Seth MacFarlane’s “American Dad!” has been one of the most successful adult animated comedies on television since its premiere in 2005, with the show continuously providing sharp (and frequently shocking) humor wrapped around absurdist narratives.
However, unlike MacFarlane’s first successful program, “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” does not rely on cutaway spirit to get its greatest laughs. Instead, the series’ primary protagonists, the Smith Family, provide much of the comedy.
The Smith Family is a chaotic family at times, headed by CIA Agent Stan Smith, the family’s weapon CIA agent father. Still, it isn’t easy to be regular if you have an eccentric extraterrestrial with a fondness for getting dressed up and living in the attic.
As absurd as “American Dad!” can be, the Emmy-nominated sitcom has also been commended for addressing typical, daily issues that people can relate to, including such harassment, marital troubles, and tumultuous relationships among family members with opposing world views.
“American Dad!” has carved itself a position in pop culture history, including over 300 episodes and growing, but which scenes stand out as the greatest the program has to offer? Our recommendations are for the 30 most okay “American Dad!” episodes.
30. A Ward Show
Roger is appointed as Steve’s legal representative but overreaches in the parenting area when he fires the principal. Steve chooses to flee after being beaten up by the other instructors at the school.
Meanwhile, Stan and Francine try to make a splash when their holiday at the world’s largest public pool fails to get their pulses racing.
29. The Worst Stan
When Stan learns he will never be a Best Man, he persuades his only single buddy, Principal Lewis, to marry the institution’s Director and choose him as his Best Man. Stan brings Lewis’ old jail mate to the marriage ceremony, only to find a secret that may stop the wedding from taking place.
Meanwhile, Roger discovers the ideal pair of shorts, and a meeting with Ricky Martin causes him to doubt his abilities.
28. Jenny Fromdabloc
Snot is wounded after professing his affection for Hayley. Steve and Roger hatch a plot to make him happy. Roger disguises himself as Steve’s cousin from New Jersey, Jenny Fromdabloc, and Snot falls head over heels for her. Meanwhile, Stan wishes to live the life of a 1960s gentleman, replete with black suits and dry cocktails.
27. Less Money, Mo’ Problems
Stan wagers Hayley and Jeff that he and Francine can survive on basic wage for a month after becoming tired of their freeloading habits. Elsewhere, Steve and Roger embarked on a journey to test-ride their dream automobile.
26. Vision: Impossible
After an incident while attempting to photograph his groin on a traffic camera, Roger glimpses the future.
25. Poltergasm (Season 9, Episode 2)
Stan and Francine, like most comedy couples, have the odd marital squabble. Francine’s unsatisfied bedroom desires blossom into a tangible, spirit-like presence in Season 9’s “Poltergasm,” which mimics the renowned ’80s horror film “Poltergeist,” threatening to kill the Smiths until Stan eventually gets to take Her to “Satisfaction Avenue.” When the ghost sweeps Mauricio (Hayley’s friend with benefits) into a tornado, Francine is forced to tell Stan the truth: she is dissatisfied.
His wife’s revelation hurts Stan since he has always thought of himself as a stud. However, everything works out in the end because they work together to alleviate the situation in the bedroom and save Mauricio. It’s a sweet finale to one of the raunchy “American Dad!” episodes.
In their review of “Poltergasm,” the AV Club stated, “What this show can do is keep bringing up sex within a specific set of sitcom constraints and pull at the edges, rendering it bizarre enough to suit and serve the persona humor.”
24. Bully For Steve (Season 5, Episode 16)
Bullying is, unfortunately, a concern for many schoolchildren. A far less prevalent problem (at least in schools) is a parent harassing their child, which is the central narrative of Season 5’s “Bully for Steve.” Stan becomes concerned that Steve is too meek in life and decides to bully him into toughening him up. Unfortunately, despite his best intentions, his defective scheme goes wrong.
