American Dad: Tropes P To T
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- Papa Wolf: Terry and Greg, surprisingly enough.
- Stan for all his Jerk Ass tendacies does play this trope straight a fair few times as well.
- Even Roger, of all people, is capable of crossing this trope. "The Ward" episode is evident of it.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Roger seems to be recognizable as an alien only when he's stark naked. Putting on any kind of clothing seems to render him completely indistinguishable from humans, despite people occasionally mentioning he is not flesh coloured, doesn't have a nose, and is 'oddly proportioned'. Toshi seems to know but doesn't seem to care, as he refers to Steve's "Uncle Roger" as "alien in a wig." Of course, since no one understands Toshi (because he speaks Japanese), it didn't make any real difference.
- Pants Positive Safety: CIA man Stan does this on a regular basis. He hasn't shot himself yet, though.
Stan: Cold, cold! Yet flattering.
- Parental Incest: Subverted. Hayley falls for Stan's double in S4 Ep06, "Pulling Double Booty," which Francine first mistakes for Stan. Later, Stan must impersonate the double for plot reasons.
- S3 Ep 11, "Oedipal Panties" focused on Stan's relationship with his mother, which takes on some really Squicky overtones.
- Also a quick one-off joke in S1 Ep04, "Francine's Flashback":
Hayley: My mother stole my boyfriend!
Stan: Your boyfriend stole my wife! Let's get back at 'em by dating each other. (Beat
) Wait a minute... Daddy didn't think that one through
Hayley: But if Dad can't please Mom, who will?
Steve: (adjusts pants) Well...
(Hayley and Roger's eyes narrow)
Steve: What? Aw, no, gross! I just need a new belt!
- Patriotic Fervour: Stan veers between honourable and despicable, but prides himself on being a true patriot.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Subverted, Roger needs to know a password one a split-personality of his set up and tries "password" but it fails. The actual password is "password1"
- Perky Goth: Steve's girlfriend Debbie has an obsession with death and the dark side but is otherwise friendly and cheerful.
- Periphery Demographic: In "Lincoln Lover", Stan writes a play about Abraham Lincoln's relationship with his bodyguard to try and encourage traditional Republican values, but unwittingly wrote it to look like there was homosexual subtext between the two men, giving it a strong following in the gay community.
- Pimped-Out Dress: A number show up, for various reasons.
- Playing Against Type: Half the things Avery Bullock says are hilarious simply because they sound so bizarre coming out of Patrick Stewart's mouth.
- Picture Picard saying this to his crew and try to keep a straight face. "Gentleman do what ever it takes to empty our coffers: lapdances, champagne dances, shower dances. Oh, the things you can buy for a hand full of bills. It makes me excited. It gives me these chills. They'll be filcher rubs, breeders, hambones and tweeners, zobos and debos and blorps that go 'eenahs'. For a one dollar bill you can pull down their zippers. I am the Snorlax, I speak for the strippers!"
- Please Wake Up: S3 Ep10, "Tearjerker", a James Bond spoof, features Roger as the titular villain, in which he tries to take over the world using the ultimate Tear Jerker movie, "Oscar Gold" about a mentally retarded, alcoholic, Jewish boy and his cancer ridden puppy during the Holocaust . After being foiled by Stan, he reveals as he's escaping that he has a backup plan for an ever sadder movie; six hours of a baby chimp trying to revive its dead mother.
- When the mother of the squirrels that lives in their yard dies, the "slow" one thinks she's sleeping/hiding.
- The Power of Hate: Played with. Apparently Roger's "bitchiness" is an actual physical element of his species that will convert into a poisonous bile unless he expresses this trope in full throttle. Naturally The Power of Love is toxic to them.
- Porn Stash: In "Hurricane", Francine and Steve go looking for Hayley after she gets dragged away by a shark. Passing by Steve's room, she notices dozens of porno mags floating in the water. She's not really surprised to see them, more-so curious about his tastes.
Francine: Steve, what do you have under your mattress? The girls are all Asian... and pregnant.
Steve: Hayley's clearly not in here, lets move on.
- The Power of Rock: Stan becomes more in touch with emotions beyond anger and outrage when he is exposed to the music of My Morning Jacket during My Morning Straitjacket.
- Pretty in Mink: Stan buys Francine a mink stole in one episode. Hayley's avatar in Dragonscuffle has a white fur collar. Greg Corbin has a white fur coat and hat he wears in one of the Christmas episodes.
- Primal Scene: In "I Am the Walrus" Stan tricks Steve into catching him and Francine having sex so he can re-establish alpha male dominance of the household.
