This American Dad review contains spoilers.
American Dad Season 13 Episode 4
“The Smiths are going to the art museum!…And that includes me.”
Let me just say that in this episode, within seven minutes Roger has played three different personae, two of which are named Potato Monticello and Rusty Buntifolio. So that’s the level of reckless abandon that this episode operates at.
Steve Hely’s script nails it. There is not a single line of wasted dialogue. Even the little things pop and I found myself laughing out loud a lot throughout this one. It’s definitely the strongest episode of the season so far.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Principal Lewis also owns an aquarium store. Or rather, aquarium store owner Lewis is also a principal. Times are tough.
I’m a big supporter of Francine episodes. When I heard the plot of this entry deals with a painting of Francine’s genitals being shared through an art museum, I couldn’t help but think of “When a Stan Loves a Woman” with Francine’s sex garden. I had high hopes that this episode might follow in the same tradition, but it’s in fact much more focused on Stan. We see him go through the grief of dealing with this painting of his wife in several different ways, all of which deliver. This innocent trip to the art museum sees Jasperterian’s “Portrait of Francine’s Genitals” slowly taking over Stan’s mind.
I’ve also got to hand it to this show. I was pretty positive that Roger was going to end up being the artist that he was going on so much about, Reynolds Jasperterian. So when Hayley and Roger have a conversation discussing exactly that and are as shocked as I was over the fact that it’s not him, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. That’s exactly how you subvert a gag like this after countless combinations at this point.
Stan’s obsession with Jasperterian’s painting, as well as his accompanying embarrassment on the issue, culminates in him deciding to steal the painting by pulling off an elaborate art heist alongside one of Roger’s alter egos, Potato Monticello. Naturally the two of them need to put together the perfect team to pull off this heist, so filling out their posse as well as Roger making a number of art jokes takes up a hearty chunk of the second act. Each of the members that fill out their team do have humorously specific specialties, not to mention downfalls that Roger makes abundantly clear (“It’s one night. You’ll survive.”).
Meanwhile, Stan isn’t the only one obsessed with this painting of Francine. Steve is also having a difficult time getting the piece of art out of his frail mind, which is what his addition to the episode occupies itself with. Steve decides to take up the hobby of “helping people” because his old hobby, masturbating, is ruined after getting a load of Jasperterian’s take on his mother. There’s not much to this one and it really just feels like an excuse to invite more Oedipal territory between Steve and Francine, but it does get Jeff involved in the mix, which is never a bad thing.
This episode’s strongest asset lies in the fact that its plot never stops moving. After Stan’s unsuccessful robbery attempt, he finds himself in yet another new position in relation to the painting. It’s a much smarter approach than if Stan was purely sticking to one plan that was elongated to fit the whole episode. The hectic pacing works, and once again a witty script that thoroughly gets these characters continually does a great job here.
As matters in the episode begin to wrap up, the moral of the story is very nearly that drug dealers solve everything, but then there’s one last stinger of a joke that leaves Stan hanging and closes out the episode. Even still, there’s also a message about art and expressing yourself that’s buried under everything else, so there’s even something being said here, too. Not bad for an episode all about Francine’s vagina.
Also, I was laughing hard at that Rusty Buntifolio and Klaus mini-play that was happening off-camera. Could have watched a whole episode of that.