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|Roger the Alien|
|American Dad! character|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voiced by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Roger the Alien|
|American Dad! character|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voiced by||Seth MacFarlane|
Roger the Alien is a fictional character in the adult animated sitcom American Dad!, voiced by Seth MacFarlane. The character was created and designed by Seth MacFarlane. Roger is a centuries-old grey space alien living with the Smith family, around whom the show revolves. Having lived on Earth since 1947, Roger came to live with the Smiths after rescuing main character Stan Smith at Area 51 four years prior to the beginning of the series.
Roger began the series as a sensitive pushover who is often taken advantaged of, cheated, and ridiculed. Over time, the character has become increasingly cruel, callous, self-interested, devious, crafty and depraved. In early episodes of the show, Roger is disallowed from leaving the Smith house in order to conceal his being an alien. This restriction is soon abandoned and Roger begins adopting disguises and fictitious personas in order to have a life outside the house. Roger's personas have become a major plot device, with his myriad alter egos frequently being the subject or facilitator of an episode's main story or subplot.
In 2014 Roger was voted "Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time" in a first-ever March Madness style competition held by the network. Roger was pitted against other cartoon characters in animated television including Stewie Griffin from Family Guy and Smithers from the Simpsons.
Roger was born in 410 AD. He has remarked that snow reminds him of his birth planet and that he learned to ice skate there. Consequently, he possesses an affinity for the cold, as revealed in the episode "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever." Also back when Roger lived on his birth planet, he had a job as a greeter at a Walmart-like department store.
To date, Roger's birth planet and actual family have never been shown on the series. In addition, his alien species have never been specifically named. For the most part, details on Roger's pre-Earth existence have largely been limited to his own verbal accounts.
There was, however, one brief clip of a moment from Roger's pre-Earth existence in the 9th season episode "Lost in Space." In the clip, Roger is revealed to have had a homosexual romantic relationship with Zing—a member of Roger's race of aliens. As shown in the clip, Roger cheated on Zing by making out with a human male blatantly in front of him and flippantly so.
After being jilted by Roger, Zing consequently went on to become a tyrannical and villainous leader, ruling from a shopping mall-styled spaceship. On the spaceship, Zing along with numerous members of his alien race have abducted various entities from their respective home planets and enslaved them. Emperor Zing has made this all possible through deceiving his fellow alien followers into thinking that romantic love is an impossibility, never worth even an attempt. Zing's enslavement is also made possible by his powerful security team led by Foster.
Members of Roger's alien race weren't shown until the episode "Lost in Space", which revealed he had a relationship with the Emperor.
He was tricked into coming to Earth as a crash test dummy, led to believe he was "The Decider" in which the fate of mankind rested in his hands.
Roger landed on Earth with a ravaging and tumultuous crash. In the course of the crash, he discovered that he was resistant to fire as he was able to survive.
It was revealed in the episode "Naked to the Limit, One More Time" (a precursor to the "Lost in Space" episode) that Roger remains on Earth by will, that he can simply call for a spaceship of his alien race if he so desires to be returned to his birth planet. On the episode in question, although he called for the spaceship to return him to his birth planet, it was merely part of an artifice in which he hurled Jeff Fischer onto the alien spaceship.
Roger has lived with several families prior to living with the Smith family. However in these previous families, he lived in disguise and never revealed himself as an alien. The Smiths are the first and thus far only family made aware of Roger's being an alien.
Roger has been able to move freely about Earth through craftiness and underhandedness, showing skill in masquerading, identity theft and constantly creating new identities for himself (many of which have Social Security numbers).
