American Dad Season 8 Review “Spelling Bee My Baby”

It’s clear that “Spelling Bee My Baby” was written during the “Tiger Mom” frenzy of the news cycle. And while it’s fun watching Francine go (suddenly) bananas over Steve’s chances at college acceptance, Mrs. Yoshida is pretty much just a caricature for the entire episode, and a bit of an uncomfortable one at that. Does she have to also be a ninja, American Dad? It’s not all that clever, and I didn’t really laugh at it, especially not the climactic sword fight. Also, why weren’t Francine’s Chinese parents brought in earlier? I’m not sure. At the very least, Francine’s off-the-cuff confession (“I put her in a cage”) made me laugh, so this whole thing wasn’t meaningless.

It would have been smart, though, to use that whole conflict as a way to set up a Romeo and Juliet for Steve and Akiko, but that’s only really played with for a few scenes, one of which is a montage of pictures from the internet. Which, did that work for any of you? It didn’t for me. American Dad has made these kind of fourth-wall-breaking gimmicks its calling card, in a way, but this one felt especially lazy.

On the other side of the episode, Hayley is still dealing with the fallout from Jeff being abducted by aliens, in a surprising and nice nod to continuity. It’s clear now that Jeff’s plot is going to span a few episodes, a thing the show likes to do from time to time, and I’m glad for it, if only because it gives Roger something to do besides being every week’s new guest star. His line “I’m sure by now he’s been dissected for science… or for fun. It’s pretty fun.” was one of the best of the night, and him showing up as the fat Hawaiian guy (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole) who does the cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” you’ve heard over a thousand sappy slideshows was pretty great too. This half of “Spelling Bee My Baby” is American Dad playing to its strengths, and I wish it had been the main plot of this episode, to be honest.

  • Whitney

    I swear we’re on Season 9 now :s

  • Tonetare

    American Dad constantly reinforces why they are the best television show on the air, such as with yesterday’s ep!
    AND ROFLMFAO! Author, Whitney is right that this is season 9, not 8. lol! But other than that, I thought this was actually a good analysis of the episode. In my personal opinion, Frannie and as usual Roger and the continuity made this a strong episode. Though it’s hard for me not to be biased as American Dad is my all-time favorite show, but I’ll try to be fair.
    When you criticized Mrs. Yoshida as being uncomfortable, are you stating this because the show attacked Asians? I’m black and ironically enough I embrace it when American Dad makes fun of black people. It’s really weird because outside of American Dad, I’m not keen on anti-black humor (I think Lisa Lampanelli is disgusting and unfunny). But it’s just when American Dad does it, it’s always irresistibly funny, I can’t help but laugh. Heck, American Dad has me begging for more anti-black jokes half the time, especially when Stan and especially Roger have anything to do with it. LOL! Though I also love Steve’s inner blackness. With that said, I actually enjoyed the parody of Asian movies when Francine and Mrs. Yoshida supernaturally went airborne. LOL!
    The continuity of Jeff being gone was brilliance at his best. Already Jeff has been raped, stolen money out of by Roger, and kicked into an entirely different universe. I can only expect his character to comeback with an absolute vengeance. I hope this is turned into an all out feud between Jeff and Roger that spans over several episodes whenever he comes back. A feud with Roger’s craziness will be brilliant. I also expect to see a deeper and darker Jeff for the offense. Or who knows? Maybe Jeff will find he liked it on Roger’s planet?! You can never predict what happens next with American Dad so I will be waiting anxiously.
    Roger’s latest disguise of putting on 400 pounds was priceless. I also liked Fran getting in touch with her diabolical side that comes out every now and then. Good match versus Toshi’s crazy strict mother.