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American Dad on Fox

Rating: TV-14 L

By Caroline Schulenburg


There are many great reasons to dislike American Dad. From merciless stereotyping and jokes about incest to graphic violence and the incessant mocking of the suffering of others, American Dad is, without a doubt, one of the worst programs on television. Even when one has come to terms with this completely and takes every measure to ensure that such depravity does not find its way into the home, the Fox network cannot be counted on to cooperate. The episode of American Dad that aired on Sunday, December 16th contained gun violence but nothing that would allow parents to protect their children from such casual depictions of use of the weapon.


The episode follows Stan as he drags the family deep into the woods in an attempt to find the perfect Christmas tree. Stan, as arrogant and unsympathetic as ever, locates the perfect tree at the edge of a precipice that his family dare not try and negotiate. When Stan reaches his tree, he begins to cut it down. Just then, a strong gust of wind causes the tree to topple over on him, killing him. Stan soon finds himself on his way to heaven, or so he thinks. As it turns out, Stan has been sent to limbo where he must wait to learn of his soul’s fate. Stan demands a second chance and is sent to court where it will be determined if he deserves one. When it is determined that Stan is undeserving of a second chance and will not be able to return to earth to save his family, he pulls out a gun and threatens to open fire on the court. Stan is soon informed that the only gun that will work in heaven is a Heaven Gun. Stan punches a guard and grabs his heaven gun and then takes his lawyer, Michelle, hostage. Stan and Michelle steal a chariot to ride to heaven so Stan can talk to God directly. Along the way, the archangels who escort saved souls to heaven begin to shoot fireballs at Stan and Michelle. Stan in turn starts shooting at them sending at least one archangel to hell. When they arrive at the gates, Stan punches St. Peter and sneaks through the gates. When they arrive at God’s house, Stan begins searching through rooms to find God’s office. When he finds him Stan tries to convince God that he needs an opportunity to return to earth and save his family. When God will not be swayed, Stan pulls out his gun and holds it to God’s head.


To a reasonable person, the indiscriminate portrayal of gun use would surely merit a flag for violence. Maybe it is because Stan was using a Heaven Gun as opposed to an Earth Gun, it is not considered violence. Maybe it is because Seth MacFarlane’s idea of heaven just doesn’t include flags for anything let alone some trivial gun violence…whatever the case may be, it is certain that once again, the Fox network cannot be counted on to rate its television programs responsibly.


If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.    


For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/contact.asp

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