Premiere Date and Time:
Monday, October 1, 8:30pm
Time Slot Competition: Dancing with the Stars
, The Big Bang Theory
, Prison Break
Dan Byrd, Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Lindsey Shaw, Scott Patterson
Aliens in America
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is the CW's newest offering for their Monday night comedy lineup. It is a single-camera comedy about a 16-year-old kid named Justin Tolchuck (Dan Byrd). He lives with his well-meaning but clueless mother Franny (Amy Pietz), his aspiring entrepreneur father Gary (Gilmore Girls
alum Scott Patterson) and his popular younger sister Claire (Lindsey Shaw) in the fictional town of Medora, Wisconsin. He would otherwise be a normal kid with a normal life, except that he is socially awkward and thus, feels perpetually like an outsider—or alien, if you will—at school.
Franny, the take-charge kind of mother who makes all teens want to crawl under a rock, signs up for the international exchange student program as part of Operation: Make Justin Cool. She pictures a confident and attractive (and white) exchange student from London moving into their home and automatically bringing friendship and coolness to her awkward son. It comes as quite a shock to Franny and her family when a 16-year-old Muslim boy from Pakistan named Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan) shows up at the airport instead.
After initially being just as shocked and as put off as his mother by Raja's foreign ways, Justin is eventually won over by Raja's humor and friendship, and the two boys bond over their common status as outsiders.
Raja, who shows up at school wearing his funny clothes and speaking with his funny accent, is a walking metaphor for all socially awkward teenagers out there who have ever felt like fish out of water navigating the social whirlpools of high school. Or, Raja might also be a convenient storytelling device, through whom the show's creative team can highlight the bigotry and small-mindedness found within our society. Or perhaps, they just thought it would be funny and timely to drop a Pakistani Muslim in the middle of America's heartland to see what kind of wacky hijinx would ensue. Unfortunately, the result is not quite sharp enough to actually be considered satire, leading the tone of the show in an uncomfortable, and only marginally wacky, direction.
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-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV
(Photo courtesy of The CW)