“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.
A Meg episode, or a Chris episode, or a Brian episode — pretty much anything that isn't a Peter or Stewie episode makes you want to turn the channel. That really doesn't happen in American Dad!. Even if the subject character of a particular episode is less interesting (like Jeff, for instance, who has always felt a little flat), the storyline and interplay between that character and others is almost always great.
There are some incredibly memorable moments from "Joint Custody," in which Jeff's dad frames him for his own drug dealing operation. Night Ranger, man. Night Ranger.
In addition to boasting superior, funnier character interplay, American Dad! also has a deeper driving force than Family Guy: the characters' relationships. Stan's fraught relationship with and alienation from his kids (and his shortcomings as a husband) give the show more depth. The character relationships matter.
Not ony that, but they often drive the narrative. Sure, this happens with Brian and Stewie, but those episodes are less organic. They just exist to exist. There really isn't another meaningful dynamic between characters in the show. American Dad! has plenty. And without Stan's disapproval of Steve, we wouldn't have Stelio Kontos or his badass theme song. That would be a tragedy beyond measure.
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.