Also prior to living with the Smith family, Roger was a part of several historical events in American history. These events include: activism as a racist pro-segregation protester in Alabama in the 1960s (he was seen knocking books out of Vivian Malone Jones's hands as she was being escorted by military officers inside the University of Alabama); work as Jerry Lewis's tailor in 1966, and Roger giving him the idea for the MDA Telethon for which Lewis took full credit; having a hand in inventing disco; participating as a member of the Miracle on Ice US Olympic men's hockey team in 1980; fighting for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War (revealed in the episode "42-Year-Old Virgin"); work as the CEO of General Motors during the 1980s (a reference to Roger Smith, GM's real-life CEO during the '80s); getting Joseph Hazelwood (captain of the Exxon Valdez) drunk, leading to the infamous oil spill in 1989; causing the death of hip hop artist The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 when he angered an armed driver who cut off the rapper in traffic, as revealed in the episode "Brains, Brains and Automobiles" (Roger survived the shooting and stole Notorious B.I.G.'s gold chain, which Stan assumed was a gift Roger made specially for him); discovering the recreational uses of the drug MDMA (ecstasy) in the mid-1990s; etc. Another episode suggests he moved frequently, ostensibly to protect his identity; a series of flashbacks confirm he lived in New York City in the 1950s, Detroit in the mid-1970s, and Seattle in the 1990s. At all these junctures, he mentions that "he has some big stuff going on," even getting things for free with this promise: a free pinball game in Detroit (albeit by force) and a free cup of coffee in Seattle. His "big things" also kept him from a covert mission in New York City.
There are numerous references to Roger having attended Howard University (which is a historically black college) in 1983. In the episode "Tearjerker", Roger was shown in an Afro giving a black power salute as part of his graduation picture (though this episode appears to be non-canonical). Apparently he graduated with a master's degree in Urban planning, which is explained in the episode "Stanny Boy and Frantastic." In the episode "Hurricane!" it is shown that he still has his college sweatshirt until it is destroyed in that same episode. In the episode "Great Space Roaster" Roger mentions going for a "night run at the Howard University track".
The Central Intelligence Agency has been on to Roger and aware of his existence for some time. For many years, they've been attempting to capture him but have been unsuccessful to date.
Stan Smith is employed at the CIA. Roger first came into contact with Stan when he [Roger] was a fugitive of Area 51 and saved Stan's life. This was said to have happened four years prior to the series beginnings. As a result of the occurrence, Stan felt he "owed Roger [his] life." Consequently, Stan rescued Roger from government capture and allowed him to live in his home. Stan has allowed this in defiance of his employer.
In order to make Roger desirable to the family, Stan gave him to his son Steve as a birthday present, and Roger became accepted as part of the Smith family. He now covertly lives in the Smith house. The Smiths use their attic as a hideout/bedroom for Roger.
Stan feels that it would endanger he and the rest of his family if it were to be exposed that Roger is an alien and living with them. Consequently, Stan disallowed him from leaving the house when the series first began, even in disguise. Confined to the house in the first couple of seasons, Roger was miserable and malcontent.
As the series progressed, however, Stan realized that Roger was effective in the art of disguising himself and became less cautious. Through disguises, Roger was allowed the freedom to exist on the outside world. Roger has, however, far and away abused this practice, leading numerous lives and deceiving numerous people into the extremes under alter egos and disguises. In fact, some of Roger's characters are to be in prison, while others are widely despised, and others have created full-fledged families with human offspring, etc. As it has been revealed that Roger has been on Earth for many years prior to living with the Smiths, it is possible that many of these alternate lives he has were initiated during his pre-Smith family existence on Earth.
In the episode "You Debt Your Life" Stan saved Roger's life. As a result, Roger was made insecure given the very reason Stan allowed him to move in was because he [Stan] felt that he owed Roger his life. Thusly, Roger tried to win back Stan's indebtedness through another life debt, but failed. Stan, however, comforted Roger, reassuring him that none of that mattered and that they want him [Roger] to live with them as he is a part of the family.
