Stan Smith is a CIA agent who works for the American good. His family consists of his lovely wife, Francine, his daughter Haley and his young son, Steve. Umm, and then there's Klaus, the talking goldfish with the brain of a German and Roger, an alien who has been living on Earth for the last 70 years. While there are plenty of in-jokes and callbacks through this volume (and I'm sure the previous ones as well), coming in as a complete newbie, I was able to jump right in and really enjoy it.
Roger (Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame), the sarcastic alien who loves to role-play, has got to be my favorite character from the show. His voice sounds like he is channeling Paul Lynde (Bewitched's Uncle Arthur) and he has got to be one of the more selfish characters I've ever seen. It's really hard to pick which episodes were my favorites of the volume, but the ones that really stand out usually highlight Roger in some way. There's the first on the disc, Phantom of the Telethon, where Stan steals Roger's idea of a telethon to raise money for the CIA's torturing project and when he doesn't get the credit, Roger sabotages the telethon in hysterical ways. There's Roy Rogers McFreeley, where Roger becomes the head of the Neighborhood Association to spite Stan for not picking up his Grenadine at the store, thus ruining Roger's ability to make Roy Rogers, his favorite mixed drink. Did I mention Roger is a complete alcoholic as well? As Roy Rogers McFreeley, Roger effectively reverses all of the changes Stan made while he was head of the Neighborhood Association and wreaks havoc in the neighborhood. The Weiner of Our Discontent surrounds Roger finding out that he isn't "The Decider" of the fate of the human race, as he has always thought since he went on his mission 70+ years ago, but instead was merely a crash test dummy for his alien race. In order to regain control of his life and purpose, and to avoid Stan's continual mocking, he gets a job at the Hotdog Haus in the hopes of getting some semblance of power. When he is placed in charge of a bad batch of wieners, things go awry. While Roger is really funny, he shares the limelight with the rest of the cast as well. Bar Mitzvah Hustle co-stars Seth Green as Steve's annoying classmate who is out to steal his girl and to throw the biggest Bar Mitzvah ever. Leave it to Steve and company to sabotage the Bar Mitzvah, Ocean's 11 style, and create lots of laughs while doing it. Stan's Night Out is also a stand-out episode (no pun intended) when Stan forgoes an evening with Francine to hang out with the boys from work and a hit-and-run, a few unconscious bodies in the trunk, 3 hookers and a South American criminal warlord later, Stan has quite a few stories to tell.
All in all, American Dad! is a really funny show, but it's a typical Seth MacFarlane joint, so expect a fair share of off-color humor. There are lots of genital jokes, alcohol and drug use, and plenty of sexual references. Roger, in particular, doesn't seem really sure of his sexuality, and really enjoys dressing up and looking pretty. Of course, Roger and his never-ending collection of wigs and costumes is a constant running gag in the show.
As far as special features go, you have uncensored commentaries on every episode, plus there's a pop-up video version of Bar Mitzvah Hustle with lots of crazy trivia and humor, giving you another reason to re-watch this hilarious episode. There are scads of deleted scenes, 6-8 for each episode it seemed, and some are different versions of scenes, while others are extended versions. Finally, there's The Power Hour Drinking Game, a collection of clips from the show totalling 60 minutes or so and every time you see the "Take a Shot" picture of Roger on-screen, you are supposed to take a drink. Of milk or juice. Yeah, that's right. Just watching this collection of clips alone gave me a great rundown on the seasons I've missed of the show since none of it was from this season. That was a really awesome bonus for me.
If you aren't prudish and don't mind humor that mocks pretty much everything from sex to politics to religion to family life, you'll probably enjoy American Dad!: Volume 5. I loved it and plan to seek out previous volumes to catch up on what I have been missing.