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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show spoofs the traditional American family by pushing the envelope with edgy humor. It pokes fun at issues like racial equality and political activism. Gender roles within the home are very traditional, with the wife tending to the house and the husband earning the paycheck. The show makes no attempt to reflect reality.
Positive Role Models
Stan's staunchly conservative and patriarchal view of the world often leads to some questionable parenting choices. Francine often comes across as a ditzy housewife. Despite their dysfunctional way of dealing with things, the family members do care about each other, but it's their differences that inspire the show's comedy.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of fantasy violence (people being punched and hit with bats, bloody gunshot wounds, a man is hit by a car and limps away with severe bleeding and a broken leg, etc.). Stan carries a gun and often pulls it out to threaten people (including his teenage kids).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent raunchy humor, including lewd references to breasts and other body parts. Characters (especially Stan) are shown taking off their pants, in their underwear, and having sex under the covers. Condoms are also discussed, there are references to "getting boob," masturbation, and boners. Women often wear cleavage-revealing clothes.
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"Damn," "hell," "bitch," "ass," and "slut," are frequent. Stronger language like "s--t" and "f--k" is bleeped.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters, including teenagers, are shown drinking beer and shots, and sometimes throwing up from it. Roger the Alien likes to drink excessively. Cigarette and marijuana smoking is sometimes visible, and drug use like huffing fumes is part of some stories.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated comedy from the creator of the cult hit Family Guy relies on sexual humor, fantasy violence, strong language, and general absurdity to get laughs. Many of the jokes come at the expense of the show's lead character, a right-wing conservative C.I.A. agent who's emotionally disconnected from his family and his work. Drinking, smoking, drug use, domestic violence, the socioeconomic divide, racial inequality -- all are fair game for the humor pool in this parody of modern American life. Needless to say, little about this series attempts to reflect reality, but adults will get some knowing chuckles over the way the show thumbs its figurative nose at the state of American politics and the economy, as well as the inner workings of a family of vastly different personalities.
Is It Any Good?
Like its sister series Family Guy, American Dad combines edgy humor and fantasy to poke fun at today's contemporary family and, by association, the state of American society. Stan is stereotypically, supremely conservative, from the knot of his tie to the gun he packs inside his suit, and what happens when his staunchness collides with a differing point of view is explosive. Issues like patriotism, generational divide, political activism, and traditional gender roles are addressed here, all with more fantasy than reality, but enough of the latter to touch a nerve with some grown-ups.
This is one of those instances in which the show's animated style gives a false impression of its appropriateness for kids. Sexual content, violence, and language push the envelope on acceptability, making it a less-than-ideal choice for tweens and young teens. Older ones probably can handle what the series dishes out, but since the comedy is so rooted in satirizing Stan's life, adults are the only ones who will truly get the humor and appreciate the pop culture references and the rare occurrence of a tender moment among sparring family members.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.