This American Dad review contains spoilers.
American Dad Season 16 Episode 10
“Jeff, I want to thank you for Hayley making you do this.”
American Dad is full of a lot of volatile personalities. There are certainly absurd characters on this program, but even the meeker individuals have triggers that can turn them into crazy versions of themselves under the right circumstances. Characters like Roger can be set off by something like alcohol, but Francine is consistently repressed into her housewife role. “Wild Women Do” explores who Francine really is underneath all of the micromanagement, but it also brings to light that Jeff might not be all that different either.
“Wild Women Do” begins with Stan receiving exciting news that he’s been admitted to the prestigious Shaquille O’Neal Sleep Apnea Center in order to treat his debilitating sleeping disorder. While that could easily be an episode in itself, Stan’s absence instead leaves Francine vulnerable on her much needed monthly night out. With Stan unavailable, Jeff finds himself shuffled into the role of Francine’s company for the night and winds up on a crazy evening that spirals out of control. This setup works particularly well because the episode finds one of those few character combinations in the series that really hasn’t been experimented with yet: Jeff and Francine. Clueless Jeff’s attempts to keep up with and rein in a wild Francine are particularly satisfying.
Even though “Wild Women Do” centers on Francine’s outrageous impulses, it’s also a showcase of why Jeff is such a rewarding character. Stan may be absent for much of the installment, but his scene with Jeff where he struggles to explain to him Francine’s needs and what’s required of him is excellent. The fact that he has an explicit “metaphor corner” in his office to help prove his point and Jeff still fully can’t connect the dots here is exactly why this story is such a success. He brings results regardless of who he’s with.
This season, Jeff has had to make sense of Hayley’s crazier impulses, but here he learns that Francine operates on a whole other level. Stan explains the many restrictions that he secretly places on Francine so she can think that she’s going wild, without truly cutting loose. This is a tall task for Jeff and his feeble efforts to covertly keep Francine in check are a lot of fun. It’s not surprising when Jeff botches the mission, but things take a curious turn when she convinces Jeff that he’s a wild woman at heart, too.
Francine and Jeff go on a drastic bender (apparently going wild mostly involves getting drunk), but they find themselves out of their league when they end up at a deranged dry cleaner’s home. Francine’s wild tendencies begin to waver when she picks up on the dangerous energy of this place, but Jeff insists that they soldier on and that he wants his first wild experience to be memorable. This works well enough for a twist on their original positions, but after some unintentional suicide takes place, the two of them are both ready to call it a night.
Roger gets to briefly enter this chaos and manages to only make things worse when he shows up as a Fixer to help clean up this murder, but he proves to be extremely useless. It’s incredible how Roger really only succeeds on spreading blood all over the residence and causing the crime scene to become even more gruesome. His exit wherein he uses a rubber stamp in the victim’s blood to mark this a job well done is possibly the best joke of the whole episode. It soon looks like Francine and Jeff are about to be arrested for their wildness, but it’s eventually what saves them from jail time and helps them cover up Mr. Rick’s murder. It’s impressive: a lingering homicide is the kind of thing that American Dad usually leaves open-ended in an episode. “Wild Women Do” does tie up its loose ends, and still concludes on a sweet moment of commiseration between Jeff and Francine.
It’s somewhat frustrating that Francine never gets to confront Stan about his list or that he never even learns that going wild is what saves the day in the end. It would have been a rounder conclusion if Stan attempted to solve the situation in some official CIA capacity, only for Francine and Jeff to do a better job with their wild approach. Of course there’s only so much that can fit into an episode, but it would be nice to see Francine get some outside validation.
Francine and Jeff find themselves in trouble and out of their league for a lot of this episode, but Steve also winds up in an awkward predicament by gaslighting Klaus. Steve neglects e-mails from Klaus that contain celebrity impressions. After some royalty-free Risky Business antics lead to an accident, Klaus keeps Steve hostage and forces his impressions on him as if they were inhumane torture. Once again, the episode’s B-story doesn’t really amount to much more than an amusing premise, but at least it aims high. Klaus’ terrible impressions play out before an imprisoned Steve who progressively loses it. It’s not the deepest storyline, but it’s entertaining and provides a steady stream of aggressive weirdness into the episode whenever things cool down.
“Wild Women Do” isn’t a revolutionary episode of American Dad, but it’s a funny offering that brings something fresh to the series. There’s a “chaos logic” that helps guide and justify the episode’s crazier plot points. This appears to be Marc Carusiello’s first script for the show and he absolutely kills it. It’s a polished episode and it delivers a lot of laughs, even during the quieter moments.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.