Stan makes great efforts to assure Steve’s survival in the dog-eat-dog grown-up world, despite Francine’s stated wishes (who, for obvious reasons, does not want her son tormented at all, let alone by his father). Stan, true to his reputation, grossly underestimates Steve’s ingenuity. The CIA agent gets beaten up by his old school bully Stelio Kontos, undoubtedly one of television’s funniest silent villains.
23. Best Little Horror House In Langley Falls (Season 6, Episode 3)
Langley Falls’ All Hallows’ Eve is always unforgettable. “Best Little Horror Home in Langley Falls,” one of the best Halloween-themed “American Dad!” episodes, with Stan eagerly preparing his annual haunted house for the upcoming holiday.
Stan utilizes his CIA contacts to install five infamous serial killers as “attractions” in his home to compete with his neighbor Buckle. To no one’s surprise, the plan backfires spectacularly.
As time passes, Steve develops affection for Toshi’s sister, Akiko. Toshi doesn’t want to trick-or-treat with the boys but lets his sister go in his place as long as Steve gets her back before nightfall.
When it doesn’t happen, Toshi disguises himself as a warrior and goes on a quest for them.
“American Dad!” has explored a variety of genres in the past, but it always thrives in eerie episodes. Blending humor with horror is a primary strength of the program, with the outcome usually being laughter. “Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls,” an episode that combines enormous laughter with the odd fear, perfectly illustrates this.
22. Adventures In Hayleysitting (Season 8, Episode 6)
In “Adventures in Hayleysitting,” Stan and Francine plan a romantic date night, with Hayley agreeing to watch after Steve until they return home. However, when Hayley irritates Steve by labeling him “lame,” Steve decides to slip off to a party with his pals, abandoning Hayley and Jeff to try to find them.
The emotional undertones of “Adventures in Hayleysitting” are the episode’s most attractive feature. Steve wants to show himself and others that he can be a raucous teen, but Hayley intends to show her family that she is a respectable and dependable young adult. Finally, the siblings collaborate to achieve their objectives, putting aside their disagreements and establishing respect and understanding for one another.
21. Finger Lenting Good (Season 8, Episode 8)
If you were to characterize the Smith family in one word, “competitive” might be the best. But unfortunately, viewers have repeatedly seen the Smiths take little competition to unhealthy extremes.
This common competitive tendency is on the whole show in “Finger Lenting Good,” an episode centered on a wager struck among the Smiths. Whoever breaks their New Year’s Resolution first would have a finger hacked off by Stan’s boss, Avery Bullock.
Alliances arise, and underhanded methods are employed, with the Smiths attempting to dupe each other into violating their resolutions. The gamble itself may have dire consequences for the family. However, the episode demonstrates how unique the personalities are.
Their resolutions are distinct and authentic to their characters, with Stan attempting to quit screaming, Steve trying to stop sobbing, and so on. This is also one of Stan’s boss – Bullock’s most significant episodes, featuring the CIA director at his most insane.
20. Cops And Roger (Season 5, Episode 14)
Roger is, without a doubt, the oddest character on “American Dad!” (and given how many oddballs feature in the series, that’s saying a lot). Roger’s antics serve as the inspiration for many of the funniest “American Dad!” episodes.
He is brash, egotistical, and prone to periods of violence and substance misuse. “Cops and Roger” is one such episode in which the unstable extraterrestrial enrolls in the city police academy, becoming a promising young cop in training. Unfortunately, he becomes a crooked officer hours after graduating, prompting Stan to question him about his increasingly hazardous actions.
19. Ricky Spanish (Season 7, Episode 17)
According to Roger Devise, Ricky Spanish is a “lying, thieving psychopath” and “the worst persona” he has ever created. Ricky has mistreated every single individual in Langley Falls.
He’s a ponytailed sore point of the villagers, from torching petting zoos and abusing the elderly to killing Bullock’s spouse on her birthday. Ricky is so reviled that his reappearance sparks a riot in Langley Falls.
