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.
    • Sadly played straight in "Daesong Heavy Industries" which is just as heavy handed as Family Guy episodes like "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" in terms of being anti-Christian.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
    • As seen below in Informed Wrongness, many of the Aesops learned by Stan are broken due to the fact the universe repeatedly skews things so that he is wrong. This usually due to a Compressed Vice, Plot-Induced Stupidity, Took a Level in Jerkass, Took a Level in Dumbass or a combination of all four. However given that one of the most recurring RecycledScripts is Stan finally deciding to spend some time for himself and his family falling apart because of their All Take and No Give mentality means that they are unable to function without him, forcing Stan to give up his me time is Stan meant to deconstruct the Bumbling Dad trope by playing it straight up to eleven.
    • It is important to note that during these instances while still Stan both takes a level in kindness, badass, as well as grabs the Smart Ball showing that many of Stanís actions are the result of decaying mental and physical health due to the horrific abuses heaped on him by his family throughout his life.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Francine a sensible mom or is she an insane dumb blonde?
    • Does Stan only care for himself or is he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who tries to do what's best for his family?
    • Speaking of Stan, he can be seen as insane due to his irrational way of thinking which includes Aesop Amnesia, Insane Troll Logic, and Too Dumb to Live and even many characters plus Steve believe he is a lunatic. Even the Jury Duty Summons didn't want him invited and branded Stan as a lunatic. Stan's insanity might be exposed when he suffers delusions that make him believe he's fat and see an imaginary trainer named Zack in "The American Dad After School Special".
    • Is Roger a full-blown psychopath that does nasty and awful things because he enjoys it? Or simply, is about Blue and Orange Morality, as he says about his species. Or is it both?
    • Does Roger have a multiple personality disorder, or is he so committed to or obsessed with acting that he sometimes forgets who he really is?
    • Steve Smith might have multiple personalities since he has a different type of behavior from episode to episode, some episodes he really wants a girlfriend, some episodes he's a horndog, some episodes he's a teenager with many problems no therapist might help him with (as Roger puts it) and some episodes he acts like a immature spoiled brat.
      • Steve's a teenage boy, though. That behavior just comes with the territory.
      • Alternatively, Steve being Flanderized into a Jerk Ass towards his parents stems from their constant emotional abuse towards him. Not helping is that no matter how often Steve proves to Stan that he can be his own man, he quickly forgets it the next episode.
  • Anvilicious:
    • 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)
  • Arc Fatigue: Some view the Jeff in space arc as this which was dragged out over the course of three seasons (and amounted to a little more than two years in real life). It didn't help that it was only focused on at least once per season (a total of three episodes overall) and that it ultimately resolved via reset button where all the characters (barring Roger, who caused the whole thing to begin with yet suffered no punishment) would forget the events of the entire thing making it feel completely pointless.
  • Ass Pull:
    • The ending of "White Rice" can be seen as this, especially since what wraps it up is also what kickstarted it in the first place making the whole thing feel pointless.
    • Francine wanting Stan to lose his wrestling record in "The Wrestler" because she hated the museum he kept over it, for the handful of times she's shows up in the episode she never hints that the museum bothered her. Hell, when we first see her, she's in the museum and later says she likes going there every few weeks.
    • The aforementioned resolution to the multi-season Jeff in space arc.
    • The entire "Daesong Heavy Industries" two-parter could be considered this as both episodes end up having nothing to do with one another after forcing viewers to put up with the first part being the show's answer to the likes of "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".
  • Awesome Art: The MMORPG scenes in "Dungeons and Wagons" look gorgeous.
  • Awesome Music: All the songs in Hot Water. Helps that they got Cee Lo Green to play the hot tub.
    • The Summoner's song to bring out the Majestic in "Lost in Space".
    • The song by the boyband Boyz 12 in "Can I Be Frank (With You)"
  • Base Breaker: Roger (and Klaus to a lesser extent) is either hilarious or annoying.
  • 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 beaten up on a regular basis and has proven completely incompetent at protecting his family.
  • Better on DVD / Bowdlerise: Much like Family Guy, this show has a lot of extended scenes, unbleeped-out language, and cruder lines of dialogue that only the DVD version can provide. Unlike Family Guy, they don't come by the boatload.
    • On TBS and the Cartoon Network reruns of the TBS episodes, the characters can say "shit" without it getting bleeped.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: A key factor in why many consider the show to be a complete Family Guy clone in the later seasons. The most obvious examples are "Naked to the Limit, One More Time" and "A Boy Named Michael" where they use cutaway gags.
