Saturday, May 1, 2021

What I’m Watching: United States of Al

United States of Al: Season 1, Episode 5 “Homesick/Deghyat” (B)

There was no way that Al making rice pudding and delivering it to all of his neighbors was going to go that well, but some of that probably has to do with Art’s dislike for something about each one of them. Having recently moved in to a house and taken fresh-baked cookies around to surrounding homes, I found people to be very receptive, even during a pandemic where strangers, with or without “I Love America” hats, aren’t always welcomed in. I liked that Riley employed Al’s belligerent techniques on him when he refused to tell him why it was that he was getting up early to pray, but his solution – to box – was a bit peculiar and not really tailored to the man who, by his own account, didn’t “have the body for it” and was more of an emotional expresser than the stoic Riley. It was great to see Lizzie work so hard with Art to set something up that reminded Al of home and then point out to him that it was probably grief and not homesickness that he was feeling. While a romance between the two of them would surely drive Riley crazy, it’s more fun that he keeps asking her to stop offering up hugs rather than forging any kind physical connection with her. I was trying to figure out where I knew Holly the bartender from, and I think it’s from Amanda Payton’s role on the highly underappreciated comedy “Trial and Error.” She seemed much friendlier to Al than she was to Riley, and it would be great to see more of her in the coming episodes.

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