Welcome, earthlings, to our exploration of Roger Smith, the chaotic, multi-faceted, and generally bonkers extraterrestrial from the irreverent animated sitcom “American Dad.”
Originally a crash-landed alien from the planet Majestic, Roger is granted asylum by the Smith family under the dubious protection of CIA agent Stan Smith.
Stan gives Roger asylum in his home in Langley Falls, where Roger becomes a permanent member of the family, living in the attic. One of Roger’s most notable character traits is his vast repertoire of disguises and personas, each with elaborate backstories, used to interact with human society.
This aspect of his character is often a driving force for the show’s plot, with Roger’s personas getting him and the Smith family into various kinds of mischief and mayhem.
Roger Smith: An Alien’s Life in Langley Falls
Despite his often selfish and manipulative behavior, Roger occasionally shows a softer side, exhibiting loyalty and affection for the Smiths. This complexity, humor, and unpredictability make him one of the most beloved characters in “American Dad!”
Played by: Seth MacFarlane
Creators: Seth MacFarlane, Matt Weitzman, Mike Barker
First appearance: “Pilot” (2005)
Origin: Outer space
Relatives: Caroline (aunt)
A Closer Look at Roger’s Appearance
Roger’s physical appearance is one of the key elements that sets him apart in “American Dad.” Unlike the more traditionally styled characters in the Smith family, Roger is an alien, and his visual depiction leans into the stereotypical representation of extraterrestrials that has been etched into our collective consciousness.
With his bulging head, large eyes, gray skin, and emaciated body, Roger looks nothing like his human co-characters. Yet, it’s not his alien form that sets him apart; it’s the limitless wardrobe changes and props that he employs for his various personas.
From an aging grandma to a seductive femme fatale, a mysterious secret agent to a redneck trucker, Roger’s costumes are an essential part of his character, adding a visual layer to his ever-changing personalities.
The Many Faces of Roger
One of the brilliant and hilariously convoluted aspects of Roger is his array of personas. Each is so wildly different, ranging from Laura Vanderbooben, the sassy office worker, to Ricky Spanish, the most hated man in Langley Falls. These personas aren’t mere disguises; they’ve fully realized characters with stories, quirks, and scandals.
It’s a testament to the show’s creative team and the vocal versatility of actor Seth MacFarlane that Roger can transform from an eccentric wedding planner to a brutal dictator in a single episode. These personas are the main vehicles for much of the show’s slapstick comedy and absurd scenarios, providing fans endless hilarity.
Despite Roger’s manipulative and self-centered nature, viewers can’t help but root for him. Why? Because underneath his many personas and machinations, there’s a complex character with a peculiar vulnerability. In his own twisted way, Roger craves acceptance and connection, evident in his constant antics to stay relevant and indispensable to the Smith family.
Yet, his vulnerability never undermines his flair for chaos. Instead, it humanizes him, making him one of the most complex and entertaining characters in animation history.
His relationships with the Smiths, particularly his odd friendship with Steve, often serve to highlight these complexities, simultaneously driving both comedy and plot.
The Multifaceted Personality of Roger
If there’s one word to describe Roger’s personality, it’s “unpredictable.” He’s flamboyantly dramatic, completely selfish, hilariously witty, and sometimes surprisingly sweet. He’s been portrayed as caring and empathetic, especially towards the Smith family, but can flip the switch and become a narcissistic sociopath in a split second.
In a sea of sitcom characters, Roger’s lack of a moral compass and complete disregard for societal norms make him a standout.
His erratic personality, spontaneous mood swings, and a knack for getting into trouble make each episode an exciting adventure into the unknown.
Roger and His Sexuality
Roger’s sexuality is a topic that has sparked countless discussions among “American Dad” fans. The show presents Roger as an omnisexual being, showing interest in both genders and even species across the series. His sexual preferences seem to shift based on whatever persona he’s adopting, a choice that lends itself to both comedic effect and deeper commentary about the fluidity of identity.
However, the writers handle this facet of Roger’s character with a broad sense of humor and playful irreverence rather than offering a serious examination of sexuality.
Roger’s character is not designed to be a representation of any specific sexual orientation but rather a satirical take on sexuality in general, where nothing is off-limits in the name of comedy.
The Unpredictable Nature of Roger
“American Dad” wouldn’t be the same without Roger’s unpredictability, which extends beyond his ever-changing personalities. Viewers never know what they’re in for when Roger is on screen. One moment he’s helping the family with their mundane problems; the next, he’s plotting a high-stakes heist or embarking on a world-altering quest.
The unpredictability isn’t just about creating laughter; it also brings a sense of tension and suspense to the show. Every Roger-centric episode is like opening a surprise box – you never know what you’ll get.
This unpredictability, combined with Roger’s lovable, despicable persona, keeps viewers entertained and on their toes.
