The early episodes of American Dad! didn’t really know what to do with Roger. Since he was an alien and Stan was forcing him to stay in the house, he just drank wine and watched TV. However, as soon as the writers figured out they could put him in disguises that would fool every character outside the Smith family, he became arguably the funniest character on the show.
Roger has had a ton of disguises, from one-offs that only appear in a single episode to returning disguises from a few episodes that have basically become recurring characters on the series. Here are Roger’s 10 Best Disguises, Ranked.
10 Professor Jordan Edelstein
This is the college professor persona that Roger tries out alongside Francine as his wife Amanda Lane to impress some art types while Stan, Steve, and Hayley are away at a refugee camp in Africa. They invite another couple over for dinner and begin to resent each other as they change each other’s personas in conversation.
They start making up dark secrets like abortions and addictions and it devolves into a parody of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, except instead of real secrets in a real marriage, their rising anger merely stems from a disagreement over what has or hasn’t been “established” about their characters.
In the American Dad! episode “The 42-Year-Old Virgin,” it’s revealed that Stan has never actually killed anyone, and since it’s been so long, he freezes up whenever he’s faced with having to assassinate someone.
His secret comes out at a poker game attended by Stan’s CIA buddies and Roger’s persona Chilly – so called because, according to him, “I got ice in my veins” – who turned out to be so bad at poker that he got distracted from keeping his backstory consistent. In the end, Stan has the chance to kill the registered sex offender who lives in their neighborhood after he abducts Steve and his friends.
8 Martin Sugar
In the season 7 episode “The People vs Martin Sugar,” we saw Roger’s Martin Sugar persona. He’s a disgraceful businessman with no regard for human life who cares only about profit margins, and because he’s so charming, he’s never convicted for running his sweatshop.
The jury members always fall for his tricks and find him too charismatic to send to jail. However, in the episode, unfortunately for Sugar, staunchly law-abiding citizen Stan Smith happens to be on the jury, and he’s determined to convict him. He’s the only jury member who isn’t won over by Sugar’s charms, because he knows he’s an alien in sheep’s clothing.
7 Sidney Huffman
In the brilliant episode “The One That Got Away,” Roger finds that his identity has been stolen, so he seeks retribution in a Charles Bronson disguise, only to discover that the person who’s been using his credit cards is actually one of his own personas that broke apart from his consciousness and took on a life of its own: Sidney Huffman.
Sidney is the opposite of Roger in every way: he doesn’t drink, he’s a Bible salesman, he’s polite to people, he wants to settle down. Surprisingly, the episode began as a parody of The Big Lebowski, but it evolved a lot from there.
In a pitch-perfect spoof of Bond villains, Roger adopts the disguise of Tearjerker in American Dad!’s answer to Family Guy’s Star Wars episodes, a parody of the 007 spy movies. There’s a running joke in the Bond fan base that the villains are always motivated by the dumbest things, like starting World War III so they can have exclusive media coverage.
Tearjerker is motivated by the producers of Monster’s Ball laughing him out of his audition for the Halle Berry role. This prompted him to direct and star in a movie that would be so sad that the audiences would cry themselves to death.
5 Dr. Penguin
Dr. Penguin is Roger’s therapist character and he’s always available to give the Smith family advice. This is good for stories, because it means that the characters can open up about their emotions whenever an episode calls for it, and he’s a funny character, because he’s a terrible therapist.
He always gives the Smiths the worst possible psychiatric advice for the situation they’re in, such as repressing their emotions or lying to their loved ones. He just tells them what they want to hear, which irks Klaus, who was an actual psychiatrist before his consciousness was transferred into a goldfish’s body.
4 Jeannie Gold
When Stan and Francine decided to renew their wedding vows (before stalling the ceremony after Stan revealed that he only loved Francine for her looks), they hired Roger’s wedding planner character Jeannie Gold to plan the whole thing.
The great thing about Jeannie is that, as much as she loves her job, she loves her two sons even more. She uses them as the videographers for the weddings she plans. (It’s also hilarious to think about the logic of Roger finding the time to raise two sons to adulthood in his spare time in a made-up persona.) She’s not just a wedding planner – as advertised on her billboards in Mexico, she’s also a prostitute.
3 Kevin Bacon
When a kid at the park makes fun of Roger’s nose and makes him insecure, Hayley and Steve give him a prosthetic version of Kevin Bacon’s nose and people begin to think he’s the real deal. In his new disguise as a Hollywood celebrity, Roger uses his power for evil, to treat people like dirt.
He even gets free food at a restaurant by threatening to tell People magazine they have rats in the kitchen. In the end, he’s driving drunk and runs a man over on a traffic cam. Since he has the Kevin Bacon disguise on, the actor Kevin Bacon is arrested and convicted for it, and doesn’t even deny that it was him based on Roger’s resemblance to him in the footage.
This persona has the distinction of being the only one with a sidekick. When Steve and Roger got really into old detective shows like Jake and the Fatman, they decided to start their own detective agency: Wheels and the Legman. Steve is “Wheels,” a detective confined to a wheelchair, and Roger is “the Legman,” his able-bodied partner.
In one episode, they were joined by a stuffed bear assistant named Teddy Bonkers and Stan riding a unicycle under his own detective alter ego, “Papa Wheelie.” In another episode, Steve and Roger tried to get James Patterson to write a novel about Wheels and the Legman, but he just stole the idea.
1 Ricky Spanish
This is easily the most despised of all of Roger’s personas. Even the mere whisper of Ricky Spanish’s name signals a flashback to something terrible he’s done.
He kicked an old lady in the crotch as a Boy Scout was helping her across the street. He stole a little girl’s lollipop from her and made her cry. He took photos under a nun’s habit as she used a water fountain in the park. He pooped inside a guy’s chest in the middle of a surgical procedure. As horrible as Ricky Spanish is, though, it’s oddly impossible not to love him.