The essence of popularity and connection has always been a theme of “American Dad” through and through. With Episode 5 of Season 17: “Tapped Out” which one thought was going to be a brewery themed episode, the essential of what is considered inconsequential to good taste goes a little over the line with Jackie and Steve. It takes the idiom of breast feeding to an nth degree as the texture of elixir and a sarcastic edge of control. Now while some of it is funny, much of it skirts the line. But of course this does not full contort the weirdness of what the episode parlays. Roger becomes a documentary filmmaker who is trying to capture the pariah like mentality of the elixir exchange. The problem is that even Roger is grossed out which says something. The structure all comes to a head of sorts or more specifically a neck. Stan tries to elongate his neck because Roger says he is thick while Jeff wears gorilla mask that doesn’t come off. While the story is trying to focus on both the placebo of ego and also the manipulation of need, ultimately is just seems creepy in more ways than one. Again part of that is pushing the line which many shows like “The Shivering Truth” do. The underlying context is thete and of course the reasoning, but in a slightly less obvious way yet it still feels off. The search for identity (which this series is also about) was also made clear in the season premiere as well as a the recent “A Starboy Is Born” episode. “American Dad ” wants to challenge conventions but sometimes certain ones work better than others.
By Tim Wassberg