American Dad has restored faith in its ability to get a laugh with its latest episode, ‘Family Plan.’ It’s an especially encouraging episode, after the last two – ‘The Life and Times of Stan Smith‘ and ‘The Bitchin’ Race‘ failed to garner many chuckles. Considering this episode’s director, Chris Bennett, has directed some of the series’ best (‘My Morning Straitjacket,’ ‘Hot Water,’ among others) it shows that American Dad is at its best when it sticks to the formula that has worked for over ten seasons.
The Smith’s attend the wedding of their Evil Doctor Kalgary, and the endearing misfit Billy makes an appearance as well as the ring-bearer. This episode features other throwbacks to previous episodes, and fans of the series will enjoy the sense of nostalgia. The wedding makes Francine want more family time, and so Hayley encourages her to go to the adoption center and find her parents.
Archetypal dumb blonde Francine instead adopts an Angelina Jolie amount of children, each with hilarious names, including He Who Shall Not Be Named, Baby-oncé, and, simply, Amy Schumer. Francine returns to the adoption agency and gets the phone number of her birth parents, who fans may remember from an early season when Stan visited them.
Francine is invited to a family reunion, where she finds out that her mother has committed suicide. The rest of the family are rich and snobby, and so the rest of the Smiths want to leave. Francine refuses, and so Steve, Hayley and Stan decide to go home. What about Roger, though? In one of the most hilarious characters Roger has been in a while, it’s revealed that he’s been Francine’s fathers cat, Marmalade, for years. Roger is committed to his duties as the family cat, and it honestly elevates this episode from being funny to outright hysterical.
With the entire family present, Francine’s father takes the time to enact revenge on everyone for using too much mobile data. (Why else?) How does he opt to solve this problem? A fight to the death, of course. The entire family begins murdering each other, and Francine has to run for her life. She later works with Roger as Marmalade and her cousin Janet, an Avon representative, to stay alive.
This episode has its strengths, and it’s hard not to notice that this is an episode where my problems with the past few episodes have been addressed. Groanworthy Klaus makes a very brief appearance, where he makes a terrible joke (so terrible that Roger throws a banana at him.) That’s just the right amount of Klaus for one episode. The episode also doesn’t rely on jock humor, even though it does flirt with it — there’s lots of violence and murder made humorous, and Roger quite often gets a laugh via cat excrement jokes. These things are fine, in small doses, but the last few episodes depended on them.
It’s refreshing and reassuring to know that American Dad hasn’t completely lost its way, and ‘Family Plan’ will hopefully be the first of a true return to form for the rest of this season. What were your thoughts on the episode? Leave a comment below!