Aliens in America

Common Sense Media says

High school sitcom tackles intolerance with humor.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Rough-housing, teasing.

Sex

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.

Language

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).

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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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Kids say

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Dan Byrd
Network:CW
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Aliens in America was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byschuymarch1 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Aweome...

This show is awesome.
Adult Written byKJGav April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Great show for teaching tolerance

I really enjoyed this show, though my children are younger and I did not allow them to watch it. I can see it being OK for older children (late teens) so long as parents watch with them and discuss some of the stickier issues. It does contain "teenage" language (name calling, etc.) and some sexual innuendo/references, though nothing blatant. It seems like it's going in a good direction by using humor to teach cultural and social tolerance, as well as the value of friendship and understanding.
Teen, 14 years old Written byNYCchick April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Made My Heart Explode! HeeHee!

The show was really great. I loved it. I was bursting out laughing in parts,a few times i was so happy i couldn't help laughing,but a few times i did feel kind of weird watching it because of the "Top 10 Most Bangable List" although it was funny it was still a little inapproprate.

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