Top 10 Darkest American Dad Episodes
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Top 10 Darkest American Dad Episodes

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
It makes us laugh more often than not, but "American Dad!" has shown it can be pretty dark too. For this list, we'll be looking at episodes from this animated sitcom that aren't necessarily the show's funniest, but are definitely among the most demented. Our countdown includes "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls," "Great Space Roaster," "Rapture's Delight," and more!
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Script written by Nick Spake

It makes us laugh more often than not, but "American Dad!" has shown it can be pretty dark too. For this list, we’ll be looking at episodes from this animated sitcom that aren’t necessarily the show’s funniest, but are definitely among the most demented. Our countdown includes "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls," "Great Space Roaster," "Rapture's Delight," and more! What do you think is the darkest “American Dad!” episode? Let us know in the comments.

#10: “The Mural of the Story”


Stan should really give back his “Father of the Year” award. His numerous failures as a father have resulted in several messed up episodes, but “The Mural of the Story” is especially unsettling. After failing to renovate the Langley Falls mural, Stan pins the blame on Hayley, turning the town against his daughter. That’s not even the worst thing Stan does in this episode. Instead of taking personal responsibility, his idea of helping Hayley is to alter his face… which we see in graphic detail. Since Stan couldn’t even restore a mural, it’s not surprising that his plastic surgery skills are equally lacking. Hayley winds up looking like a cross between the Elephant Man and Frankenstein’s monster, delivering some of the show’s most nightmare-inducing images.

#9: “Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls”


Considering how haunting the show’s Christmas episodes are, it only makes sense that its foray into Halloween would take the darkness into overdrive. Locked in competition with Buckle for the scariest house on the block, Stan enlists real-life serial killers to spook up the Smith residence. When Francine and the guests aren’t blown away, Roger gets the bright idea to up the ante by releasing the murderers from their cells. Pursuing the family through the house and into the woods, the psychopaths break out the knives and chainsaws. They didn’t count on Toshi and his katana, however. We guess you could call this a happy ending, but it’s also among the bloodiest with no shortage of severed body parts, one of which Roger takes home.

#8: “Stan’s Best Friend”


Following an “Old Yeller” incident from his childhood, Stan refuses to get attached to another dog. Nevertheless, he can’t help but warm up to Steve’s adorable new puppy, Kisses, setting himself up for heartbreak all over again. There’s nothing funny about an animal in pain, but being attacked by cat pirates is probably the most humorous way imaginable for a dog to go. While Kisses technically survives, his quality of life is nonexistent. Unwilling to say goodbye, Stan signs Kisses up for unnatural surgery, resulting in this freaky monstrosity. It’s like Frankenweenie if David Cronenberg had been the designer. For all the shock humor and gruesome imagery, the episode does offer a poignant message about letting go and allowing loved ones to pass on.

#7: “The Talented Mr. Dingleberry”


We’ve seen Roger serve as an antagonist and even instances where his murderous tendencies shine through. This genuinely chilling episode turns Rogers into a horror movie villain, though, drawing inspiration from the 1978 film “Magic.” Like most ventriloquist dummies, Mr. Dingleberry is already kind of creepy in his friendly state. Yet, the episode still catches us off guard with just how dark it goes. Dingleberry starts targeting the competition for a school talent show, making Chucky’s hijinks look like - for lack of a better word - child’s play. The ways Dingleberry disposes of his competitors are equally creative and terrifying, crushing A.J.’s larynx, trapping Barry in a sauna, and nearly drowning Snot. Compared to some of Dingleberry’s other victims, they actually get off easy.

#6: “Great Space Roaster”


By Season 5, viewers were well-acquainted with Roger’s dark side, but “Great Space Roaster” took the character to places we honestly weren’t prepared for. It starts off lighthearted enough with Roger asking the Smiths to roast him on his 1601st birthday. When Roger is unable to take their jokes and criticisms, he resorts to the only logical solution: murder the family that took him in and treated him as one of their own. Following multiple failed attempts and the deaths of several innocent prison guards, the family seeks refuge in space. Unfortunately for them, that’s Roger’s home turf. Parody is funnier when it honors the source material, and Roger’s pursuit of the family faithfully captures the thrills and dread of “Alien.”

