American Dad: Ciapow Review

Stan sets out to prove that man is better than machine and the rest of the Smiths do a slow motion race. That’s right...

I’ve always been good at moving in slowwwww moootionnnn.”

We’re back with more American Dad on TBS, and if you had any reservations with last week’s return, this episode feels like vintage Dad and has al the rhythms that the show is known for. One difference though is It seems that TBS’ run of American Dad is sticking with these cold opens, which is absolutely fine by me, and it’s not even the first time the show has employed them. So far they’ve always just been the first piece of the post-credits scene and more than anything it feels like a cold open was just created and inserted out of these openings scenes, which will always end up feeling kind of awkward (which has been the case for these first two episodes). This is a beyond stupid thing to be criticizing the episode for, it just feels like it’s worth addressing.

The episode starts off quite bubbly in Thailand of all places, with Stan completing a mission to take out the vain king of the country, only for a drone to complete the mission while Stan and co are too busy posing to look cool for it. And it’s as simple as that that we have our Stan vs. robots storyline. This is a strong plot and something that’s even come up before in “May the Best Stan Win” where Stan actually had to prove that he was better than a robot counterpart of himself.

Bullock explains that people make mistakes but robots don’t make mistakes, and even when Stan brings up Herbie Goes Bananas as an example of robots messing up, Bullock is quick to recite the film’s plot, proving Stan wrong. It’s this sort of behavior that has Bullock slowly turning himself into a robot in order to please his robotic Papa Gepetto (which ends up even being plot-centric in the end).

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Back home we’re treated to an even stronger, more ridiculous b-story in which the rest of the Smiths are competing in a slow motion race trough the living room, something that could easily be the stupidest or best plot the show has ever done. Even Klaus is taking part, moving in slow motion in his fish bowl. Although he’s almost immediately eliminated…

If this slow motion race wasn’t enough of an exercise in plot, it’s prompted by Steve and Hailey arguing over who can do more of doing nothing. It’s fantastic. There’s some really brilliant stuff is done with this, such as the idea of Roger tripping Hailey, his act of poor sportsmanship happening in incredibly slow motion, Hailey still unable to avoid it.

Back in Thailand, Stan comes up with the idea of stealing the King of Thailand’s jewel encrusted inhaler (dude’s got asthma)—something a drone could never do—to prove to Bullock the worth of man. Stan’s team isn’t the greatest though, with Jackson wanting to go into paintings, and Dick having an incredibly hard time getting a smartphone to take a picture of the King. In the end they all end up proving their worth and showing their skills as they manage to escape from prison to safety.

If anyone had any doubt that this show was still just as sharp post-FOX, this episode should assuage those fears, as those tons of bizarre, wonderful jokes going on here, like the actual secret tunnel to safety offered up to Stan and company when they need it, the Thai government leader’s menagerie of pet yaks (in case you were wondering, he does consider “Maniac” to be a good yak name), or cutting to Francine and the rest of the Smiths back home barely moving as we cut back to a fast-paced action set piece with Stan, both of them still in races.

It’s such a beautiful, purely American Dad joke to get what at first feels like absurd, but legitimate product placement and the show adding on, “That plug’s on us, BK!” But then you realize this is in fact a much bigger thing even, as this thread continues on, harping on the company to in turn show them some support back. It’s bizarre, great stuff.

Stan and the gang get captured by the Thailand government and they try to Argo their way out of the super futuristic Thai prison to no avail. In the end they of course get out, being rescued by a man-robot hybrid, which is really the perfect sort of resolution to this. Everyone wins. Man must become machine, otherwise our life is just one big slow motion race.

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4 out of 5