'American Dad!' Review: 'Turkey Bacon'

What would Stan Smith do if he didn’t work for the CIA? This week’s episode of American Dad! explores that once again, to entertaining results.

When budget cuts at the CIA force Stan to take an unpaid month off, he gets a temporary job as a campus security officer for the local community college. Never mind that in real life community colleges are not nearly as expansive as the one on this show (Community has ignored this for years, so American Dad! gets a pass) — this provides an opportunity for Stan to once again try to be the “cool guy” he never was in his youth.

After gaining the trust and friendship of the students, Stan quickly finds that he needs to be the bad, “uncool” guy in order to perform his job correctly. This means shutting down parties and squashing campus protests. There unfortunately aren’t many laugh-out-loud moments here, but the scene where Stan snaps and giddily pepper sprays a group of student protesters is pretty epic.

Meanwhile, Roger takes up another one of his entrepreneurial endeavors (both to live out a dream and to help the family make more money while Stan isn’t receiving his steady paycheck). At the urging of Francine, Hayley and Steve he opens his own Fawlty Towers-esque inn right there in the house. There’s just one problem — he only has one customer, and that customer insists on perfection.

Desperate to get a “five circle” review online (think Tripadvisor), Roger believes he has no choice but to comply with the guest’s every ridiculous whim. Nothing too crazy here, but that’s okay— the insanity is saved for the ending. Immediately after the guest departs, it is revealed that not only didn’t he pay the Smiths, but he also is an escaped mental patient who spent most of his time at the inn defecating all over Steve’s room.

Regardless of how one feels about “toilet humor”, it’s voice actor Scott Grimes’ line delivery that make Steve’s wailing about the poop all over his room truly hilarious. None of it is even shown, and it doesn’t have to be. It’s small moments like this that really set the show apart from its apparent predecessor, Family Guy. Whereas Family Guy relies heavily on visuals when resorting to such basic and immature humor, American Dad is a much more intelligent series that uses the skills of its voice actors and more subtle animation to turn otherwise childish writing into comedic gold. It’s because of this that the episode manages to finish strongly, in spite of its flaws.

Klaus doesn’t have much to do in this episode, but hey, he’s a goldfish.

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