Crude and brazen, Roger has no qualms with randomly saying and doing whatever's on his mind no matter how outrageously cruel, depraved or devious. Most heavily emphasized, Roger is devious and crafty, regularly misleading and finagling others to achieve his desired ends. His desired ends are often ridiculously trivial or marked by schadenfreude. Examples are as follows:
As part of his devious and crafty side, Roger is also a con artist, constantly giving off warm and cordial impressions on others so as to victimize them for his own personal gain or amusement when they least expect it. A prime example and perhaps one of Roger's quintessential cons is described as follows:
Despite having been on Earth for over 60 years (as revealed in the episode "Frannie 911"), Roger lacks all sense of social norms, social acceptability, and lawful behavior. He's often seen behaving in ways that are depraved and cruel. His depravity and cruelty are often delivered in combination with his typically lighthearted and carefree temperament. Examples are as follows:
In the episode "You Debt Your Life", Roger described himself as a "fey pansexual alcoholic non-human" in a similar vein to comedian Andy Dick. Very self-indulgent, Roger spends much of his time overindulged in the following activities (particularly in the early seasons when he was restricted to remaining in the Smith home in concealment, prior to his regular masquerading antics): watching soap operas (Dynasty, Sex and the City, and a fictitious season of The Simple Life that showed Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as prisoners); eating junk food; and using recreational drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, steroids, LSD, oxycodone, ecstasy, cooked-down Afrin, U4EA (pronounced "euphoria", a.k.a. the "fake drug from 90210"), nitrous oxide, dextromethorphan, Drano, PCP and methamphetamine. He also uses jury duty letters as a top layer of makeshift wallpaper for his bathroom as seen in "The People vs Martin Sugar".
His excessive consumption of alcohol would, in human terms, qualify him as an alcoholic. He shows a preference for red wine. It is suggested in the episode "The Best Christmas Story Never Told" that he is depressed over being stranded on Earth and having no place in human society (in the early seasons, prior to his regular masquerading), which could be a factor in his excessive alcohol and drug use.
Roger describes himself as pansexual in the episode "You Debt Your Life".
In "Season's Beatings", Stan calls Roger a "lazy, wine-loving, bisexual".
Roger has primarily shown sexual interest in males, both of his alien race and particularly human. However, he has shown sexual interest in human females, animal species, and inanimate objects and substances, such as checkbooks and mayonnaise. Roger will occasionally express sexual attraction to various members of the Smith household.
Among the men Roger has shown sexual interest in is Hayley's boyfriend turned husband, Jeff Fischer. For example, in the episode "Stan's Best Friend", Roger came on to Jeff several times. This was all reinforced by Jeff's comment, "I think the guy who lives in your attic has a crush on me" (immediately following this is a cutaway gag of Roger flirting with Jeff). Roger has not only come on to Jeff but even forcibly attempted to rape him in the episode "Why Can't We Be Friends?" Roger has also presumptuously come on to Steve. For example, in the episode "Dr. Klaustus", before leaving for Iraq, Roger randomly and passionately kissed Steve before saying to him, "Wait for me." In the episodes "Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth" and "Stan's Best Friend", Roger informs Stan that one Christmas, he made out with him when he was drunk. In the episode "Can I Be Frank With You?" it is revealed that Roger has apparently "fooled around" with Klaus on numerous occasions.
As evidenced by scenes in which Roger has conversed with himself as different characters in different getups all within the same moment, he is capable of moving with a supernatural lightning speed.
Roger is able to transform his physical features to the extremes when performing his various characters. In the episode "Spelling Bee My Baby" for example, he presents himself as Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, with his body, face and arms all expanded to more than twice the size they usually are.
In place of organic waste, Roger excretes a form of waste that transforms into gold with encrusted jewels, though still keeping its feces shape. His feces turned gold has caused division in the lives of random people brought on by evil and selfish desires for personal profit and gain.
It was revealed in the episode "Choosy Wives Choose Smith" that Roger's able to float on water even when held down by Stan's weight.
Roger's legs are extremely strong: he has shown the ability to move a fully rooted tree and launch people (including Stan and Barry, and as implied 18 others while wrestling) with enough force for them to reach and partially break through the roof of Pearl Bailey High School.
Roger has shown skills in house cleaning, cooking, and the ability to organize large-scale projects (such as a massive spring break blowout).
Roger is fireproof.
