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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

 

Q: What is American Dad?




A: So Fox has done a complete 180 on Seth MacFarlane. After shifting around the time slot for his cartoon sitcom, The Family Guy*, and canceling it in 2002, the network will be bringing it back for 35 new episodes in 2005. The success of the reruns on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, and the enormous amount of DVD sales changed their minds real quick.

All in all, this is old news but what I hadn't heard is that Fox not only bringing back The Family Guy but airing something called American Dad as well. Set to debut in January, McFarlane will be spearheading the show which centers around a trigger-happy CIA agent. The premise, from TV Tome:


"American Dad from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, is the animated story of Stan Smith (MacFarlane), who works for the CIA and is constantly on the alert for terrorist activity. Stan will go to extremes to protect his beloved America from harm – as evidenced by the terror-alert color code on his fridge, and his frequent knee-jerk reaction of shooting holes in the toaster whenever the toast pops up.

In addition to Stan's wife and teenage children, the Smith household has two rather unconventional members. There's Roger, the sarcastic space alien who rescued Stan from Area 51 who deeply resents the fact that he's not allowed to leave the house, and therefore, has been reduced to drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, and Klaus, a lascivious, German-speaking goldfish – the result of a CIA experiment gone seriously wrong where the CIA tried to give a fish a German man's brain. Stan's son is a dorky teenager who tries to be cool. His wife has had a past life of sex and drugs."


OK, so it's a rip off of an any number of sitcoms, animated and otherwise. In the paragraphs above, there's chunks of the Simpsons, ALF, a million generic family programs and any number of Looney Tunes shorts (didn't Daffy Duck have German goldfish sidekick for a while?). Despite the fact The Family Guy was possibly the most unoriginal idea for a network program ever, its obvious debts to Matt Groening's opus, and a few terrible episodes from the first season, it wound up being one of the best things on television.

The premise for American Dad may be unoriginal but, given the creator and the War on Terrorism angle, it's sure to be inspired, if not brilliant...so inspired, if not brilliant it will inevitably be cancelled after three episodes. The expectations for the show are high. With its premiere date still four months away, there's already at least three fan sites listed in Google.

* Heads up: Fox is doing a mini-marthon tommorow, September 1st, 8 - 10,...all old episodes you've probably already seen on Cartoon Network.

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