    • Earlier seasons still had their own moments. The 1,000th Vagina Joke and Mind Quad stand out, as well as a gag that depicts the cast as Animated Actors where Stan walks off the set because he thinks the B-Plot he and Francine are in doesn't make any sense, storming off past a giant version of Klaus in front of a green screen.
  • Bizarro Episode:
    • Tear Jerker" and "For Black Eyes Only" (James Bond parodies)
    • "Hot Water" (a Musical Episode where a murderous hot tub kills off everyone in the cast. In that episode's defense, it was supposed to be the last episode of the entire series because the writers were afraid FOX was going to cancel the show. When they discovered that FOX wasn't going to cancel American Dad, the episode was put on as a season seven premiere and the deaths were written off as non-canon).
    • "Blood Crieth Unto Heaven" (an American Dad episode set up like a stage play).
    • "Lost in Space" is this crossed with A Day in the Limelight: Stan, Francine, and Steve don't appear at all, Hayley appears in a flashback and has no lines, and the only major character to appear is Roger (and even then, it's in another character's mind). The episode focuses mostly on Jeff (Hayley's stoner husband) and is more of a sci-fi adventure with some comedic overtones.
    • "Blagsnarst: A Love Story": The final episode on FOX, where the whole story (and possibly the series) turns out to be a story told by Stan about how Kim Kardashian was born (which, in the American Dad! world, depicts Kardashian as a furry, pink alien being whose hair burned off in a car accident after Roger tried to get rid of her).
    • "American Fung": The show begins with a live-action Cold Opening depicting Asian billionaire Fung Wah saying that Seth MacFarlane sold American Dad! to him, and the episode features several moments depicting him in animated form and shilling himself and his products, culminating in him taking over the B-plot, doing the voices of Steve, Hayley and Roger, and hastily making up an ending for the A-plot. The ending involves Fung selling the show to another Asian billionaire who transplants the show to China, and the new American Chinese Dad! show has the family meeting Mickey Mouse and dancing Snoopy-style. Yeah.
    • "The Two Hundred", which takes place After the End as a result of Roger entering a Large Hadron Collider. It culminates in most of Langley Falls (barring the Smith Family) turned cannibal going to war against every last persona Roger has ever made (given form from the aforementioned Collider incident) before their fight is interrupted by a mutant, monstrous Klaus.
    • Some low-key examples of this trope include "Stan's Best Friend," "The Boring Identity," "Da Flippity Flop,", "Familyland", "CIAPOW", "The Life Aquatic of Steve Smith", "Anchorfran", and "The Unincludeds" which some viewers have described as feeling like episodes rejected from Family Guy with the Smiths in place of the Griffins.
  • 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, like George W Bush's call to God and Roger finding the Jack-In-The-Box mascot in the basement) while some say that the pre-"Stan of Arabia" episodes do have their moments of being good, even if the episodes sucked overall.
      • Phasing out the show's political angle aside from a few occasions note . Was it a good decision to help further the series or did the show lose what made it special and turn it into a Family Guy clone?
    • Season 7. Was it the better than season six, worse than season six, or about the same?
    • Are seasons 8, 9, and/or 10note  worth watching or yet another example of the show's decline in quality?
    • Are the TBS episodes really so bad that it's considered Seasonal Rot or does it have some redeemable episodes?
    • When exactly did the show enter into Seasonal Rot (if it did)? Most will say it was when the show switched networks note , a smaller group will say it was around Season 8note  , and an even smaller group will say that it was around Season 5note .
    • Did "The Two Hundred" live up to its hype of being the milestone 200th episode or was it a completely boring letdown that further shows that the series is running out of steam?
  • 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.
    • A lot of episodes ("Iced, Iced Babies," "You Debt Your Life," and "Naked to the Limit, One More Time") infer 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.
    • Bob Tod from "For Whom the Sleigh Bells Toll", a crazy mountain man who makes the strongest whiskey known to man and makes love to slain reindeer, but is more than capable of killing murderous elves and giant evil snowmen.
  • 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 (key word: Most).
    • Principal Brian Lewis seemed to be this for the 6th through 8th seasons where he played some in the plots for half the episodes, to the point where he was the main focus for two consecutive episodes of Season 7. He did start out well liked by the fans, but eventually most of them got sick of his oversaturation which likely lead to the severely reduced number of appearances he's had since Season 8.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: As expected of a Seth MacFarlane work, though American Dad! is often admired for showing some restraint and using this trope sparingly like a fine, expensive spice, rather than slathering it on like ranch dressing on an otherwise healthy salad. One such example is the suicidal lemur of "Killer Vacation" Taking the Bullet for Francine and then giving a thumbs up to the camera.
