American Dad is a show I watch on occasion that is either hit or miss for me. For a while I liked it a lot, but it seems to be getting more and more like Family Guy. I still watch it, but it’s not great. This episode is the first episode after Roger tricks Jeff and he gets taken away by a space ship, which was still just a weird thing, I was waiting for it to be a dream or something.
So for this episode, there are two plot lines. The main line is with Steve and Francine. They both show up at Toshi’s house where his mother is being the stereotypical Asian mother tyrant and making Toshi and his sister Akiko practice music. She tells Francine that Steve will never get into a good college because he’s not good at anything. Later Francine is talking with the gay couple when their baby comes in speaking French after her fencing lesson. They say they’re already preparing her for college because they want her to stand out from the other applicants. This causes Francine to panic and she goes to grab Steve to find what he is good at. They try chess and gymnastics, but Steve just sucks at everything. Francine is logging into Amazon and needs to spell diarrhea for her password and Klaus said it is an impossible word to spell, but Steve spells it with no problem. That’s when they realize that Steve’s special talent is spelling. So obviously if he wins the National Spelling Bee he will be able to get into any college he wants.
Steve wins his first spelling bee and Akiko comes up to him and starts flirting with him afterwards. Her mom says that he won’t win the National Spelling Bee because Akiko will be willing it. Once they get home, Francine takes away his video games and says his life will be just words from now on. She puts cards with words on them everywhere. He thinks he’s finally escaped with no words in his room only to pull out a porn magazine to find words over the boobs. Frustrated, Steve sneaks out and goes for a walk and ends up at this waterfall that overlooks the city where he of course runs into Akiko. They chat and then end up making out for a few minutes. Akiko says she needs to get back before her mom finds out and asks Steve if he’s coming. He says he will after his “comfortability” goes down.
Afterwards they show both Akiko and Steve spelling montage, which you would then expect a montage of them winning spelling bees that lead up to the national one. However, they pull a Family guy and say they aren’t going to do that and have a bunch of weird, random pictures from the internet. Lame. The night before the National Spelling Bee, Steve is talking to Akiko online and they are planning to meet by the waterfall again. Francine finds out and gets mad and forbids him to see her. Steve gets upset and starts crying and says he won’t do the spelling bee so she agrees and lets him go. When Steve gets there, he finds a message from Akiko essentially standing him up. He runs back home and says he’s going to kick her ass in the spelling bee. We find out though that Francine actually kidnapped her and has her in the basement. When they leave the next day to go to the spelling bee, she gives Akiko a Wii so she won’t be bored. Her mother is trying to find her when a cousin of the family that works at Nintendo found where she had logged into the Wii. Akiko’s mom goes ninja mode and breaks into the house and gets her out so she can get to the spelling bee on time.
They do make it to the spelling bee and while they kids are spelling; the moms go out to fight. They each have Asian style swords and Akiko’s mom says there is no way Francine can win in a fight to the death because she isn’t Asian. Just then Francine’s parents walk by looking for the spelling bee and Akiko’s mom realizes she grew up Chinese. Epic fight scene ensues. Out of the whole episode, I think this was probably the most amusing, mostly because of the horrible stereotypes. After a while, Francine’s dad pops in and tells them to stop playing around because it’s down to just Steve and Akiko. Steve learns that his mom kidnapped Akiko and neither of them wants to beat the other so they go back and forth spelling words wrong. Francine realizes that her kid isn’t so bad after all and Akiko’s mom realizes she shouldn’t be so hard on her daughter. Dawww such a sweet moral lesson.
The minor plot line in the episode is Stan and Roger messing with Haley. She is obviously still quite upset that Jeff was sucked up by the aliens and thinks they will bring him back any day now. Roger and Stan need her to be the line judge for their badminton tournament (the winner gets the prized “shuttle cock ring”), but she’s still at the starting stage of the grief process. They decide they are going to push her through the five stages of grief. Roger starts by giving her a front wedgie to push her into the anger stage and it works after she beats the crap out of him. The next stage is bargaining, but since Roger doesn’t know what that is, they skip to depression by showing her a slide show of all the good memories with Jeff. At the end she does come out and tell them she accepts that Jeff is never coming back, but she also accepts that it is all Stan and Roger’s fault and takes their shuttlecock.
Overall, it wasn’t a great episode. The fight scene was amusing, but the rest just seemed out of place and like they slapped and episode together at the last minute. I much prefer the episodes where Stan is more involved, even though he is a complete douche. I’ll give it a 4 out of 10 nerd glasses, if you’re quite bored.