Even for those who don’t know too much “American father,” I feel relatively confident in recommending this, as I first saw the episode after only seeing a handful of episodes here or there. This is the episode that made me a fan and turned it into a regular part of my viewing habits.
The episode sees Steve, the son of the family, flaunt some of his sweet and cutest tendencies. Stan, the father of the family, feels he needs to toughen up his boy, and as the only way to do it, he decides to take it upon himself to become Steve’s tyrant. Yes, a father decides to make it his life’s mission to create a new character and, rather viciously (and hilariously) intimidate his own son. As someone who was pretty ruthlessly bullied in college, I can understand how callous it can seem, but fear not because the way it all comes back is a real boss kiss.
This absolutely ridiculous premise sets the stage for all kinds of comedic genius, like Francine, the mother of the family, getting annoyed when she finds out the truth, only to take charge of trying to train Steve to be a fighter. There are also some wild, memorable gags that have nothing to do with the story here, one of which involves a werewolf and the phrase “office sandwich”. It can also have the best use of Train’s song “Drops of Jupiter” in any medium, regardless of its value.
One thing animated TV like this does well is incorporate a good B-plot to support the main story. This is one of the areas that “A Bully for Steve” goes beyond, as the secondary storyline of Reggie – a talking koala who is played by one person through a CIA experience – romance Hayley, the daughter of the family, provides hilarious fuel. Not to give it up, but Reggie gets a brief musical number towards the end of the episode which is another gold medal moment.
From the genius of incorporating Stan’s childhood tyrant, Stelio Kontos (who is as mean as he is Greek), to one of the best random and seemingly out of touch gags of McFarlane’s career, all the while incorporating some sort From a poignant lesson in the dangers of bullying and the need to embrace the other ways of going through life, it’s a perfect TV episode, top to bottom. Spoil yourself and bring laughs to your day and be part of some brilliant comedy.