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The American Dad Episode Fans Always Skip On A Rewatch

"Family Guy" is the massively successful animated series that helped Seth MacFarlane make his impact on pop culture. However, it could also be argued that with "American Dad," MacFarlane and his team of writers truly started perfecting their craft. The show premiered in 2005, and 19 seasons later, it's still going strong. The series focuses on the strange family of CIA agent Stan Smith (MacFarlane), which includes his wife Francine (Wendy Schaal), kids Steve (Scott Grimes) and Haley (Rachael MacFarlane), a talking fish called Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker), and Roger (MacFarlane), a sociopathic alien with a love of donning a disguise.

On paper, "American Dad" could have been little more than a "Family Guy" clone. But what separates the series from its older sibling show is that instead of cutaway gags, "American Dad' shines with its clever jokes, absurd storylines, and captivating characters. The Smiths might not be the typical American family, but they know how to entertain. The Smiths also know how to shock fans. The series delights itself in pushing boundaries, which means that there are plenty of moments in "American Dad" where the characters have gone too far. In fact, even the most dedicated "American Dad" fans have one episode they always have to skip on rewatch.

Stan's Best Friend is challenging for pet owners

"American Dad" has produced numerous scenes that are very challenging to experience for some, while for others, it's a guaranteed trip to the laugh factory. That makes sense seeing as how everyone's sensibilities are tuned differently. However, in one post on the "American Dad" subreddit, a particular installment kept getting mentioned among fans when the discussion centered on episodes they always skip. The Season 7 episode "Stan's Best Friend" is considered a tough watch, especially for any pet owner. "I think this is the most-skipped episode among Dadders," u/TapThe ForwardAssist posted. "Just a lot of people can't stand to watch gross things happen to even a cartoon pet."

"Stan's Best Friend" may just be the top contender for the most-skipped episode, as even a different Reddit thread had fans consistently list it as a no-go. The episode starts innocently enough, with Francine buying Steve a dog named Kisses, much to the chagrin of Stan. The Smith patriarch's heart eventually thaws, but it also immediately breaks when a hot air balloon of pirate cats crushes Kisses. Unfortunately, that doesn't even turn out to be the cruelest thing to happen to Kisses, as the poor dog is kept alive by some macabre Frankenstein methods. His abominable transformation and struggle to merely survive is played for dark humor, but has proved to be too much for some fans to watch. As u/TheConfirminator mercifully said about poor Kisses, "Just let him die!!!"

The episode is also surprisingly emotional

"Stan's Best Friend" is difficult because a lot of the episode's humor is at the expense of a dog. Yet shockingly, the episode isn't without a heart. There's a deeper theme buried beneath the outlandish comedic bits about Oingo Boingo's "Weird Science," Steve's near-endless screaming, and softballs replacing nether regions. The episode is about Stan's struggle to not only learn to say goodbye to Kisses but also deal with the emotional grief of losing his childhood dog. For anyone who has ever lost a pet, once you get past the cringe-inducing image of a monster Kisses, it's easy for Stan's journey of letting go to resonate and pull at the heartstrings. The episode does end happily, as Kisses dies and reunites with Stan's first dog, Freddy, in Heaven. It's established that the two should have a great time in the afterlife talking to female dogs and hunting down monsters.

That emotional core can be attributed to some real-life tragedy for one of the show's writers. The end of "Stan's Best Friend" features a real picture of a dog named Freddy. The episode is dedicated to him, and it's speculated that it belonged to "American Dad" writer Jonathan Fener (via The A.V. Club). With the sublime Dog Heaven scene to conclude its plot in the signature "American Dad" way, there's little doubt that "Stan's Best Friend" is mainly a creative outlet for coming to terms with an actual devastating loss. And that all might make the episode hard to rewatch for a completely different reason.