    • The video game Steve and his friends created, which pretty much involves aborting fetus Hitler by throwing stuff at his pregnant mother.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This hits hard due to how often the show abuses Aesop Amnesia (especially in later seasons). It makes the characters look like they're just pretending to learn their lesson so that they can get away with everything they did in the episode. Nearly every character has some ulterior motive to get what they want and when they're called out on it, they just apologize and are Easily Forgiven.
    • Even though it is non canon, the episode Blood Crieth Unto Heaven takes Stan's status as the Designated Villain to ridiculous extremes. Both before and after this episode Stanís parents have shown to be incredibly abusive heaping huge amounts of psychological abuse and neglect ending with his father abandoning him and his mother (and lying to him about it for years), and his mother forcing him to take his father's place. This episode absolves his parents of all responsibility for their actions by saying it was Stanís fault, because they threw him a surprise party. And since they regularly forget who he is, it completely averts Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Hayley, despite being designed as a satire of Not So Different left wing extremists, is pretty much always in the right against Stan. Most of her immoral or hypocritical qualities are played for quick gags and rarely called out, with all of maybe two or three episodes she receives a comeuppance or An Aesop (and even these are usually in regards to her stooping to Stan's level than being wrong in her herself). In addition, despite her past treatment of Jeff being coldly dismissive to outright abusive, she is nearly always firmly in Women Are Wiser territory.
    • Francine is also prone to this, due to often being the Straight Man to Stan and his endless, sometimes contradictory flaws, and yet having a very wild streak herself. Since her Aesops are comparatively sparse, she's very often required to Opinion Flipflop or act like a Hypocrite to foil Stan. The Unfair Sex is particularly uncommon.
      • A great example of this is ďMan in the MoonbounceĒ where Stan ended up having a nervous breakdown because of abuse his mother put him through. So it was considered best for Stanís mental health if he took some time to relive his childhood. However this forced Steve to take over Stanís duties forcing him to once again give up his me time for his family. However, not only was Steve instantly fine the moment Stan came back undercutting the severity of the situation, but no one pointed out that Francine was essentially doing to Steve what Stanís mother did to him.
  • 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: People forgive you if you're likable, and I'm the most charming S.O.B. anyone's ever met. Face it, I'm Ferris Bueller and you're my jealous, big-nosed, sour-faced sister Jeanie.
    • Borderlines as an Anti-Hero in "Bully for Steve" when he tries to toughen Steve up by becoming a bully. It doesn't work.
    • In cases such as "School Lies" and "Daddy Queerest", very little of what went wrong was actually down to Stan's actions, the events were down to circumstances that would have happened either way (Steve's school being fumigated in the former, Terry's Dad being a homophobic Jerk Ass in the latter) or were actually planned by another character (in both cases, it was actually Francine who suggested the plan that set up the Disaster Dominoes (sending Steve to a private school and revealing Terry is gay to his father respectively). Stan is still blamed when it goes wrong, by her).
    • Stan also has been given a number of FreudianExcuses for his actions his nightmarish life, the ridiculous amount of emotional and psychological abuse and neglect heaped on him by his parents, the merciless bullying heís suffered. None of which his family has suffered (or at least nothing as severe) and they mostly just come across as Spoiled Brat.
    • Roger himself also gets some of this in "Meter Made", since he didn't actually do anything wrong. Contrary to what Hayley said, he had every right to be there. It was a public art class. The fact that Hayley talks big but can't follow through with her words when it's people she knows isn't his problem.
    • Done again against Hayley in "Jack's Back", where Roger is giving her internship credit by working at his makeshift bar. While Roger's tasks are ridiculous, Hayley blatantly has no intention of doing any work to earn her credit. She actually outdoes Roger of all people with dress up acts and gets her way again.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Avery Bullock and Principal Lewis.
    • Greg Corbin and Terry Bates, the gay local news anchors.
    • Michelle, the worst lawyer in the afterlife, enough to cameo in the Series Fauxnale "Rapture's Delight".
    • Stelio Kontos.
    • Many people remember the Majestic, but that's mostly because of its theme song.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Done on purpose in "Shallow Vows", where Stan and Francine realize that they're both horribly shallownote , but declare that it works because they're honest about it.
  • "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 the 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.