#5: “300”


The Golden Turd Saga may be the show’s most unsettling ongoing storyline. With a corrupt essence similar to the One Ring’s, the turd has destroyed almost everyone that it’s come in contact with. Whenever the turd shows up, “American Dad!” suddenly turns into a tragic cautionary tale that’s played with a completely straight face... which we guess is the joke. After fifteen seasons of disturbing and confusing the audience, the turd was finally returned to Roger’s rear end… resulting in his explosion. While the family puts Roger back together, the turd turns the Smiths against one another for two decades. As everyone falls victim to greed, a window into the past allows Roger to prevent this grim fate. The turd’s treacherous influence isn’t over, however.

#4: “Rabbit Ears”


For all its violence and crude humor, “American Dad!” knows how to tell a compelling story. “Rabbit Ears” is one of the show’s most atmospheric outings, warranting comparison to a classic “Twilight Zone” episode. It even features a mysterious host with the slick demeanor of Rod Serling. Also calling “Poltergeist” and “Pleasantville” to mind, Stan becomes obsessed with a mysterious old show that literally draws him into the TV. The world Stan enters is strangely comforting, yet ultimately menacing and difficult to escape. Causing Stan to lose his memories and grip on reality, the show consumes him like an addiction. Exploring the dangers of nostalgia and escapism, the episode will leave you thinking twice the next time you’re channel surfing.

#3: “The Two Hundred”


“The Two Hundred” could’ve served as a satisfying series finale. Of course, it might’ve been the darkest ending to an animated sitcom ever. The episode kicks off revealing the world has been destroyed with Principal Lewis turning to cannibalism, Greg losing his legs, and Stan being separated from his family. While the Smith family is reunited, they still have 200 Rogers clones to deal with. Did we mention that Roger caused all this because of course he did! A deus ex machina allows civilization to pick up the pieces. Although it’s touching seeing Stan recount this tale to his granddaughter, it’s still a bittersweet resolution that doesn’t retcon the chaos. Whether this is canon or simply a “What If” story, it’s definitely a dark timeline.

#2: “Rapture’s Delight”


As bleak as “The Two Hundred” is, “Rapture’s Delight” paints an even more twisted post-apocalyptic portrait. Every “American Dad!” Christmas episode has a dark edge, but none possess a more epic scale than this fan favorite. Those left behind following the Rapture are caught in the middle of a war between Jesus and the Antichrist. Francine becomes Jesus’ girlfriend while Stan adopts a Snake Plissken-esque persona. It all boils down to a last stand against the Antichrist, who’s essentially a 60s “Batman” villain. The episode’s hellish aesthetic is reminiscent of a heavy metal album cover or Ralph Bakshi’s “Wizards.” Even if Stan gets a second chance, the episode still ends with him dying, meaning everything that’s happened since apparently takes place in his personalized heaven.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Death by Dinner Party”

A Murder Mystery the Doubles Down on the Murder & The Mystery

“Flirting with Disaster”

That’s a Face Only a Mother Could Love… And Francine Is the Only Mother Present

“Tapped Out”

A Valid Argument to Cutting Dairy Out of Your Diet

“Ricky Spanish”

The Name Alone Still Sends a Shiver Up Our Spines

“Minstrel Krampus”

Wow, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” Took a Dark Turn

#1: “Love, American Dad Style”


We’ve seen Roger torment his enemies, but that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to his so-called loved ones. Crushing on Hayley, Roger tries to brush his feelings aside. It’s a standard sitcom setup, but in typical “American Dad!” fashion, things get unexpectedly dark fast. After being rejected, Roger decides it would be easier to shoot Hayley than to live with the awkward tension. When she survives, Roger kidnaps Hayley and tries forcing her to love him. The insanely mean-spirited third act plays out like “The Silence of the Lambs” if Buffalo Bill had won. While Roger thankfully doesn’t take Hayley’s skin, he does don Jeff’s. We’re not sure what’s crazier, Roger or the fact that everything goes back to normal following the abrupt ending.
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