AMERICAN DAD! – “Hot Water” (Episode 1, season 8)
Musical episodes and American Dad go together like blue suits and Stars n’ Stripes lapel pins. Cee-Lo Green wasn’t the first musician to appear on the show, but he was the first to appear both animated, and live action!* Cee-Lo hosted the opening episode for Season 8, “Hot Water”. “My name? Not important,” he begins. What matters is this “cautionary tale” that “may affect your next hot tub purchase.”
Hot tubs? Indeed, Cee-Lo also voices an evil, murderous hot tub. It sings songs of temptation to Stan Smith, who is becoming obsessed with “soaking” in it. The tub lulls Stan in with “Dip A Toe”, a light sexy Cee-Lo song urging him in. A talking hot tub? “Ain’t nobody got to know…just dip a toe!” Echoes of the classic Stephen King stories Christine and The Shining are obvious, as the hot tub wants more and more time with Stan. Even if it means Stan’s family has got to go. Cee-Lo continues to woo Stan on “Hot Tub of Love” and “Do Whatever You Like”. Stan begins skipping work, neglecting his family, and throwing hot tub stripper parties. He sings, “I feel so conflicted, but this is up to me. On one hand there’s the hot tub, the other’s family.” Guess what he chooses?
Scott Grimes, who voices the character of Steve Smith, is quite a talented singer himself. Steve has songs in countless episodes. In “Hot Water” he duets with Roger the alien in a Boyz II Men-esque song called “Daddy’s Gone”. Francine is forced to leave Stan and the family is broken! The man who sold Stan the hot tub, Marguerite, becomes suspicious and begins doing research on the tub, to the tune of a song called (obviously) “Hot Tub Research”. Marguerite discovers the truth: The tub’s original owner put a stripper pole in there that got hit by lightning. The tub came alive! It killed its owners when they stopped using it. It then escaped from a mental institution and was forgotten until Stan bought it. Can Marguerite stop the hot tub before it kills Stan’s entire family? The answer may surprise you.
“Hot Water” was only an average American Dad episode for laughs-per-minute. It is top notch when it comes to music and unorthodox storytelling. As a premier episode for the 8th season, it had star cameo power and was completely different from any other episode. That’s a win/win. Except I don’t feel like hot tubbing any time soon.
*Actress Gabourey Sidibe also appeared live action as herself in the episode “Stanny Tendergrass”. In this episode, she voices one of the hot tub girls. And Patrick Stewart, who voices CIA director Avery Bullock, appeared live action as himself in season 9’s “Blood Crieth Unto Heaven”.