    • Bullock expressing the desire in 'Roger Codger' to 'track down the bastards that have been harboring (Roger) and punish them brutally. I mean, really brutally. Weird stuff. Butt stuff.' This became much darker after the Feinstein report on torture revealed that 'rectal feeding' (seriously, don't look that up - trust us) and similar methods were part of the CIA interrogation arsenal at the time the episode was aired.
  • 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Stan's personality becomes lot less funny when you see exactly why he thinks like that. He is so patriotic because his father lied to him for years about being a secret agent, he is so focused on appearance because he was bullied as a teenager for being a zitfaced geek (and for losing his hair in his college years), and he believes a man needs to kill what he loves because his mother tricked him into killing his pet dog.
    • Stanís views of the world are unique to say the least and while we see glimpses throughout the series of his life providing him with a Freudian Excuse, ďI Ainít No Holodeck BoyĒ shows us just how horrific it truly was.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Daddy Queerest," a drunken Stan mistakes Nelson Mandela for Morgan Freeman. It is somewhat funny due to Mandela's and Freeman's similarities in appearance, but it really becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you realize that the episode came on seven months before the release of the movie Invictus, who — surprise! — had Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.
    • A throwaway line in season six Season Finale "Gorillas In The Mist" joked that Francine fakes her orgasms. The season nine Halloween Episode "Poltergasm" revealed that, yes, Francine faked her orgasms — to the point that it manifests itself into a sex-starved 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.
    • 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.
    • The b-plot from "American Stepdad" becomes this with the announcement of an actual Fast and Furious 7.
    • Bullock and Stan going on a "hunting" trip in "Bullocks to Stan" is made amusingly ironic after Patrick Stewart voiced the Great Prince of the Forest a year later.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Roger has so many, it's hard to even know where to start. Well there's the episodes "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man" and "AT: The Abusive Terrestrial", both of which play Steve and Roger as if they're a couple, similarly done with Stan and Roger in "Roger n' Me".
    • Then there's the episode where Klaus wants to feel the touch of another human being, Steve does and afterwards, Klaus tries to pay him, acting as if he's a prostitute.
    • Steve and Snot have a few too, they even KISS ON THE LIPS in "Licence to Till".
    • In "Family Affair," Roger comments on how cute Tyler (the teenage son of the family who first abandoned Roger) has become.
    • Then there's this line from "Stan's Night Out" when Jackson's talking to Dick.
    "Come on don't give me bad new Dick, give me good old Dick, give me the Dick I love."
  • 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.
      • However it seems that due to a Retcon, Roger is even a Jerk Ass by his species' standards as of the events of "Lost In Space" where it's revealed that Roger cheated on Emperor Zing.
      • There are also some episodes where you can't help but feel bad for him, such as "A.T. The Abusive Terrestrial" and "Weiner of Our Discontent".
    • Stan. His father abandoned him as a child, his mother made him grow up too soon and he was even unluckier than Steve was as a teenager with girls. Since then, no matter how hard he tries, he's in a dead end in his career, he can never make a long term connection with his kids (It's a mix between his general disinterest in the stuff they say and their having an incredibly low opinion of him most of the time), his only friend is a sociopathic alien and anytime he has a chance of making his own life better, he has to give it up for Francine or his kids.
    • Steve. Though at first he was a sweet natured kid who was a bit girl crazy and just wanted his dad's respect, nowadays he's a perverted creep who tends to be obnoxious and disrespect his parents as he fails to even keep a girlfriend and will never succeed in his attempts to lose his virginity at 14. Plus, one or all of his friends quickly ditch him at the first sign of trouble most of the time.
    • Klaus. He fucks with the Smiths (namely Steve and Roger) at every turn mostly because It Amused Me, but he Was Once a Man who was put in a goldfish body just so Germany wouldn't win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics, and it's not like the Smiths treat him much better than he treats them.
  • Jerk Sue: As Roger's antics towards the family have become more and more reprehensible, his Karma Houdini status has become less reliant on him being a Magnificent Bastard and more just everyone being an Extreme Doormat. His treatment of Hayley in current seasons is a glaring example, her strongest reaction to ruining her love life twice was stealing his shuttlecock for a badminton game.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: There are a number of fans who watch the show nowadays just for Hayley, Klaus, and occasionally Jeff as they believe they're the only likable characters the show has left.
  • Love It or Hate It: ďAmerican Fung.Ē Some people love the absurdism and fourth-wall breaking, others find it jarring and too nonsensical to enjoy even as an experiment and cite it as the reason why American Dad! is going downhill. This episode is to American Dad what "Saddlesore Galactica", "Behind the Laughter," and "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" are to The Simpsons.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Barry when he's off his meds.
