The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

American Dad Volume 4 review

It’s finally here, the egarly awaited follow-up to my huge Family Guy review, which is the most popular page on the blog. So I hope you enjoy this even more. So without further ado…

Disc 1

Tearjerker
Written by: Jonathan Fener

The One Where: Stan is called upon to stop a diabolical film producer whose fiendish plot involves celebrity robots and a movie that will cause audiences to cry themselves to death.

Verdict: An excellent start to the DVD. The whole episode is a parody of James Bond movies and copies them almost down to a tee (apart from Stan’s a virgin) It rockets along nicely and there’s great running joke involving a contractor. However, it’s a bit of a shame to give the Moneypenny and Q characters to Steve and Hayley, only for them to be in there for about 5 seconds . 9/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Tearjerker, evil film producer and Oscar Golde, a mentally challenged jewish child during WWII

Trivia: all the celebrities in the background have been used in Family GUy or American Dad.

Gaffes: Monsters Ball was made in 2001, not 2002

Bullocks To This: Stan’s boss, B. Dresses up as a Geisha informing Stan that they’re “Secret Asians”

Best Line: Roger – Then.They.Will.Cry.And.Then.They.Will.Die.Pie?

Reference this: The whole episode is a James Bond parody. However special props go to Greg and Terry’s Sgt Pepper outfits.

Oedipal Panties
Written By David Hemingson

The One Where: Stans Mom is dumped by yet another boyfriend, so Francine and Roger go undercover to find out what’s going wrong. Meanwhile Klaus and Steve share a common disease – ick!

Verdict: It’s an episode that starts very strange and escalates, from Stan’s disturbing relationship with his mother to the revelation about her dates. It’s quite funny, but doesn’t feel anything special. The B story with Steve also doesn’t get going until right at the end of the episode and that when it ends.

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Cousin Phil, a Kurt Cobain look-a-like with glasses. Also, a fat school teacher from the south.

Trivia: Roger’s predator costume from Joint Custody is in his wardrobe.

Guess the Guest: Stan’s mum is voiced by Swoosie Kurtz, Aunt Lily from Pushing Daisies!

Reference this: Betty goes to see the movie Click, he doesn’t understand any of it.

Best line: Francine – “I Missed You”, Stan – “And I’m Horny”

Widowmaker
Written By Keith Heifler

The One Where: Roger plays shrink as Francine pressures Stan to open up to her emotionally. She gets more than she bargained for, however, when she learns that Stan has killed her friends husband.

Verdict: There are some good moments here and some great dialogue. As a plot though, it’s not that interesting and needs Roger as the fake psychiatrist and Steve’s B Story to carry it. It’s also a very complex episode, with many twists and turns that don’t become clear until the end. If you can look through the dull narrative, you can try to guess what happens at the end, you won’t, but you can try. 5/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Pretend Psychiatrist, operator, clip-clop the horse and a fireman.

Trivia: Steve is referred to as Ginger, although it’s never mentioned again. Also, Stans celebeartions from American Dream Factory are on a shelf in the basement.

Bullocks To This: appears during the 1000th vagina joke celebration.

Best line: Roger – I’ve been consumed by another patient, he’s a run away teenager, who’s being molested. By me.

Red October Sky
Written by: Steve Hely

The One Where: Stan is shocked to discover that his new neighbour is a former KGB agent who maybe turning Steve into a communist. Elsewhere, Klaus and Roger take a vacation to Europe.

Verdict: Communism is a tricky subject for comedy (odd that) but this episode really pulls it off and the way the two stories seem to mesh together is excellent. There’s also a great B story, where Roger and Klaus visit Europe. However, like other’s it remains too short, maybe they’ll take another one in the future… 8/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Ninja, canadian tourist.

Trivia: Roger drives a Smart Car in Germany (If they’d visited Britain, they almost certainly would be driving a mini)

Bullocks to this: Gives Stan a mission, then goes on about his awesome air pumped trainers.

Reference this: Francine calls Steve “Disney’s The Rocketeer”

Best Line : Roger – Hey everybody, I’m a ninja, I do Ninja stuff now.

Office Spaceman
Written by: Laura Mcreary

The one Where: After being named head of the CIA’s Alien Task Force, Roger becomes Stan’s new boss and frames Stan in order to protect his own identity. Meanwhile, Francine must come to grips with being left-handed.

Verdict: A Roger centric episode is always good and this is no exception. The CIA plot is excellent, allows great chemistry between Bullock, Roger and Stan and it moves along nicely with unpredictable results. The B Story once again seems too small, but it doesn’t slow or bring it down. 9/10

Roger – Master of disguise: Photographer, eccentric, CIA agent and a stud.

