These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: American Dad!
Acceptable Targets: Used with varying degrees of intensity: the more the writers hate it, the meaner they'll be. So far, everything has been ripe for parody.
Anvilicious: Surprisingly averted. It doesn't go nearly as far as Family Guy often do and is all the better for it.
Parodied in an episode where, after Francine is worried that her and Stan's new friends might get an abortion, he says...
Stan: They won't, (looks at camera and smiles) because they're awesome! (nods)
Badass Decay: Season 1 Stan? Badass Hyper-competent CIA Agent who can spy with the best of 'em and manages a daring Parkour-esque escape from Steve in a shopping mall. Season 7 Stan? Attempts Free-Running, falls and breaks his leg open, gets handily beaten up on a regular basis and has proven completely incompetent at protecting his family in any manner.
Broken Base: The episodes before the "Stan of Arabia" two-parter. Some fans state that these episodes were awkwardly written and come off as Family Guy without the cutaway jokes (though the pilot did have some Family Guy-style cutaway jokes) while some say that the pre-"Stan of Arabia" episodes do have their moments of being good, even if the episodes aren't very good.
Stan & Roger. Are they the best characters in the show or the two characters that deserved to be killed off or written out entirely?
Season 5. Is it the show's best or the beginning of it's decline?
Season 6. Does it really suck or is the hate just a case of fans being sick of the show and disillusioned with Seth MacFarlane and how Family Guy is circling the drain?
Season 7. Is it the best season since the 5th one or a million times more abysmal than Family Guy's 7th season?
Season 8. Is it a decent season or is it disliked for it's dull plots and overuse of dark humor?
Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch: People will occasionally accuse American Dad of being a Family Guy rip-off because both shows are animated sitcoms created by Seth MacFarlane (with MacFarlane providing voicework for the father characters, the bizarre live-in guests [Brian the dog and Roger the alien], the news anchor characters [Tom Tucker & Diane Simmons/Joyce Kinney and Greg Corbin & Terry Bates], among others), but anyone who has seen even a single episode of either shows can tell you that American Dad does NOT have the same humor style as Family Guy (though some who believe that American Dad has fallen into Seasonal Rot will unfavorably compare the newer episodes of American Dad to Family Guy).
Crazy Awesome: Principal Lewis. He gets into fistfights with dogs, his life was the basis for the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," and he was a drug trafficker years before he became a high school principal.
In the episode "Naked To The Limit, One More Time", it was shown that Principal Lewis is still a drug trafficker while serving as principal.
Roger can sometimes be this, like gunning down a gang like some kind of action hero after getting a facefull of cocaine.
Stan had moments of this originally, though his Badass Decay of later episodes diluted it, usually punctuated with others such as Roger and Francine outdoing him at the trope.
Creator's Pet: The writers really tried to push Klaus as the Breakout Character in the first season. Fans just weren't biting, and the writers caught wind of this and scaled him back. Now, it's become a running gag how he's always Out of Focus. Ironically, this has actually made him more popular.
Roger appears to be this in the later episodes. If he's not the main focus of the episode, he'll still manage to play a huge part in it. However, unlike the majority of other offenders of this trope, most fans don't seem to mind.
Designated Villain: Stan in multiple episodes. He borders a Villain Protagonist at times, but a lot of other cases those he opposes are enabled to act even worse. "Bollocks To Stan", "Stan Time" and "The Kidney Stays In The Picture" are perhaps the most ludicrous cases where he is "the bad guy" to his family's immoral actions, despite his approach, while still flawed, being at least somewhat justified. "The People vs Martin Sugar" out and out Lampshades Roger as a Designated Hero to Stan.
Roger himself also gets some of this in "Meter Made", since he didn't actually do anything wrong. Cotrary to what Haley said, he had every right to be there. It was a public art class. The fact that Haley talks big but can't follow through with her words when it's people she knows isn't his problem.
Double Standard: The high majority of Aesops are directed to Stan, and at times Steve (Roger rarely learns but that's more intentional). Francine and Hayley often prove sociopathic, self serving and hypocritical, but are almost always designated as long suffering Straight Men for putting up with Stan, with similar plots even having their agenda flip flopped solely so they are right. This is especially prominent in later seasons, where Stan borders Straw Loser territory and many episodes utilize The Unfair Sex.
Greg Corbin and Terry Bates, the gay local news anchors
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Done on purpose in "Shallow Vows", where Stan and Francine realize that they're both horribly shallownote Stan only loves Francine for her looks, while she married him so she wouldn't have to work, but declare that it works because they're honest about it.
Roger was about as worthless as a crash test dummy for one reason or another, considering how he acts it's not too far a leap of logic to believe they're worse.
And as Lost In Space showed us, they are.
Everything about Barry once it was revealed that he's an evil genius who has to take medication that turns him into a simpleton.
The implication that if Stan took control of parenting Steve, he'd turn out just like Steverino.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Lampshaded in the commentary for "Irregarding Steve", where Stan says "Death has better things to do, like remembering Tony Curtis already." The writers said that they prayed that Tony Curtis wouldn't die any time near that episode's airing.
