Feb 7, 2005

The Verdict

Well, the long-awaited event finally took place: I watched the first full episode of American Dad last night. And I was pleasantly surprised. Is it as good as Family Guy? Not by a long shot. Is it funny? Hell yeah. Here are my qualms:

1. None of the characters is as spectacularly dumb as Peter Griffin. This is a comic flaw.
2. A German-speaking goldfish and a flamboyant alien still don't equal the genius of Brian and Stewie.
3. None of the characters seem particularly fleshed-out; however, I think time will rectify this problem.
4. Roger's Paul Lynde voice could become exceedingly annoying.

But, overall, I think the series shows promise. Some scenes, like the shot of the German skier with the brain of a goldfish, were hysterical and I think a lot of the kinks can be ironed out over the course of more episodes. I'll wait to pass final judgment until May 1, when the season starts in earnest.

On a side note, I most emphatically disagree with Alessandra Stanley's recent article for the Times. One of her complaints about American Dad was that the terrorism and Bush-Cheney jokes seemed dated; personally, I found them topical and fairly funny. When the main character is a paranoid, hyperactive CIA agent who looks back upon the Reagan era with fondness, I think silly and overblown political gags are appropriate.

As Afshin already pointed out, Stanley's concluding statement ("American Dad" has amusing moments and engaging characters, but it is to "The Simpsons" what Japanese anime is to Disney's "Fantasia": fashionable, but crude and cheaply drawn in comparison.) is a ridiculous analogy. While I take issue with her belittlement of anime, some of which is excellent, I also think she shot herself in the foot with her rave review of the post-Super Bowl episode of The Simpsons. Although it did contain some funny moments, I thought it was largely weak, ended on an anticlimax, and was a mishmash of plots, none of which were fully realized. I expect better from The Simpsons.

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