocery store where he and Steve are working, Stan deliberately stacks the butter wrong which soon results in the accidental killing of a child for which Steve ends up getting fired.
In the episode "Stan Knows Best," Stan shaves off all of Hayley's hair, rendering her completely bald just because she dyed it green while she was participating in a Green Party rally. Later, he has his CIA friends abduct her and bring her back home after going out with Jeff. Stan then puts financial pressure on Hayley by erasing the records of her tuition having been paid, thus forcing her to get a job as a waitress (and eventually a stripper) at a strip joint. It is also revealed that he had Hayley brainwashed when she was five in the hopes of killing Walter Mondale and is implied he did the same thing to Steve.
In the episode "Delorean Story-an," Stan demonstrates a lack of knowledge of his son's age as he believes Steve is still five years old and dismisses the boy's confirmation that he is fourteen. Later, Stan reveals that for six years he has been secretly building his dream car, the Delorean, and that he has spent forty-seven thousand dollars on building it while refusing to get Francine the shoulder surgery she needed. Stan also immediately and happily refuses Steve's suggestion on accompanying him on a trip to get the final piece of his car.
In the episode "Irregarding Steve," Stan disregards Francine's incorrectly placed, but not unfounded, worry about Steve and Roger "catching their death" staying in the tree house by causally remarking that "Death has better things to do, like remembering Tony Curtis."
In the episode "American Stepdad," Stan expresses a complete lack of concern when his stepdad dies and openly says to Francine that he barely cares about his real dad.
In the episode "Naked to the Limit, One More Time," Stan nonchalantly grabs Roger by the throat and holds him aloft while checking his watch, choking Roger in the process to the point where the alien's face turns blue and has to have chest compressions applied by Stan in order to be resuscitated.
In the episode "Stannie Get Your Gun," Stan handcuffs Hayley to the oven. In the same episode, he calls her many hurtful names such as hermaphrodite and chupacabra as well as taking her to a theme park based on the violent nature of the NGA. He also openly admits that the NGA is the only thing that means anything to him despite being in Francine's presence when he says this. He also stages a breaking-and-entering scenario which results in Hayley being distraught over the fact that she thought she killed someone just to get an apology from her just so he could get reenlisted into the NGA. After accidentally shooting him and rendering him a quadriplegic, Hayley falls into a severe bout of guilt, misery and self-loathing as she gives up everything she believes in. This accumulates to the point where she actually vomits; yet even though she expresses this in front of him in one instance, Stan refuses to see it.
In the episode "Max Jets," Stan (as well as his family) was completely nonchalant about killing Max Jets solely to inherit his vast fortune. Even when Klaus points out that Max is Roger and if they kill Max they'll kill Roger, he showed a complete lack of concern about it and even had every intention of taking an extra 30% for himself because of a "standard killer's fee" due to being the one who carried out the murder. When Roger's Max Jets character actually does die Stan (along with his family) breaks into a song and dance, celebrating the misfortune of this event with pure delight.
In the episode "The American Dad After School Special," Stan puts a collar on Steve's neck that would explode in twenty-four minutes if Steve didn't ask Debbie (a girl who Steve has a crush on) out. He then makes many hurtful comments about Debbie's weight despite being overweight himself.
In the episode "Star Trek," Stan points a gun threateningly at Steve's head for cheating in a creative writing class. He then later glues Steve hand to the table with the intent of letting him slowly starve to death if he didn't write a book of his own. He also sends Francine a card saying her hair looks like crap. He then spends all of Hayley's college money on buying Steve Dr. Seuss' first typewriter.
In the episode "Haylias", it is revealed that Stan had his daughter brainwashed as a child so he could have a sleeper agent for a father-daughter spy team. The brainwashing treatment also meant that Hayley would lose all sense of her own free will if the trigger phrase was ever spoken. He also believes that any happiness for Hayley can only come from marriage, children and then housewife life. Later, Stan meets Dill who is the son of a senator of the CIA and considers him perfect for Hayley, ignorant of the fact that he is gay. Although Hayley firmly states that he's not his type, Stan uses Hayley's trigger phrase to forcefully get them together.
In the episode "Every Which Way But Lose", Stan ignores Steve, calling him a loser for coming in 78th in a chemistry competition at school. He then kicks Steve off the junior football team for not being good enough. At one point he hits Steve in the groin and breaks a chair over Roger's head. Later, Stan attempts to kill himself as he was unable to live with a single bit of failure when Steve's football team wins against his own.
In the episode "Live and Let Fry", Stan blatantly disregards the lawful ban on trans fats by crossing county lines and using Steve as a trans-fatty food mule to satisfy his own gluttonous desires.
In the episode "Wife Insurance" Stan openly admits that he has a plan to marry his dentist if Francine dies before him.
In the episode "She Swill Survive" Stan voices the hope that Francine dies before him and states directly to Hayley that she has to start paying the rent as well as figuring out how to afford it in order to prove her survival skills. Stan then says the only things Hayley will be capable of becoming are a stripper, a crack whore and a stay-at-home mom.
In the episode "Steve and Snot's Test-Tubular Adventure" Stan states to Francine that "nobody cares about [her] stuff".

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.


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. At 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] He has also exhibited instances of gullibility (like his son Steve) such as when he believed he was taking cold medicine when in fact he was smoking "crack" as Roger nonchalantly points out. Hayley has also tricked him into buying mirrored sunglasses that wound up getting him kidnapped by a group of radicals. In another episode, Roger states to Stan that he has to give his champion racehorse "a full release," which Stan ultimately does so. Stan has also once drunk Roger's urine due to the alien telling him it was a fancy beer. The episode "Irregarding Steve" reveals that Stan believes that popcorn doesn't pop above sea level. In "Love, AD Style" when Francine points out if they added another "C" before the "K" in the acronym of the new car Stan wants to buy he says he doesn't know what she's talking about, clearly not realizing what the new acronym would spell out. In "Stanny Tendergrass" Stan thought he was able to afford a membership at Mr. Vanderhill's (Roger's) country club after working there thirty years at the cost of seven grand, completely unaware of the vast price inflation cost (two hundred grand) due to natural compound interests and stock marketing incomings until Steve told him.


Stan's history can be traced back to 1987 when he was 20, he joined the army and quickly rose to become an Airborne Ranger, and eventually being selected to join the army's elite anti-terrorist group, Delta Force. After leaving the army he was again elected to undergo extensive special forces training to join the CIA's ultra secretive Special Activities division, specifically the Special Operations Group. When he was wounded on a top secret mission inside North Korea, Stan returned home to a desk job. Stan is now an official officer of the CIA. Stan has shown expertise and knowledge in hand-to-hand combat, small arms, covert surveillance 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 role playing 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.


Stan also enjoys a number of hobbies. Chief among 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]


  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. ^ The Voice of Vexillology, Flags & Heraldry: American Dad - altered mini US Flag Pin
  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
  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]