Created by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame, the weekly Fox animated sitcom American Dad! peered into the home life of a dedicated but thickheaded secret agent. Jut-jawed protagonist Stan Smith was a troubleshooter for the CIA who, by his own declaration, would "stop at nothing" to protect his country -- and in proving this he invariably brought down a great deal of pain and embarrassment to his family. In an all too typical example, Stan had a cute habit of shooting first and asking questions later, which wreaked havoc on faulty household appliances and the like. The Smith family included wife Francine, who had a tough time hiding her drug-addicted past from her straight-arrow husband; daughter Hayley, a community-college coed who'd gone over to extreme left-wing liberalism just to spite her dad; and dorky son Steve, who went to great and pathetic lengths to "be cool." Also members of the household were Roger, a squid-like, Paul Lynde-sounding space alien who'd been hiding out in the family's home ever since Steve rescued him from Area 51; and Klaus the goldfish, who as a result of a misfired mutation experiment spoke in a sinister Peter Lorre-ish German accent. The first cartoon series to truly reflect the singular paranoia of the post-9/11 era, American Dad! premiered February 6, 2005, right after Fox's telecast of the Super Bowl (the same route previously traveled by MacFarlane's Family Guy).
by Hal Erickson synopsis