It was just over a year ago that King of the Hill highlighted the absurdity of food restrictions. Last Sunday, American Dad! got on board, too. In the episode, the show’s lead character, CIA agent Stan Smith, becomes outraged when the city council of Langley Falls bans trans fats. Though no one on the show pretends that trans fats are particularly healthy, they are not the scourge of the Earth, either: As the writers of the show failed to point out, Americans have been safely eating it for decades, and our life expectancy has grown.
According to Stan Smith and other characters who speak out against the ban, trans fats make food taste better. After tasting his bland, trans fats-free dinner, Stan remarks:
“That’s what trans fat is?! The stuff that makes everything taste wonderful? Why doesn’t the city council just declare war on flavor, like the English did years ago?”
Later, other Langley Falls residents become dissatisfied with the ban when even the vending machines are reduced to leafy greens. (Hmm…where have we seen this before?)
Stan becomes so irritated with the ban that he travels out of town to smuggle the ingredient back for his wife to cook with. On one trip, he has to dump cans of trans fats to avoid being caught by a food cop (literally) patrolling the city border.
You can replace the trans fats in this episode with any other villain du jour (salt, high fructose corn syrup etc.), and the point remains the same: Lawmakers are passing feel-good legislation that limits our food choices and makes our dinners increasingly boring.