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Last week, Family Guy repurposed a cannibalism plot point eerily reminiscent of the 2007 American Dad episode ā€œVacation Goo.ā€ This week, American Dad features another Smith family vacationā€”this time devoid of the rather fun virtual reality misdirect in that episodeā€”sending the whole family to a resort to unwind. It splits neatly into four quick plots with basic construction, but nothing really lands until the final action sequence.

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Stan promises Francine that heā€™ll stay off his phone and ignore work for once, but after sending a picture to his office, he gets a call that the Activities Director of the resort is a war criminal. Though the struggle to satisfy a significant other and compartmentalize work while on vacation is a tired plotline, American Dad gets some extra mileage out of it because of the Stan/Francine relationship. When she inevitably discovers heā€™s trying to assassinate the guy, she wants to help, since at least theyā€™ll be doing something together, instead of Stan sneaking out of hip-hop necklace craft class to shoot a pool full of dolphins by mistake.

In last seasonā€™s second episodeā€”the delayed Family Guy/Cleveland Show crossover ā€œHurricaneā€ā€”Hayley got some character work for the first time in what seemed like forever. Now thereā€™s development on the Hayley/Jeff front in consecutive weeks! The couple tries to restart their sexual fire with little success, but with the help of a swinger couple, their spark reignites. Combined with last weekā€™s premiere, when Jeff attempted to swoop in and save Hayley from Roger, this is the most progress for these characters since they got married, and itā€™s a shame that a mayonnaise joke may be the only memorable thing about it.

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Roger decides to dress up as an old lady on vacation for the first time since her husband died. As Abigail Lemonpartyā€”nobody look it up, and thanks for the awful Internet joke, American Dadā€”Roger hits it off with an older man who just lost his wife. When the guy ditches his character for a younger woman, Roger changes his disguise to ā€œGeorge Hamilton, 20 years ago,ā€ complete with inhuman bronze skin tone, and rides off on a Segway to victory. Iā€™m still not sold on Rogerā€™s assumed character acting as a guest star every week, and when heā€™s separated in his own plot, it succeeds or fails based on the comedic value of his costume, which I didnā€™t find funny here.

Steveā€™s plot is the least entertaining, but itā€™s the one that brings a few threads together at the end. He meets a kid his age named Liam with a British accent and they set off for the nude beach across the island. Liam has some sadistic goal to keep getting Steve hurt, but Liamā€™s accent is so convincing that Steve keeps doing things like jumping off a cliff with banana leaves tied to his arms as wings. The pratfalls didnā€™t really work, but once the two get to the nude beach, Steve is, of course, rewarded with seeing his parents and Hayley and Jeff instead of his adolescent fantasy.

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ā€œKiller Vacationā€ isnā€™t a terrible episode; it just isnā€™t a very good one, with few laughs until the final minutes as Francine and Stan run away from the Activities Director after a suicidal lemur gets in the way of Stanā€™s assassination attemptā€”which is the biggest laugh of the episode. Seriously, I talked myself up half a grade thinking about that scene at the tennis court, which is the only clip worth watching over again. The running gag with the gardener slightly pays off as well, as heā€™s the one who actually finishes off the war criminal to complete the relatively simple escalating comic rule of three. That earns Stanā€™s ire once again, and of the four plots, the Stan/Francine arc is the funniest, but that makes this a weak episode overall.

Stray observations:

  • The only cutaway, to the marriage counseling show ā€œOh No He Didnā€™t, Oh Yes He Did,ā€ perfectly embodies why Iā€™m glad that American Dad employs fewer of these jokes than Family Guy.
  • If Stan kills the war criminal, he gets 400 CIA bucks, enough to get him a bicycle, like itā€™s a Chuck E. Cheese or something. Those prizes were always worthless.
  • The Hugh Grant joke has been made so many times at this point, and there has to be a more current celebrity to make that same type of reference.

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