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Aliens in America Review
by Doom and Generalissimo Furioso
guest starring Osama bin Adam Reed
PAKISTAN? WHAT'S A PAKISTAN?
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We citizens of Wisconsin (duly noted as 'the dairy state' by most in spite of California producing far more dairy now) have very little representation (let alone good representation) on television when compared to more popular states. Yeah, the Happy Days-Laverne and Shirley universe occurred in Wisconsin, but that was 25-30 some years ago, and near the end it was more embarrassing than a point of pride. Then there's That 70's Show, a show known for bringing to the world the bastard son of Fonzie and Scott Baio, Ashton Kutcher. The list grows ever more sad after those three; did anyone ever like Picket Fences, Step by Step, Young and the Restless or, God forbid, A Minute With Stan Hooper? It's rhetorical, and the answer is 'fuck no'. So why should we expect any better from Aliens in America, a show with a hackneyed East meets West comedy of errors bullshit premise and an episode order commissioned by the CW (the newest in whitebread)? There's no logical reason.
Aliens in America stars Dan Byrd as average nerd Justin Tolchuk. And when I say 'average nerd' I mean what passes for average nerd in television, aka somewhat attractive young male who acts awkward in a Braff-like way chicks find irresistible. But for some reason TV version of high school hates him and he doesn't fit in at all. The rest of his life sucks, too; his sister is a budding teenage sex pot and his dad's a get-rich-quick scheme lover (I bet he forces his son to make crank in the meth lab in the garage). So instead of taking revenge on the jocks who done wronged him and blowing their brains out with a glock, he whines to his mom and she tries to find a less murderous way of forcing him to fit into the toxic, evil culture of the popular crowd in TV high school. She realizes the perfect solution: find a foreign exchange for Justin to latch onto. Because if there's one thing American teenagers love, it's foreigners. Little does Justin's mom know that the family's not getting an Aryan superman as their exchange student. They're getting AN ISLAMOFASCIST!
Yes, an Islamofascist named Raja shows up at the arrivals section of the airport and not anyone who passes the paperbag test. Mom's mortified, dad's impressed by the kid's manners and his desire to help out around the house ("this kid'll do great makin' some crank"), the sister...who cares about her unless the camera goes in for some upskirt, and Justin is also mortified because the one group more persecuted in American schools than the nerd is the Arabic-looking people. The students at school hate Raja for his strange clothing and for his connection to 9/11. However, Justin and the Pakistani Terror soon become fast friends due to their unlikely situation and this in turn disgusts mom, in part because see walks in on them praying towards Mecca. HOW. DARE. THEY. So she gets Raja deported and, of course, at the last minute rescinds the request blah blah blah premise premise premise. The press release for this show promises to have the boys forced together to "navigate the minefield that is contemporary high school". Hm, I think the minefield reference would be more appropriate if Raja was from Afghanistan.
There is a popular saying in the entertainment industry: "tolerance doesn't make for good [aka popular] TV". This show is a perfect example of why that is true. When the entire premise of a show is "a boy from Pakistan is transferred to Wisconsin and everyone learns to be more tolerant through becoming aware of their own prejudices", you are in dire need of a serious reality check. Wisconsin is probably the single most aberrant state in the union; we elect Democrats, sometimes Socialists, yet want to be ruled by Republicans and have our prisoners killed and our gays unmarried, so when you decide people will learn about proper white-Arab relations from having a single Pakistani boy coming around...yeah, it's not going to be very entertaining or realistic. Unless of course the Minutemen or the Sons of Liberty or a fascist xenophobe group I haven't heard of showed up and fag-dragged him until he was nothing but a bloody stump with one of those fancy little Islamofascist hats on. Then there'd be some realism. If it took place in real Wisconsin, Raja would play his role from a wheelchair after his first day of school.
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So the basic purpose of the show revolves around proving the idea that Pakistanis aren't evil and different like all of them Al Qaeda boys are. However, it fucks it up by making the Pakistani kid a pathetic stereotype. The damn kid is one of those Muslims who prays for everything. Got teased at gym class? Pray to Allah! Want to go out with the sexy girl in your chemistry class? Allah will make her spread her legs bow-eagle by the Bunsen burners! He speaks in the same stilted, polite manner we expect all educated Arabs (or, well, any non-terrorist Arab) to speak in, because them speaking in a manner similar to us would make them, like, almost human. And, like all contemporary Arabs or Indians or darkies who aren't black who enter into the contemporary culture of America, Raja the Pakistani kid finds something allurin' about the white woman (I think they originally wanted Kal Penn to star). It would help if the show oriented around shattering stereotypes would, um, actually present a non-stereotypical minority character instead of the Pakistani version of Balki.
Sometimes single camera sitcoms make it difficult for you to recognize where the humor is or what the humor is. I'll say this for laugh track shows: the laugh track gives us a semblance of where the writers intended the humor to be. In Aliens in America's case...I got nothin'. Seriously, when the primary joke for an entire segment is "I'm mad because their people blew up our buildings", yeah... you got yourself some serious lack of comedic ability to slap that together. It doesn't work as some sort of commentary or larger point about society. 9/11 happened several years ago; I think it's possible to come up with completely new stereotypes moronic Americans follow. It's almost as if somewhere along the line, a well-meaning joke somehow becomes misconstrued by the same ignorance the writers were attempting to displace and remove. This cannot honestly have been written as if it was completely serious and well-meaning. The chances of this breaking down walls between cultures is nil.
For an opinion from the
Foolish Americans! You once again do not correctly consider the actions which are happening before you! Do you not see that this is a Muslim plot to destroy you Americans? Of course not. You decadent Westerners are too self-absorbed to see it. Aliens in America is not a TV show, it is jihad! You can tell we created it because it contains crappy comedy. We have covertly planting it in your CW lineup and you have not noticed! It is obvious it is not truly a Muslim program because if we made it with intention to not blow you up, it would not be so sanitized and inaccurate. Raja would not fall for the horrific Western woman, nor would Raja have so little self-confidence so as to not behead those in the school who mock Islam! This clever plot intends to end on the premiere of this first episode on television. The end credits contain hypnotic signals which will activate chemicals in every loyal Muslim's brain! They will then rise up against the West and kill you all! We at 70/30 received the idea from good friend Tim Al-Qabk, creator of program Tim and Eric's Fatwa Show Allah Pleasing Job!. Finally the West receives repercussions for its support of Israel, Space Ghost and Hollywood movie cinematics!
Thank you, Mr. Bin Adam Reed. To wrap matters up, I really can't see why Aliens in America exists. It's the type of program we've all seen before, the type we don't really care for, and the type that serves no purpose in the realm of comedy anymore. The culture clash breeds comedy approach has been tapped as a well for comedy to the point that not only is there no water in the damn well, the well's caving in due to too many attempts to find the last little morsel of H2O. There's no way this will provide answers to the intelligent (they already know Muslims aren't all terrorists) or the ignorant (if there's a person whose views on race change due to a middling network comedy...I have to kill myself. Now.). So what purpose does it have if it's obvious no one will take the imparted lessons to heart? Nothing. They might as well grab for more ratings and reveal Raja as a terrorist and have the show change into a 24 ripoff. America loves the White Knight beating up the Dark Forces!
I have to admit, their preview for the second episode does look promising.