Monday, February 07, 2005

American Dud?

Okay, so the title's a throw-away joke. You had to see it coming.

I watched the pilot for Seth McFarlane's "American Dad" last night. I'm not overly impressed, but here's my thoughts:

1) The overwhelming impression I took in was the incredible political angst that must be consuming Seth. It's no secret that he's a staunch critic of the Bush administration and its policies. He didn't let anything hide in this show, whether the over the top caricature of the hyper-patriotic Stan Smith or the various other politically gratuitous jokes.

Don't get me wrong. I like political satire as much as anyone, and I can be on either end, giving or receiving. For example, the segment when God called Bush and said (roughly), "Yeah, like, when you said 'God wanted me to be President'? Maybe you could keep those things to yourself, okay? Hold on, Cheney's on the other line [switches over] . . . yes sir?"

2) All right, so it was just one episode, but the characters . . . I'm not sure what to say about them. The first episode focused mainly on the father, Stan Smith, an uber-patriotic (hey, I already used "hyper") CIA agent, and his son, Steve, a geeky high-school student looking for love. I can already tell that the father is going to be the subject of many, many jokes about intelligence failures, homeland security, post 9/11 conservative thought, and so on. The son just reminds me too much of a slightly better looking Neil Goldman.

Other segments briefly featured the daughter, a hippy-esque teenage liberal who bickered with her father quite a bit. Her scenes featured a rather fruity alien (whose name escapes me for the time being) with an eating disorder hiding out in their home and little desire to return to where he came from. Also, he explosively defecates everywhere every 7 hours. Yeah . . .

The wife was present, but barely. All we can tell about her so far is that she is submissive to her husband and dumb as a rock. I'd hope her character gets developed a bit more, because so far she's two-dimensional (in more ways than one, of course). Also included was a perverted East German skier whose brain was transferred to a goldfish's body. He made a few brief appearances, and he is weird. Very, very weird. If they develop him as well, I'm curious as to how they'll do it.

3) Overall, this just made me hungrier for the new episodes of Family Guy. This show really felt like Seth MacFarlane needed an outlet for his political anger, as though he couldn't make the same jokes on Family Guy. While the show presents fresh opportunities to work with new characters, it just feels too much like Family Guy. Don't get me wrong, I like Family Guy, and I'm not going to condemn him to working endless on the one show. For example, I like Futurama much better than the Simpsons, and wish Matt Groening would cease the latter ASAP. But I think we can all agree that Family Guy was ended before its time, and rather than splitting his attention between two topics, he ought to focus mainly on Family Guy. Will American Dad turn out to be a dud? I can't say for certain at this point. The pilot was kinda "eh." But new episodes will begin when the new episodes of Family Guy begin. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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