American Dad: Seizures Suit Stanny Review

American Dad wraps up its season with a very strong episode all about texting. Oh, and diving!

“Looks like life just hit someone in the gonads.”

There’s a scene in “Seizures Suit Stanny” in which Francine is on the phone venting about an experience she had at the supermarket. Her anecdote slowly moves from the mundane into a pretty standard zinger that Francine boasts as a point of pride. This joke then transforms into a brutal gut punch about the cashier at the supermarket, going to an unexpected place. Then, if that wasn’t enough, we learn that Francine’s been talking to no one on the other end of the phone the entire time. The speed, efficiency, and absurdity that’s achieved in these fifteen seconds are exactly what American Dad is capable of and can do better than any other show (and there’s even a payoff at the end of the episode as an epilogue to this joke). While the merits of this season have been questionable, scenes like this justify the whole experience and make me thoroughly happy that we still have this show. 

Even still, this was perhaps the first problematic season of American Dad, and the one that finally began to show its age (but honestly, eleven seasons in is pretty impressive to its credit). Fortunately though, the season managed to go out on a high note, with the final episodes being the most memorable, Dad-ish installments of the bunch (although I apparently was the only person in the world that enjoyed last week’s “American Fung”). This week’s finale is no exception and will hopefully leave audiences pining for the next batch of TBS-born episodes, with the show’s network-hopping baggage being a thing of the past by then.

The idea of “Stan vs. Youth” is an overdone plot for the show, but it’s a consistent well to draw from with this episode featuring some prime crotchety old Stan. He and Klaus—who kills it this episode, by the way–are simply trying to enjoy their desserts on a chemical level, as Hailey’s whatever-attitude enrages him while he confuses her cell phone for a calculator and apathy for hopelessness. 

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In spite of his frustrations, Stan’s co-workers teach him how to penetrate Hailey’s demographic with the art of texting, and soon he’s mastering not only emoticons, but emojis, and chat speak like he’s a tween on ICQ. Naturally, in some brutal poetic justice, Stan is the one to get into a car accident via texting, not Hailey. Rather than take egg on his face, he claims that he had a seizure while driving and that’s what caused the accident. Even under the highly qualified eye of the seizure expert, Stan gets away with his ridiculous lie that we know is going to get away from him.

And get away from him it does! There are a lot of directions that this episode could go in, but it manages to subvert expectations in a delightful way. We see Stan repeating events in a twisted display that ends up not only knocking Jeff (Jeff’s being acknowledged!) into a coma, but turning himself into a Frankenstein’s Monster-esque brute. It’s not long before Frankenstan is talking to a hallucinated growth on his leg about storming the cell phone center to destroy evidence of his crime. This is just all a day’s work on American Dad

I was pretty happy to actually see Jeff being put to good use in this episode. His appearance garners many laughs and I was pretty relieved that the show didn’t just keep him in that coma after finally bringing him back. May he be getting full-on plotlines again soon!

Elsewhere, in B-Story Land, Roger attempts to help Steve with a pesky case of the yips. This takes them to a water park for reasons that don’t entirely make sense but work well enough as a conduit to get to Steve’s beyond-pale legs. Plus, there’s always a method to Roger’s madness we’re told, and Steve’s confidence issues end up coming down to him landing a dive in a public pool. This is definitely the weaker of the plots going on here, but even still the payoff at the end is very satisfying, as is the visual gag that accompanies it. 

The conclusion of Stan’s craziness is genuinely shocking and a quasi-gasp might have come out of me before the carpet was pulled out from my feet. It’s a great ending in a solid episode that doesn’t feel like it wastes anything. The last two episodes dealt in huge swings in terms of story and structure, but this is just a classic episode of the show that excels due to unexpected turns, constantly sharp dialogue, and the characters in the top of their game.

Bring on season thirteen.

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3.5 out of 5