Trivia: The title sequence cuts out at the start.

Francine creeps me out: Went to a convent orphanage and was beaten with kippers because she’s left handed.

Bullocks to this: Leading the Alien Task Force, telling the staff about an incident at PJ Changs and general ass admiring.

Reference this: Parker Peters (Rogers photographer disguise) is a reversal on Peter Parker of Spiderman and his fake back story is Mulder’s from the X Files (which is even pointed out)

Best line: Mama – She usually beat her with a side of beef, but it was a Friday.

Disc 2

Stanny Slickers II: The Legend of Ollie’s Gold
Written By: Erik Sommers

The One Where: After a near death experience after a pudding truck accident, Stan decides to leave his mark on the world and goes in search of Oliver North’s buried treasure, even as the Smith house crumbles around him.

Verdict: The show lives up to its name. It’s a very American episode, this. It has a bit of US history (whether it’s all true or not is uncertain and I can’t be bothered to look it up), all summed up in an excellent little tune, showcasing both MacFarlane’s vocal abilities and his ability to sing with Stan’s voice. It’s got some interesting animation as well, that’s very nice to look at. Narrative wise, it’s got some great moments, although it feels stupid at times, but brilliant all the same. 8/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Laura Vanderbooben and Luke Fondlebury, his plan to get money from Sexual harassment charges.

Trivia: Hayley’s middle name is Dreamsmasher.

Reference This: Stan mentions Francine’s muffin business from Finances With Wolves.

Best line: Stan – Your face will remain Metal free, like a good radio station.

Spring Break-Up
Written by: Nahnchaka Khan

The One Where: Roger gets the party started at a wet and wild spring break at the Smith house. With Francine out of town, Stan falls for a sexy booze cruiser, whilst Steve hopes to lose his virginity.

Verdict: This is almost a perfect episode, it’s brilliantly written, it’s got heart and it’s utterly hilarious. The jokes come thick and fast, but at the same time, it knows when it has to be emotional and perfectly balances them together, which rounds off a neat package. Only downside, however, there’s no Bullock (he would have fitted perfectly within the party atmosphere)
10/10

Roger – Master of Disguise: Scotch Bingeington, king of spring break.

Trivia: The Strippers from Stan Knows Best appear late in the episode

With Friends Like Steve’s: Plan on cracking Number theorem, but then get distracted as they become possible candidates for the love of some drunk girls (to which they leap out the window)

Reference this: Carmen Selectra is a parody of Carmen Electra (who actually voiced Lisa Silver in the pilot episode). And Donkey Kong throws barrels at some of the kids.

Best lines: Steve – I’m Going to hit that.
Snot – I’m going to tear that up
Barry – I’m going to kill that with a bottle.

1600 Candles
Written By: Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz

The One Where: Rogers birthday celebration is derailed when Steve announces he’s finally going through puberty. Rather than facing the specter of raging hormones, Stan and Francine opt for an experimental treatment.

Verdict: I love that Stan and Francine can’t handle their kids puberty and the chaos that ensues. The results are hilarious and pretty clever. There are a few plotholes, but they’re easily forgivable and it does have a lesson on the importance of growing up. 9/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Boy next door.

Trivia: the CIA scientists maybe based on Mike Barker and Matt Weitzmann, two of the shows creators.

Francine creeps me out: Francine was brutally attacked and scrubbed clean in the high school shower rooms.

reference this: The ending (and title) is a reference to the movie 16 Candles.

Best lines:  Roger – I like spying. My fanny is so high in the air right now.

The One That Got Away
Written By: Chris and Matt McKenna

The One Where: Roger suspects that his identity has been stolen, so he sets out for his own brand of street justice and is shocked by what he finds. Meanwhile, the Smiths face an old-school addiction. Board games…

Verdict: This episode has a brilliant concept, it really showcases Rogers disguises. The split personality is a great narrative and adds to that extra emotional bite. You really feel for Sidney, even though he’s actually Roger. 8/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Mexican, AT&T worker, Southern Belle, Pakistani, Mountie, Charles Bronson and Sydney.

Trivia: Roger owns an iPhone, lucky git.

Reference This: The poster on Sydney’s bosses wall is the same picture of God as on a pin-up calendar in an early episode.

Best lines: Klaus – DAMN YOU, Hasbro!

One Little Word
Written By: David Zuckerman

The One Where: After a promotion at work, Stan is willing to do anything for his boss, but when Francine’s Valentine’s day is ruined as a result, she teaches him just to say no.

