Monday, May 23, 2011

American Dad! - Season 6

This is the first FOX show I'm talking about since FX finished burning off the four unaired Running Wilde episodes, so I'm going to write a sentence about them. Those episodes were okay.

Anyway, American Dad. It's back as the best Seth MacFarlane-produced show they have. It's hard to say what makes it better than Family Guy, other than just the writing is better. In some ways it's much more of a typical, run-of-the-mill sitcom, at least structurally. The plots of most episodes can be traced back for years or even decades to plenty of other shows that have done similar things. But while Family Guy is screwing around with reenactments and parodies and anti-humor and inserting entire embarrassing music videos into episodes, American Dad just makes sure that the jokes are funny and that the formulaic storylines manage to surprise you at least once. It's a more typical show, but it's also just a much more consistently entertaining one to watch.

There isn't much particular to note about this season, except for what they've done with Haley. There was a story arc (atypical for this show) at the beginning of the season where she married her boyfriend, and it's resulted in her having a diminished role in the series. Not that I generally mind, because Haley and Stan butting heads over social issues was always far from my favorite part of the show. But when practically every episode boils down to Stan pairing off with Francine, Roger, or Steve, it makes me wish for a little more fluidity in those roles sometimes, and the way Haley is usually wasted could have been avoided to help out there. Still, with the formula is pretty rigid, it works, and the show has yet to use up all the potential it has for this family. It's probably the only animated show I'm watching that doesn't premiere on Adult Swim that I look forward to, and I could see it holding steady for a few more years.

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