With the recent wave of conservatism and political awareness sweeping the country, it’s only fitting that Fox would choose to air “American Dad” after the all-American tradition of Super Bowl Sunday. The latest Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”) creation, featuring a CIA agent named Stan Smith, is a well placed complement to one of the year’s biggest athletic competitions.

“American Dad” is, in many respects, similar to “Family Guy,” only more patriotically oriented. The show is centered around a middle-class family consisting of a buffoon-like father, misunderstood son, liberal daughter, attractive wife and inexplicable space alien. With the help of a creepy German goldfish, these characters join together to create a show rife with comedy.

The pilot begins with an early-morning breakfast where it is revealed that Steve, the awkward son, is going to ask out the hottest girl at his school. This, of course, piques the interest of his super-masculine father, Stan, who offers advice on what it takes to woo a woman. As the episode progresses, however, Steve is turned down by girl after girl. Even after employing the services of the lamest dog this side of “Air Bud,” he remains unsuccessful. Naturally, Stan jumps into the ring to help, rigging his son’s school election in order to place his boy in a position of power.

The pilot also involves a subplot concerning the seriously obese alien Roger and Stan’s daughter, Hayley. Since Hayley’s mom has put Roger on a strict diet, he offers to write Hayley’s term papers in exchange for a vast assortment of Little Debbie snack cakes. Besides revealing Roger’s gross yet fascinatingly hilarious tendency to spew green goop every seven hours, this sub-plot is underwhelming and poorly developed.

The biggest problem facing “American Dad” is that it doesn’t make the most of its unique premise or larger-than-life characters. Rather than tailoring any smart writing or sharp dialogue to Stan’s CIA job, this latest Fox cartoon falls back on recycled “Family Guy” humor. The show cuts away to random scenes of absurd events to elicit laughter, which, though sometimes funny, hinders the show from branching out. However, despite its weaknesses, “American Dad” is still enjoyable. Though it’s not the most original new show of the season, “American Dad” successfully delivers a few laughs.

 

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