- Product Placement: Mr Pibb (now known as Pibb Xtra) is given centre stage as the B-plot of A.T. The Abusive Terrestrial and is mentioned in several other episodes as well. Other references to real life products or shows are also in abundance.
- Also parodied in Black Mystery Month when for no reason at all Stan and Steve discuss their plan in a Burger King and Steve asks why they had to go there. Stan procceeds to tell him that "The economics of television have changed" before giving a fake smile to the camera and saying in a pained voice "Have it... YOUR way".
- Actually, this is an incredible throw-back to the pilot. The first commercial that aired after the theme song was for Burger King, who was the main sponsor of the show when it first aired.
- The episode "Red October Sky" is filled with a number of product placements relations to capitalism.
- They had an entire episode dedicated to nothing but Stan becoming obsessed with the band My Morning Jacket, with a bunch of their songs being played, and the lead singer making a guest appearance.
- Properly Paranoid: Stan has been proven right at least half of the time, which is just enough times to continue being this way.
- They crop up semi-frequently, but Bullock pulls an epic one in Tearjerker.
[Smith is being briefed in Japan; he and Bullock are Geisha girls] Smith
: Why are we dressed up like this? Bullock
: Because I thought we could be "Secret Asians". Stan
: A 16-hour flight for a bad pun?
[grins] Yes. Yes.
- In A Bully For Steve, when Roger plans to photograph Steve's fight:
- Psychopathic Man Child: The Antichrist in "Rapture's Delight". Stan and Roger also qualify at times.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Stan Smith deals in these from time to time.
- As does Steve in Dope & Faith. LAVATE. LAS. MANOS!!!
- Also Played Literally in "A Piñata Named Desire"
- Punny Name: S3 Ep 10, "Tearjerker", a James Bond spoof, features Francine as a Bond girl spoof named Sexpun T'Come.
- Rage Breaking Point: Stan at the end of "Bullocks to Stan".
- Reality Warper: Explored in Toy Whorey, when Steve disappears into his imagination and as does Stan later. Taken to the extreme with Roger in the same episode; when fetching wine, Roger goes into the attic and somehow goes through to a wine cellar, before exiting the cellar to his garage in the mountains, where he picks one of his vintage cars, where he drives over a precipice immediately outside, causing an explosion.
- Real-Life Relative: Hayley is voiced by Seth MacFarlane's sister Rachael.
- Really Gets Around: Almost every reference to Francine's past indicates that she was the loosest woman in Langley Falls, revealing to Stan that she actually has North America's largest sex garden, with one rosebush for each of her partners in When A Stan Loves A Woman.
- Hayley is also stated to be like this, but she has a monogamous relationship with Jeff for most of the series and is now married to him.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: When it is revealed that Stan has never actually killed anyone before, everyone is either disgusted or severely disappointed in him. Everyone except Hayley, that is... and the newfound respect she gains for Stan because of this is treated in-show as a bad thing.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Stan gives Roger a pretty brutal one:
Stan: You're nothing but a worthless sack of fatass!
Roger: (gasps in horror)
Stan: You're lazy, you're a chubbo, you lie, you cheat, you eat all our food, you're a drunk, you never wash your wigs, but you strut around like you're Mary Queen of Scots, Brangelina, and Jesus all rolled into one. Well, you're not! You're a big fat nothing!
- Recursive Reality: In American Stepdad, Stan's Mom rushes into marriage with Roger's persona; when Stan and Francine are invited over for dinner, Stan sees the only pictures his Mom has of her incredibly brief relationship are of a recent flashback, the preparation of the meal they're about to eat, and an already framed photo of Stan looking at the photos.
- Reference Overdosed: Just without the excessive Cutaway Gags found on Family Guy.
- Religion Is Magic: Christianity is parodied in this fashion; nowhere is this more obvious than in Dope & Faith.
- Retconning the Wiki: Steve once wrote an article about "Truth of peanut butter" using the crazy conspiracy plot he learned throughout the episode "Black Mystery Month." Wikipedia actually did lock the articles on peanut butter and Mary Todd Lincoln in order to deter idiot viewers from doing this.
- Revenge Myopia: In "Escape from Pearl Bailey", the popular kids swear revenge on Steve and his friends for Steve's revenge plot against Lisa Silver and her friends for Debbie's class presidential campaign getting sabotaged, and persist even after Steve realizes it was his friends who did it, and apologizes for it.
- Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Done a few times with Stan and Francine in terms of providing for the family, with Stan's overzealous extremist (and occasionally psychotic) approach pretty much always making him the Wrong Way guy. Deconstructed a handful of instances Francine's calmer approach also falls short (eg. Stan creates two clones of Steve for each of them to raise separately, Stan's clone goes insane from his overbearing treatment, while Francine's coddling devolves the other into a spoiled lazy bum).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Steve goes on a non-lethal one after Lisa Silver and her friends humiliate Debbie with an embarrassing website and cost her the school election. It turns out that Lisa and her friends were innocent. It was Snot, Toshi, and Barry who set the website up because they were sick of Steve spending all his time with Debbie.
- Hayley goes on one whenever a guy dumps her. It's gotten so bad that she will face jailtime if the cops catch her again.
- Robot Girl: Steve's somewhat unnerving gradual conversion of a vacuum cleaner into an artificial mate during Stannie Slickers II to the point where it can perform... well, it's Steve so you can probably figure out the rest.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Stan's new friend (who's an atheist) proves he went to hell, and came back, with a guitar made of a goat skull.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: In Return of the Bling, Roger is spliced into some live-action stock photos from the 1980's Olympic Hockey game to prove to Stan that yes, he was a member of the U.S. Team.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Roger claims that his arrival on Earth was responsible for the Roswell incident.
- RPG Episode: Dungeons and Wagons
- Rube Goldberg Device: One of Rogers plans to steal Greg and Terry's wine in Toy Whorey. It's such an Overly-Long Gag even Francine lampshades it:
- Running Gag: The writers get their fill with the many vagina jokes that pop up (so much so that one episode broke from the plot to have a "1000th Vagina Joke" celebration). They try to go for the Once per Episode approach.
- One of the more subtle ones involves Francine's habit of using a lamp whenever she hits someone.
- Another involves the humorously infantile nature of the C.I.A (Show and tell, nap time etc)
- Roger and Steve taking cases as Wheels and The Leg-Man, complete with theme music and opening sequence.
- Stan being in a scene reading a book with a title that describes what he is doing or whatever he will do next. "Reading With One Hand" and "Nude From the Waist Down" are examples.
- Stan randomly pulling out his gun to scare people.
- In the later seasons, Stan would start sending picture messages on his cell phone to two black employees working at an airport terminal, and them commenting on each one.
- Character x saying they can't believe character y had done whatever, only to be reminded that it's totally in-character for them.
- Take That: Took a shot at its own sister show in one episode, showing how unnatural the setups for Family Guy's cutaway gags would sound in context:
Roger: (responding to an odd statement made by Francine)
Well, that was about as obvious as the setup for the sequel at the end of Batman Begins
What are you talking about? Roger:
You know, when Inspector Gordon gives him that Joker playing card? Stan:
Well, what does that have to do with Francine? Roger:
What about her? Stan:
You sounded like you were going to say something important about Francine. Roger:
Ummm... no. Nope, don't think so. Stan:
Oh... okay. (awkward silence)
- One episode involves Roger dressing up as a girl and tricking Snot into thinking they're having sex. He does this by substituting a stress ball with a hole in it. After the ball has been violated multiple times throughout the episode, we learn that it's a promotional item for Sons of Tuscon, a sitcom that replaced American Dad on the Fox schedule in 2010. The writers add insult to injury by having Roger remark that he doesn't remember Sons of Tuscon at all, a reference to the fact that the show was canceled after only a month. Don't mess with American Dad's time slot.
- And as a final bit of rubbing in, there's a scene where Roger puts the "used" stress ball in the dishwasher, then walks away while humming the American Dad theme song.
- When Roger and Stan go visit a Horse Whisperer, there are nothing but pictures of famous horses who he has spoken with in the past adorning his office walls, including an autographed picture of Hillary Swank.
- One episode has Steve receive a bunch of fireworks from Francine's parents and lights one off in the house, prompting the following line from Francine's dad:
"This one is called The English Patient
: It looks beautiful, but takes a long time for an unsatisfying payoff."
- In American Stepdad, Steve and his friends find the lost screenplay for Fast and Furious 7 and, reading through it, discover massive amounts of homo-eroticism. After then cutting the script to eight pages to remove all gay undertones, they hand it in to a producer, only to be told it's a fake as it lacks all the gay sex scenes and undertones that they usually have to edit out.
- Taking You with Me: When Principal Lewis loses his job, his house, and all his friends thanks to Roger's meddling as a legal guardian, Lewis decides to take Steve to Arizona... to die together in suicide by driving off the Grand Canyon.
- The Talk: "You see, Steve, when a man and a woman are in love (or very drunk), they..."
- Talking Is a Free Action: Stan lampshades this. He coaches Roger to finally beat Barry so he doesn't lose his high school wrestling record. Barry had Roger pinned and the referee counted to two. Stan told him to start using his incredibly powerful legs and to escape before the referee politely waits for their conversation to be over before he counts to three.