  • Memetic Mutation: A popular gif to find online is Stan screaming "DIE, CALORIES, DIE!" from The American Dad After School Special.
  • 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.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Because of Roger's Flanderization of being a complete narcissistic psychopath since the 5th season, he's guaranteed to cross this a minimum of three times per season. The biggest example would arguably be Season 7's "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.
    • Stan crosses this in Season 2's "Failure is Not a Factory Installed-Option". The episode has him becoming homeless after being tricked by a cars salesman multiple times into buying stuff he doesn't need. This leads to the rest of the Smiths going into poverty and Hayley having to sell herself for money only to discover that it was all an elaborate ruse by Stan in order to gain sympathy from said car salesman and reduce the money of how much he has to pay for a car every month.
    • Stan would cross this again in "The Scarlett Getter" from Season 7 which has him telling an alien hunter of Roger's existence and setting him up to be killed so that he can keep his over-obsessive crush on Scarlett whom Roger was dating. There's also the fact that he doesn't seem to care about Francine's feelings while fawning over Scarlett and even hints that he would be happy if she was dead in order to remain single. This in turn makes him Unintentionally Unsympathetic at the end when it's discovered that Scarlett never cared for him and was planning on killing Roger herself.
    • 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 in "Iced, Iced Babies" by planting drugs in Steve's locker in order to get him suspended from school so that she can spend more time with him and keep him away from his girlfriend Debbie. All because she was suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome and didn't want to accept that her son was growing up.
      • In the same episode, Hayley took Bratty Teenage Daughter Up to Eleven by telling Stan exactly what to do to get him captured after he told her he was going on a dangerous mission. It is treated as this in-universe as well because every time she tried to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment, she was just told to shut up by Francine.
    • Steve crosses this in "News Glance with Genevieve Valance" which is also an example of Never Live It Down. He goes along with Genevieve Vavance's (who is actually one of Roger's many personas) bogus story that Hayley kidnapped him so that he can get laid by all the girls who missed him when he went missing due to being embarrassed in his sex-ed class. He later owns up to his lie and rats Roger out, but it's the fact that he sold out his own sister in order for satisfy his own selfish sexual needs that makes him irredeemably evil.
    • Terry crosses this in "A Boy Named Michael" where he plans to kill his newly-adopted 10 year old son Michael (who is actually Roger is disguise) because he's afraid of him ratting out to Greg that he's not as upper-class as him by eating Ho-Ho's. The way both he and Greg treated their daughter Libby in the same episode doesn't help. This is enough to make viewers think Stan kidnapping Libby and taking her to be adopted in Nebraska in "Surro-Gate" MAY have been a good idea after all.
    • Jeff's father crossed it when he planted his marijuana on him without him knowing, causing him to become a wanted fugitive. When he finds out how much Jeff's bounty is worth, he ties Stan and Roger up, planned on killing them later, and then turned Jeff in for the money. He even outright tells him that he doesn't love him.
    • 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.
    • It's up for debate if Bullock crossed this in "Honey, I'm Homeland". The episode involves Stan getting kidnapped by three members of the Occupy movement and brainwashed into becoming a leftist and involved with a scheme to shoot missiles at Mount Rushmore to re-sculpt it into figures of leftists. Turns out that it was nothing more than an elaborate scheme by Bullock in order to test out the recently installed anti-missile defenses inside of the monument and two of the members that had brainwashed Stan were actually Jackson & Duper (the third however was an actual terrorist who was savagely beaten to death by Stan with his wheelchair).
  • Never Live It Down:
    • As mentioned above, Steve for his actions in "News Glance with Genevieve Vavance" where he plays along with Genevieve Vavance's (who is actually one of Roger's many personas) bogus story that Hayley kidnapped him so that he can get laid by all the girls who missed him when he went missing due to being embarrassed in his sex-ed class. It doesn't matter that he owned up to his lie and ratted Roger out, it's the fact that he sold out his sister in order for selfish sexual needs that makes him forever irredeemable in the eyes of some.
    • Roger for murdering Millionare Matt Davis and Hayley for not retaliating for Roger's act of murder in "The Longest Distance Relationship".
    • Stan for putting his family through poverty (leading to things like Hayley selling her body for money) just so that he could one-up a cars salesman who had scammed him several times before.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Steve and Snot's relationship, which has had the Ho Yay ramped up or outright confirmed them gay or together the future. It becomes jarring when literally every episode with Snot in it will mention or hint at this, no matter how unfitting or unnecessary it is.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Steve. He's pretty much a stereotypical horny teenage virgin nerd, whose Flanderization in the 9th season has him often acting like an obnoxious brat to his parents. Also, the audience is tired of the regular Did Not Get the Girl gag.
