Roger from American Dad – The Alien
Roger is a fictional character in the adult-rated animated sitcom American Dad! The character was created, designed and voiced by Seth MacFarlane. He made his first appearance in 2005. Roger is a space alien by species. He is centuries old and lives with the Smith family, around whom the show revolves. Roger has become a world-renown character noted for his unique grey skin and out-of-world appearance. Roger is several centuries old according to the show.
History of Roger
Roger was not always a home-kept alien as depicted in the show. According to the episode “Frannie 911”, Roger has dwelt on earth for more than 70 years, having lived here since crashing in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. His arrival was as a result of high-end trickery. He was led to believe that he was “The Decider” in whose hands the fate of man rested and he only realized how mistaken he was when he crashed on the planet. He had in fact been used as a crash test dummy. There is also a claim that he or another member of his alien species had come to Earth before, much earlier though. This possibility draws its basis from the first episode of the 13th season, which depicts a stone carving closely resembling Roger squatting above a pyramid. What’s more, is that there are two Egyptians praising him.
Details of Roger’s actual alien family and his life before he came to Earth are yet to be revealed in the show. However, in the episode “Lost in Space”, we have a glimpse of his pre-Earth life. A brief clip reveals that prior to his arrival on Earth, he was involved in a homosexual relationship with a male member of his alien race called Zing. The relationship, however, does not last as Roger ends it in typical Roger fashion, blatantly making out with a human male in front of Zing.
Roger lived for many years on Earth before he finally came into contact with the Smith family. This happened one day when he saved Stan’s life four years prior to the sitcom’s beginnings. Roger was a fugitive of Area 51, a government base that allegedly houses captured aliens and alien technology. In his gratitude for saving his life, Stan rescued Roger from government captivity and brought him home to live with him. Roger now lives covertly in the Smith residence, more specifically in their attic which is his bar cum room cum hideout. Stan does this despite being fully aware that he is defying his employer, the CIA. It is worth noting, however, that Rogers stays on Earth on his own free will with the episode “Naked to the Limit, One More Time” revealing that he can simply call for his alien spaceship to return him to his mother planet if he so wishes.
Roger begins the series as a very sensitive and malleable character, which is to be expected since human relations are mostly foreign to him. He is a classic pushover who is often taken advantage of, cheated and ridiculed. This sets the tone for his character development as he grows into a sociopath, exhibiting extremely cruel, selfish, indifferent, devious and depraved behavior patterns. Surprisingly enough, the Smith family is oblivious to his nature despite being the most targeted victims of his actions. The only exception is Stan, who seems to be aware of Roger’s malicious and thin-skinned nature. Having his feelings hurt spurs cynical schemes and frequently, alter egos. He is very brazen and outspoken, having no qualms with randomly saying whatever is on his mind or is bugging him.
Rogers exhibits a personality paradox, typically displaying a lighthearted, carefree temperament while at the same time being freakishly gross and downright malicious. He switches between these two sides of himself and can exhibit whichever quality the situation calls for with the flick of a switch. The alien shows very little empathy, if any. He has limited sympathy and is oblivious of the consequences of his actions. He does not care who suffers as a result of his deeds and often misleads and pits people against each other in order to achieve his own self-interest. Nothing matters at the end of the day so long as he gets what he wants, which he mostly does. The end justifies the means.
It may come as a little relief though, to know that Roger is not unpleasant by choice. The episode “Frannie 911” throws some light on to his nature by revealing that Roger’s species of alien must let all unpleasantries out, otherwise they will turn into poison and kill them.
Stan, after saving Roger’s life, understandably felt that the possibility of Roger’s identity being discovered put his entire family at risk. As a result, he forbade him from ever leaving the house in the early stages of the series. This made Roger quite miserable and disgruntled. However, he found a way to navigate around this problem, by skillfully using disguises to exist in the outside world. Each disguise he employs creates an alter-ego to go with it, the result being the birth of hundreds of aliases.
Despite his numerous disguises comprising of only a different set of clothes and hair, Roger has been capable of deceiving everyone he meets without ever his true identity ever being unearthed. How he manages to deceive virtually every single person he interacts with is inconceivable and even laughable, owing to the fact that he puts no effort to disguise his gray skin, alien face and body features. He even manages to elude the CIA, who according to Stan have “an entire floor” looking for him despite the fact that Roger cordially interacts with Stan’s colleagues. As if that’s not enough, Roger has been sent to the hospital for medical attention numerous times and not once has the personnel ever discovered they were not dealing with a human.
Roger’s myriad of personas have become a major plot device. His various alter egos have often become the subject of an episode’s subplot or main story. Also, despite his evident self-interest, he often acts as a counselor to the Smith family, frequently airing his opinions in a humorous way.
All in all, Roger American Dad is a key character and the crucial role he plays in American Dad deserves all the recognition and appreciation it receives.