Roger has no bones, and gravity does not affect Roger when stoned, as seen in season 2, episode 19, "Joint Custody". Roger can also travel great distances while stoned, which is evinced in season 6, episode 2 "Son of Stan".
Roger also releases toxic fumes, as evidenced in episode 9 of season 6, "Fartbreak Hotel".
Roger possesses the ability to do various tasks with expert efficiency (such as welding ironwork as seen in the episode "Stan's Food Restaurant") without reading the instructions on how to do so.
In a reverse effect of when he is stoned (in which gravity does not affect him) Roger can remain on the ground in zero gravity as shown in the episode "Great Space Roaster". In the same episode Roger has also shown that he doesn't need oxygen to live and breathe and thus can survive the vacuum of space.
Roger possesses the ability to remain underwater for an extended length of time as seen in the episode "Stanny Tendergrass".
Roger was initially forbidden from both leaving the Smith home and interacting with the Smith family's visitors. This later changed, however, as a disguised Roger would regularly be seen outside the Smith home after the first season, particularly by late in season 2. He has an extensive collection of wigs and hundreds of costumes of both genders stored on a carousel in the Smith attic, along with a vast array of fictitious personas and a book to keep record of which persona various friends and relatives know him as.
Roger takes his roleplaying very seriously and allows himself to be completely immersed in his characters, even to the point of violence, abuse, and deadliness towards those he considers close to him, such as stabbing Steve in the chest while acting as an employee for one of his other personas. In the episode "The One That Got Away", his many personas temporarily caused him to develop dissociative identity disorder (a.k.a. multiple personality disorder) as "Sidney Huffman," a puritanical antithesis to Roger's usual personality.
Roger leads numerous separate lives from his life with the Smith family and has little trouble juggling his multitude of alternate lives, characters, and identities (though he did once have troubles remembering his character of Ricky Spanish). For example, his identity of "Jeannie Gold, Wedding Planner" somehow has two full-grown human sons, Alex and Ronnie, who refer to him as "Mom." Also, under this identity, Roger has advertisements in Argentina as both a wedding planner and a prostitute (ep. "Shallow Vows"). Most of his personas are shown to have their own Facebook accounts, and at least three of them have social security numbers, showing how far Roger goes with each individual identity. Although his full number of disguises has never yet been disclosed on the program, in the episode "The Kidney Stays In The Picture", Hayley and Francine examine one of Roger's persona's Facebook pages. The persona in question had over 3,000 friends with every visible one being another persona, implying Roger has 3,000+ disguises.
In "Stanny Tendergrass", it is revealed that each member of the family has one disguise they can't see Roger through: for Stan, it is "Mr. Vanderhill," a widower who married a rich woman two weeks before her death to claim her inheritance; for Francine, it is "Korean kid," who shoots pool with a giant chopstick; for Hayley, it is her sandal repair man; for Steve, it was "Alicia Wilkner," a girl he met at a spin-the-bottle party with whom he went on several dates. The only characters outside the Smith home that have been shown to see through Roger's disguises are Steve's friend Toshi, hillbilly moonshiner Bob Todd, and an unnamed scientist in Area 51.
Roger has played numerous alter egos in rapid succession. In fact, on more than one occasion upon a disguised Roger's referring the family members to other individuals, both Stan and Roger himself have predicted that the recommended individual would be Roger under an alter ego. For example, in the episode "Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth", Roger hoped that a horse whisperer wouldn't turn out to be himself under yet another alter ego. When they arrived, Roger was shown relieved that he was just the secretary. He's then instantly shown seated at an office desk (apparently having the ability to move at lightning speed), correcting himself by stating that he was "an associate." As another example, in the episode "A Piñata Named Desire", Stan correctly predicted that an acting coach recommended to him by Roger was Roger himself under an alter ego.
Note: The following list does not include all of Roger's many alter egos.