In the Season 7 episode “Ricky Spanish,” the first time viewers see the now-famous character, Steve persuades Roger to resurrect the identity and apologize to everyone Ricky has wronged. Steve trusts Roger, but he does not know Ricky.
At first, it appears his strategy is working, but in a surprise that no one saw coming, Ricky whacks him in the back, forcing him to take the blame for the theft. It’s one of Roger’s most great scenes to date.
18. Fart-Break Hotel (Season 6, Episode 9)
“Fart-Break Hotel,” a rare leading role for Francine, sees the Smiths abandon their home and spend a week at a posh hotel. Francine decides to make a massive shift in her life after experiencing burnout and emotional tiredness from continuously caring for her family.
She takes the identity of Sarah Blanche, a deceased concrete saleswoman, and abandons her family to pursue her career and personal goals on her own.
“Fart-Break Hotel” cleverly uses time travel and has cameo appearances from Héctor Elizondo, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Missi Pyle, and Will Forte, and it has some surprisingly emotional moments. It’s all about Francine’s discontent at home and her yearning to escape the routine of her daily life.
In conclusion, her identity-stealing experience teaches her how much she adores her family and how they enrich her life. It’s poignant, existential, and excellent character analysis for Francine, maybe the most underappreciated “American Dad!” character.
17. Persona Assistant (Season 13, Episode 16)
Roger’s gallery of colorful identities, each with its appearance and attitude, is one of the things fans adore about “American Dad!” Unfortunately, Roger’s devotion to his various personalities ultimately catches up with him in “Persona Assistant,” leaving him momentarily bedridden.
Stan agrees to finish Roger’s daily plan for him while he heals, unaware of how inextricably linked the city has grown to Roger’s timetable.
Without him, Langley Falls devolves into anarchy, and to make matters worse; Stan is possessed by Roger’s greatest infamous alter ego, Ricky Spanish.
The inclusion of Rogu (Roger’s pint-sized sidekick who acts as a spoof of Grogu from “The Mandalorian”) and the focus on Roger aren’t the only reasons “Persona Assistant” is brilliant.
The episode is delightful since it conjures up some of Roger’s most famous alter-egos. On top of Ricky’s Spanish, we meet his archenemy/estranged sister, Jeannie Gold, the intrepid wedding planner.
16. In Country. Club (Season 5, Episode 1)
“In Country… Club” from Season 5 parodies a variety of war films, including “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now,” as well as “The Deer Hunter” and the “Rambo” series.
The episode begins with Steve being invited to sing the national anthem at a local veteran’s event, prompting Stan to sign them up for an aggressive recreation of the Vietnam War at a neighboring country club.
The most amusing feature of “In Country… Club” is how serious the reenactors are. They make excellent use of the golf course backdrop, with golf carts doubled as helicopters and the caddy shack transformed into a POW camp. Steve develops a jaded, cynical outlook due to the “horrors” he encounters throughout the reenactment, which results in some humorous scenes.
15. Death By Dinner Party (Season 13, Episode 8)
“Death by Dinner Party,” a spoof of Agatha Christie-style whodunit murder mystery dinner party films like “Murder by Death” and “Clue,” find the Smiths hosting an elegant soirée for the most commonly encountered “American Dad!” characters, even though a so-called “dinner party killer” is on the lookout in Langley Falls.
If one of the party’s guests is found dead, the characters begin to think that one of them is the murderer. But, of course, Colonel Weathersby, a mustachioed, monocle-wearing man who has supposedly known the Smiths for years, is being blamed.
Seth MacFarlane is no stranger to murder mystery storylines, having hilariously parodied them in the Academy Award “Family Guy” episode “And Then There Were Fewer.” In the same way, “Death by Dinner Party” creates a tense mood that builds throughout the episode. The suspense rises as the dead begin to pile up, but it is eventually revealed that it’s all a ruse to teach Roger teaching.
