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Times American Dad Characters Went Too Far

Stan Smith is a right-wing CIA operative and lover of all things American. Manly, egotistical, and supremely confident, Stan often finds that his personal life is far more dangerous and bizarre than anything he does for the CIA. This is because Stan's family is composed of extremely off-kilter characters, including Stan's homemaker wife Francine, their hormonal son Steve, hippie liberal daughter Hayley, pet goldfish Klaus (who used to be a German athlete), and Roger, the alien who lives with the Smiths.

Created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman for the Fox Broadcasting Company and later TBS, "American Dad!" followed in the footsteps of MacFarlane's other breakout adult animated sitcom "Family Guy." Much like that show, "American Dad!" was designed to be deliberately provocative, and even more political in nature. The show makes use of the Smith family to satirize and comment on socio-political trends in the U.S. 

Over 18+ seasons, the characters on "American Dad!" have seen a lot of ups and downs, but also evolved. Because of the nihilistic bent of the show, and the frequently disturbing amounts of selfishness on display, audiences have seen the main cast of "American Dad!" pull off some pretty horrifying feats over the years. Here are 14 of the worst ones.        

Everything about Ricky Spanish is terrible

Roger's whole thing on "American Dad!" is that he is a sociopathic, immature alien who has no use for human concepts of right or wrong. Most, if not all of Roger's actions are aimed towards achieving his own selfish, frequently petty goals. In his pursuits outside the house, Roger frequently makes uses of disguises and fake personas, and by far the worst of them is Ricky Spanish.

Ricky was introduced in the episode "Ricky Spanish" (Season 7, Episode 17). Roger discovers an old disguise stuffed in a trash bag in the back of his closet. Not remembering the specifics of the disguise, Roger wears the clothes for a stroll through town. Soon he starts getting violently attacked by passersby. Eventually, Roger remembers that the disguise he is wearing belongs to his "Ricky Spanish" alias. 

In Roger's own words, Ricky Spanish is the worst character he ever created, and the most hated man in town due to how many lives he has ruined over the years. We only catch glimpses of some of Ricky's past misdeeds. They include  kicking an elderly woman, burning down a petting farm, killing Avery Bullock's wife, and knocking Principal Brian Lewis unconscious and stealing all his money while in Tijuana. 

Cannibalism in the Smith Family

There's no easy way to segue into this. One time, the Smith family straight-up ate one of their friends. In "The Vacation Goo" (Season 3, Episode 1), Stan, Hayley, and Steve take Francine on a real vacation cruise to make up for all the times they placed Francine in a virtual reality masquerading as a family holiday. 

Naturally, things start going south almost immediately. The family finds themselves marooned on a desert island where big game hunters are looking to kill them for sport. In order to survive, the Smiths hide out in a cave along with Steve's new girlfriend Becky. Unfortunately, Becky gets crushed under a pile of rocks while searching for drinkable water. 

Faced with the prospect of starvation, the Smiths decide to eat Becky's corpse. Stan is reluctant at first, but changes his mind when he discovers Becky is an organ donor. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the island full of hunters was only a game that was part of the cruise, and the Smiths were never in any real danger. The family is left with the knowledge that they ate a human being for no reason at all.

Hayley hates getting dumped

Hayley Smith is the ultra-liberal daughter of the Smith family. She is often shown to be the voice of reason when compared to the manic behavior of Stan and Francine. But there is one thing that makes Hayley lose it and become a rampaging monster, and that is whenever she gets dumped. 

In "Pulling Double Booty" (Season 4, Episode 6), we discover that Hayley has a difficult history with getting dumped. In kindergarten, Hayley had a mutual attraction with a kid named Jon. When Jon developed a crush on a new girl, Hayley went berserk. She smashed the classroom's furniture and even threw a classmate out the window. But the most chilling moment was when a still-furious Hayley advanced on the class hamster.

The hamster is shown to sense danger, and it desperately starts running in an effort to get away. Unfortunately since it was running on its little wheel the hamster could not get very far. The scene fades away as Hayley's shadow falls over the hamster, and Stan is seen recalling, "The autopsy showed the hamster was pregnant."  

Evil Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a recurring character on "American Dad!" But far from being the jolly old Saint Nick of pop culture, this version of Santa is a ruthless businessman who knows how to hold a grudge. The Smiths find this out the hard way in "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls" (Season 6, Episode 8).

When Steve accidentally shoots Santa, his family tries to cover up the crime. But Santa survives and vows vengeance against the Smiths, and they are forced to go into hiding. Santa is shown mounting an attack army of elves, reindeer and snowmen against Steve's family. Although he is unsuccessful in his attempts, Santa vows to come back next year to kill the Smiths. 

