The American Dad After School Special
|"The American Dad After School Special"|
|American Dad! episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Pam Cooke|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Original air date||September 17, 2006|
"The American Dad After School Special" is the second episode of the third and the twenty-fifth overall episode of the animated comedy series American Dad! It aired on Fox in the United States on September 17, 2006, and is written by Dan Vebber and directed by Pam Cooke.
In the episode, Steve falls for an overweight girl, and the appearance-obsessed Stan is so appalled by the way she looks that he develops anorexia. Roger, however, falls for her, too, and attempts to sabotage her relationship with Steve.
Steve, while attempting to escape from gym class, finds a hideout used by a gothic, overweight girl named Debbie whom he finds fascinating and on whom he develops a crush. When Steve tells Stan the latter, his father is delighted and helps Steve to build up the courage to ask her out by using an explosive collar that will kill him within twenty-four hours if he doesn't. However, Stan messes up in programming the device, setting it to kill Steve in just twenty-four minutes.
Eventually, Steve asks Debbie out, but, when Stan sees Debbie for the first time, he's appalled by the fact that she's fat. Francine and Hayley berate him for this, pointing out that he himself is somewhat overweight though his suit hides it. When Stan realizes they're right, he goes on a crazy exercise program and gains an unhealthy obsession with his weight. He even gets a verbally abusive personal trainer named Zack.
Steve dates Debbie, not realizing that Roger is in love with her and is watching them when the two are kissing. Zack puts Stan on a rigorous diet and exercise program. Stan is surprised that the more he exercises and the less he eats, the fatter and fatter he gets; he suspects that Francine and Hayley are tampering with his vegetables to make him fatter, which turns out to be true. He eventually is suspended from the CIA for his "weight problem" when he passes out during a physical after only taking two steps. What he doesn't realize is that his "weight problem" is that he's actually become horrendously thin; his anorexia has developed to the point he sees himself as getting fatter and that his trainer, Zack, isn't real.
The Smith family forces Stan into an anorexia support group (mostly populated by teenage girls and run by a man who either doesn't notice or care that Stan is a grown man), and while he seems to be eating more, he has actually learned from a girl in the group how to fake eating without actually doing it. Steve, for his part in helping his father, dumps Debbie, feeling she is the source of Stan's problem. Stan then tries to set Steve up with the anorexic girl, Veronica, he has befriended; coincidentally, Roger tricks Debbie to meeting him at the same restaurant at the same time, luring her there by pretending to be part of an Anne Rice fan club.
When Francine and Hayley burst into the restaurant, having found out that Stan is cheating on his diet, Steve becomes enraged and yells at Stan saying that he dumped Debbie, the best thing that ever happened to him, for him. Debbie hears this and they get back together, as Stan realizes what he's done and overcomes his anorexia as his personal trainer vanishes as a hallucination. Stan later tells Steve that if dating a girl of any type makes him glad, then it was fine with him.
The episode was watched by a total of 7.71 million people; this made it the third most-watched show on Animation Domination that night, losing to The Simpsons and Family Guy which had 9.23 million viewers. Daniel Solomon of Cinema Blend gave the episode a positive review, saying "The best of the season is early, in an episode entitled “The American Dad After-School Special.” Steve’s new girlfriend is fat, and Stan hates that so much that he becomes anorexic. The device that the writers use to display Stan’s problem is both a visual metaphor for the distorted self-image of people with anorexia, as well as a narrative twist for the audience. At the end of the episode the best of the throwaway celebrity quips is made, when Stan says he doesn’t mind who Steve dates, even if she has “Kirsten Dunst teeth.""
- "American Dad! Episode Guide 2006 Season 3 - The American Dad After School Special, Episode 2". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Weekly Program Ratings". ABC. September 19, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2011.