American Dad “Wheels and The Legman and The Case of Grandpa’s Key” Review

“Wheels and The Legman” have been featured in quite a few episodes of American Dad, but as far as I can recall, “Wheels and The Legman and The Case of Grandpa’s Key” is the first time that Roger and Steve’s alternate detective hero personas have been the core of an entire episode.

To commemorate this occasion, I had hoped American Dad might replace their standard opening theme with an extended rendition of Steve and Roger’s hilariously vocalized “Wheels and The Legman” theme song, but unfortunately it was not in the episode at all.

Roger and Steve had a rather professional set up for Wheels and The Legman in the Smith’s garage. Having Roger’s teddy bear, Theodore Bonkers, as the receptionist reminded me of that Family Guy episode, “Model Misbehavior,” where Stewie had set up an office in his nursery and employed Brian and his teddy bear, Rupert, in a pyramid scheme. Roger and Stewie both talked to their teddy bears as if they were actually participating in the business and capable of carrying out physical tasks. I felt as though I had seen this bit done before (and voiced by the same person) so most of gags related to the teddy bear fell flat for me.

Taking advantage of Steve’s inability to deliver bad news assertively, Stan squeezed his way into Wheel and The Legman’s detective agency to quell his boredom. Taking on the persona of “Poppa Wheelie,” Stan somehow becomes even more annoying and obnoxious than he normally is. Roger can only handle Stan’s incompetence for a short while before he demands that Steve take care of the Poppa Wheelie problem by firing him.

Once again, Steve couldn’t face the difficult task of delivering bad news to his father, so he made up a top secret assignment for Stan hoping that it would keep him out of the way of Wheels and The Legman as they continued with business.

In reality, Stan was well aware of the fact that Steve had been trying to fire him. To keep himself involved in their activities, he set up an elaborate kidnapping hoax and pinned the blame on a psychotic Theodore Bonkers. Steve, frustrated by the fact that Roger had been treating a stuffed animal as if it were alive, snapped and told Roger that the bear wasn’t alive and couldn’t have been responsible for the kidnapping.

Even if Roger didn’t believe the truth about Theodore Bonkers, this moment struck a chord with Steve and he begun asserting himself with confidence. Steve’s last declaration to Dane Cook, “I don’t care what every single person on Earth says… you are hilarious” was a great little twist, as I’m sure most of us expected that he would have told Dane Cook something quite different.

Klaus had a little subplot where he had been trying to get his photo featured on a cute pet pics website to prove that he was a cute pet. Haley and Francine helped him have professional photos taken and submitted online only to be beat out by Roger’s scanned rump (which was hilariously described as a “baby hippo butt.”) Personally, I thought Klaus’ Japanese school girl look was a pretty solid submission.

“Wheels and The Legman and The Case of Grandpa’s Key” successfully moved Roger and Steve’s alternate personas into a standard American Dad plot which made it possible for them sustain an entire A-story plot without turning into a pure detective parody. Overall, I thought this was a well done episode of American Dad and I welcome the return of Wheels and The Legman in future episodes.

  • Grifftrain2000

    I loved this episode. I did like the teddy bonkers angle. It may have been done before, but I thought roger treating bonkers as real was funny. I would love to see more wheels and the legman