What parents need to know
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.
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.
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?