How to explain this past Sunday’s episode of American Dad!? OK, well:
The stoner husband, Jeff, of an CIA agent’s daughter is beamed aboard an alien spacecraft, a spacecraft that was supposed to snag the alien that lives in the CIA agent’s attic, but said alien literally pushes Jeff into going in his place. Once aboard, millions of miles from Earth, Jeff slaves away at a shawarma stand with Sinbad, yes that Sinbad, and the only way he can return home is if he proves to an emperor that he truly loves the CIA agent’s daughter, and if he can’t convince the emperor that it’s true love, he loses his genitalia. The test involves another alien called the Majestic sticking his tentacles into the mind of whomever is tempting fate, broadcasting their memories to thousands, all while another alien, the Summoner, sings a song by the band Wax Fang.
Got it? Good, ’cause it was an amazing episode of television, with an all-time great musical moment.
I’ve listened to that song a dozen times in two days. Anyway, I’m tired of explaining the reasons why American Dad! is a million times better than Family Guy or, haha, The Cleveland Show — there’s actual character development, not as reliant on cutaways and pop culture references, the animation is superb, Scott Grimes singing R&B songs, etc. — so instead, I’m going to be proactive and recommend five episodes that newbies should check out. I’ll be the first to admit that American Dad! was pretty terrible for its first few seasons, when it was too reliant on Stan and political humor and the writers hadn’t yet realized they didn’t need guest stars when Roger could literally become any type of character they wanted him to be, which is why all these picks are from seasons 5-9:
1. “Rapture’s Delight” (Season 6, Episode 9)
Stan is upset when he cannot find his family a good seat for a Christmas Day church service, but that proves to be the least of his worries when Stan discovers that he, Roger, and Francine are the last people left on Earth and everyone else has ascended into Heaven as part of the Biblical end of days.
2. “The One That Got Away” (Season 5, Episode 2)
Roger’s credit card is maxed out and he’s certain it’s identity theft. He vows revenge and discovers that a man named Sidney Huffman is responsible. When he is about to burn down Sidney’s apartment, he realizes that Sidney is not who he seems to be. Meanwhile, the rest of the Smiths get sucked into a game of Simon.
3. “Hot Water” (Season 8, Episode 1)
Cee-Lo Green narrates this twisted tale of Stan buying a hot tub to relieve his daily stress, only to get into hot water when the hot tub begins killing his family and friends.
4. “Tearjerker” (Season 4, Episode 10)
In this James Bond parody, Stan plays a secret agent sent to stop the diabolical Tearjerker from fulfilling his master plan to create a movie so sad, it causes anyone who watches it to cry themselves to death.
5. “Toy Whorey” (Season 8, Episode 18)
Tired of his son acting childish by playing with toys and using his imagination, Stan takes Steve to Mexico to make a man out of him by having sex with a prostitute, but the trip turns deadly when they get abducted by drug runners. Meanwhile, Roger sets out to steal a rare bottle of wine.
“Rapture’s Delight,” in particular, is as good as any episode of Community or Parks and Recreation.
I WANT TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW. As soon I’m done listening to “The Majestic” again.