14. Virtual In-Sanity (Season 7, Episode 5)
With Roger’s odd and petty personality, Stan’s anxieties drive many of “American Dad! Episode “‘s storylines. Roger and Stan’s personality characteristics are on full show in “Virtual In-Sanity.” Stan becomes concerned about his bond with Steve after realizing how absent he has been in his son’s life.
To spend so much time with Steve, he begins utilizing a youthful female android with the outward look of a high school girl to spend out with him, but he becomes uneasy when Steve develops love sentiments for the android.
The primary narrative of “Virtual In-Sanity” is undoubtedly one of the oddest in “American Dad!” existence. Still, it concludes with a clean moment when Stan can finally console Steve and give them a shoulder to weep on — even if Stan is the one who causes him injury in the first place.
As fantastic as the main tale is, with cameos starring Sarah Michelle Gellar & Alyson Hannigan, Roger’s B-story easily steals the show. When Roger establishes a limo service and is taken advantage of by vulgar university frat brothers, he goes on the search for them like a slasher villain. It’s utterly out of character for Roger and neatly highlights the alien’s propensity to overreact to minor transgressions.
13. Old Stan In The Mountain (Season 7, Episode 11)
“Old Stan in the Mountain” is about Stan dealing with a curse that ages him quickly. The episode, a satire of Stephen King’s novel “Thinner,” really carries a benign message behind the overtly absurd premise: only after Stan reaches an elderly age does he learn that everyone, no matter their age, is capable of doing everything they set their minds to.
It’s a cathartic epiphany for Stan, who realizes the folly of his ways even though many of his offenses — such as nearly murdering Hayley and Steve after mistakenly believing they were attempting to euthanize him — go unpunished.
As entertaining as the episode’s primary narrative, the B-story provides the most of the vast chuckles.
12. The Vacation Goo (Season 3, Episode 1)
The Smiths occasionally have heartfelt chats right before the credits roll, assuring viewers that they genuinely love one other. However, “American Dad!” pulls much of its stories from the family’s abusive behavior, which stems from their refusal to spend time together.
“The Vacation Goo” is an instance of this, with Francine and the kids discovering that Stan has been discreetly putting the family into a fake world to make them feel they are on vacation. Stan spends time alone when they’re in the “goo.”
Stan is the first member of the family to utilize the “goo” to fool everyone into thinking they are spending some quality time together. However, he is not the last – Hayley and Steve also use the machine later in the episode to their advantage. It’s played for laughs, and it’s also a touching narrative about the importance of spending time as a family.
11. Hurricane! (Season 7, Episode 2)
In “Hurricane!,” the Smith home is ripped apart, forcing the family to band together. They must contend with bears, guy sharks, and Stan’s never-ending attempts to save people, all of which do more damage than good.
“Hurricane!” was created in response to Fox Entertainment CEO Kevin Reilly’s desire to conduct a crossover with Seth MacFarlane’s other cartoon creations — Peter Griffin and Cleveland Brown both appear in the episode. “Kevin Reilly brought it up to us and said, ‘We don’t see this type of thing on television in a while; it may be fun,'” MacFarlane told The Hollywood Reporter.
Each show produced its own hurricane-themed episode as part of Fox’s “Night of the Hurricane” crossover event. The “American Dad!” episode earned the best reviews, getting an IMDb rating of 8.0 (the “Family Guy” episode “Seahorse Seashell Party” received 6.6, and “The Cleveland Show” installment “The Hurricane!” received 6.4). Many reviews applauded the episode’s disaster film premise and the last scene showdown between Stan, Peter, and Cleveland. As Peter says in the end, this is “classic ‘American Dad!'”
10. The Unincludeds (Season 11, Episode 11)
Snot and Steve hold a party in “The Unincludeds” to raise their social standing. However, when wealthy versions of themselves return in time to warn them that their popularity may lead to less prosperous futures, they strive and fail miserably to look “lame” in the eyes of their peers.
The irony of “The Unincludeds” is that despite looking like uncomfortable nerds in almost every episode of “American Dad!” Steve and Snot can’t help but seem like “cool kids” next to their classmates.
