Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad is a very musical show. That’s why this is the second episode I’ve reviewed so far. It’s rare to find a cartoon with so much musical integrity. From an episode based on a song by Wax Fang, to another showcasing the band My Morning Jacket and their lead singer Jim James, they really stuff the show full of tunage. Not to mention they also use plenty of original music! There was one episode featuring Cee-Lo Green as a talking, singing hot tub. For real! Then there’s the original song “He’s Got a Kink”, with a dirty, dirty message!
You’ve got a kink,
You’ve got a kink,
Don’t be afraid to put a finger in the stink!
While the episode “My Morning Straightjacket” was probably one of the most musical episodes of any comedy show anywhere, it was “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” that earns top marks at LeBrain HQ. Why? Rush. 2112!
With Steve Smith dressed as a glammed-up Alex Lifeson, and his best friend Snot Lonstein as Geddy, the episode opens with the two best friends rocking out in the garage, playing air guitar to Rush’s immortal epic “2112”. When Steve’s dad Stan comes home, he is none too amused by the tight costumes, wigs and finger-flicking. “I-I don’t know where to start. Look at you two. Best case scenario, you’re telling me you’re gay with each other,” complains Stan.
Steve and Snot defend the air guitar, but a furious Stan smashes Snot’s tape deck and forbids Steve from seeing him again. Of course this does not work, so Stan does the obvious thing to get rid of Snot. He stages a fake mafia hit in front of the young kid, and then takes him away to be in the CIA witness protection program…forever.
Snot goes into hiding (the apartment building is #2112). While delivering Snot his weekly groceries, Stan finds that he actually likes the kid. They begin to hang out. When Steve finally figures out what his dad has done, he tracks Snot down…only to find him playing air guitar to “2112” with a wigged-out Stan!
The episode is dedicated to “BFFs everywhere”, and I admit I get the feels at the end. In an homage to Say Anything, Snot and Steve reunite, with a glorious air-guitared version of “Always With Me, Always With You” by Joe Satriani. Yes, the episode is a tribute to best friends. I think it is also a tribute to the pure joy that is air guitar. The two things go together. I played many many hours of air guitar with my best friend Bob, and nothing can erase the sheer happiness we had doing so. I identify with this episode! Not the dad breaking up the friendship part, but the friendship itself.
Highly recommended for nostalgic air guitarists everywhere.