New York Comic Con: American Dad! Cast and Crew Tease New Season Surprises

Not every show can rise from the ashes following a cancellation. But "American Dad" has done so quite successfully, with the show having found a new life on TBS. This network has renewed the series for many more season to come. What's most confusing to some fan shows of the show has been the airing schedule. Executive producers Parker Deay and Jordan Blum don't have many answers about this particular talking point.

"I wish I had an answer," says Blum. "That's a good question for TBS! It's not us!"
"I think a lot of times it's because of, TBS has baseball in the fall which we also ran into with FOX," says Deay. "...and then TBS has the NCAA tournament now so even this year I think we're going to get going and we'll have to kind of start and stop."
"Sometimes they hold you to launch new shows," adds Blum. "But what's exciting is we are finishing up season twelve in January, and there'll be a little break and then season thirteen starts airing. So you're gonna get like thirty episodes of 'American Dad' this year in 2019."
"I think between January and October you get thirty-one new episodes, which for this show that's a ton."

"American Dad" had it's creative origins intertwined in sociopolitical commentary, given the patriarchal character Stan Smith has always served as a parody of staunch conservative values and American patriotism. But with today's American sociopolitical climate being more tense than ever, they admit that it has changed some of how they approach the show. Blum is first to speak on the matter.

"It's changed in a way where, I think, in the way the world has where things that maybe were funny before that day... the election, we had a table-read the day after and it was silence. People were wearing sunglasses cause they were crying. We've changed our humour in that there's things that we don't think are as funny anymore because of what's happening. We would make fun of misogynists by having a character say something misogynistic and then something would happen to them. I don't think we're making those jokes as much anymore. We don't want to add to the problem. Even if it's making fun of those types of people the last thing we want is to hurt anyone and I think there's a sensitivity that we're all feeling. We're not censoring ourselves in any way. It's just choosing what to go after."

"But in terms of storyline," adds Deay. "We aren't taking on that at all. Nobody really cares what we think about politics. People want to see comedy and crazy people doing crazy stuff. We learned a while back to maybe stay away from the political stuff and stick to evergreen, character-based stories that will make people laugh."

Without a doubt, the most memorable and stand-out character of "American Dad" is Roger the Alien, who lives with the Smith family and remains the most eccentric of all the characters both with dialogue and actions.

"It is not difficult to write for Roger," says Deay. "It is super fun, super amazing, and he is our best friend. If we screen a story and it's not going well then you've got to get Roger in there. Just having him in a scene opens up, this guy can do anything and he can say anything. Joke options are unlimited. He is our best friend."
"He's chaos," continues Blum. "He makes a story zig or zag, he's fantastic. What we realised is that you don't need a lot of guest-stars on the show. Roger can be the guest star of that week with his new persona."
"We have an episode coming up where Steve gets his arm bitten off by a shark," previews Deay. "It was like, 'Well why don't we make Roger the shark?' So Roger has a shark persona that bites off Steve's arm. It changes the whole dynamic in the family, it's great. No outside character needed, we just have someone you've seen 250 times screwing over his buddy."

When producers are present at promotional events such as New York Comic Con it is always crucial to ask about teasers for what's to come, since actors work under strict contracts about what little bits of information they can reveal.

Watch our "American Dad" NYCC interview with
executive producers Parker Deay and Jordan Blum here:

Wendy Schaal and Rachael MacFarlane have spent a decade and a half portraying mother and daughter Francine and Haley Smith. In that time, despite their characters aging little to no time at all, both actors have been able to keep their performances fresh, which they credit to the skills of the show's writers.

"So much credit has to be given to the writers because they keep the characters fresh," begins MacFarlane. "Wendy was just saying, this isn't a show where we do a lot of improvising. It's very thoughtfully written so they want us to deliver what's written. But it is still so funny and so fresh. The table read that we did this past Wednesday, we were howling, it was hilarious. It's not hard to go in to the record and give it the energy that it needs because it's still fantastic material. I think it would be harder if the material started to suck but luckily, we're not there."

With all the years of portraying these characters, both actors are able to offer insight into the evolution of Francine and Haley. The characters have still managed to undergo certain developments in characterisation and the arcs of their life experiences. MacFarlane is first to elaborate.

"With Haley there has been development within her character that you don't often see. She's gotten married and then she and Jeff obviously are still living with Stan and Francine. But that relationship is much more solid so we get to explore that in ways that we haven't before. We have an episode coming up where Haley and Jeff become influencers. They go on the road as influencers and Haley gets really, really into it. It's like, 'Oh I've got all this freedom now' but it turns out to be this horrible experience for them. I think that there has definitely been growth for my character at least."
Schaal adds, "I think Francine at the beginning was really written as the nurturing mom in the kitchen with high heels and a string of pearls on, you know, that kind of mom. Then they would depart from that to show her wilder side. But I think since the beginning, she's become a lot more kind of sarcastic off to the side, and not so much of a push-over."
"You definitely have more of an edge to you in recent episodes!"

The mother-daughter dynamic has also continued to evolve, especially with Haley now being married to her long-time love-interest Jeff. This will carry on into new episodes yet to air.

Watch our "American Dad" NYCC interview with
Wendy Schaal and Rachael MacFarlane here:

Dee Bradley Baker has been an important staple on "American Dad" as the East German Klaus Heisler that the CIA trapped in the body of a pet fish now belonging to the Smith family. But when we ask him whether Germans think his character is funny, we're surprised by how surprised he is to receive the question.

"I would love to know that!" expresses Baker. "I'm assuming that if it airs in Germany that it would be dubbed, with an American accent maybe, I don't know. I don't get fan mail from Germany so maybe they don't hear that."

We later find out from a German viewer of our channel that "American Dad" is indeed dubbed in Germany but that Klaus' voice is dubbed with an East German accent in order to differentiate his character from the others. Though Baker remains tight-lipped about spoiling much about the new episodes to come, he does mention one interesting up-coming story that stood out in his memory.

"Well, there's an episode we just touched on that has to do with breastfeeding. It's an interesting exploration of that. I don't think I can say, maybe I've said too much already. It's a nice indicator of, the show is willing to do things and explore things that still, they're fresh, they're shocking, they're crazy. They're still very daring and it's a lot of fun because of that."

Curtis Armstrong is a surprise at the New York Comic Con press room, since he wasn't listed in the press send-outs to reporters. On the show, he acts  He has fully embraced the spirit of being at New York Comic Con to promote show, even wearing an "American Dad" t-shirt of all of the boys from the core friend group surrounding Steve Smith (Armstrong voices Snot, one of Steve's best friends).

"I'm not sure that the writers get enough credit for how long they've been doing this and still at the point where they're not repeating themselves. To me that's astonishing after all this time."

Watch our "American Dad" NYCC interview with
Dee Bradley Baker and Curtis Armstrong here:


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