“As goofy as all of this appears (and the ongoing future jokes keep things fun), it’s lovely to see this substantial question addressed as young kids try to navigate a difficult situation.
It’s an entertaining narrative that might stand alone as a solid episode, but the B-story is much better. The secondary history is around Roger’s petty attempts to retaliate against a server who did not appreciate his “excellent” dinner order. When he returns to the restaurant disguised and still doesn’t receive the reaction he wants, things get hot in Roger’s form.
9. Blood Crieth Unto Heaven (Season 8, Episode 10)
Another example of “American Dad!” lambasting genre conventions is the Season 8 episode “Blood Crieth Unto Heaven.” “Blood Crieth Unto Heaven,” written as though on the stage, is a dramatization about hidden secrets, forbidden loves, and terrible truths portrayed in the style of a 1950s stage play.
“Blood Crieth Unto Heaven” is an exercise in style that may not be the most laugh-out-loud hilarious episode. Still, it is one of the most memorable, delightful, and original “American Dad!” episodes.
There’s period garb, a string-heavy background soundtrack, faultless stage setup and transitions, outrageous performances, hard-hitting drama, narrative twists galore, and even a mouth introduction by a seasoned Shakespearean actor, Patrick Stewart (who, of course, voices Bullock).
“It may not have masonry gags, but it delivers an emotional punch inside technical skill, which may be more amazing at times,” the AV Club wrote in its assessment of the episode.
8. Great Space Roaster (Season 5, Episode 18)
There aren’t many TV programs where one of the notable characters is a close buddy one episode and a psychotic, homicidal killer the next – but Roger Smith isn’t your typical comedy character. Instead, Roger wants his family to roast him for his 1,601th birthday celebration in “Great Space Roaster,” only to threaten deadly retribution for their harsh words.
Roger’s vengeful personality has no limitations. In “Great Space Roaster,” we see him take extraordinary measures to make the family pay for jokes that he requests they give. It’s an event that highlights Roger’s sometimes contradictory demeanor, someone who can go from pleasant and good-natured to murderous, crazy, and wrathful in an instant.
The whole second part of the show also includes an amusing spoof of “Alien,” in which the Smiths attempt to escape Roger by propelling themselves into space. However, they soon realize that Roger is onboard their spaceship, preparing to eliminate them one by one.
7. Family Land (Season 9, Episode 10)
Have you ever envisioned a post-apocalyptic conflict contained within Disneyland? “Famiilyland,” one of the funniest “American Dad!” episodes, has the solution. When the inventor of a Disney-esque amusement park wakes from his cryogenically frozen form and cuts the place off from the world, the Smiths are split into warring groups.
The episode is a “Lord of the Flies” meets “Game of Thrones” mash-up set within a Disneyland knock-off, with MacFarlane and his writers brutally criticizing the animation behemoth and its theme park holdings. This was one of the absolute best American Dad episodes.
As caustic as the humor is and as vicious as the “Familyyland War” turns out to be, the show returns to Francine’s wish to have a lovely holiday with her family.
6. For Whom The Sleigh Bell Tolls (Season 6, Episode 8)
“For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls” is one of the Christmas-themed horror American Dad episodes, which opens when Steve accidentally shoots Santa as he assumes he is a mall Santa. So naturally, the family supports him in covering up the death.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that perhaps the Santa Steve shot was the genuine Santa Claus, who is still alive and out for vengeance on the Smiths.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” is a cross between “I Know What You Did Last Summer” & “300.” It combines humor with frightening scenes with the wicked Santa, and the episode’s last act’s violent climactic confrontation is one of the most pleasing “American Dad!” scenes ever. Behind it all is a more grounded narrative about Stan Smith, ultimately learning to welcome Jeff within his family, bringing a chapter to a close.
The evil Santa will indeed later show up in episodes such as “Minstrel Krampus,” “Ninety North, Zero West,” and “Santa, Schmanta,” though “For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls” remains his most memorable appearance.
