Aliens in America (2007–2008)
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I was a bit worried when i saw this show on cable, because i was sure it was provoking Muslims. Being a Muslim myself, I know about discrimination and racism, although I haven't experienced it myself. i quickly changed the station but then in my free time i began watching it online. IT doesn't make fun of the religion, but it shows you the views of the American family and his peers.
I was also intrigued by the main character. He's not A popular jock...or a high school cheerleader...but instead like many of us, an outcast. Maybe we aren't as geeky as him, but i can definitely relate to being a little weird or awkward at times. The family is pretty normal. The dad is a bit different from the mom; opposites attract! And the sister (we all know her from Ned's declassified)plays a normal teenage girl, unlike her brother fitting it.
I recommend it if you want a quick 20 minute laugh!
Comparing this wonderful show to the ongoing "Little Mosque In The Prairie" would be a mistake. "Little.." is a rather bland, predictable comedy, very much in the 80's style.
"Aliens.." however had it all: Topical issues, sharp humour, superb writing, dream cast and high production levels. and above all it was the funniest show on television. It is a must see.
It is regrettable and sad that CW has chosen to end the one show that really brought home a devoted and cheerful audience. Shame on them!
Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)
"Aliens in America" is not what the CW might make it look like. It is so, so much better. The basic network-pitch premise finds an average Caucasian middle-American family, The Tolcheks, taking in a foreign exchange student and devout Muslm, Raja (Adhir Kalyan), for some culture clash comedy and no doubt a Hollywood education about the peace-loving religion of Islam vs. the vile, materialistic west.
While Raja does more often than not suffer from the kind of straight-man syndrome that handicaps many characters in the name of political correctness, the titular aliens of the series are actually the outsiders in high school - cast by the series as a fascist place of cliques, living clichés, ignorance of all kinds and general unfairness that sees no difference between Raja and self-proclaimed dork Justin Tolchuck (Dan Byrd, "The Hills Have Eyes"). And there in lies the genius rub of "Aliens in America", which actually turns out to be an insightful, well-acted, smartly written and refreshingly honest satire of contemporary high school and family life. Surprise!
Created by David Guarascio and Moses Port, "Aliens" is dead on in so many ways. Like a distant, more mature cousin Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle", in that it successfully manages to chronicle what it's like to grow up a young male in high school. It reminded me of how much artificiality we put up with on TV and how rare it is too see a high school show that appears to have been written by someone who actually did go to high school. Some of the topics are a bit racy without calling attention to itself, yet clever enough to pass as family entertainment. Justin's adventures are frequently tangles with social and personal humiliation. Byrd's narration is one of the best on TV in recent memory. It recalls "Dead Like Me" in that instead of simply having a character summarize the action or catch us up, Justin's is an opportunity for some of the show's best one-liners, insights and story expanding detours. It is one of the show's greatest achievements.
The Tolchecks befriend a sex offender next door, Raja tries to put together an explicit pro-abstinence float in a school parade and Mom joins a radical group of mothers to wipes the smut out of the school's reading list. Mom, by the way, is played by Amy Pierez and in the show's funniest performance she sports the world's thickest Minnesotan "don't ya know" accent and spastically throws herself around in a full-body comic frenzy. Watch her eyes almost cross in a few scenes.
The show is imaginative. Dad bough a herd of Alpacas in a get rich quick scheme. Justin gets into a popularity contest when he is voted by Raja to die in the school's drunk driving skit. This last bit is actually a runner in the show's single season run: Raja wanting the best for Justin, but not knowing the high school social structure inadvertently putting him in an awkward social situation that breaks those social barriers of what you can and can't do. The results are hilarious and heart-warming.
Every single thing about it works. From the mechanics of the cast and the writing to the warmth and personality radiating off the screen. "Aliens in America" didn't last more than one season but that doesn't make it any less than the best new comedy of the 07/08 TV season. It is so much better than it's placement on The CW would suggest. And it's quick expulsion (a year after the classic "Veronica Mars") should pretty much prove. This is a great show, people. Do not miss it.
* * * * / 4
As for the sitcom, I love it.The acting is just so great, the way of showing that whether what class, race or religion you belong to, there's nothing funny about peace, love and understanding.Even Adhir Kalyan, the Indian actor who plays the Pakistani Raja does a good job too.And the mom (Amy Pietz) is amazing and the funnies character on the show.I guess The CW hates when we love them, that's why they canceled this show, damn you CW.
Now moving over, nothing is correct about Pakistan or Pakistanis.First of all, the skin color of Adhir Kalyab, it's dark brown, that's a very rare skin color that is of Pakistanis.Most Pakistanis are either light brown or fair skinned.The next is the accent, when Indians and Pakistanis speak English, they have quite different accents.Most Indian accents have a Hindi blend, whereas Pakistani accents have an American blend and those who can't speak English properly talk sluggishly and incorrectly.In one episode, I saw that Raja closes his eyes when a kissing scene occurs, Are you serious? A kissing scene?, That's way dumb no one in Pakistan would seem to care.Lastly, is the clothes that Raja wears, it's more Arabian than Pakistani.Even if he wore it here in Pakistan, he would be made fun of in schools, colleges e.t.c.
My point is that overall, it's a great show, that creators of this show should have done their homework on Pakistan before.And again, screw you CW for canceling it.
It has good actors and good writing, as you can tell by Dan Byrd moving on to another great show, "Cougar Town" not to Mention Lindsey Shaw to "Ten Things I Hate About You". I think that these are much better fits for these two actors however this show was a very good starting point for the two. Bringing in Amy Pietz was also a great move, I think of her as a combination of Fran Drescher (The Nanny) and Marisa Tomei. I've been a fan of hers ever since "Caroline in the City".
However, since it came out on the CW network, it would be tough to sell this to their audience. This is meant for an edgier network. This is typical of them, the same thing happened with Reaper, another great show that was cut short in it's prime. I do think it's still a good show, and should be a nice thing to kill a couple of days with. Eighteen (18) episodes at 30 minutes each is Nine (9) hours, so I also recommend this to marathon with friends, if you're up for it :)
I like everybody. Maybe the problem was that they couldn't mix the seriousness of being Muslim in America with the cuteness of the traditional family sitcom. Maybe America was just not ready for a Muslim lead. Maybe the writing could be better.
It involved a small town American family reluctantly taking in a Muslim Pakistani exchange student, and how his presence affected their lives.
While that idea sounds trite, and the basis of a million obvious jokes, the writing and acting had a lot more heart, complexity and off-best intelligence than the premise would suggest. It reminded me of 'Freaks in Geeks' in the way it trafficked in clichés about the teen years, and yet also transcended them.
Not an earth-shaking or change your life show, but I rarely watch sit-coms, and found myself happily sticking through the 18 of these that were made in it's brief run.
The plot is alright but these racial things spoils everything ! It's like a foreign aboriginal guy playing role of president George Washington.
Nothing much to say but beside these racial thing (in my opinion there are no race. Human is a race) this show could be good if there maybe where actual real Pakistanian guy playing role but the show is watchable.
He and The Christian family that he stays with get to learn each others different ethnic back grounds and share them but this is still one very good example of how even this premise is very limited and of which is why it to no surprise had gotten canceled when it had and within a short span of time too.
Among the other examples of shows with limited premises because of there being 2 different ethnic backgrounds are as follows: Mr.T.and Tina;Bridget loves Bernie;Chicken Soup;and Brooklyn Bridge.
Truthfully,Stephen "Steve" G. Baer a.k.a. of Framingham,Ma.USA