Klaus (American Dad!)

Klaus (American Dad!)

Klaus is a fictional character on the television series "American Dad!". He is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is the Smith family's pet goldfish. His full name is currently unknown.


Before Becoming a Fish

Klaus used to be an East German Olympic ski-jumper until his brainwaves were switched with that of a goldfish in the 1986 Winter Olympics (which did not exist) by the CIA to prevent him from winning the gold medal. It is not revealed what happened to Klaus' human body, although hinted that his body expired. His body is seen swimming upstream with a group of salmon, which is inconsistent with the type of fish (goldfish) he switched with. His original body gone and his mind now inhabiting the body of a fish, the CIA ordered Stan Smith to take care of Klaus posing as the family pet, a fact Klaus has still apparently not come to terms with. Klaus is bitter at being confined to live life as a goldfish and losing all his human abilities, more so he is angrier at his loss of sexual function than loss of his athletic skills.

In "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever", Klaus stated that his grandfather was a train conductor who ran the kiddie train at the Auschwitz zoo (and is appalled when the family assumes he was referring to the concentration camp and reminds them that there is other stuff in that large town). Not much else is said of Klaus' true family, and it is presumed that Klaus has no living relatives and there are no inquiries in Germany as to his disappearance.

As The Smiths' Pet

Klaus retains his human intelligence, and his mind seems to have enhanced the goldfish's physiology. Klaus is perfectly fine breathing air so long as at least one small part of his body is in water. Klaus is also able to swim in both salt water and fresh water, and even coffee, Jell-O, and the washing machine, where he enjoys being thrown in with Francine's underwear. In actuality, salt water, jello, coffee, and superheated water is lethal to ordinary goldfish.

He lusts after Stan Smith's wife Francine; she is the subject of many of his sexual fantasies, which often revolve around sadism. His desire for Francine has diminished over the third season.

In the "Finances with Wolves" episode, Klaus switched his goldfish body for that of a black man's (the front man for an Earth, Wind and Fire cover group who ripped off the CIA at their summer mixer), and almost ran off with Francine, but the body was mortally damaged in the aftermath of an explosion at the mall. Deciding to spare his life, but also to make sure he never try to seduce Francine again (and that the CIA had no human bodies available at the time), Stan placed his brain in another goldfish's body (Klaus flushed the previous fish's lifeless body down the toilet). This episode also gave an indication of his personality; he seems more concerned in saving his new human body than Francine, as he did not attempt to rescue her from the blast.

Though he is a member of the Smith Family, he is often overlooked and not considered on certain things. He also doesn't go places with the rest of the family unlike Roger who usually needs to disguise himself. In "The One That Got Away", Roger drunkenly tells Klaus that he is useless and everyone hates him.


The episode "Of Ice and Men" shows Klaus in the year 2045, where he is inexplicably in a new human body. He also has a grandson in this future; the majority of the episode consisted of a story Klaus told him about the past. The grandson was apparently unaware Klaus had once been a fish. Klaus also claims in this episode to have been two sharks and a monkey, though this was said with obvious aggression and sarcasm no doubt in order to end to stop his grandson from asking questions. Another claim he made was that he was roommates with Rick Schroeder during the course of his life, who Klaus claims "He sucks. He just sucks." In the episode "The One That Got Away" he is supposedly sent to the future, and is swallowed by a mutant tentacled creature. He slays it from the inside, stating he was gone 60 years. When Roger asks he where he went, he merely states that he is their king now, and is sitting an a jewel covered grail.


His voice is modeled, in part, after Peter Lorre's.

Klaus has a strange obsession with "Beauty and the Beast". His view is that without Mrs. Potts (whom Francine played in "Stan of Arabia"), the Beast would have killed himself years ago. This may also be interpreted as simply part of his obsession with Francine. He also takes the story personally, "for who could ever love a beast?" (referring to himself). Klaus is a fan of "Scrubs" and "Grey's Anatomy" (which he watches with Roger). He can also play "Hava Nagila" on champagne flutes, and enjoys playing "Tempest". Like Stan, Klaus is a fan of the Georgetown Hoyas.

Being that the other family members pay little attention to Klaus, he feels extremely isolated from the others. At one point, he convinced Steve to hold him so he could infect him with Ich, thus forcing Steve to spend time with him, while his other friends avoid him, out of fear of being infected.

Production Notes

Of the main cast, Klaus is the one least featured in the show's various plots, and often does not show up in episodes for more than brief cameos. The show's creators seem to acknowledge this fact in "Big Trouble in Little Langley," where Francine, asking if each family member is safe after a fire, forgets to mention Klaus, which leaves him frustrated. In Haylias, he points out the fact that the only time anyone talks to him is when they have no one else to turn to. Also, he acknowledges the fact that he is frequently ignored. He also frequently breaks the fourth wall; for example, he provided audio commentary in a fight scene between Stan and Bullock, and once bleeped himself to "take the joy away from the censors," using the word "bleep" in place of the actual swear he is implied to have used.

It is revealed in the episode "Haylias" that he does not know how to read, yet he frequently fakes reading whenever he wishes to have time to himself. He and Stan also befriend each other, though Stan appears to forget about Klaus completely after he experiences slight memory loss when recovering from a gunshot to the head.

In the German dubbed version of "American Dad!", Klaus speaks in a Saxon dialect, which is seen as a stereotype for East Germans in general. His behavior in the German version is similar to that of an ex-Stasi agent and he hints that he was attached to the Stasi agency, which serves as an alternative to the hints that he has Nazi sympathies in the English version.

Klaus has appeared more frequently in Season 3, wherein he is repeatedly featured in several episodes' subplots.

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