Third-episode verdict: Aliens in America

The Carusometer for Aliens in America1-Caruso-Free

For me, Aliens in America has been the surprise show of this year’s Fall season. A programme about a Pakistani exchange student who comes to middle America and encounters prejudice and ignorance wherever he goes? Sounds… great, huh?

However, it’s actually been the funniest new comedy of the season so far, and surprisingly touching as well. Much of the comedy stems from Raja’s failure to understand the local townspeople’s War on Terror-induced fear of him. But it’s also his friendship with Justin, the host family’s son, and the meaner rules of American High School culture that provide the laughs. Raja can’t really get to grips with lying, holding back on declaring his love for his friend in case people think him gay and all the other lessons Justin’s already learnt the hard way at High School.

Although we haven’t quite re-attained the highs of the first episode, the second and third episodes have been almost as funny and often cut quite near the knuckle, with the third episode in particular raising a few eyebrows with its daring, post-9/11. While Raja is really a little too good to be true, achieving near-Angelic status in his attitudes and behaviour, he’s still sufficiently complex to avoid becoming a simple liberal counter-stereotype.

If you fancy a laugh and don’t mind watching a show that’s mostly about teenagers, I heartily recommend Aliens in America.

The Medium is Not Enough scored a 1 or “Caruso free” rating on The Carusometer. A “Caruso free” rating corresponds to a show that David Caruso might accidentally get sent a script for. After failing to persuade the producers that his acting talents are more than capable of convincing people that he’s a 16-year-old Pakistani student, he declares the show un-American and tries to have it banned. The notoriety only makes the show’s ratings increase, something that happens even more when he tries to randomly search the cast for ‘weapons-grade fertilizer’ as they go home each evening.