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Recap: American Dad – ‘The Talented Mr. Dingleberry’

Roger is a ventriloquist doll — NOT a dummy — in hilarious new episode.

Roger is back to his crazy ways in this week’s fantastic American Dad episode ‘The Talented Mr. Dingleberry.’ To help Steve win the school talent show, Roger pretends to be his marionette (don’t you dare call him a dummy!) Hilarity ensues.

Trust Roger to have an evil marionette persona. When Steve secures his place in the talent show thanks to Roger, it’s no surprise that Roger’s ‘Mr. Dingleberry’ wants to win this show at all costs. And, of course, Roger is committed to his bit as ever. Even when he’s got the other contenders alone, ready to injure them beyond being able to compete, he stays in character as the ventriloquist doll, falling lifeless when anyone looks at him like he’s in Toy Story.

One of the funniest moments on American Dad in a while comes when Principal Lewis finds Mr. Dingleberry, lifeless, and returns him to Steve. He asks where Steve even puts his hand to make the puppet move, and the scene cuts to Roger’s lifeless face. As Principal Lewis says he ‘found’ the hole, Roger’s face makes the most hilarious relieved sigh. Of all the characters on American Dad, Roger is the only one that can consistently get a laugh without saying a word.

Steve eventually learns that the face paint Roger uses to appear wooden causes him to become crazy and murderous — something that has happened in the past when Roger was Mr. Dingleberry with his former partner on Hollywood Squares before killing the other celebrities. By the time Steve does the math, Roger has him sedated and helpless. The two perform their act (with Roger making an abundance of ‘wood’ related jokes.) Roger makes a good point when explaining his motives for injuring the other contestants: he was only acting on Steve’s inner desires to win at all costs.

The alternate story this week features Francine dealing with her allergies. Ever eco-friendly, Hayley suggest honey to help, which results in her and Stan going into the honey business. Of course, Stan has to ruin it by placing ‘jock’ wasps in with the ‘nerd’ bees, resulting in total destruction. Before they head off to Steve’s talent show, Francine gets stung by a wasp and has an allergic reaction. The show usually treats Francine better than this, and the fact that she was relegated to Klaus levels of disdain this week was a refreshing change (although you actually feel sorry for Francine, but never Klaus!)

While Francine is going into shock in the audience, Snot is about to give Steve and Roger’s act a run for its money. He plans to be an escape artist (something previously referenced in the episode when he shockingly and disgustingly pulls a bobby pin out of his eye. What the…?!) Roger takes it into his own hands to deal with Snot, sneaking up behind him as he’s performing and placing a broom handle in the way of the lid to his tank, making it so that Snot cannot escape.

By this time, Steve’s beginning to come out from sedation. His legs are still paralyzed, but he does his best to save Snot. Snot is beginning to drown when Steve confronts Roger, who has a prop gun. Steve calls Roger a dummy, inciting the alien into shooting Steve in the shoulder. The bullet pierces Steve’s body and then hits Snot’s water tank, causing the sides to give in and saving Snot’s life. Steve really would take a bullet for Snot. Damn!

The splash of the water hits Roger in the face, washing away his wooden makeup and making him wakeup from his trancelike murderous state as Mr. Dingleberry. Back home, Roger flips through his scrapbook, realizing the crimes he committed as Mr. Dingleberry and why he gave the character up in the first place. He places the wood makeup back in his closet with a note on it reminding him not to use it. The episode ends with the note falling off, landing among a plethora of other notes that let us know there’s plenty more of Roger’s personas that should be abandoned but are likely to be wreaking havoc in episodes to come. And here’s hoping! This episode was a breath of fresh air for the otherwise stale season.

Next week’s season finale, ‘West to Mexico’ finds Stan being hunted by bounty-hunter Roger in what will hopefully be a hilarious conclusion. Tune in next week for a recap and share your thoughts on this episode in the comments section!

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Written by Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the creator and editor of POParazzi. He works primarily in Washington, DC. You can contact him at sam@poparazzi.org and visit his portfolio at sam-bennett.com.

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