- Talking to Himself: Seth MacFarlane voices both Stan and Roger, who have many, MANY scenes together. In fact, there are several entire episodes that are mainly just the two of them.
- A Taste Of Defeat: In "Every Which Way But Lose", Stan's football team loses due to some intervening from Steve and Roger. The taste proves very bitter...
- Teens Are Monsters: The Flashback Cut portrayal of puberty for the Smith family children in 1600 Candles. Steve had done some questionable things before too - he completely loses it when he grows Gag Boobs in Helping Handis and pushes a bookcase onto his wheelchair-bound father in Stannie Get Your Gun.
- To be fair, he thought his dad had stolen him from his real family when he was a baby.
- Temporary Bulk Change: After discovering that Roger's milk tastes good in a salad, can be produced in greater amounts when Roger eats during his mating cycle, and needing said milk for a church event, Stan and Francine tie Roger down to a machine where he is force fed food all day and lactates his milk because of it. Predictably, Roger becomes very fat from all the force feeding and his bulk eventually breaks the machine while spontaneously dropping the weight a few scenes later.
- Francine herself also gains weight after letting herself go when she tests Stan's true love for her. Naturally, Stan is repulsed by Francine's horrible appearance and she drops the weight by the end of the episode.
- Tempting Fate: In Finances With Wolves, when Greg and Terry are in their yard:
- That Didn't Happen: Stan and Roger have a one-sided version of this in Roger 'N' Me; Roger wants to tell about how he and Stan "became best buddies", but Stan doesn't.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Apparently, anger is the only emotion Stan is capable of expressing.
- The End... Or Is It?: Spoofed in Tearjerker. The last shot is of a volcano, and as "THE END" is displayed, the title character's hand comes out of the crater and a question mark appears. A few seconds later, he falls back into the volcano and the question mark disappears.
- Happens at the end of the sequel, For Black Eyes Only, where Tearjerker wakes up on a beach, still impaled by a marlin. Just as he begins to crawl away, "To be continued..." appears on screen, but then the fish and Tearjerker are dragged away by an orca whale into the sea, and the message changes to "Scratch that."
- Theme Music Powerup: Not that he needed it, but Stelio Kantos beats up Stan while a nearby stereo plays the Ominous Latinchanting of his name in the background. He hits the Stop button when Steve motions to him that his job was done.
- Theres No Kill Like Overkill: When Stan tries to set up Principal Lewis with a wife and get him to settle down, Lewis brings up his old prison bitch Tracy in a conversation. When setting up his wedding, Stan reintroduces Tracy, and Tracy reveals that he's already married to Lewis, according to prison rules. Stan tries to handle the situation by taking Tracy to Lewis' home one night, then shooting him in the back. He takes the body to a cliff and throws it off the edge, then drives down and runs it over back and forth repeatedly, then letting an alligator eat the corpse, then shooting the gator and making a gatorskin handbag out of it. Too bad for Stan, that Tracy survived the whole ordeal.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Used by Roger a lot.
- Also used once by Klaus: "Fabulous Thunderbirds, bitches!".
- Tickertape Parade: Roger threw himself a ticker tape parade because a deli named a sandwich after him.
- Time Travel: In '"May The Best Stan Win" a Cyborg version of Stan from a thousand years in the future travels back in time to woo Francine.
- In "Fartbreak Hotel" Steve falls in love with a painting of a girl by Patrick Nagel and travels back to 1981 using the same method Christopher Reeve used in Somewhere In Time to find her. He soon discovers to his horror that Nagel drugged him and painted him nude and that he is the girl in the painting! Later in the episode Francine takes a new identity and becomes a successful businesswoman ten years in the future but she is unhappy and misses her family. She travels to the past like Steve and warns her younger self not to leave them.
- In the first Christmas episode, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Stan back to the 1970s where he gets Martin Scorsese to give up drugs, leading to America being taken over by the Soviet Union. The only way to get things back to normal is for Stan to go back to the 80's and shoot Ronald Reagan.
- In "The Kidney Stays in the Picture" Hayley's kidneys fail and Francine reveals that Stan might not be a match for a proper transplant since she cheated on him back in the 90s, so they time-travel to get the kidney of the guy who might match.
- Title Drop: "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man."
Stan: I... am Stan of Arabia!
- The plot of "Tears of a Clooney" centers around Francine's attempts to break George Clooney's heart, with the operation given the same name as the episode.
- Token Minority: Greg and Terry, the local gay couple. Their token-ness is blatantly poked fun of in various episodes.
Terry: Why are we always holding hands?
Greg: How else will everyone know we're a gay couple?
