This show is a great update on Archie Bunker. Terrific writing and stories.
Only 13 episodes but I guess that's all they had, right?
While at first American Dad might just seem like the exhaust from the beloved, Family Guy TV show, all they need to do is watch thirty seconds of this show to realize that that assessment is way off. The only thing these shows share is the same vitality and gift for hilarious writing. If that is a crime than I am sure that creator Seth McFarlane and his trusty team are happy to be guilty.
American Dad follows CIA and Ultra-American Stan Smith, his wife Francine, his two kids Steve and Hayley and their houseguest, Roger, an extraterrestrial, as they make their way in Post 9/11 America. Whether Stan is shooting up the toaster, Roger is on a bender, his kids are up to who knows what or Francine is having her memory erased, this show keeps the laughs and the jokes coming in quick succession.
Turning the idea of All in the Family on it's ear, for my money American Dad is one of the best shows on TV today.
All In the Family
This featurette examines the "Making Of" American Dad. Right off the bat they talk about not wanting to repeat the Family Guy and they also discuss patterning it after All in the Family. While Stan is certainly not as much of a blowhard as Archie was, at the same time, I am sure that Mr. Bunker would be happy to sit down and have a beer with Mr. Smith at Kelsey's bar.
How's Your Aspen?
Shot at HBO's 2005 US Comedy Arts Festival, we are treated to a live reading of the episode "A Smith In the Hand." While I didn't watch all of this, there is something to be said for seeing this show done "live."
Secrets of the Glass Booth
As someone who has made his own feature length animated movie (1985-1986), I love whenever we get to see how voices for animated movies and TV shows are recorded. It is so entertaining seeing how these characters come to life, especially when we are so used to seeing cartoon characters speak in these voices. I also love when we get let in on the process of how these voices are worked out. Very good stuff here.
Sadly there is nothing is too special here unless you like seeing storyboards brought to life alongside it's fully animated counterpart. While I thought this was interesting, about five minutes into watching it I really didn't see what the point was. Afterall, why not just watch the regular episodes themselves?
Complete Animatic and Table Read for "Threat Levels"
The creators of this DVD did this in a very interesting way. The TV screen is divided up into two or three sections. The audio is then separated into three channels. On one level we get the table read, on another we get the animatic for the episode and on the final one we get the final episode audio. One can then choose which audio channel they wish to listen to. Truthfully, this is basically the "American Animatic" featurette with the biggest difference being that it has the table reading happening at the same time.
42 Deleted Scenes
With titles ranging from "Penis Head" to "Manscaping" to "Party Grandma," these 42 deleted scenes are something that fans of this show are going to really appreciate. As I consider myself one of those people, I also appreciate that the only reason these scenes were probably excised in the first place (on TV that is), was because this show had to serve up some commercial product that FOX had booked ad time for.
The New CIA
A short featurette that essentially gives people Stan Smith's home life in a nutshell. He comes home and as usual things are out of order. However, Stan's reaction here is actually quite a bit different than what we usually expect from this American Dad.
There are commentary tracks for every episode in this three disc set except for "Threat Levels." These feature a musical chairs quartet of people and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed them. The voices on here (which range from Seth McFarlane, Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman and a host of others) know this show so well that they aren't stirred by it's chaos. The people that give these commentaries are relaxed and provide a refreshingly honest perspective of this show.
Full Frame - 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio. This show looks just as good as when I have seen it on TV. In all honesty, I didn't notice anything that different which makes me wonder if how it looks on TV is as good as it gets? Or, do we really need it to look any better than how it looks on TV? On all of these three discs, I didn't notice any problems from a video standpoint. There weren't any hits or moments where the picture got pixilated at all.
English - 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitled in English, French and Spanish. Close Captioned. This is the kind of show that isn't for people that don't like present day animation. Tom and Jerry this isn't. The jokes are fast and furious and just when you've gotten one, another joke pops up right after that. The quickness and skill level on a show like this has been honed and contained in the best possibly way for this release.
The Smith family stand together on this front cover with the American flag waving triumphantly behind them. The back features a shot of Mr. Smith in his underwear with knives, grenades and guns strapped to his otherwise naked body. There is a description of what American Dad is about, a "Special Features" listing and some technical specs. All three discs are housed in their own slim, plastic case. Each one has a different cover with different members of the family on it. The back covers feature episode listings, descriptions and who provided their voices for the commentary tracks.
I think the reason why this show works is because it doesn't take sides. It equally skewers all politics, popular culture and everything else it can think of. Even though this show is light and funny and it's a cartoon (so it could never be taken seriously), I really think that like all great comedy it manages to make a pretty strong statement. In laughing at the way the world is today it sheds light on much of the absurdity that we encounter in our daily lives. On top of this, because the world has changed so drastically, sometimes we don't realize how off kilter things are until they are illuminated by something as simple as a cartoon.
If for no other reason than that, American Dad, Vol. 1 is clearly worth adding to your DVD collection.
American Dad! was released .