Verdict: It’s not a bad episode, but it feels like 3 episodes condensed into one. Of course, Patrick Stewart steals this episode and it’s nice to finally meet his wife, but it feels too much, too soon. It all concludes nicely, but it just misses small touches. 6/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Attention seeking child.

Trivia: The title is a reference to Stan and Bullocks last adventure “Four little Words” Where he gained his son, AJ.

Bullocks To This: Owns the executive dining room, with salad tossing emperor penguins and goes partying in hip clubs, goth clubs, furry clubs, line dancing and college parties in order to pick up girls.

Reference this: Bullocks love of fat asian girls is brought up again from Stan Of Arabia.

Best Lines: Stan – This weekend is about you and me. Gotta Go.

Disc 3

Choosey Wives Choose Smith
Written By Matt Fusseld

The One Where: After meeting Francine’s long-lost ex-fiance, Stan feels like second best and forces Francine to make a choice.

Verdict: The episode feels like the narrative doesn’t have enough time before throwing you into it. On top of that, the main plot isn’t great, it relies on Roger to liven things up and Steve’s B story make it a bearable episode, but otherwise, it’s pretty average. 5/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Bartender, Pilot and Marooned islander.

Trivia: Stan wears a shirt not dissimilar to Quagmire from Family Guy.

Reference this: Stan’s fear of seagulls comes from American Dream Factory.

Best lines: Roger – Strap me on. Did I say on? I meant in. You know, either works.

Escape From Pearl Bailey
Written By Dan Vebber

The one where: Steve vows to get revenge after his girlfriend is the victim of a ruthless smear campaign in the high school student council election.

Verdict: This has to be my all time favourite episode. Maybe it’s my nerdy outcast background or my love of Steve’s friends, but it’s really relatable. The plot moves along brilliantly and is chock full of references to pop culture, it’s almost cinematic, it’s also hilarious. 10/10

Trivia: The 30-year-old show Debbie refers to is Doctor Who (although, that is from its American debut and only the fourth and 6th Doctors are shown)

With Friends Like Steve’s: Behind the whole webpage, planning visiting the renaissance fair as the pilots from Battlestar Galactica and Barry’s parents take a lot of drugs.

Reference this: Steve’s revenge is introduced in a similar way to in Kill Bill (and various Kung Fu movies) the shop he sells Toshi’s sword to is a spitting image to one in Pulp Fiction.

Best lines: Steve – They beat me up because I wouldn’t give them an “O” I already gave them a “G” what am I, made of letters?

Pulling Double Booty.
Written By: Brian Boyle

The One Where: When Hayley’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she falls for Stan’s CIA body double, who in turn sets his sights on Francine.

Verdict: It’s a haunting idea and granted, it’s unique, but there’s no emotional crux in there. It relies more on shock humour. It has some good lines, but it’s the B story involving Steve and Roger that makes the episode worth watching. When Steve’s chickens are hit by cars, it’s utterly tragic. 4/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: German tourist, redneck cock fight owner.

Trivia: Steve references famous fictional couples such as Romeo and Juliet and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes whilst sorting chickens.

Bullocks To This: Reveals personal sex secrets regarding a body double.

Reference this: Hayley’s insane rampage is identical to King Kong’s.

The Most Adequate Christmas Ever
Written By Jim Bernstein


The One Where: After dying on his quest to find the ultimate Christmas tree, Stan finds himself in Limbo, fighting for his family and a second chance at life.

Verdict: Christmas episodes are very difficult to write and to a bigger extent, do well. After last years brilliant Xmas episode, it’s got big shoes to fill. Does it compete? Well, no. Stan dying doesn’t seem great when you consider he’s done it a few times now. The whole idea of heaven is very fun and has some good ideas, but begins to lose itself towards the end. At times, it feels preachy and Seth MacFarlane voicing god (who else…) turns out to miss more than it hits, he starts off with his regular voice, then move into something else. These are just small annoying blips that bring down a perfectly fine christmas episode. 7/10

Roger – Master Of Disguise: Xmas Sweater drunk.

Trivia: Roger mentions his cold home planet.

Klaus’ history: Klaus’ grandfather was a train driver at Auschwitz Zoo (It’s a big place you, know…)

Reference this: Francine giving birth to Hayley is similar to the Lion King.

Best Line: Stan – Halo, and goodbye!

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One response to “American Dad Volume 4 review

  1. Kris 06/05/2010 at 18:26

    A very comprehensive summary of the A.D. season 4 episodes – Thanks a lot!
    I just purchased the DVDs on eBay and am really looking forward to watching them this weekend. Especiallly “Tearjerker” and “Spring Break-Up” sound hilarious!
    Greetings from Germany, Kris

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