I sort of gave up on “American Dad” a while ago but if it’s always as edgy as this episode, I might have to put it back in my rotation. This episode’s not coasting on the one joke of right wing pro-Americana and it’s even got lots of pop culture references, even without the cutaway setup of “Family Guy.”

The 100th episode of “American Dad” promises to kill 100 characters. They put up a death counter and they keep playing with it. Then it totally cheats which is actually the only funny way to pay off that gag.

More after the jump..

It opens with Jeff serenading Hayley. The song is funny, both innocently vulgar and sweet. Maybe every Fox animated show has music this week. “Family Guy” wasn’t on the screener disc but they’ve got to have one too.

Stan’s reaction to Jeff and Hayley’s engagement sets up a Cannonball Run-type chase with all the minor characters who have appeared before. One even reminds us who he was.

There are more references in this than many “Family Guy” episodes. There’s no cutaway but tons of references within the story. There are some visual references, either implied or explicit. There are names dropped in dialogue and one celebrity gets mocked on the Smith family TV. Wheels and the Legman appear again in this episode. That’s got to mean something to “American Dad” fans.

This episode is full of cartoon slapstick, and the characters do it deadpan. It gets really violent and inappropriate. There’s lots of bleeped out profanity and you can usually tell what they were saying.

I still don’t think “American Dad” is as funny as “Family Guy’s” take on the sitcom and animated comedy, but this is a much more distinctive voice than I thought it had. They’re doing cartoon antics but with the gore and language of “South Park,” albeit bleeped. That’s a reason to put a cartoon on in primetime.

“American Dad” returns October 3rd at 9:30/8:30c on Fox.