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American Dad! is an animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. Originally created as a replacement for Family Guy, as the first season had Family Guy-style humor, Fox revived Family Guy shortly after, forcing American Dad! to make itself different. Unlike MacFarlane's other shows, Family Guy, and to an lesser extent The Cleveland Show, American Dad! does not lean as heavily on the use of cutaway or flashback gags, and is less concerned with conventional "setup-punchline" jokes, instead deriving its humor mostly from the quirky characters, the relationships between family members, and the relatively relatable plots. While the core issues and resolutions are relatable in most episodes, the show nonetheless weaves in fantastical elements, pitching the tone of the show somewhere between observational comedy and farce. The plots are often absurd, but they are grounded by family stories and real-world issues.
The show focuses on the Smith family consisting of CIA agent Stan Smith, his wife Francine, and his two kids Steve and Hayley Smith. Living with them is extra-terrestrial Roger Smith, wanted by the CIA but taken in by Stan after he saved his life, and Klaus Heissler, a German man trapped in a fish's body by the CIA to prevent him from winning the Olympics.
The show generally makes fun of everything from race, gender, or sexuality. Generally, the show is rated TV-14 for offensive language (L), sexual situations (S), violence (V), suggestive dialogue (D), drug misuse, dangerous behavior, or unsettling and disturbing subject matter played for laughs and drama. Some of the early episodes are rated TV-PG, but have since been re-rated TV-14. No episode of American Dad! was ever rated TV-MA, despite that Hulu has a content warning at the beginning of most episodes. The show, while popular and highly received by critics, has had controversy from the Parents Television Committee, an organization that recommends appropriate programming for children, which has also gone after sister series Family Guy for objectionable content. This series has referenced and parodied Looney Tunes numerous times.
In 2014, Fox quietly cancelled American Dad! and TBS picked it up shortly thereafter starting with Season 12. Since the release of American Dad! on streaming, there have been various discrepancies in the season numbers, with Hulu/Fox/TBS combining the first 23 episodes into one season and the last three Fox episodes and first TBS season into one season. As such, some sources say the show is currently on Season 15, while others say Season 17. On 15 January 2020, TBS renewed American Dad! up to Season 19 (Season 17 for Hulu).
American Dad! is produced by MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door Productions in association with Walt Disney's 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Television Animation, and syndicated by 20th Television. The show has become a ratings success, entering syndication in its first season to Adult Swim and TBS.
- Seth MacFarlane as Stan Smith, Roger, Greg, and various
- Scott Grimes as Steve
- Wendy Schaal as Francine
- Dee Bradley Baker as Klaus
- Rachael MacFarlane as Hayley
- Mike Barker as Terry, Chuck
- Patrick Stewart as Avery Bullock
- Jeff Fischer as a fictionalized version of himself
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Brian Lewis
Looney Tunes Parodies
- In "In Country... Club", Roger tells Stan in the Sex in the City script he was reading that the character landed square on the rabbit and found out "What's up Doc?", Bugs Bunny's catchphrase.
- "Naked to the Limit, One More Time" - When Roger's spaceship leaves, it makes a "Beep Beep" sound similar to Road Runner.
- "Wheels & the Legman and the Case of Grandpa's Key" - Roger has a Foghorn Leghorn keychain.
- "The American Dream Factory" - At the end of the episode, a West Virginian hillbilly says, "Look ma, Mexicans, like the fast mouse in them Bugs Bunny cartoons."
- In the episode "The Skarlet Getter", Klaus mentions The Looney Tunes Show.
- In "Hamerican Dad", Roger, Stan, and Tappahonnock Ham Society go to Six Flags and see a Looney Tunes Convention. Roger is holding a Taz doll and mentions that one of the members high-fived Speedy Gonzales.
- In "Jenny Fromdabloc", Principal Lewis attempts to sell belt buckles, one containing a bird that closely resembles Tweety Bird although Principal Lewis notes his eyes are red from smoking weed.
- Stan wears a Tweety Bird undershirt at the Gold Nugget casino in "Casino Normale".
- In "A Jones for a Smith", Steve animates a partly dissected frog whilst singing "Hello! Ma Baby", a reference to the Looney Tunes cartoon, "One Froggy Evening". Steve then animates the frog while singing a parody of "Drop It Like It's Hot", by Snoop Doggy Dog, dubbing the frog, "Snoop Froggy Frog".
- In "The Old Country", after Steve changes Klaus into a moose, Roger tries to hunt Klaus dressed like Elmer Fudd.
- In "Yule, Tide, Repeat", Hayley asks someone if Tweety Bird dressed street.