Aliens in America
By Sierra Filucci,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
High school sitcom tackles intolerance with humor.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show's main message is about overcoming prejudice and respecting diversity. Specifically addresses prejudices against Muslims. Jason and Raja are both treated as outsiders at school and are teased and even threatened as a result.
Violence & Scariness
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of teenage talk about sex -- but with most of the juicy details skipped. Comments are made about a teenage girl's breasts (she's also nominated to a list of the most "bangable" girls at school) and a boy checks out cleavage on a Web site called "Rack Ranker"; a boy pretends to make out with a pillow; teen boys are mocked for their supposed homosexuality (a pair of bullies mimes gay sex as part of the taunting); a teen boy walks around naked in the locker room, though only his chest and legs are shown.
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Some use of words like "hell," "crap," "damn," "bastard," "skanky," "douche," and "retard." Some prejudicial language, like "Fudge-Pakistani," is used in punchlines (but terms like that aren't endorsed/condoned).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this genuinely funny sitcom addresses issues related to prejudice against Muslims in a clever, sensitive way and ultimately delivers positive messages about tolerance and diversity. The main characters are both high school outsiders who encounter lots of teasing and occasional threats. Expect fairly frequent potty language, fairly mild profanity (mostly of the "crap" and "damn" variety), and made-up insults regarding racial and ethnic groups, as well as non-explicit references to sex, flirting, dating, birth control, and more.
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What's the Story?
ALIENS IN AMERICA is a comedy about the difficult years of high school as experienced by sweet, sensitive 16-year-old Wisconsinite Justin Tolchuk (Dan Byrd). Hoping to boost her awkward son's confidence with a built-in friend, his mother, Franny (Amy Pietz), takes in an exchange student. But the student turns out to be very different from the hunky, blond-haired athlete Franny had in mind. Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan), a Muslim Pakistani, arrives bright-eyed, eager, and naïve about the effect that his traditional clothing and constant references to Allah have on his Midwestern host family and classmates. But hard-working, disarmingly sweet Raja dispels Justin's parents' prejudices and he becomes part of the family. Still, Justin's association with Raja certainly doesn't improve his social status. Both boys are in for lots of eye-opening surprises, some ugly and some hilarious.
Is It Any Good?
With great comic acting and writing, this genuinely funny take on one of the country's touchiest subjects is perfect for the times. Fears about terrorism and the realities of prejudice come under a comic lens -- and the resulting messages about diversity and tolerance are welcome. Both teens and adults will enjoy the familiar high school issues the show addresses, especially those who can identify with the feeling of being an outsider. Plenty of references to sex pop up, but nothing too racy for most teens.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what constitutes "normal" teenage behavior. Is there even such a thing? What messages does the show send about what's "normal" for teens? How does a person's culture affect their behavior? What do Raja and Justin have in common, and how are they different? What's behind those differences -- personality or upbringing? Are they similar to or different from other TV and movie teens? In what ways?
- Premiere date: October 1, 2007
- Cast: Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Dan Byrd
- Network: CW
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
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