You may have noticed that Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy series American Dad! is not in its former slot as part of FOX’s Sunday night lineup. Starting Oct. 20, the series is moving to its new home on TBS. The network has been showing reruns of American Dad! for years, and it will now be showing first-run episodes starting with the Oct. 20 season premiere.
TBS’ sister network Adult Swim, which already airs reruns of American Dad!, will continue doing so. According to TBS, the Oct. 20 premiere will air on TBS at 9pm ET/PT, and then on Adult Swim at 10pm ET/PT that night. In subsequent weeks, new episodes will premiere on TBS Mondays at 9pm ET/PT, with encores on Adult Swim the following Monday night at 10pm.
Will a move to cable make American Dad! edgier, as some people think might happen? Hard to say, based on the two episodes I’ve seen, including the season premiere, “Blonde Ambition.” There have been moments over the years when I have noticed occasionally on the Adult Swim re-air that a scene or line might be unaltered compared to what it was on the FOX airing, but to my eyes that hasn’t happened a lot. The series seems to have gotten away with quite a bit, considering it was on a broadcast network.
So in these first two TBS episodes, at least, it doesn’t appear that anyone already offended by the show will be any more offended. And people hoping for more “edge” may not be all that satisfied. About the biggest thing I noticed on the TBS premieres so far that wouldn’t have flown on FOX was occasional use of the word “shit.”
Maybe a little more “edge” might help, because so far I haven’t been overly impressed by the new TBS episodes. The “Blonde Ambition” premiere finds Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane) frustrated that her attempts to tell people about her social/environmental causes are ignored, so she decides to dye her hair blonde for more attention. This eventually leads her to the extravagant yacht of DJ Iron Monkey, a supposed billionaire philanthropist who just turns out to be a jerk looking for girls (and who, instead of saving the whales, actually is enslaving the whales, using them to pull his boat). Francine (Wendy Schaal) and Roger (Seth MacFarlane) eventually show up and help Hayley get back at the phony humanitarian.
This main plot does well at mocking celebrity social warriors who may or may not be in it for noble causes, and it was interesting seeing Hayley in blonde looking a lot like her mother (and Francine showing up later with dyed-black hair, and in Hayley’s clothes).
A subplot finds Stan (Seth MacFarlane) and Steve (Scott Grimes) checking out the construction site of a future gated community Stan is considering moving the family to, to avoid the riff-raff. Awed by the place, they stay so long that they end up locked in overnight, unfortunately accompanied by vicious security watchdogs. This plot isn’t particularly memorable, but it does feature some of the small, humorous bits that American Dad! does well, such as Stan, making himself at home in the unfinished house, pretending to go through daily activities of a home through charades and making sounds. Earlier in the episode, there was also a slyly funny reference to Walgreen’s with the producers finding ways to avoid spelling out the official Walgreen’s name, to avoid likely legal action, while still getting across the point that it was meant to spoof the place.
If the move to a new network may have given you overwhelming expectations for the return of American Dad!, you might be let down. Perhaps to its credit, the show hasn’t gone overboard in its new home, trying to prove its “edginess,” and is continuing on its usual way. Like its run on FOX, it’s a generally funny, sometimes hit-or-miss (especially in the first few episodes) series. And now with some non-bleeped “shits” added.
New episodes of American Dad! air Mondays on TBS at 9pm ET/PT starting Oct. 20. The episodes will re-air the following Monday on Adult Swim at 10pm ET/PT (except Oct. 20, when the season premiere will air that night on Adult Swim).