“American Dad” can range in its perception of topics from the utterly metaphorical to the banal of dexterity. What is an interesting balance is that where it lies on the TBS cabler, allows it to push itself every so much more without going off the abstract deep end where many Adult Swim animated shows find themselves. Each arena has its own advantages, challenges, strengths, weaknesses and drawbacks. With an episode like “Brave N00b World”, what seems like a simply episode devolves or evolves into something much different, both dark and hopeful at the same time. Interestingly enough this is not a Roger thing. it is a journey of discovery between Stan and his son Steve. Interestingly enough in this current climate, Stan is taking Steve to a kiddie theme park he had promised to do 6 years before. Steve is too old now of course and makes it clear that Stan needs to pay more attention.
A call comes from work for Stan to join an E Games tournament at the request of the CIA where a North Korean dictator will be present for Stan to assassinate. “Overwatch” as a game is brought into play which is even more of a metaphor. There is almost a play to “Childhood’s End” but not quite. Patrick Stewart and an interesting guest voice cast lends themselves to the travails. However the aspect of intent and what Steve calls “Split Focus” in his father’s psyche comes to a head. And while Stan might have made a correct decision it takes things in a completely undeniable turn. In not giving away the ending, it simply because very deep while still operating in the right way on the surface including of all things an ice ream cone which in some ways leads back to the beginning. Considering a recent would-be discovery about the existence of the universe in different from, this episode is oddly prescient indeed but also gives a lot to think about.
By Tim Wassberg