American Dad Season 8 Premiere Review “Love, AD Style”

“Love, AD Style” is a perfect way for American Dad to start a new season. It’s absurd in premise, but intently focused, and not lacking for the kind of jokes that made me love the show in the first place.

Roger is opening a lounge in the Smith family attic, which no one thinks is weird, but attendance is dismal, and his perfectly-douchily-facial-haired lounge owner alter ego decides its because he needs entertainment. At one point, he angrily insists that he didn’t write “City Slickers” with Babaloo Mandel for nothing, which means that this is Roger’s version of Lowell Ganz, which is exactly the kind of super-targeted, out of nowhere kind of writing I’ve come to expect from this show. And, even if you aren’t aware of the famous Hollywood writing duo, at least “Babaloo” sounds funny. It’s a win-win.

The core of the episode turns on a completely ludicrous development. As Hayley finishes her rendition of “Makin’ Whoopee,” Roger realizes he’s in love with her, to the point of obsession. After a short time trying to distract himself with new hobbies (he stitches a wall hanging of himself, in full English riding regalia, mounting Hayley like a horse), the show takes a horror-movie turn, ending with Roger wearing a skin-suit made from Hayley’s husband.

That the last image of the episode is a bloody, skinless thumbs up from Jeff shouldn’t really be a surprise from American Dad. It’s a show that’s clearly not afraid of taking a turn for the dark. Nor is it afraid of lightening up that dark with a few absurd little jokes. Roger’s statement after putting on the skin-suit that he can’t take off his hat because he’s “got everything held together up there with a chip clip” was the biggest laugh line of the night for me.

Oh, that’s right. There was a B-plot here too, with Stan trying to sell his old car in exchange for a new “COK Guzzler.” Most of this didn’t do much for me, until it rose to the insanity level of the main plot when a bikini-clad car-show model ended up trapped inside a burning SUV with a lion. There was some great animation there, when the lion flopped out of the car window, beat up and exhausted, then instantly pounced on the girl who was trying to crawl away. It was all a little morbid, but enjoyably so, and I appreciate the show’s willingness to go for it in the way it does.

Not being a huge Seth MacFarlane, personally, I never had terribly high hopes for American Dad, but after 7 seasons, it’s won over my heart. Nowhere else could I get an entire episode based around a pudgy gray Paul Lynde alien falling in love with, and then shooting, his surrogate sister. And no other show would shrug the whole thing off with same kind of flippant, “eh, I’ve changed my mind” ending that American Dad did. So let’s hope the eighth season only gets weirder from here.