American Dad Season 14 Episode 8
“When you’re married to a sexy man there’s always going to be some bush league snizz trying to storm the castle.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you checked your sensitivity at the gate for this one!
Boy, is it nice to have this twisted, dark show back in our lives. American Dad’s latest season has returned after its last new episode (which was wonderful, by the way) was four months ago. The show is also now airing at 10 p.m. versus it’s former 8:30 p.m. timeslot. Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been a new American Dad since December, but “Whole Slotta Love” is a strong return for the show.
The episode innocently begins with Francine having some suspicions regarding Stan’s new female work friend, Diane. The issue is a lot clearer to Francine after she ends up having a summit on the topic with Sharon, Caroline, and Connie (Britton), her best friends/war council. When it comes to matters like Stan spending too much time with a new woman at work, these three are irreplaceable.
The episode does some particularly smart work in regard to this material. Francine is able to get guidance from her “friends,” but we also learn that these people are just entirely hallucinations in Francine’s drunken head. It’s a twist that also jives with the series’ history that Francine is relatively friend-less and alone in this world. She’d probably be a whole lot less cagey if she had Connie Britton to bounce revenge plans off of. This isn’t just a gag for a laugh though, but rather a support system that Francine constantly returns to (and eventually grows out of) over the course of the episode. Klaus also happens to shine in his limited moments with Francine, but still manages to give himself more of a presence than Steve or Hayley this week.
Francine and Stan stories tend to connect well. This show knows how to do them effectively and this episode is aided by constant turns. Francine’s concerns about infidelity are instantly extinguished when she learns that Stan’s secret lover is actually the act of slot car racing. Along with Stan’s love for slot car racing comes a very childish attitude that results in Francine seeing Stan as somewhat undesirable. Francine tries to give Stan more of a sexual presence, attempting to unlock his inner Chris Hemsworth and burying his outer Elliot Hemsworth. It’s at this point though that she realizes that Stan does have women that think he’s sexy, they’re just a part of the slot community.
The whiplash nature of this storytelling puts Francine in a rather interesting place with this episode being a lot more about figuring her out than Stan needing to quit a new, silly habit. This story continues to play with misdirection right up until its resolution and while it’s no surprise that Stan and Francine’s status quo hasn’t been upended, it’s still satisfying right up until the end. Stan is also left in a broken puddle at the end of this episode, questioning why he loved slot car racing so much in the first place. So, kudos there.
The rest of the episode is dominated with the very satisfying Roger storyline. It’s the perfectly simple, ego-driven plots that are always the best for Roger. His latest persona has taken up employment as a flight attendant, but because he’s a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, the bulk of his duties revolve around how funny his airplane patter is for the passengers
This story is essentially just Roger feuding with Karen, a fellow flight attendant, who happens to have much more of a rapport with her passengers than Roger does. That’s all that there is to this half of the episode, but that’s far from a bad thing. My favorite Roger story in recent seasons has been his quest to get a waitress to acknowledge how good his restaurant order is, so this was right up my alley. Trying to predict the outrageous direction this basic story is going to go in is also half the fun here based on the radical character that the show has established Roger to be. I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if Roger crashed the plane and took out dozens of lives if it meant ruining one of Karen’s punchlines. The uncomfortable looks on the passengers’ faces as Roger is performing his “set” are a great touch. Natasha Leggero’s cadence here is also the perfect choice for Roger’s rival in air travel comedy (Paget Brewster also does some great work along the sidelines this episode too, as Diane).
This is also just one of those American Dad episodes with very funny dialogue that helps elevate a fairly normal installment into something higher. Elements like Stan’s constantly ripping pants (and his following instructions of what to do next), Snot’s stand-up routine, Klaus on steroids, or any of the background characters this week all excel. Very little dialogue is wasted in this one and it being easy for the material to pop so well when the episode’s digging into these characters’ basest traits. I also laughed far too hard when Roger and Francine’s stories ending up intersecting at the airport, but before they’re allowed to intermingle Roger shuts up a pleading Steve and tells him that Francine’s storyline doesn’t concern them.
Neither of “Whole Slotta Love’s” stories feel like they’re dragging. There is more than enough to keep this entry moving and entertaining. Even though Roger’s storyline ended virtually how I predicted that it would (minus the carnage), that doesn’t stop it from being satisfying. If anything, it acts as a testament to how well defined this character is by now. The final moments of his story are basically a Joker plotline ripped from Batman and put on screen, which is a fit that works so well I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before. “Whole Slotta Love” doesn’t reinvent American Dad or do anything particularly crazy, but it also doesn’t need to. It acts as a great example of what typical, normal entries of this show should look like.
Also, don’t forget to keep following the show’s airplane safety and gun leverage guidelines for air travel!