Stan Smith (American Dad!)

Stanley Leonard Smith
American Dad! character
First appearance "Pilot"
Created by Seth MacFarlane
Voiced by Seth MacFarlane
Full name Stanley L. Smith


  • Stanford
  • Staniel
  • Stanny Boy
  • Thunder Butt
Occupation CIA Operative
Family Jack Smith (father)
Betty Smith (mother)
Hercules (deceased stepfather)
Rusty Smith (half-brother)
Children Hayley Smith
Steve Smith
Relatives Roger (housemate)
Klaus Heissler (housemate)
Religion Christianity

Stanley Leonard "Stan" Smith is the main protagonist of the adult animated sitcom American Dad!. He is voiced by the series' co-creator and executive producer, Seth MacFarlane.

Stan is the father and husband of the Smith family. As the family's breadwinner, he works for the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he once held the position of a case officer at the CIA, he is now a weapons expert for the agency.[1] Stan often makes the mistake of applying the same extreme measures suited and used for his job in his personal life and with his family.

Stan is portrayed as drastic, endangering, rash, insensitive, inconsiderate, dog-eat-dog, and very masculine. In the series he is emphasized as a conservative Republican. Stan's exaggeratedly large chin has been described satirically as a "Jay Leno jaw".[2] He usually wears a blue suit with a lapel pin that is a simplified version of the U.S. flag, consisting of three red and white stripes and a blue square.[3]

Stan is married to Francine Smith. He is the father of Steve and Hayley Smith. In one episode it is revealed that Hayley may not be the biological daughter of Stan Smith. In "Cock of the Sleepwalk", Stan adopted an unnamed little girl. Also living under Stan's roof are three housemates: Roger, an alien; Klaus, the family's man-in-a-fish-body pet;[4] and Jeff Fischer, who is Hayley's boyfriend turned husband.

Stan's mother is named Betty, and his father is a jewel thief (as revealed in the episode "Con Heir") named Jack Smith. He is thought to have been born in 1967, but in the episode 'Da Flippity Flop'- he was 'made' in 1968.


Stan Smith is the exaggeratedly masculine husband of Francine and father of Steve and Hayley. Though Hayley may not be Stan's biological daughter—Francine was revealed to have cheated on Stan at her bachelorette party in the episode "The Kidney Stays in the Picture"—Stan still regards her as such and refused to learn the results of a DNA test.[5] As the Smith family's breadwinner, Stan is an agent for the CIA. Tending to take extreme measures with no regard for others nor potentially disastrous consequences, Stan is portrayed as insanely drastic; endangering; rash; dog-eat-dog; and both inconsiderate and insensitive of others.[6][7] Stan's mentality is of a staunchly conservative Republican and self-proclaimed American patriot. His conservatism is expressed ludicrously with him often coming off as severely intolerant, self-abnegating, and wrongheaded.[8] All the same however, Stan has numerous alternate ways of taking drastic measures beyond politics. As examples—in the episode "Dope & Faith" when Stan found out one of his friends was an atheist, he tried getting him to pray by blowing up his home, spreading the bird flu at his restaurant, brainwashing his wife into thinking she was a lesbian, and taking his kids away; in the episode "I Can't Stan You", Stan evicted his entire neighborhood and his own family just for overhearing some of his neighbors gossiping about him behind his back; in the episode "Four Little Words", Stan framed his wife as a murderer all so as not to hear her say the words "I told you so"; etc.

Troublesome sides & extreme-measure taking

Insanely drastic and rashly so, Stan at times acts on his first impulses which typically result in extreme measures.[9] Often, his extreme measures are of a conspicuously destructive, disastrous, offensive, or life-threatening nature to others.[9] Very inconsiderate, Stan never stops to think about the feelings, needs, or welfare of others, even in circumstances in which it's obvious that others have been/could be severely negatively impacted. Moreover, Stan often proves to be insensitive, completely unfazed when fully conscious of the distresses, displeasure and sufferings brought upon and felt by others including his very own family.