5. Tearjerker (Season 3, Episode 10)
In Season 3’s “Tearjerker,” a spoof of the James Bond franchise, “American Dad!” tackles the espionage thriller genre. Outside the show’s usual timeline, the episode follows Stan as he moonlights to investigate the nefarious Tearjerker, a Blofeld-like figure “played” by Roger.
His diabolical objective is to create a sorrowful film that millions of people would cry themself to death while watching. The villain’s opulent lair, over-the-top scheme, and comically blatant innuendos allusions to vintage Bond films in “Tearjerker.”
The episode was well received by fans, earning “Tearjerker” an IMDb rating of 8.5 and spawning a sequel episode, Season 9’s “For Black Eyes Only.” It also demonstrated that “American Dad!” could parody several genres, laying the way for many of the programs on this list. “Many people think ‘Tearjerker,’ […] is among the show’s most pleasant attempts,” Den of Geek commented.
4. The Two Hundred (Season 11, Episode 10)
The showrunners of “American Dad!” mimicked the post-apocalyptic TV series “The 100” for the 200th episode; however, the visual style is more akin to “Mad Max.” In the ruins of Langley Falls, inhabited by cannibals, robbers, and a mysterious, murderous cult known only as The Two Hundred, Stan reflects on his mistakes as a parent and husband in the aftermath of a nuclear event that wiped out practically all life on Earth.
The entire episode is entertaining, but the discovery that the frightening Two Hundred are two hundred different versions of Roger Devise will stick with viewers the most. To no one’s surprise, it was Roger who accidentally wandered upon a particle collider that launched the catastrophe in the first place.
3. Rabbit Ears (Season 14, Episode 4)
Anyone who has watched “Rabbit Eats” understands that it is unlike any other “American Dad!” episode. The humor is noticeably toned down, with the writers concentrating on creating a tense, unsettling atmosphere.
Stan discovers an old TV during trash day and begins viewing it daily in the family’s basement, where he finds a program that has no history of ever being. He becomes captivated by the enigmatic show and is quickly dragged into the realm of black-and-white television.
2. Lost In Space (Season 8, Episode 18)
Roger’s decision to send Jeff into space after discovering the truth about his extraterrestrial status is probably the worst thing he has ever done. Jeff and Hayley’s divorce would endure two seasons, with numerous episodes devoted to the mental agony it brought her.
“Lost in Space” centers almost entirely on Jeff and his otherworldly experiences onboard a mall-like spacecraft populated by several alien civilizations and commanded by a bunch of enslavers.
In many respects, this episode feels like the pilot for a follow-up show featuring Jeff, which we’d happily watch. Jeff’s realization of how much he takes Hayley for trust is a powerful scene in and of itself.
1. Rapture’s Delight (Season 5, Episode 9)
“Rapture’s Delight,” one of the best American Dad episodes to date, combines everything viewers love about the show and more. Set during the Rapture, it follows a sad Stan, who discovers that he is not permitted to enter heaven and must remain on Earth with Francine.
Francine abandons him, feeling betrayed, for the freshly resurrected Christ, destined to confront the Antichrist even while approaching Armageddon, with humanity’s destiny coming to a close. “Rapture’s Delight” is pure post-apocalyptic entertainment, with violent sequences of demonic monsters attacking humans, corny ’80s action one-liners, and a Riddler-like Messiah performed by Andy Samberg’s shrieking voice.
The episode stands out as the finest in the series’ history due to its high production value and similarity to a hard-hitting apocalyptic film. It’s the highest-rated “American Dad!” episode on IMDb and received unanimous praise from TV reviewers.
“The way the program began as a very regular ‘American Dad!’ episode and then progressively became more and more bats*** nuts was worth it,” the AV Club remarked. “What other program would use an elaborate spoof of every post-apocalyptic movie ever produced combined with a very literal reading of the Book of Revelation to repair the marriage split between its two protagonists?”