Here’s Why Fans Say ‘American Dad!’ Is ‘Weightier’ Than ‘Family Guy’

The storytelling of ‘American Dad!’ is much meatier than ‘Family Guy’s cutaways, according to fans
Here’s Why Fans Say ‘American Dad!’ Is ‘Weightier’ Than ‘Family Guy’

For many members of the Seth MacFarlane fandom, American Dad! is his most superior series despite the smashing success of Family Guy. It’s like that one time…

The debate between American Dad! and Family Guy is many-sided depending on the tastes of those participating in the discussion. Some fans feel that, seeing as it’s the OG MacFarlane show that launched his comedy empire, Family Guy deserves the honor of being the top dog due to seniority and legacy. On the other hand, American Dad! stans (if you’ll forgive the pun) feel that, because MacFarlane started the series when he was already an established success, the creative freedom and lack of commercial pressures allowed him to craft the formula of the show with more focus on characters and storytelling, thus creating an end result that’s riskier, meatier and more ambitious than his previous projects.

Over in the Adult Swim subreddit, fans of both shows recently responded to an argument posed by user yxzxzxzjy that reads, “I think American Dad has more weight to it than Family Guy.” Looking at the leads from a scientific standpoint, they’re technically correct — muscle weighs more than fat.

“I feel like American Dad is a lot more grounded than Family Guy, and that the characters suffer more consequences,” yxzxzxzjy argued. “For ex, one time Quagmire got an undiscovered disease and fell flat on the pavement. He was fine the next scene, but (if) that happened in America Dad, then that would’ve been the plot of the whole episode. In an American Dad Christmas special, Stan didn’t get raptured because of all the stuff he did throughout the series. If that happened in Family Guy, it would’ve just been a cutaway ‘Hey Lois, remember that time I didn’t get raptured?’”

The consensus among the community was that the cutaways that are characteristic of Family Guy may hold the show back from reaching heights to which the more “grounded” American Dad! climbs thanks to patient setups and developed plot lines. Additionally, the chemistry between the main characters on American Dad! unlocks more story potential. As the top commenter pointed out, “One of the consistent strengths that AD has over FG is that all of the main characters are able to carry a plot with one another. … FG characters are more boxed in to their social circles and don’t interact nearly as much with the people outside of them.”

However, Family Guy’s strength has always been its quotability, and even American Dad! fans agreed that, while the plot lines of the latter are stronger, the former has more memorable punchlines, if not because of the sheer volume of the jokes. This is the crux of the argument between the two shows — Family Guy fills the role of an almost vaudevillian comedy series where pace and spectacle are prioritized over nuance or in-depth characterization. And that’s exactly what’s kept the series running in the modern social media era as the show has experienced a “renaissance” in popularity among younger audiences due to its sheer TikTokability.

American Dad! may be better at actual storytelling, but as is the case in any discussion about comedy, preference between American Dad! and Family Guy really just boils down to taste. There are no wrong answers when choosing a favorite MacFarlane property — well, maybe besides The Cleveland Show.


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