Dr. Jordan Edilstein (Season 3, episode 24: "Camp Refoogee")
Professor Baxter (Season 3, episode 29: "Iced, Iced Babies")
Krispy Kreme McDonald's (Season 3, episode 34: "American Dream Factory")
Kevin Bacon (Season 3, episode 38: "Four Little Words")
Horse Renoir (Season 3, episode 42: "Joint Custody")
Predator (Season 3, episode 42: "Joint Custody!")
Chilly (Season 4, episode 48: "42-Year-Old Virgin")
Cousin Phil (Season 4, episode 53: "Oedipal Panties")
Parker Peters (Season 4, episode 56: "Office Spaceman")
Laura Vanderbooben (Season 4, episodes 57: "Stanny Slickers 2: The Legend of Ollie's Gold")
Luke Fondleberg - (Season 4, episode 57: "Stanny Slickers 2: The Legend of Ollie's Gold")
Scotch Bingington (Season 4, episode 58: "Spring Break-Up")
Sholanda Dykes (Season 5, episode 60: "The One That Got Away")
Sidney Huffman (Season 5, episode 60: "The One That Got Away")
Mr. Mustachos (Season 5, episode 66: "Chimdale")
Warren Beanstalk (Season 5, episode 77: "Daddy Queerest")
Jenny Fromdabloc (Season 7, episode 112: "Jenny Fromdabloc")
Tom Yabbo (Season 8, episode 4: "American Stepdad")
Roger has had numerous jobs and careers in the past, all under various disguises/alter egos. He's typically seen at each of these jobs once for each. Among some of Roger's jobs have included: a car salesman; a college professor; wedding planner, bartending (one of the few jobs the show captures him at repeatedly), etc.
In the pilot episode, Roger's body creates a mucus-like fluid which is regularly expelled from several otherwise invisible orifices of his body. This bodily trait of his has largely been ignored throughout the rest of the series except for the episode in which it is used as a lubricant in a football game.
Roger also produces a mayonnaise-like substance during his reproductive cycle. This substance is apparently delicious, as evidenced in the episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man" when the Smith family used it as a substitute for mayonnaise in Francine's potato salad.
When in his reproductive cycle Roger produces breast milk which can choke him if he is harvesting too much. Also, in a similar vein to the Xenomorphs from the Alien movie franchise, he also lays an egg inside a host, male or female, through oral contact. The host can pass the egg onto another through the same method.
In the beginnings of the series, Roger was known mostly for his odd wisecracks, quirks, as well as being a vulnerable pushover in many ways. In the show's early going, he was often treated contemptuously by everyone in the Smith family. In many instances, he responded to this by crying and running away.
A notable example of abusive treatment Roger helplessly sustained at the hands of the Smiths is in the episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man": Roger was hooked up to an apparatus in order to release his bodily fluids all for the purposes of Stan to win the position of church deacon. Despite the fact that Roger had become seriously ill and inflated to the point of near bursting, the Smith family was hardly fazed.
Klaus, the family's man-in-a-fish-body pet, was also known for heavily picking on and antagonizing Roger at the time; this is ironic as outside of the show's early going, Roger has always been known to randomly mistreat and abuse Klaus.
After some time spent as the target of abuse, Roger gradually adopted the rascally, roguish characteristics he's presently known for. This gradual process started with outrageously vindictive acts. As examples:
Perhaps the earliest hint of what Roger's character would gravitate into was during the season 2, 2005 episode "Stannie Get Your Gun": In this episode, Steve spitefully ate the last cookie after he realized Roger wanted it (yet another example of the family's then tendency to pick on Roger). In return, Roger deceptively convinced Steve that he was adopted. Though not having developed his rogue character by this point, Roger merely presented this act as an elaborate prank.
At Comic-Con 2013 on July 20, Mike Barker revealed that an American Dad! film centering on Roger and set on his birth planet may take place in the coming future. Barker didn't announce any specifics as it relates to the nature and type of film he and the rest of the show's creators had in mind for the series; however, he strongly suggested that a film is where the show's staff and creators would like to take things. Barker further hinted that an American Dad! film may already be in the works and partially written.