American Dad!: Stan Smith is Keanu Reeves… Review

Stan hits the waves and drops his worries in a satisfying, busy installment!

This American Dad! review contains spoilers.

American Dad!: Season 12, Episode 5

“Back off, the beach is for everyone.”

“Says who?”

“The city bylaws.”

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“Stan Smith is Keanu Reeves as Stanny Utah in Point Breakers“ is an episode that’s as busy as its title is long, but in the best sort of way. Right from the top Stan tries to enjoy a simple worry-free day which is ruined pretty quickly by his house full of wildcards. A perfect storm is in the middle of going on, as we and Stan are thrown into Roger trying to get their house turned into a viable World Cup game location. On top of that, Hailey might be pregnant, regardless of how high Jeff is, and Steve has befriended a derelict.

We don’t need the backstories for these situations, they’re immediately viable as soon as we hear them, and that’s a testament to the sort of clip that American Dad! operates at. Basically Stan can’t relax around his family, with it being a constantly increasing vice around him. He quickly realizes that he needs to figure out how to calm down and lower his blood pressure or he could be looking at early retirement from the CIA (because he’ll be dead).

Max Zegarra, a cyber terrorist who has attacked Bolivia, paired with Avery high on a Point Break riff, sees Stan becoming the Keanu Reeves approximate and suddenly his stress relief sees him catching waves in the Big B (which is what I assume people call Bolivia). Stan, unremarkably not blending in, sees himself prey to surf bullies (those pesky chainsaws are a bitch) until a local surf God, Kai, stands up for him. All of this works with a certain ridiculous charm to it, especially with the speed and cavalier nature it plods into this plot with.

Of course, a classic Stan undercover story sees the rest of the episode split back at the Smith house. I kind of love that none of these dueling plotlines steal the focus and the house sort of becomes this jumbled mess of insanity. All of these balls in the air have different levels of appeal to them (Roger’s for the obvious insane Roger reasons, but Steve for his incredulity towards his new friend), but all act as equal triggers to Stan’s stress. Accordingly these antics keep pushing him out of the house and into the teachings of Kai and turning him into a pro surfer — complete with soul patch — in the process.

Stan brings this ultra chill, no worries attitude back to his home and turns a blind eye to the chaos going on around him. This works all too well for him, but as you might imagine, this isn’t a sustainable dynamic for the Smith house, as lax as Stan may be. While larger beats may be telegraphed, the episode is far from predictable and there manages to be a number of hilarious curveballs that turn up, mostly when Avery tries to pull Stan out of his deep cover. There are still enough surprises going on here to keep you invested in everything.

While this may not be the deepest plot, the episode pulls all of this off delicately and efficiently. A lot of people have told me that they thought last week’s episode marked a return to form in these TBS episodes, and with this episode following it, American Dad! is on a nice streak that I hope it continues to ride.

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Lest we forget that prescription pills can solve our problems if a Point Break homage can’t. Laird Hamilton certainly didn’t.

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3.5 out of 5