The Mural Of The Story (American Dad!)
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Stan volunteers to restore a beloved town mural after it gets vandalized.
Why This Mural Should Be Vandalized
- This episode is extremely mean-spirited as it mainly features the characters doing horrible things to each other and towards Hayley.
- It is a Hayley torture episode, as Hayley is falsely accused of ruining a mural, gets ostracized by the town, and has her face mutilated by Stan, which causes Hayley to go insane and swear revenge.
- This Hayley torture episode recycles and rehashes many plot elements from other previous Hayley torture episodes, most notably “News Glance With Genevieve Viviance” and “Love A.D Style”. Only this time it is Stan and not Roger who is tormenting Hayley in this episode.
- Not only that, but it's also derivative of the Spliced episode "Stupid Means Never Having to Say Sorry", because that episode involves one character getting tortured for no reason at all (Peri/Hayley), thus making this episode basically the aforementioned episode's American son, but much, much more mean-spirited.
- The scene where Hayley gets her face mutilated by Stan is very disturbing, gory, and disgusting; we see Hayley’s face literally fall off and her eyeball gets gouged out.
- The end result of Hayley’s face mutilation is very disturbing to look at. Although Hayley was able to get the damage to her face fixed through having a doctor perform facial reconstruction surgery on her, the damage was done as her new face does not really look exactly like her old one.
- Stan is at one of his worst because he blows the funds for the mural on a pre party, ruins the mural by making it look like it was drawn by a preschool student, pins his misdeeds on his own daughter, refuses to tell the truth, and mutilates his daughter’s face.
- Francine is also unlikable and completely out of character in this episode as she neglects to stop Stan from mutilating Hayley and acts very cold towards her children for no given reason.
- The subplot of the episode is not better either as it features Steve attending clown school and finding out it is run by Roger. Steve never expressed any interest in clowning prior to this episode.
- The subplot is also a very cliched “Roger screws over Steve” story and it is baffling to see that Steve trusted Roger again when he should have known better than that from experience with that issue in prior episodes.
- The subplot also recycles plot elements from “Stan Dan Deliver” as Steve gets Roger fired from clowning school by lying to the clowning executives that Roger hit him. However this time, Steve never apologizes to Roger for getting him fired again which also makes him unlikable as well.
- There is a plot hole in the subplot regarding one of the judges present at Roger’s clown disciplinary hearing. That judge is the Clown With Glasses. What does not make sense about this is the fact that he is alive when it was already established in “100 A.D” that he was killed in a bus crash.
- The movie references in the subplot are very lame and forced as it rips off Whiplash and Stephen King’s IT.
- The subplot teaches a bad lesson which is that it is okay to slander and defame a person if that person has wronged you.
- The subplot’s ending and the ending to true episode overall is somewhat pointless as it features a meaningless time skip into the future where Steve becomes a teacher and later on it seems to set up a scene where Steve goes to apologize to Roger but he never apologizes at all. Steve is also shown to just be a generic teacher instead of a clowning teacher, which makes his decision to attend clowning school pointless too.
- The tone and overwhelming cruelty of the episode is very jarring for American Dad! and would be more better suited for a Family Guy episode that aired in the modern era. The episode portrayed Stan as a Peter Griffin clone while Hayley and Francine had their characterizations tested like that of Meg and Lois respectively.
- Aside from getting booed and pelted at with junk, Stan is not punished for his horrendous crimes. Likewise, Francine is never punished for neglecting to help Hayley and Steve is never punished for getting Roger fired.
- Hayley, Klaus, and Jeff are the only likable characters in this episode.
- The main plot of the episode was good and interesting until the point where Stan ruins the mural and frames Hayley.
- Stan does confess to ruining the mural near the end of the episode and apologizes to Hayley for his actions.
- Hayley blackmailing Dr. Weitzman with a photo of him having sex with a goat while watching a complete DVD set of MAD tv (the latter of which is considered shocking to him) was the only good joke in this episode.
The Mural of the Story received extremely negative reviews from many fans of American Dad! who criticized the episode for being mean-spirited to Hayley, the disturbing scenes and the cruel nature. The episode received a 6.8 out of 10 on IMDb.