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Daughter/mother example with Hayley and Francine.
- Tonight Someone Dies The 100th episode, "100 A.D." The episode starts off with a message that says 100 characters will die. The final body count: 1 dog, 98 one shot characters from previous episode (96 of them killed in the same bus crash) and the manager of a motel that appeared earlier in the episode.
- Except Agent Duper, who was a recurring character earlier, suddenly killed and is brought back as a clone directly after 100AD to set up the premise of the episode.
- Too Dumb to Live: Stan frequently. Also a case of Status Quo Is God, since his mistakes are rarely brought up again. Also worth noting Stan is quite capable physically and (most of the time) mentally, but could be charitably called inept when it comes to his family.
- Steve is also this way at times. This is especially zigzagged in the episode "Killer Vacation" where he openly criticizes and deconstructs Liam's idiotic decisions, but still goes along with them despite the pain and injuries he receives because Liam's accent is "convincing".
- The CIA's pet cloned Dodo bird spends the entire 10th season premiere demonstrating why Dodos went extinct. Ironically, it survives a whole bunch of suicidally stupid stunts only to be struck by lightning at the end of the episode.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the post-apocalyptic world of "Rapture's Delight", Stan becomes a one-armed, hook-handed bounty hunter. It's even more awesome than it sounds.
- The Anti-Christ himself in his second appearance. In his first episode, he was a laughably pathetic villain. In his second? He was a voiceless evil baby who was actually pretty scary.
- Toshi in "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls". He becomes a samurai for Halloween and tries to kill Steve because he didn't bring his sister Akiko home in time. Then he kills five escaped serial killers before they murder Stan, Francine and Roger.
- Jeff in For Whom The Sleighbell Tolls. During the assault on the Smiths, Santa offers Jeff the Golden Compass bear helmet he wanted for Christmas in exchange for joining him and betraying the Smiths. He walks over to him and appears to have accepted, but then proceeds to headbutt the spiked helmet into Santa's back. Jeff then drags an injured Stan to safety, and says to him that he did it for his wife Hayley. He then joins the family in battle with Santa's elf army, until Santa is forced to call off the attack because the sun came up, and he only had until sunrise to accomplish his goal.
- Took a Level in Kindness: during the course of the show, Stan went from a Strawman Political Jerkass to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Roger however, went from a somewhat obnoxious sloth to an apathetic psychopath (with a later In-universe explanation that Roger HAS to be a jerkass in order to biologically survive.) Steve also seems to be leaning this way albeit Depending on the Writer.
- Too Much Information: In one episode, Francine talks about how strippers will do anything for money, "And then sometimes when you're rolling around on the floor making out with another girl, some guys will throw out money, then pick it back up and throw out the same singles again! Like I'm blind! Like I don't have peripheral vision!" Cut to Roger and Klaus, wide-eyed and silent.
- Tracking Device: Stan planted a tracking device in both Hayley and Steve when they were both born.
- Tortured Monster: Post-surgery Kisses in "Stan's Best Friend."
- Troll: Roger. How much varies from episode to episode.
- Turn the Other Cheek: Jesus tries this on Stan after he hits him in Rapture's Delight, only to be hit again.
"Ow! My other cheek!"
- Transparent Closet: Roger switches between this, Camp Gay, and Depraved Homosexual. It all depends on the episode. However, we can probably say by this point that if there is still a closet, it is pretty damn imaginary.
- Twin Switch: Stan's double Bill begins dating Hayley, but then poses as Stan in order to try to sleep with Francine. After removing Bill from the picture, Stan must then pose as Bill in order to keep Hayley's heart from being broken.
- Twist Ending: many of the better episodes use improbable plot resolutions that are much more amusing with repeated viewings.
- 100 A.D. has one.
- Naked To The Limit has one when the aliens from Roger's home planet come to the Smith's to pick him up, Roger shoves Jeff inside the transport beam instead and they take him away.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Typically when this trope is used, the A story will focus on Stan and the B story will focus on either Steve or Roger.
- Five Lines, No Waiting: The initial premise of Finances With Wolves, where Francine, Steve, Hayley, Roger, and Klaus each have their own plots that intersect at various points. Stan is prominent, but doesn't have his own actual plot.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Stan and Roger in S2 Ep20, "Roger 'n' Me".
- Stan and Francine in "Hot Tub."
Gee, I'd love to use the hot tub, but I'm pretty sure my parents fucked
in it last night!
- Two-Timer Date: Stan attempts to pull off one of these in One Little Word. While he and Francine are trying to enjoy a romantic weekend in one lakeside cabin, Stan must keep his boss's mistress supplied with cigarettes in the cabin across the lake.