Zippy writing, lovable characters, and a keen sense of absurdity distinguish this sitcom from a bumper crop of other "high school is sooooo awkward!" comedies which all blend together. And like sitcoms with similar settings, Chad does share some tropes. The high school where most of the action happens is inhabited by polarized cool kids and very-much-not-cool kids; Chad himself is an awkward freshman trying to pass himself off as a smooth upperclassman; there are unrealistically huge parties, unrealistically old classmates, and so on. Even the idea of an adult playing a goofy adolescent isn't new; PEN15, please report to the principal's office.
So it's not fresh, but Chad is fun enough that it charms anyway, mostly because of the loopy gags that play out unacknowledged by the cast. When Chad agrees to meet a scary goth girl behind the school, he walks nervously past trash can fires and discarded couches. Why's the goth girl so scary? Chad tells his mom that she doesn't come to class with a backpack, just a broken pencil and ripped piece of paper. Chad's best friend Peter wears a pair of leather shorts to school. They're his mom's, he explains; his dad's clothes are too small for him. "Stop wearing your parents' clothes!" Chad rants at him. "You're your own boy, Peter." Chad is a gruff, unpleasant teenage boy (trapped in the body of a generation-older woman in funny fake eyebrows), but with relatable people surrounding him like Peter, Chad's understanding mom, and gentle Uncle Hamid, it's easy to care about what happens to him, and everyone on this eccentric semi-gem of a comedy.