The Alien and the Nerd: Roger and Steve
The dynamic between Roger and Steve Smith often mirrors that of a pair of mischievous brothers. Steve, the awkward and somewhat naive teenager, frequently becomes a willing participant in Roger’s outlandish schemes, seeing the alien as an unconventional mentor and friend.
Their escapades range from forming a detective agency to becoming garage band rock stars, showcasing a unique bond steeped in camaraderie and mutual understanding.
However, the relationship isn’t always smooth sailing. Roger’s narcissistic and manipulative tendencies often put Steve in tough situations.
Despite this, Steve, with his good-natured innocence, often forgives Roger, and their bond persists, making for some of the show’s most heartfelt and hilarious moments.
A Liberal and a Free-Spirited: Roger and Hayley
Roger’s relationship with Hayley Smith is a complex mix of friendship, sibling rivalry, and the occasional bout of antagonism. As the more liberal and socially conscious member of the Smith family, Hayley often finds herself at odds with Roger’s hedonistic lifestyle and moral ambiguity. Their contrasting views lead to a multitude of disagreements and intense face-offs.
Yet, beneath this antagonism, there’s an undercurrent of mutual respect and understanding. Roger often offers Hayley unconventional wisdom in his unique, often questionable way, and Hayley, in return, tries to instill in Roger some semblance of a moral compass.
Despite their differences, they frequently come together to support one another in times of crisis, highlighting their unique and multifaceted bond.
Impact on American Dad’s Popularity
American Dad might be centered around Stan Smith’s politically-charged mishaps and family life. Still, there’s no denying that Roger, with his personas and outrageous behavior, has become the show’s breakout star. Roger’s zany antics, quick wit, and unexpected depth have endeared him to audiences worldwide, contributing to the sitcom’s enduring popularity.
In an ever-shifting media landscape, Roger’s constant reinvention offers a sense of fresh unpredictability, keeping viewers hooked and leaving them eagerly waiting for his next grand entrance.
In the realm of animated sitcoms, Roger Smith is a unique character, embodying the perfect blend of absurdity, charm, and complexity that sets “American Dad” apart.
Relationship with Klaus
A sibling rivalry best encapsulates the relationship between Klaus and Roger. They oscillate between disliking each other and getting along splendidly. Roger often displays intense spite towards Klaus, making concerted efforts to make him feel despised. He utters phrases such as “You can’t participate Klaus, I hate you.
I say that not out of anger but as a fact” in “Great Space Roaster,” and “It’s like you want to be kicked out of this family” in “The One That Got Away.”
Klaus, for his part, delights in creating mischief that lands Roger in hot water. A notable instance is when Klaus tricks Roger into eating Francine’s potato salad in “Deacon Stan, Jesus Man.” In response to a horrified Roger questioning his actions, Klaus laughs and retorts, “I’m German; it’s what we do.”
Roger never offers an in-depth description or shows his home planet, but he asserts that his world’s climate is 400 degrees colder than most Earth ecosystems, as mentioned in “The Most Adequate Christmas Ever.” Except for Antarctica, perhaps. In “Of Ice and Men,” he says that snow brings memories of his home planet, indicating that figure skating is a part of his planet’s culture.
Notably, he also mentions that his planet has commercial establishments similar to Earth’s, like Wal-Mart and even colleges. “Lost in Space” unveils Roger’s mothership as a massive shopping mall. Furthermore, we learn about his past romantic relationship with Emperor Zing, whom he admits to having cheated on during their time together.
Canceled Spin-Off Film
During Comic-Con 2013, on July 20, Mike Barker announced the potential for an American Dad! movie in the future. This film would spotlight Roger and take place on his birth planet. However, Barker refrained from revealing any details about the film’s nature and type, but he hinted strongly that creating a film was the direction the show’s staff and creators intended to go.
He further implied that the work on an American Dad! movie had already begun and was partially written. However, no more details about the movie surfaced after Barker departed from the series in November 2013.
Eventually, in August 2022, Matt Weitzman confirmed that the project had been canceled.
American Dad: Roger’s Best Personas (Mashup) | TBS
Why does Roger wear disguises in “American Dad!”?
Roger wears disguises to interact with the outside world as the Smith family tries to keep his alien identity secret. These disguises often come with elaborate personas and backstories, which Roger fully embodies.
Who voices Roger Smith in “American Dad!”?
Seth MacFarlane, the show’s co-creator, provides the voice for Roger Smith.
Does Roger Smith have a job?
Roger does not have a consistent job. His personas, however, often have occupations, and he fully engages in those roles during the episode.
How old is Roger Smith from “American Dad!”?
The series does not specify Roger’s exact age, but he is several centuries old. He references his presence at various historical events, implying that he has been alive for a significant period.
What was Roger Smith’s first persona on “American Dad!”?
Roger’s penchant for adopting various personas became a key part of his character as the series progressed. One of the earliest personas he adopted was Steves’s Sister in the first episode – “Stan Knows Best.”