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 does 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)
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.
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?
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.
Bizarro Episode: "Stan's Best Friend" and "The Boring Identity" are considered this due to feeling like Family Guy episodes but with the American Dad! cast.
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.
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 talking dog and Roger the alien], the next door neighbor with a sexual side (Quagmire the single, sexual deviant and registered sex offender and Greg Corbin, a gay man in a committed relationship with his coworker), the news anchor characters Tom Tucker and Greg Corbin, 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.
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).
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.
Designated Villain: On similar terms, 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. Contrary 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.
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.
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".
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.
"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.
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.
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 do to 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.
Stan. His father abandoned him as a child, his mother made him grow up too soon and he was even unluckier then 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 obnoxsis 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.
Jumping the Shark: The number of musical episodes done recently. See "Minstrel Krampus" and "Rubberneckers" for shining examples.
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.
Stan crosses this solidly in "The Scarlett Getter" which has him telling an alien hunter of Roger's existence and setting him up to be killed so that he can keep is 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 "Ice, Ice 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.
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 ant-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).
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.
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.
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 (although some will say that it didn't really start to become bad until halfway into Season 5) due to changes like Hayley's demotion to extra 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"Da Flippity Flop," is a great example of this trope: many people consider it Stan's Moral Event Horizon while forgetting that Klaus is a hedonist. His action when he got a hold of Stan's body shows that even he was given his original he most likely would have been dead within a week.
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 it's 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 elseís child if told to but he cant even tie his own shoes. Making Stanís initial approach seem to lenient.
Stan was also proven right when Steve tried to hire the bully again only to find out he was Steveís current bullyís father. He ended up getting beat up by both of them.
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 Stan thought of it.
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 Sadiehypocrisy 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-RighteousKarma Houdini with none of Stan's acts of humility or pathos.
Steve. He's pretty much a stereotypical horny teenage virgin nerd, whose Flanderization in the last season has him often acting like an obnoxious brat to his parents. His behavior in "News Glance with Genevieve Vavance" as listed above doesn't help.
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.
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 developent, she became a source of annoyance with many.
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'.
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.