[email protected]: What We Learned from TBS’s “American Dad!” Panel

San Diego Comic-Con may not be happening in person this year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy some fun panel conversations with the creative minds behind some of our favorite entertainment thanks to [email protected].

This afternoon’s panel for TBS’s American Dad! (distributed by the now-Disney-owned 20th Television) was mostly spent teaching its participants and the audience how to draw the character of Roger, but it also brought together voice actors Dee Bradley Baker (Klaus), Wendy Schaal (Francine Smith), Rachael MacFarlane (Hayley Smith), and Scott Grimes (Steve Smith) alongside supervising director Brent Woods and co-executive producers Nic Wegener and Joe Chandler to discuss the long-running animated sitcom. In the bullet-point list below I’ve collected some of the more interesting tidbits to come out of this conversation.

Watch American Dad! | [email protected] 2020:

  • Dee Bradley Baker actually speaks German like his character Klaus. He studied the language in college and he still speaks it to his dogs.
  • To get a job as an artist on American Dad!, candidates have to take a test to see whether they can draw the characters accurately.
  • Rachael MacFarlane says her favorite song she’s sung on the show is called “Open-Minded” because it’s so funny and has a pretty melody.
  • The “acting” for each character on American Dad! is so important in animation because their designs are so simple. Even slight variations in the eyelids can make a huge difference.
  • Asked which characters they enjoyed voicing besides their main roles, MacFarlane says Headmistress Mahoney and a funny old lady in season 1, Wendy Schaal says a chilled-out surfer woman.
  • Dee Bradley Baker jokes that he has done exactly six characters on the show. “Seven if you count Klaus.”
  • They talk a bit about the process of voice acting and capturing the acting in animation. They spend a lot of time trying to make sure all the little vocal tics get translated into the visuals.
  • Dee Bradley Baker is excited to see more of the drawing part of the process, as he doesn’t usually experience it as part of his job in voice acting.
  • The animators transitioned from working on paper to drawing on the computer around season 4.
  • There will be a new Golden Turd episode in September. It will be the show’s 300th episode. The animation style is different for those sequences because it was supposed to be super dramatic– the camera moves around and there’s a lot more depth to the shots. The animators enjoy doing it but it is also much more difficult.
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic will sing an original parody in an upcoming episode.
  • The American Dad! Apocalypse Soon mobile game was written by the show’s writers.
  • They showed a collection of clips from upcoming episodes.

American Dad! is currently in its 16th season and airs on TBS.