“American Dad! vs Family Guy: which is better?” It's a debate that's frankly not held enough. Many have preconceptions about American Dad! couched in their established bias towards Family Guy, and thus won’t even entertain the question. Well, it’s time to cast off that prejudice. Today, we're going to learn why American Dad! is the best.
Most people recognize that each show has its star: Roger and Stewie, respectively. But too often, the rest of the casts are ignored. Peter has grown into a funny character over time, but there really aren’t any other characters on Family Guy who carry much weight. That is most definitely not the case on American Dad!. There are few (if any) lame characters on the show. Roger alone offers more funny personas than the entire cast of Family Guy.
That’s but a taste of what’s to come. Let’s take a News Glance with Genevieve Vavance at the reasons American Dad! is better than Family Guy.
Family Guy almost always plays out the same. Some outlandish shenanigans ensue, and they somehow lead to a tangentially related A-plot. For example, in "Airport '07," Peter siphons gas out of Quagmire's plane to make his pickup fly truck, causing Quagmire to get fired. The rest of the episode revolves around the guys trying to win Quagmire's job back.
While American Dad! occasionally is structured this way, it's also never afraid to experiment structurally and formally. And in fact, there are full episodes that seem to exist in alternate realities, like "Rapture's Delight," which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and utilizes thematic elements reminiscent of a graphic novel. It's unique and wholly different, but still engaging and, most importantly, funny. That's what happens when you have well-rounded characters that serve as more than joke machines.
The character humor in Family Guy is driven by individuals: Peter is funny, Stewie is funny... end of list. But their humor isn't really interactive. Sure, Brian and Stewie pair off, but it's not really their companionship that generates the humor (at least, not in most cases). It's the "inherent" humor of a talking dog hanging out with a talking baby.
However, the interactions of all the characters in American Dad! is its strength, and it's not just Wheels and the Legman. The Smith family have a number of zany adventures together, like the Season 3 episode, "The Vacation Goo," in which the entire episode revolves around the familial relationship, making for dynamic interplay between all of the main cast. Everyone feels real, even if they're ridiculous, and the history of their relationships inform the comedy.
When you think of memorable character pairings in Family Guy, you probably go immediately to Brian and Stewie, and that's it. In American Dad!, however, there are many examples of dynamic interaction between two characters: Steve and Roger, Francine and Roger, Stan and Roger, Stan and Francine, Haley and Steve, Stan and Jeff, all of them are fascinating to watch (except Klaus, everyone knows he's pointless).
There are innumerable instances in which the characters in American Dad! have paired off with uproarious results, but the same can't be said for Family Guy.
Seriously, Roger is amazing. One could make the argument that Roger's characters alone make American Dad! better than Family Guy. Dr. Penguin, Martin Sugar, Chex LeMeneux, Ricky Spanish (hopefully you read that in a sinister whisper), all of them serve to bring variety and hilarity to American Dad!.
Roger is, by default, extremely dynamic, and his characters remain inventive and engrossing, each with a detailed life of their own. His casual sociopathy makes for some fascinating storylines, and there's no doubt he's one of the most unpredictable wild cards on television.