Stan is also shown to be very virile and masculine. He often bears out his chest, stands up rigidly straight, and possesses a deep, thick voice quality. Moreover, he has expressed macho beliefs. For example, he has expressed opposition to showing emotion, associating it with being a woman. He once told Steve, "Son, feelings are what women have. They come from their ovaries."

Troublesome/redeeming qualities

Though Stan typically tries to effect a masculine image and repress his feelings, his emotions, sensitivity, and endearing side still manifest themselves from time to time. For example, on several occasions, it has been revealed that even as an adult Stan has desperately desired the fatherly love and attention that he never got as a child, such as in the episode "American Stepdad" when Roger became his stepfather.

At the same time, however, his incredibly drastic, dog-eat-dog, and inconsiderate qualities tend to show through in combination with his sensitive and redeeming qualities. For example, Hayley once told Stan, "Dad, I've never seen this side of you. It's so sweet." Stan playfully replied, "Well, if you tell anybody I'll kill you." The two laughed together for a moment before Stan suddenly took a serious, browbeating manner and added, "I'm serious, I will kill you. I will reach into your chest, pull out your beating heart and eat it. All of it, every last bit!" He concluded by affectionately stating, "Well, sweet dreams, angel." As another example, in the episode "Oedipal Panties", Stan went to extremes to keep his mother, Betty, from finding a romantic partner for fear he would lose her. In the episode, Stan was revealed to have captured and detained all of Betty's former lovers to an uncharted island.

Original persona

In the beginning of the series, it was heavily emphasized that Stan was a highly Conservative Republican, bordering on right-wing authoritarianism. He idolized then United States President George W. Bush and former President Ronald Reagan. Combined with these traits, he was also portrayed as patriotic and Christian. Stan regularly caused havoc, disorder, and great catastrophe with his bigotry, Conservatism, patriotism, chauvinism, xenophobia, and paranoia.[10] MacFarlane has likened Stan's original character to Archie Bunker from All in the Family.[11][12]

Under his initial persona, he also opposed homosexuality and gay marriage for a time. He changed his views on homosexuality, however, in the episode "Lincoln Lover", once becoming associated with the Log Cabin Republicans. Stan's stance on homosexuality further softened in the episode "Surro-Gate" when Francine acted as a surrogate mother for gay couple Greg and Terry's baby. At the end of this episode, Stan realized what a loving family Greg and Terry were.

After the first few seasons and as the series progressed, Stan was portrayed as growing out of these particular traits and they were largely dropped from his character. Branching out, he later began displaying his wrongheadedness and penchant for taking to extremes in numerous other ways beyond ultra right-wing politics.[13] He has also exhibited instances of gullibility (like his son Steve) such as when he believed he was taking cold medicine when in fact he was smoking "crack" as Roger nonchalantly points out. Hayley has also tricked him into buying mirrored sunglasses that wound up getting him kidnapped by a group of radicals. In another episode, Roger states to Stan that he has to give his champion racehorse "a full release", which Stan ultimately does so. Stan has also once drunk Roger's urine due to the alien telling him it was a fancy beer. The episode "Irregarding Steve" reveals that Stan believes that popcorn doesn't pop above sea level. In "Love, AD Style" when Francine points out if they added another "C" before the "K" in the acronym of the new car Stan wants to buy he says he doesn't know what she's talking about, clearly not realizing what the new acronym would spell out. In "Stanny Tendergrass" Stan thought he was able to afford a membership at Mr. Vanderhill's (Roger's) country club after working there thirty years at the cost of seven grand, completely unaware of the vast price inflation cost (two hundred grand) due to natural compound interests and stock marketing incomings until Steve told him.


Stan's history can be traced back to 1987 when he was 20, he joined the army and quickly rose to become an Airborne Ranger, and eventually being selected to join the army's elite anti-terrorist group, Delta Force. After leaving the army he was again elected to undergo extensive special forces training to join the CIA's ultra secretive Special Activities division, specifically the Special Operations Group. When he was wounded on a top secret mission inside North Korea, Stan returned home to a desk job. Stan is now an official officer of the CIA. Stan has shown expertise and knowledge in hand-to-hand combat, small arms, covert surveillance methods, torture, the ability to fly aircraft and the handling of assault weapons. Even though he has been arrested several times on several felony charges, such as animal cruelty, child pornography (though this was a wrongful accusation), attempted murder, drug trafficking, possession and use of crack cocaine (he almost flees to South America), transporting infected cattle to be slaughtered for food, impersonating a U.S. Marshal, and identity theft, he retains his official position.

