You’ve sent the bunker so many tips and emails about it, I obviously had to check it out. CW debuted “Aliens in America” tonight, a sitcom about a Pakistani exchange student named Raja. Upon learning about this…interesting concept, several of you were skeptical, while some of you were uneasy in that vague way we all are familiar with, when we hear about something and imagine the worst.
A few of you couldn’t get over the fact that the protagonist was named “Raja”, since that’s so, like, NOT a Pakistani name. Yes, this offended you more than anything else. Let’s leave behind the small fact that there’s no official, international governing body for judging names or anything– I get what you meant, you were worried that this was sloppiness on the part of the creators, in a “Diwali Barbie is not wearing a sari!” sort of way.
Well, the first boy I had a crush on in high school was Pakistani AND named Raja, so I was the perfect choice for this non-assignment, since I’m not bothered by that detail, at all.
Here’s wiki’s first blurb about the program:
Aliens in America is an upcoming American situation comedy created by David Guarascio and Moses Port, who also serve as executive producers alongside Tim Doyle. Luke Greenfield directed the pilot. The show is about a Wisconsin homemaker who arranges to host a foreign exchange student, believing the visitor will help her shy son become more popular. When the student turns out to be a Muslim teenager from Pakistan, her plans go awry. [wiki]
And here is a plot synopsis:
Justin Tolchuk is a sensitive, lanky 16-year-old just trying to make it through the social nightmare of high school in Medora, Wisconsin, with the help of his well-meaning mom Franny, aspiring-entrepreneur dad Gary, and his popular sister Claire, who is sweetly unaware of how good-looking she is. When Franny signs up for the school’s international exchange student program, she pictures an athletic, brilliant Nordic teen who will bestow instant coolness on her outsider son. However, when the Tolchuk’s exchange student arrives, he turns out to be Raja Musharaff, a 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim. Despite the cultural chasm between them, Justin and Raja quickly develop an unlikely friendship that just might allow them to navigate the minefield that is contemporary high school. It’s going to be a very interesting year for Raja, Justin, his family and the entire population of Medora.”[wiki]
And HERE is what meandered through my head, as I watched it. Let’s call it “unLiveblogging” and call it a night. I have pizza to eat.
The host family Dad– that’s Luke from Gilmore Girls!
What’s up with the gong noise which plays when he sees the sister? Am I the only one who finds that more East/less South Asian?
Raja wears a “shower kameez”. Nice.
Some idiot yells “Apu! Where’s my slushee?” at him, in the halls of his new h.s. Yep, sounds about right.
Idiot teacher who is a little too real for me: “…(Raja is) a real-live Pack-is-tany who practices Muslimism!”
More from teacher, whom I am not hot for: “You are so different from us. How does that feel?” I think I would have had the same perplexed reaction Raja did.
Teacher then asks how Raja being different/there for a year makes others feel??
Vapid side-swept bangs brings up 9/11 and says she feels angry, which inspires this brilliance: “Now who else is angry at Raja?”
Love how Raja looks away kindly while the boy he’s there to “help” socially molests pillow in sad simulated make-out session I thought only 12-year old girls engaged in…
Super cute line from voiceover: “I’ve always felt like an outsider and a weirdo and here comes this kid from a village in Pakistan and suddenly I’m not an outsider anymore…just a weirdo.”
The moment Raja goes from terrorist to sweet kid, for the “Mom”, i.e. the moment she sees him the way I do– “It’s funny how everything you think about a person can change in an instant.”
Okay, I loved the show– what did you think? I know there was much concern about whether it would be sensitive or well-done and I think it was. To me, Raja is the most appealing character on AiA…actually, I think most of the males were, including “the dad” and the unpopular kid Raja is imported to befriend. The teacher I quoted above and “the mom” are the ones who inspire eye-rolling and hissing– but even the latter realizes she’s being unfair by the end of tonight’s series premier. By the way, to any Badgers in the house– are those Wisscansin accents realistic? And was I the only one who almost fell over because of the final scene? After certain posts and discussions we’ve seen on SM, I was delighted by how universal certain
parental issues themes are.