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DVD Review: American Dad! Volume 5

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Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad! has been a part of FOX’s Sunday night animation block since its inception in 2005. The show centers on ultra-right wing CIA agent Stan Smith and his family. Wife Francine is a bit of an airhead, while his two children try his patience constantly. Young son Steve is a middle-school nerd, while college-age daughter Hayley is a total liberal. The funniest characters are both CIA related: Roger is an alien, rescued from Area 51, and Klaus is a goldfish that has traded brains with an East German Olympic skier.

With MacFarlane’s hit Family Guy providing the lead-in, the show has done very well, and has now been picked up for a sixth season. The latest DVD release, American Dad! Volume 5, is a three-DVD set containing the final fourteen episodes of season four. Revenge is the theme of many of these episodes, and it is served up in a variety of ways.

The first episode of the set is a great example of why people like this series so much. “Phantom Of The Telethon” finds the CIA running out of funds to sponsor torture — thanks to those damned Democrats using the money to teach inner city kids to read. This is an unacceptable situation for Stan, and he immediately tries to come up with a way to raise torture dollars. When Roger suggests a telethon, Stan claims the idea as his own, which incenses the alien. Roger retaliates by hilariously terrorizing Stan during the telethon.

Most of the revenge is directed towards Stan, thanks to his oafish behavior. Francine gets more than a little annoyed when Stan tells her he has a “back-up” wife lined up in the event of her death. Then there is Steve’s anger stemming from the iron maiden-type of device he is supposed to wear to treat his scoliosis. In this episode it is revealed that Stan is actually bald and has been wearing a toupee’ all this time. Stan makes a deal with his son to get him to wear the device; he will forgo his wig in order to encourage Steve to wear the brace. Of course, Stan immediately reneges on his part and gets caught.

Besides the revenge plots, there are some hysterical lines. When Stan is a little late for dinner he explains, “I farted in the driveway and just wanted to enjoy it for a while.”

His description of Two And A Half Men is probably the most accurate one ever, “Charlie Sheen sleeps with whores then has breakfast with a fat kid.”

All of the episodes feature a commentary track, and there are also a number of deleted scenes included. The other notable extra is “The Power Hour Drinking Game.” The game features an hour of clips from the show, interspersed with about sixty inserts reading “Take a shot!” I guarantee anyone who plays this game will be wasted at the end.

American Dad! Volume 5 is uncensored, so let the buyer beware. The level of language is never really that bad; it is the subject matter that makes this one inappropriate for little kids. For overgrown juveniles like myself, however, American Dad! is perfect.

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About Greg Barbrick