American Dad!, S13E08: “Stan-Dan Delivers”

Overall grade: C

It’s funny how certain films become such landmarks that they become rife targets for multiple parodies. Few long-running animated comedies have been able to resist easy targets like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or The Wizard of Oz. And, over the years, 1995’s Dangerous Minds (the film that launched the song “Gangsta’s Paradise”, most notably known for being the inspiration for Weird Al Yankovic’s immortal opus “Amish Paradise”) has entered that hallowed canon of low-hanging go-to films for desperate script writers.

It also gets to a point where these parodies of classic films start getting old and tiresome after each one in succession runs over and over the same limited palette of jokes. “Stan-Dan Delivers” arrives somewhere past that point, offering very little new takes on the “tough, at-risk kids finally have a teacher willing to believe in them” and serving only as a vehicle for Roger to get revenge on Steve for Steve’s accusation that Roger doesn’t care about anyone but himself. The addition of Roger’s sporadic sexual obsession with Steve adds nothing to the comedy either.

There are some cute moments, though… Roger getting the whole class to dance in sync was a great visual, and Ricky running out of the class and within a split second joining a gang and getting shot to death is a classic American Dad!-style joke. Overall, however, the only part that really made this A-plot worth a damn was Principal Lewis, bringing his dependable and delightful mix of discipline and debauchery (along with Kevin Michael Richardson’s always-brilliant voice acting) into what would otherwise have been a total slog. Lewis is one of those characters (along with Avery Bullock) whose character could start to wear out their welcome if featured too often and too prominently, but as we’d only seen peeks of him up to this point in the season, he was the best part of this episode by far and was a very welcome sight.

Meanwhile, Stan’s concerns about growing old and eventual confinement in a retirement home kick off the B-plot. And despite having all the main cast except for Steve and Roger backing him, they don’t really go anywhere amusing or novel with it. While evaluating potential retirement homes, Stan fakes being drugged into senility as a test of both the retirement home staff and his own family, and at the end of a mostly joke-free run, he announces they all fail. Nurse Jocelyn makes a really pathetic attempt to scam Stan out of his assets, saved only at the last minute by Klaus’s “meh” humor-level fire arrow. There’s no absurd twist or payoff to make an otherwise-pointless B plot salvageable as they usually manage. It just kinda ends.

My impression of this season of American Dad! is still really positive, and I know even the best seasons had some episodes that fell flat. I’m hoping this is one of the few this year; so far it’s still well ahead of the previous season.

Random observations:

“You really take it seriously, selling chocolates for charity!” “The profits go directly to putting inner-city kids on the road to prosperity! The ol’ Hershey Highway.”

“What the heck, Steve? You come down in your best little boy suit and expect me not to get a raging cartilager?”

Several of the kids in the “at risk” class were in Steve’s all-female gang. Also, I’m pretty sure one of the black kids was a skin-color palette swap of one of the dancers in Steve’s “Bad Boy” song from “Minstrel Krampus”.

“Are you saying I didn’t graduate from FUBU??”

“What in the hot and holy hell is going on in here?!”

For a more fresh, enjoyable, and hilarious Dangerous Minds parody, I recommend checking out Jon Lovitz’ underrated 1996 film High School High.

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