    • Hayley. She's pretty much a lazy drug user who bites the hand that feeds her non-stop (Aka Stan) who spends 98% of her dialogue whining and complaining about laws, conservatives, Stan, most things Stan believes and so forth and constantly dumping and getting back together with Jeff until they got married. Her Soapbox Sadie hypocrisy was intended to make her a Not So Different rival for Stan, however since only he is usually the subject of Aesops and comeuppances (see above) she exists more as a Rightly Self-Righteous Karma Houdini with none of Stan's acts of humility or pathos.
    • Jeff, aka Hayley's on and off again boyfriend and then husband. He's a lazy stoner who has never amounted to anything in his life and likely never will. While he is admittedly much nicer than Hayley, he makes up for it with jaw-dropping stupidity.
    • Debbie. She was originally pretty popular for being a quirky goth and very different from all the love interests Steve has ever had. The problem was, every episode about her after her introduction was them repeatedly breaking up for whatever reason. Coupled with her miniscule development, she became a source of annoyance with many.
    • Francine's parents. They often come over to the Smith household uninvited, and repay Stan by belittling him, using his property without permission, and enforcing their rules despite being under his roof.
    • Fung Wah from "American Fung", a total Black Hole Sue for whom the plot repeatedly stopped just to obnoxiously gush over, leaving a Bizarro Episode in his wake.
  • Seasonal Rot: Some believe that this has happened in the 2010-11 season, making it feel like Family Guy during a bad season thanks to bad writing. Luckily, the 2011-12 season was better-received, with some even saying it's as good (or better) than the 2009-10 season (which is considered by many to be the best season). The 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, however, were So Okay, It's Average at best and awful at worst.
    • On the other hand, you also have people who say that the 2011-12 season was the worst. Reasons include less comedy and more drama as well as some character's traits becoming more exaggerated (especially Roger). It's also disliked for having boring plots with glacier-slow pacing along with most of the actual comedy reduced to over-the-top gore and bizarre moments that you'd expect on Family Guy. Another reason is for the extreme of oversaturation of Stan & Roger note  to the point where it felt more like The Stan & Roger Show that would sometimes feature Steve or Francine.
    • There are a few fans who believe that the show peaked in its 3rd season and that it's all been downhill ever since (although some will say that it didn't really start to become bad until halfway into Season 5) due to changes like phasing out the show's political edge, Hayley & Klaus becoming extras aside from maybe one or two episodes a season and the oversaturation of Stan and Roger along with their worst traits to the point where fans feel that the show should have ended there before turning into another Family Guy.
    • Season 11 (the TBS episodes from "Blonde Ambition" to "Seizures Suit Stanny") has disappointed a number of fans. For starters, show runner Mike Barker left the series about five episodes into its production due to creative differences and watching later episodes (such as the infamous "American Fung") would make it easy to understand why. Most of the season's writers were newcomers with little to no previous work in television (and it clearly shows). Many of the season's subplots consist of 2-3 brief scenes that barely go on longer than half a minute, making most of them clock in just barely over a minute, wasting time that could've been used for the episode's main plot. Stan's character has taken a massive blow as he's gone from being a slightly more intelligent version of Peter Griffin to an out-and-out clone of him to the point of being just as (if not more) mentally retarded as the former. Finally, Roger continues to heavily be oversaturated to the point where even some of his fans feel a few of his appearances this season were forced while more characters (such as Greg & Terry, the latter of which is now The Voiceless since Mike Barker left) join the ever-growing club of once notable supporting characters getting the shaft.
    • Season 12 (the TBS episodes from "Roots" to "Standard Deviation") further continued to convince fans that the show was likely better off just staying dead after FOX cancelled it. The uncensored usage of the word "Shit" comes across as very forced and feels like they're doing it only because they can. While the subplots for the most part are longer, they still continue to feel pointless and waste time that could've been used to develop the main plot further. Stan still continues to behave like Peter Griffin and now Francine actually gives Lois a run for her money in terms of how bitchy she can be (primarily in episodes that don't have her as the main focus). There appears to be a back-handed mean spiritedness directed at Mike Barker for leaving the series in the previous season as two of his characters (Terry Bates & John Sanders) are written out in very unceremonious manners (the former being Put on a Bus and the latter being Killed Off for Real, both of which occur off-screen). And finally, a prime example to show that the people working on the series don't seem to care anymore is the "Daesong Heavy Industries" two-parter which as it's already been mentioned is a two-part episode where both episodes don't even end up having anything to do with each other.