But now Tony Curtis is dead as of 2010, officially making that line this trope.
The 2005 episode "Stan Knows Best" makes fun of how inexpensive community college is (Hayley's teacher refusing to grade her paper because she doesn't have the $85.00 for tuition [after Stan announces that he's not giving Hayley any more money for school], so Hayley takes a job as a strip club waitress — and later a stripper — to pay for college). In recent years, community colleges (and regular four-year colleges and universities) have faced major cutbacks, and tuition has skyrocketed. Tuition has nearly doubled in California in just four years.
Whitney Houston being paid in crack to sing to Francine. Not so funny now that (a) she's dead, and (b) drugs were considered a contributing factor in her death (see also Family Guy's cutaway about Houston and Bobby Brown fighting over crack and the many jokes made on both Saturday Night Live and MADtv about Whitney Houston's drug abuse).
Remember the two-part episode "Stan of Arabia" when Steve goes bonkers after seeing Angelina Jolie's boobs? Yeah, not so funny or (pardon the pun) titillating now that Jolie got a preemptive double masectomy after finding out that her mother's side of the family has a history of contracting breast cancer.
Growing the Beard - Midway through season one, after the Stan of Arabia two-parter. When it first started, a lot of people thought the show was okay (while some wrote it off as a Family Guy knock off — or a knock-off of a knock-off, if they were diehard Simpsons fans who thought shows like Family Guy were weakening The Simpsons), but starting with the Stan of Arabia two-parter, the show got better in both animation and humor.
A throwaway line in season six Season Finale "Gorillas In The Mist" joked that Francine faked her orgasms. The season nine Halloween Episode "Poultergasm" revealed that, yes, Francine faked her orgasms — to the point that it manifests itself into a demon that possesses the house.
The season five finale "The Great Space Roaster" was about the family doing a roast on Roger for his birthday (with unexpected results). Seth MacFarlane (the voice of Stan and Roger) became the roast master for the Comedy Central roasts of David Hasselhoff, Donald Trump, and Charlie Sheen (the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne was hosted by Jane Lynchnote Sue Sylvester, the bitchy cheerleading coach, from Glee and the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco was hosted by Franco's friend and costar from Pineapple Express, Seth Rogen).
In "Francine's Flashback", an amnesiac Francine (who thinks she's a wild teenager from 1985) runs off with Hayley's boyfriend Jeff to watch the Burning Man event. Stan then absent-mindedly suggests to Hayley that they get back by dating each other (with Stan realizing that the suggestion is a very bad idea). In "Pulling Double Booty," Hayley dates Stan's double Bill (whom Francine initially mistakes for Stan, causing her to freak out over the supposed incestuous relationship). At the end, Stan must fill in for Bill to prevent Hayley from being crushed.
Ho Yay: Steve and Snot in "Why Can't We Be Friends." Their air guitar outfits and the glances they give each other while doing it SCREAM this trope.
Jerkass Woobie: Roger. He is so evil because his species releases a bile that kills them if they don't "let their evilness out". Made worse when it is revealed the reason he is trapped on Earth is that the others of his species wanted to get rid of him. In addition, there are moments where he really seems to care about his adoptive family. It is implied that Roger only acts that way because he was made to be evil, and not by choice, and if you stop to think about it, it's terrible being him.
Memetic Mutation: A popular gif to find online is Stan screaming "DIE, CALORIES, DIE!" from The American Dad After School Special.
"What time is it? Oh yeah, time to KICK IT!" *puts on rocket boot*
Misblamed: While Stan is often accused of being just another Homer Simpson rip-off, since Seth MacFarlane's previous show (Family Guy) has been branded a Simpsons knock-off. In reality, Stan has very little in common with Homer other than being a father who occasionally does stupid things and contends with his daughter, who is a bleeding-heart liberal. If anything, Stan has more in common with Zapp Brannigan or Archie Bunker than he does Homer.
Francine's biological parents abandoning her as a baby because babies can't ride first class without even batting an eye, then they wouldn't save Stan from being trapped under a wooden beam in his burning house because they didn't want to become a liability.
Roger crosses this in "Virtual In-Stanity", where he kills five frat boys and brutally hits each with a limousine that he stole, simply because they hadn't paid him $20 for their limo ride. He follows this up by killing an airline stewardess by undoing her parachute, for no other reason than because he'd gotten bloodlust.
And in "Love, American Dad Style", where it took so romantic obsession with Hayley, who plans to tear the skin, but ends up tearing the skin on her boyfriend Jeff.
Speaking of Roger, generally had crossed this line so many times it's just easier to say he's a bad person. Granted, his species has to let all their bitchiness out or else their body converts it to poisonous bile, but there's a line between being bitchy and being an irredeemable monster, and Roger has crossed that numerous times. There's also his alternate persona "Ricky Spanish", so horrible and monstrous the sight of him caused everyone in Langley Falls to form a citywide manhunt so they could get their hands on him.