In "Minstrel Krampus" (Season: 9, Episode 8), we learn that the Krampus punishes naughty children to make them into better people, while Santa hands out gifts not because he loves children but because he is a partner in a toy business. To make matters even worse, Steve is kidnapped by Santa in "Ninety North, Zero West" (Season 12, Episode 7), and forced to work in a mine alongside an army of child slaves.

Stan became Steve's bully

One of Stan's greatest desires is for his son Steve to become a strong, manly guy like himself. Unfortunately, Stan is constantly disappointed by Steve's nerdy interests, his unimpressive physique, and general lack of manliness. Stan decided to correct his son's behavior in "Bully for Steve" (Season 5, Episode 16) in the worst possible manner. 

As the title of the episode suggests, Stan's solution was to become his son's bully until Steve learned to fight back. Never one to do anything by half-measures, Stan sprains Steve's wrist and steals his bike, and even threatens more harm if Steve tries to tell on him to Francine. Stan also indulges in psychological bullying. When Steve asks him to get off him, Stan retorts "That's what your mom said last night," leaving Steve shocked.

To make matters worse, Stan is completely unrepentant when Francine finds out about his bullying of their son. The issue is only resolved when Steve pays Stan's former bully Stelio Kontos to beat him up. The resulting beatdown is so brutal that Stan finally agrees to stop bullying Steve. 

Francine wants Steve to drink her milk

Francine and Steve have one of the weirdest mother/son relationships in all of television. While Steve is messed up enough on his own, Francine doesn't help matters with her never-ending desire to coddle her son. There is no more disturbing example of that coddling than what we see in "Tapped Out" (Season 15, Episode 3).

We find out that Francine had been secretly giving Steve her own breast milk all these years. Steve decides to switch to drinking orange juice. But Francine dopes the juice so Steve feels sick, and goes back to drinking her milk like before. Over time, Steve's dependence on her milk increases to such an extent that he asks her to feed him "directly from the tap" moments before curtain call for a big play that Steve is starring in. The curtain rises prematurely, and the audiences witnesses Francine feeding Steve.

Now social pariahs, Steve and Francine are forced to live in a seedy apartment. Francine finally admits Steve's addiction to her milk is creepy. She gets willingly stung by bees to taint her milk. Steve has an allergic reaction to the tainted milk and winds up in the hospital in a coma. It is only after waking up from the coma that Steve is able to kick his addiction. 

Stan framed Hayley for a crime

Stan and his daughter Hayley have a generally contentious relationship due to their wildly different world views. But by and large, the two manage to get along most of the time. Except in "The Mural of the Story" (Season 13, Episode 5), when Stan framed Hayley for a crime he committed and later almost killed her.

Stan takes it upon himself to single-handedly restore the Langley Falls historical mural and quickly makes a mess of the whole thing. Hayley is blamed for the failure, and Stan cannot bring himself to assume the blame. Instead, he tries to help Hayley by hiding her in their garage and performing plastic surgery to alter her appearance.

This scheme goes even worse, and Hayley is left looking horribly disfigured. All this trauma naturally leads to Hayley hating Stan, and she vows revenge by blowing up the Mural that he had started work on again. In the end Hayley discovers that Stan had indeed decided to come clean about his role in the original botching of the mural, and the two are finally able to set aside their differences for a reconciliation.

Roger tried to drown a baby

Roger is an alien sociopath with no compunctions regarding human ideals of morality. The comedy centering around Roger usually comes from the destructive and violent things he does, which Stan also lets him do. But there was one thing Roger tried to do that was so horrifying that Stan actually got angry and stopped him. 

In "One Little Word" (Season 4, Episode 3), Avery Bullock leaves his adopted toddler Avery Junior (AJ) in the care of the Smiths for a while. At first, Roger is thrilled with the development as he adopts the identity of a child and plays with AJ. But things take a turn for the worse when AJ accidentally breaks one of Roger's toys.

Later when Stan is rowing past Fraser lake, he watches Roger pushing a car into the lake with AJ sitting inside it. Stan is able to reach them in time to get AJ out of the car. But Roger is shown to be completely unrepentant about what he was about to do.

Principal Lewis likes young girls

If there is one character on "American Dad!" who is as unhinged and violent as Roger, it has to be Principal Brian Lewis, the head of Steve's school. Before becoming the principal (a job he is wildly unsuitable for), Lewis was a successful career criminal. It is a chapter of his life that Lewis looks back on with a great deal of fondness. 

Back then, Lewis gleefully indulged in every form of hedonistic gratification that crime had to offer, including females. It was the age of the females that was a particular cause for concern. In "You Debt Your Life" (Season 6, Episode 12), Lewis remarks thusly about his former crime boss: "Machado was a cold bastard but he was good to his men. Once you drew blood for him you were set. Hooch, blow, girls — not women, GIRLS, little bitty things ..."  

