American Dad: LGBSteve Review

Hailey and Steve join a roller derby team and Stan and Francine kind of have a storyline in the latest American Dad...

“The roof protects the storms underneath from the world’s burgeoning woes.” 

It’s been a tortuous two months since the last American Dad, their Christmas episode, and while it’s wonderful to have the show back from its break, it’s a shame that the famine would have to be broken with such a lackluster effort.

“LGBSteve” sees Hailey longing for a sisterhood of her own that has each other’s backs, much like that of the Amazonians, and unlike what Klaus is capable of providing (unless he’s seen the whole incident, in which case, he’s not moving a fin). When Hailey watches the Langley Hot Broads working together in action, joining them seems like the logical outlet for her needs.

Meanwhile Stan and Francine are facing repair woes at the home. Stan isn’t helping with his solutions to these problems, like taking wood from the roof to fix the sink. All of a sudden a simple carpenter appears–“I’m a simple carpenter,” he tells us—and he starts to levitate and telekinesis his tools up towards him. It’s pretty clear that this is Jesus and immediately this B-story feels like it’s going to be the runaway story here… It’s not. We see the carpenter/Jesus using more and more of his magic to bend the universe to his will as Stan and Francine are unimpressed until…that’s about it. There isn’t really an explanation or even an ending to any of this. What could have been a fascinating, bizarre plot, ends up being barely anything at all.

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Similarly, Roger is squandered as he seems to be running the roller derby for whatever reason that isn’t worth questioning. He bullies the children who use his claw machine, pep talks the derby term and acts ornery in general, but it doesn’t amount to much more than that. It really just feels like they needed something for Roger to do, and they were already at a roller derby and doesn’t Roger look good in a big blonde wig? Even just having Roger have put some money on the Hot Broads would have given a little more urgency to his character.

Back to the main story, Hailey’s body isn’t taking to roller derby, but naturally the aerobatic Steve is killing it. A desperate Hailey who is still eager to fit in concocts a standard sitcom scheme that sees Steve pretending to be a female so he can be on the derby team and take Hailey along with him. 

This isn’t ridiculous as it all seems, considering Steve pretending to be a girl (Stevie Wonderbra is his team name, with Hailey getting the much less eloquent, @8?47QQ#) means he gets to get bounced and trounced amongst other girls, “which is how the game is played,” Steve reiterates. What helps this storyline out a little bit is how Steve isn’t dressing up as a female at all rather than the bra and garters he is wearing. It’s great that Steve’s present appearance could pass for a butch female much more easily than the show trying to dress him up as one, and makes this more palatable.

What makes this even more palatable is the reveal that the entire team knew the whole time that Stevie was Steve, but instead think of him as a female trapped in a male’s body. As they break Steve down further, it begins to make sense that he could be a girl trapped in a boy’s body (but of course isn’t). It’s a solid spin to all of this though and makes this Bosom Buddies kind of ridiculousness less so. There’s a nice, sensible added sequence where Roger attempts to help Steve sort out his gender identity issues with a bunch of costumes and rituals. Unsurprisingly, he comes to the conclusion that you’d expect him to, even if Roger has a dick remover at the ready.

What perhaps isn’t needed here is the musical number that Steve and Hailey break into over their identity crises. It’s a perfectly nice number, but hardly feels necessary and isn’t their best work. It kind of just hangs, if anything. Which is sort of how this episode feels overall. American Dad is always doing challenging, exciting new things, and Steve and Hailey in a roller derby isn’t even exactly a bad plot per se, but hopefully next week the team will be more on the ball and having this show back will be worth it.

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2.5 out of 5