“So what if he’s married! I’m married, but Jeff is in space.”
Hailey episodes of American Dad are always a mixed bag. She’s been a fairly stagnant and neglected character throughout the show’s run, but still holds a very crucial role in it all. Fortunately, this episode ends up being a fairly decent, fresh take on a Hailey story. We see her at first off to a rocky start, assaulting and robbing her drug dealer for an ounce of weed and then not shortly after diving off a bridge and staying underwater for five minutes to evade him. She views this as her best day ever (“Winnah winnah, weed for dinnah!”), whereas Roger and Klaus (who are not always the best judges of character) think she’s bottoming out. Enter Roger as a life coach, Arbuckle T. Boone (not Lavar Crush, Lavar Crush is shit), to get Hailey a corporate America job–and a minimum wage one, no less!–and back on track.
Hailey continues to follow Boone/Roger’s three-step system (get a job; get a man; then get a baby with that man so you can ditch that job) as her life starts to come together, with Klaus acting as a very active audience in the matter. She begins to master the ins and outs at Businesscorp Industries Corp. Incorporated, like that everyone hates Andrew and that the boss is big on banana chips. So it’s only a matter of time until Hailey begins getting closer with the office hunk, Ax Jenkins, ready to seal the deal on her perfect life, until she learns that Ax is married.
Watching Roger, Hailey, and Klaus beat around this issue is pretty engaging, and as outlandish as this plot is, there’s a real emotional core to Hailey’s situation that’s absolutely felt. Roger is largely just playing around with Hailey’s life, but she really would like to find love. At the same time, she does have a husband who she does love, he’s only lot in space with the ghost of Sinbad, somewhere. The show tries to have Hailey navigate through this as responsibly as possible, discussing the pros and cons of sleeping with a married man. It’s actually pretty refreshing. The discussion even leads to a very welcome Klaus-as-a-human flashback about love lost and infidelity that also helps add to the pathos and emotion bubbling behind this one.
Despite Hailey’s scruples, the sexual tension and trust spitting exercises Hailey and Ax do together begin to become too much, until the fairly brilliant twist is turned to that Ax’s wife is Rosaline. Or rather, Roger in the persona of Rosaline, a Bettie Page-looking woman (as Ax’s tattoo on his crotch would indicate; at least before her “accident”). The fact that all of this has in the end been apart of one macro-scheme by Roger is just perfect. He plays Hailey in one direction and Ax in the other, as he dovetails their lives beautifully in a way where he gains the most that he possibly can. This season has been light on classic Roger material, but this is certainly up there, as is the constant costume use we see through the episode.
On the other side of the Smith family, Steve and Francine are off to a mother/son dance apparently, with Stan acting as chaperone. This results in Steve getting jealous that Stan had sex with Francine that night—effectively stealing his date—in a pretty ridiculous plot that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What was Steve expecting here? Maybe if we had a little more details on this dance in question we’d have a better idea, but this story moves around largely in the background and it’s to its detriment. The whole thing is baffling and the two scenes we get on the matter pretty much repeat themselves. Even Klaus’ story that he tells, combined with his tag at the end of the episode show a fuller story. The show has done a pretty uneven job at balancing plots lately, with the B-stories barely being much of anything at all. I’m not really sure what’s going on here with the show, but hopefully it’ll smooth itself out soon. Or they’ll reveal Stan’s tumor. One or the other.
This isn’t the best that American Dad has to offer, but half of it is a very solid episode. There’s still much of this season to go, which includes another “Legs and Wheel Man” entry as well as the series’ 200th episode, so the best is yet to come. Let’s just work out those kinks in the mean time. Are these guys using Lavar Crush as their life coaches or something?