The implication is clear: Lewis has slept with underage girls in the past. Even worse, he is occasionally seen lusting after the female students who attend his school. Considering how happy Lewis always is to fall back on his old ways, one can't help but wonder how safe the teen girls at Steve's school really are.

Stan and Francine watch Hayley strip

Stan's relationship with his children could be considered difficult at best. Steve is too much of a nerd, and Hayley is too rebellious. Still, despite their often strained relationship, Stan does actually care about his children, as does Francine. Even if they have some truly bizarre means of showing that love, like in "Stan Knows Best" (Season 1, Episode 3).

It begins when Hayley leaves the Smith's house in anger, due to her father's controlling nature. In retaliation, Stan cancels Hayley's credit cards. In order to make ends meet, Hayley starts working as a stripper. The club where she works happens to be frequented by her father, and Stan is horrified to see his daughter on the pole.

At first Stan tries to stop Hayley from stripping. But in the end, Francine convinces him that trying to control Hayley any further will only push her farther away. To show their support, Stan and Francine take a front row seat for one of Hayley's stripping routines. They even throw money and cheer her on. It remains one of the strangest expressions of love that has even been shown on "American Dad!"  

Roger and Steve kept child slaves

By now, it should be amply clear just how amoral a character Roger is. But the strange thing is how often the other members of the Smith family fall in with Roger's cruel schemes. For instance, even though Steve has a conscience that is in fairly sound working order, there was the time he helped Roger manage an army of child slaves. 

In "Tears of a Clooney" (Season 1, Episode 23), Roger decides to grow a vineyard over the house pool while Stan and Francine are away. Discovering he is too weak to tend to the vineyard himself, Roger adopts a group of foster children so they can do the hard physical labor. The children are shown toiling in the sun, and when one asks for water, Roger curtly refuses. 

Steve tries to put a stop to the operation, but when Roger offers Steve two female foster children to treat as his "assistants," he is happy to let go of his moral scruples. He even dresses the girls up in sexual outfits while they attend to his every need. In the end, Roger only allows childcare services to take the foster children away after he is dissatisfied with the quality of wine they produced. 

Steve wants Francine

It has repeatedly been made clear that Francine is a very attractive woman. She has been lusted over by a wide variety of people of both genders. Unfortunately, it has also been made clear that Francine's son Steve is one of her many admirers.

In "Rubberneckers" (Season 9, Episode 17), Steve sings an entire song entitled "Is She Not Hot Enough?" As you might have guessed, the "she" in that song was Francine. The song comes with a video as well, in which Steve is shown in the buff, saying: "My God, is she not hot enough for you dad? Those lips, hips and face. Body's all over the place. Oh yeah. Damn, that's my mama."

Things got even more explicit in "N.S.A. (No Snoops Allowed)" (Season 11, Episode 4). Steve has a nightmare about Cuba conquering the U.S. At the end of the nightmare, he imagines Francine performing a pole dance in lingerie before jerking awake from his dream. Between Steve thinking such thoughts about Francine, and her secretly feeding him breast milk, it seems Steve is going to be spending a lot of money on therapy bills as an adult.  

Roger hunted down a frat party

Although most of Roger's disguises are just an excuse for him to run rampant all over town without consequences, he did try to hold down a steady job disguised as a chauffeur once. In "Virtual In-Stanity" (Season 7, Episode 5) Roger steals a limo and decides to start his own limo service.

At first, Roger is quite good at his new job. But things quickly take a turn for the worse when a group of frat guys he was ferrying run out on their bill of 20 dollars. Immediately, Roger launches into a rampage, using his limo to systematically hunt down and kill every last member of the group. The last frat guy was hiding out on a plane, so Roger somehow flew his limo into the plane, sending all the passengers plummeting to their deaths. 

The icing on the blood-soaked cake is that when Klaus asks Roger if it was worth killing 5 guys over 20 dollars, Roger replies, "Are you really asking that to the guy who just last week killed six people over $19?"   

Klaus' gruesome pranks

So far, we haven't heard much about Klaus, the pet goldfish who used to be a human male. As a creature stuck in its bowl most of the time, Klaus does not have a lot of scope to perform outrageous acts. But he has done his fair share of horrible things, like the time he set up a series of violent traps for members of the Smith family to gain internet popularity.

In "Klaustastrophe.TV" (Season 13, Episode 7), Klaus starts a webpage where various goof-ups of the Smiths are held up for ridicule, along the lines of 2020's "Bad Trip." Unfortunately, the goof-ups are so minor that the webpage is not getting any attention. Klaus decides to kick things up a notch by subjecting the other members of the family to increasingly deranged pranks. These include having a bomb go off near Francine, making Hayley brush her gums until they bleed, and making Roger slice his own face off.

In the end, Klaus' attempt to create the ultimate prank backfires when his water bowl breaks. In order to survive on land, he has to ask the others to spit and urinate on him, an act that is recorded by Klaus' camera and uploaded to his website.