Though it is well known he works for the CIA, very little is actually known about what exactly he does. Sometimes he is seen as a field operative, sometimes an undercover agent, sometimes surveillance officer, even presidential bodyguard, but most often he is seen working in a small cork-walled cubicle with a few of his buddies: Jackson, Sanders, Dick Reynolds, and others. Smith's assumption of these different roles may indicate that he works as a sort of troubleshooter; taking on different responsibilities as required. However, since assuming the role of Deputy Deputy Director, his duties do not appear to have changed.

In the episode "Chimdale", it is revealed that Stan Smith has been bald since college and wears a wig (however, this episode contradicts several past episodes, including "Frannie 911", in which Roger scalped Stan while role playing as an American Indian and "Choosy Wives Choose Smith", in which Stan's hair grew after spending months on a deserted island). He drives a black Ford Explorer but has also been seen driving a black Chrysler 300C and owns a DeLorean despite not having seen or even knowing about the movie Back to the Future. Stan is also known to have an unexplained fear of seagulls, first mentioned by Francine in "American Dream Factory", although he got over it in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith".

Despite his traditional values, he has been married to two other women. In Saudi Arabia, Stan married an Arab woman and named her "Thundercat" because he could not pronounce her name, though Stan married her mainly as a servant. At one point, Francine divorced Stan so that he could have pointless sex, and he met and married a woman named Joanna, but went back to Francine, though Stan reports that he did consummate the marriage. Both Stan and Francine admit that each married the other for what Stan describes as selfish reasons. That is, that Stan admits that he married Francine because she was attractive. Francine, for her part, says that she wants someone to take care of her financially and both go so far as to admit this during their vow renewal ceremony to a room full of people. In the episode "Stan's Food Restaurant", it is revealed that Stan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Stan also enjoys a number of hobbies. Chief among these is collecting Franklin Mint Plates as well as a number of creative outlets such as designing and making themed stuffed bears, fly-tying, gun cleaning, wood burning, figure skating, and writing right-wing children's literature. He also enjoys reading books about the things he is doing at that very moment (i.e. he was reading a book called "Reading While Waiting", as he waited for someone). Other examples include "How to Do a Spit Take", "How to Furrow Your Brow", "How to Look Chastened", "How to Read With One Hand", and "Anticipating Doorbells".

Cameo appearances


  1. Written by David Zuckerman. Directed by Brent Woods. "Threat Levels". American Dad!. Season 1. Episode 2. FOX.
  2. The Gospel According to the Simpsons, Bigger and Possibly Even Better ... - Mark I. Pinsky. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  3. The Voice of Vexillology, Flags & Heraldry: American Dad - altered mini US Flag Pin
  4. Written by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman. Directed by Ron Hughart. "Pilot". American Dad!. Season 1. Episode 1. FOX.
  5. "Watch American Dad - Season 7 Episode 16: The Kidney Stays In The Picture". Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  6. "American Dad – Volume 6 (DVD Review) at Why So Blu?". May 3, 2011. Archived from the original on November 22, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  7. "American Dad quotes - page 16". February 7, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  8. "Tom's DVD Review Page - American Dad Volume 6". Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  9. 1 2 AWN. "American Dad Touchdown | AWN | Animation World Network". AWN. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  10. Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 Through 2010 - Vincent Terrace. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  11. Norton James."Seth MacFarlane's Third Act". Flak Magazine. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  12. Written by Rick Wiener, Kenny Schwartz, and Nahnatchka Khan. Directed by Brent Woods. ""Lincoln Lover"". American Dad!. Season 2. Episode 27. FOX.
  13. McFarland, Kevin (April 15, 2013). ""The Missing Kink" | American Dad | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
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