  • 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, especially the ending montage with them washing cars (though a similar scene on The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episode with Homer and Peter manages to be worse).
    • 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 a fat, old hooker with both her legs missing, slapping a tortilla between her thighs as if she's making 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.
    • Roger elbow-dropping the drug dealer and making his head explode instead of what he thought would happen. The shot does turn it into Crossing the Line Twice by showing nearly twenty different action cuts from multiple angles.
    • The implications of what Stan did to the horse that broke its brain in "Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth." It was enough that, once again, The Parents Television Council protested and called for the FCC to fine MacFarlane and FOX for letting such obscenity slide on network TV. Fortunately, it didn't take.
    • Stan inhabiting Klaus' decaying, zombie-like original body.
  • 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 generous 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.
    • The guy was wrong for wanting to stop the Anti Christ! Why? Because Hayley just adopted him. Of course abiding by "Rapture's Delight" it eventually does become justified to kill him when it is the side effect of Francine and Jesus Christ himself giving Stan a lesson in humility. As a result of its earlier production, nothing is mentioned of his adoption to the Smith's at all, making it seem like the universe just skews things so Stan is always wrong.
    • An interesting example is "Bully for SteveĒ where Stan learns that Steve is too passive and resorts to confronting Steve as a bully. He tells Steve that, as bullies do not just go away, he must deal with them. While Francine is initially opposed to this approach she quickly changes her mind once she finds out that Stan is the one bullying Steve and then later agrees with Stanís initial assessment after attempting to train Steve. In the end the problem is solved when Steve hires Stanís old bully to beat Stan up even though Stan made his point when Steve agreed to fight him. Later episodes show that not only will Steve agree to help raise someone else's child if told to but he can't even tie his own shoes. Making Stanís initial approach seem too lenient.
    • Stan mentions that Jeff is basically a lazy stoner who lives in his van and will never really amount to anything back in Season 1 and Hayley constantly breaks up with him until they get married. He continues to be a lazy stoner that will never really amount to anything and the only difference is that he lives with Hayley in Stan and Francine's house now and yet he's supposedly wrong for not liking Jeff very much and thinking that Hayley could find someone way better for her.
    • Lampshaded by Francine in "Hurricane", any idea, no matter how logical it seems in concept, is destined to be wrong on the simple grounds that Stan thought of it.
    • The way Greg & Terry treated their daughter Libby in "A Boy Named Michael" shows that maybe Stan kidnapping her in "Surro-Gate" with plans to take her to Nebraska might not have been a bad idea after all.
    • Another example is ďI Ainít No Holodeck BoyĒ where Stan is presented as an abusive jerkass for trying to get Steve and his friends to play outside. Not only is Francineís argument basically that Steve is a spoiled brat who canít take care of himself but the episode shows that he and his friend legitimately canít tell reality from fantasy. It reached the point where they tried to get back at Stan for putting them in the Holodeck by attempting to kill him with Snot going so far as to call Steve out for being more determined to save his dadís life than the lives of the fictional characters in their video game.
    • "Daddy Queerest" puts Stan in the wrong for outing Terry to his homophobic father Tank... after Terry claimed Stan's wife as his own and pushed his partner on Stan, not caring that Tank's gay-bashing was now directed toward him, and showed signs of an Armored Closet Gay.
    • Episodes where he deals with his Obnoxious In-Laws (Big Trouble in Little Langley and Kung Pao Turkey). The show presents him as wrong for being annoyed at Francine's parents when they come over uninvited, enforce their rules under Stan's roof, and use or destroy his property without permission. Both episodes end with Stan learning to accept them, even though Stan is justified at being annoyed by their behavior.
  • They Just Didn't Care: It's pretty obvious that there was little to no communication going on between the people working on the "Daesong Heavy Industries" two-parter to the point where many question why it was even a two-parter at all. Part 1 starts with Stan losing his faith in religion after Steve pokes multiple holes in the Bible akin to the anti-religion episodes of Family Guy before suddenly turning into an "American Fung"-esque Bizarro Episode with Stan thinking that he is Noah and taking his family to Seoul, Korea to take over a natural gas tanker full of animals being taken to a zoo in Malaysia which he believes is the Ark. Part 2 then suddenly drops everything having to do with the first part after the ship blows up and separates the Smiths with Stan & Francine having amnesia and being stuck on an island in a parody of nature documentaries, Steve & Roger stuck on a lifeboat, and Hayley & Jeff being rescued by the Navy. By the end of part 2, Stan's crisis of faith is never resolved, there are other plot points that are either dropped (Seoul being destroyed by the flood at the end of part 1) or never explained (why was a natural gas tanker being used to transport animals?) and the entire "Two-parter" ranks alongside "American Fung" as a prime example for how American Dad! has gone downhill ever since moving to TBS.
