American Dad! may have begun its life as Family Guy’s lower-rated, less popular cousin, but it has since grown out of any comparisons that can be drawn with its predecessor and has become an unusual beast of its own. Stan Smith was initially conceived as a staunch Bush-era conservative, while his daughter Hayley represented the liberal side of things.
This ideological clash was at the center of the show. But since then, the focus has shifted to simply make the show as funny and weird as it can possibly be. So, fans of American Dad!, here are Stan Smith’s 10 Funniest Quotes.
10 “Boil water. What, am I a chemist?”
The Smiths have a traditional family setup, since it’s inspired by ‘50s sitcoms. Francine is a housewife and Stan is the one with the job. He doesn’t do any housework or parenting and he’s basically useless – but because he’s a cartoon whose existence points out everything that’s wrong with that, it’s okay.
When he’s left to cook his own food, he’s totally useless. He looks at a package of pasta and sees that the first instruction tells him to boil some water. Even that simple instruction is enough to confuse Stan as, baffled, he says, “What, am I a chemist?”
9 “The new Pixar movie, Clothes. It’s about the secret lives of clothes. John Ratzenberger plays a tie.”
Often at the dinner table, Stan can be seen reading the newspaper. In one episode, he’s checking movie times. When Steve asks what he’s going to see, he says, “The new Pixar movie, Clothes. It’s about the secret lives of clothes. John Ratzenberger plays a tie.”
This is a burn on Pixar for their formula of making movies about the secret lives of things: toys, rats, monsters, whatever. It’s also a burn on their penchant for casting John Ratzenberger in supporting roles (he’s usually to the cast what the tie is to the wardrobe – not necessary, but you’re glad it’s there). Frankly, if Pixar made this movie, it would probably be heartbreaking.
8 “When I turned 14, I took fiduciary responsibility for my mother’s 401K...Pretty good birthday.”
Steve wants a moonbounce designed to look like the Starship Enterprise for his 14th birthday party, but Stan thinks that 14 is too old for stuff like that. Instead, he wants Steve to grow up and become a responsible adult and start learning about finances. He uses his own 14th birthday as an example of what he wants for Steve:
“When I turned 14, I took fiduciary responsibility for my mother’s 401K. We discussed it over Italian food. I had my first espresso, it kept me up all night. I fell asleep at dawn for five minutes and had a stress dream about the house burning down. Pretty good birthday.”
7 “It was the best day of my life. Until it was not that...at all.”
We have to give props to the writers of American Dad! for, in a similar manner to other shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, experimenting with their well-worn, tried-and-true formula in favor of something new, original, and fresh. The season 9 episode “Blood Crieth Unto Heaven” is a perfect example of that, as it is presented as a stage play written by a drug-addicted playwright named Chester Winkle who Patrick Stewart supposedly found dead in a hotel room.
The show plays around with the conventions and clichés of theater in this episode, particularly in its use of dramatic dialogue: “It was the best day of my life. Until it was not that...at all.” Is that Chekhov?
6 “We’re at terror alert orange!...which means something could go down somewhere in some way at some point in time, so look sharp!”
In its early seasons, American Dad! was a much more overtly political show. Seth MacFarlane initially conceived it with Matt Weitzman and Mike Barker as a modern-day All in the Family with a CIA agent as the dad. That’s why, in the pilot episode, Stan is obsessed with the threat of terror.
He even has a colorful little dial on the fridge that he turns to orange and says, “We’re at terror alert orange!...which means something could go down somewhere in some way at some point in time, so look sharp!” When MacFarlane became less creatively involved in the show, Weitzman and Barker made the show weirder and softened its political edge.
5 “It’s like being in a sauna with Michael Chiklis!”
In the episode “Four Little Words,” Stan convinces Francine that she killed her best friend so that he doesn’t have to hear her say, “I told you so.” When he realizes he can avoid those four words by admitting his mistake before she has the chance, he goes to the Indian village where she has been teaching kids about Jesus and she knocks the clothespin off his nose.
Reacting to the smell, he says, “It’s like being in a sauna with Michael Chiklis!” Michael Chiklis is, of course, the star of FX’s The Shield who also played the Thing in the Fantastic Four movies. He’s been the target of a couple of jokes in Seth MacFarlane’s shows.
4 “Ah, Saturday afternoon TV. Where the sneaky networks hide all the good shows.”
Anyone who’s ever watched TV on a Saturday afternoon knows that it certainly is not where the networks are hiding all the good shows.
As Stan flips through the channels, he sees “a guy with question marks on his suit yelling tax secrets at me,” and then he sees a show called Rick Steves’ Glory Hole in Europe, and then he watches “the secret final episode of Caroline in the City,” which involves Caroline brutally killing everyone else in the show’s cast with an axe and declaring, “Now, the city is mine!” Stan watches this and chuckles, “Still holds up!”
3 “Where’s my morning B.J.? I have to get my own breakfast juice? Some Christmas.”
American Dad! is great at misleading its audience. In that sense, it’s one of the smartest comedies on the air. When Stan asks, “Honey? Where’s my morning B.J.?” we have an idea in our heads about what he’s referring to. But since the show is never that obvious, he follows it up by saying, “I have to get my own breakfast juice? Some Christmas.”
This is from the Christmas episode “Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas,” in which Stan wishes his family away in favor of the Principal Lewis bachelor life and, like in every Christmas special, immediately regrets it and wants his family back.
2 “Hello, Bill Gates? Turns out I’m the richest guy in the world, because I have an adoring wife and a loving family.”
To comfort Stan, Francine tells him, “You have a stable job, an adoring wife, and a family that loves you. That makes you the richest man in the world.” Stan sarcastically replies, “Oh, oh, that’s fantastic, Francine. I’m the richest man in the world.” And then he picks up the phone to carry on the bit: “Hello, Bill Gates? Turns out I’m the richest guy in the world, because I have an adoring wife and a loving family.”
Then he just keeps rolling with it: “That’s the other line. Hello, UNICEF? Yes, I’d like to donate some of my immense riches. What’s that? Children are still starving in Africa because wife love is worthless to you? What an odd policy!”
1 “What am I gonna wear? Maybe this blue suit with a white shirt and a black tie.”
Of the many chances to American Dad!’s formula since its inception, one of the funniest is how meta it’s gotten. The show is aware of itself as the younger sibling of Family Guy, it knows it was almost replaced by a dreadful show named Sons of Tucson, and it knows its characters wear the same clothes every day.
Still, when Stan gets to pick out an outfit, he gets all excited and rushes to his wardrobe. Of course, he settles on the same outfit he’s been wearing for the last 15 years: “Maybe this blue suit with a white shirt and a black tie.”