It is often that television programmes hit upon a touchy subject, but you don't often expect it from an popular TV animation.
"American Dad" is a fantastic cartoon, made by Seth McFarlane, the man who brought us "Family Guy." It is often well animated and well written and it proves to be very entertaining.
So imagine my surprise when in one episode they hit upon a tough subject: anorexia.
In the episode "The American Dad After School Special" Stan's son Steve starts dating a larger girl. When Stan finds out she is fat he is horrified and reacts badly which causes his wife and daughter to berate him claiming he is overweight.
You see Stan starting to do more and more exercise under the guidance of a personal trainer called "Zack." He also becomes quite paranoid that his family do not want him to lose weight and that they are injecting fat into his foods. Eventually under the instruction of Zack, Stan confronts his family at which point his family make him realise the truth. He isn't fat, he is in fact thin, and he is anorexic.
He also realises that his personal trainer "Zack" is actually a hallucination. Once Stan realises he is anorexic "Zack" fades away for good.
The rest of the episode involves Stan going to an anorexia support group and his family trying to make him eat.
I was pleasantly surprised by this episode because I found it topical and not in the controversial way. They covered a tough subject in a way that wasn't insulting or patronising or obtuse, they showed the effects that anorexia has on an individual and those around them. I would like to think that amongst all the satire and comedy in "American Dad" and as well the brilliant story lines, there will be more stories like this because this is a good way to get through to some people. It is a good way to drive a point home, it is a good way to plant an idea and a thought into a persons mind.
To Seth McFarlane and the others who make "American Dad", I tip my hat to you!