    • Given Terryís above mentioned Moral Event Horizon the fact that he ended up leaving Greg off screen just to introduce a new love interest.
      • The fact the love interest turns out to be straight makes this even worse.
    • Many of Stanís Designated Villain moments
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Francine's parents (the biological ones who abandoned her at the airport). They're Affably Evil, unlike her nice but racist-written and not-that-funny adopted parents.
  • 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.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Stanís status as the show's Designated Villain makes him this most of the time (though there are exceptions, see Moral Event Horizon above) There's "Stan acts like a jerk and must learn a lesson" formula. It doesnít help that most of Stanís flaws have been given very understandable Freudian Excuses, something that in a lot of cases those that he opposes donít have.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Stan comes across as this in many episodes of the later seasons for how he treats his family (especially Hayley and Steve) as well as causing his own problems only to learn a lesson that he will immediately forget by the following episode. "The Scarlett Getter" and "Old Stan in the Mountain" to name a few are prime examples of this trope in action. Another reason is that he gets stupider every season to the point where by Season 10, he is simply another Peter Griffin.
    • Roger also counts for the same reason as Stan (learning a lesson that will never resonate by the next episode) as well as his Flanderization into being a complete psychopath who very rarely suffers any consequences for his actions nowadays.
    • Steve has fallen victim to this as of late due to his Flanderization making him a very obnoxious brat to both his parents. "Morning Mimosa" is a prime example of this.
    • The family is this as a whole as seen in Designated Villain and Strawman Has a Point they have a serious case of all take and no give when it concerns Stan. So it's hard to feel sorry for them when they complain about Stanís antics or his rules when they arenít willing to fend for themselves and one of the most recurring plots is that Stan has no right to spend anytime for himself.
    • Francine in ďWhen a Stan Loves a Woman". We are supposed to see Stan as a Jerkass and sympathize with Francine for being angry that Stan went through with it. The problem with the is that the problem only started after Francine showed her love for Stan by planting the rose after ď18 YEARSĒ. Also the episodeís Aesop about the difference between love and meaningless sex doesnít make much since when you realize that Francineís gift was basically lumping Stan together with all those people she claims were meaningless. Essentially, Francine caused the problem in the first place through being Innocently Insensitive, pushed for the outcome only to get angry when she got what she wanted, and thus realizing exactly how Stan felt.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: A lot of the latest episodes tend to emphasize a lot of hip slang and reference stir of the moment situations so much that the episodes in question are in severe risk of becoming embarrassingly dated within about a year or two after it originally airs (if it doesn't do so already thanks to how long it takes to produce an episode). "Garfield and Friends" is arguably the worst offender of such as the aforementioned hip lingo is used for roughly 25% of the episode and it even goes as far as ending with a reference to the "Deal with it" meme.
  • 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 have done a good job of keeping that under wraps for the past four years.
    • Steve is in ďI Ainít No Holodeck BoyĒ after seeing just how horrific his dad's life truly was and realizing that the only thing keeping him sane was Herculean levels of self-denial. Steve decided it would be a good idea to break his dad of that nostalgia.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sidney 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 Sidney embrace in order to become one again. Except Roger quickly stabs him in the back, saying Sidney's nice guy attitude is 'cramping his style'.
    • Hayley has become this as time has gone on with her becoming something of the Butt Monkey. It really wasn't helped by the events of "Naked to The Limit, One More Time" where Hayley basically lost the love of her life because of Roger's actions. Most of the time after that episode, she was seen mourning Jeff or trying to move on from him. Just as she was preparing to move from Jeff after he told her to, Roger again screws this up by killing her new love interest who would have most likely made her life better.
    • Similarly, Jeff despite being a lazy stoner in the beginning of the show has become more of the woobie after he married Hayley. Again in the above mentioned episode, he is separated from Hayley and almost never gets to see her again. And just when he is reunited with her, everything goes wrong and he decides to let her get with her other love interest so he leaves and tells her to move on. All of these bad events that happen to him are Roger's fault.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/AmericanDad