Another potential crossing moment for Roger is him killing his Sydney persona because Sydney's nice guy attitude is 'cramping his style'.
Stan has had quite a few. See "Homeland Insecurity", "Failure Is Not A Factory-Installed Option", "Widowmaker" and "Surro-Gate" for shining examples.
Stan in "White Rice", where it's revealed that he has Francine regularly hypnotised to forget every bad thing he's ever done.
Stan's mother tricking him into personally killing his beloved dog because their new apartment doesn't allow pets (except for rabbits, but even that's debatable).
Francine crosses the Moral Event Horizon solidly when she kidnaps Akiko, makes Steve thinks Akiko doesn't like him, and locks her in the basement. All so Steve can win a spelling bee.
Stan crosses it in "Da Flippity Flop," by callously putting off returning Klaus's brain to his original body. In his defense, Stan had no way of knowing that his CIA buddies let the body decompose, but had he simply done the transfer immediately, then the situation would have been avoided.
Seasonal Rot: Some believe that this has happened in season six, making it feel like Family Guy during a bad season thanks to bad writing. Luckily, season seven was better-received, with some even saying it's as good (or better) than season five (which is considered by many to be the best season). Seasons eight, however, is So Okay, It's Average — some episodes are very good, while others aren't (and really, if you're a TV show writer, that's where you want your show to be just so you can stay on for another year or so).
There are a few fans who believe that the show peaked in it's 3rd season and that it's all been downhill ever since due to changes like Hayley's demotion to extra and the oversaturation of Stan and Roger's worst traits to the point where fans feel that the show should have ended there.
Squick: Stan gleefully giving his mother a bath while singing an incestuous parody of What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?. It was so bad, it traumatized Roger into drinking again (he was supposed to be on his white month, where he exercises, detoxes his body, and quits drinking. It was fun while it lasted).
Steve and Stan with huge boobs on Helping Handis.
A sickly mother cat giving birth to 3 kittens in front of an awakening Francine from "Less Money, Mo' Problems".
Mr. Tuttle, who is morbidly obese, crushing Snot.
The brothels in Toy Whorey. Stan and Steve's first stop is to the home of fat, old hooker with both her legs missing, slapping a tortilla between her thighs as if she's cooking them, the second one has a man who uses Senor Wences-style hand puppets as hookers (one of which has teeth), and the third (which, thankfully, wasn't shown) was so bad that it induced a chain reaction of vomiting.
Speaking of which, the Overly-Long Gag of people vomiting and a man in a cart using the vomit for horchata (horchata is a Mexican rice, vanilla, and almond drink that does have that dull brown vomit color, though sometimes, it's whitish brown) also counts.
The time Stan and Francine kept giving Steve aging serum while he was asleep by violently jamming a large needle in him. One time they did it right into his temple, and it got stuck.
Stop Helping Me!: In "Hurricane!", despite Francine's pleas, Stan continues to try and save his family from the disaster...only it makes things worse, such as bringing in a bear to kill the shark that is attacking them, since they are "natural enemies", but the two predators work together instead.
Strawman Has a Point / Informed Wrongness: Stan is often portrayed as a bigoted self serving sociopath who causes havoc over even the slightest problems caused in his perspective, however given he lives in a Crap Saccharine World where half the cast are almost as bad as he is, he does actually often have a reason to be annoyed (eg. his Control Freak in laws taking over his house uninvited, his wife becoming a surrogate mother behind his back, any disagreement he has with either Hayley or Roger) it's just his depraved overzeal causes him to take much nastier measures that gives the other side the higher moral ground. Some episodes are genorous enough to convey a Not So Different rivalry, but most of the time Stan is made to admit he's wrong and let the others (despite only being a lesser evil) do as they wish.
"Da Flippity Flop," is a great example of this trope many people consider it Stanís Moral Event Horizon while forgetting that Klaus is a hedonist. His action when he got a hold of Stanís body shows that even he was given his original he most likely would have been dead within a week.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: The episode "Lincoln Lover" briefly features a play with an obese man wearing underpants and a stovepipe hat tossing joints of meat around the stage while reciting advertising slogans. He then accuses us all of being slaves, and a mirror is lowered with the word "slave" written on it, as sheep noises play. Stan is suitably unimpressed.
The Woobie: Sydney Huffman, one of Roger's personas that took a life of its own because Roger couldn't deal with the emotion of guilt. Due to this, his and Roger's credit cards are identical, so when Roger found out someone else was using his credit card, he destroys his life, not knowing they are one and the same. Once he finds out, he and Sydney embrace in order to become one again. Except Roger quickly stabs him in the back, saying Sydney's nice guy attitude is 'cramping his style'.
"Charles Manson?! He's gonna finish what he started?!"
What an Idiot: "If they find out that potato salad had alien breast milk, I'll never be deacon!" Uh, Stan, if they find out you have an alien at all, you'll go to jail for treason. And you seem to be doing a good job of keeping that under wraps.