Monday, May 24, 2021

What I’m Watching: The United States of Al

The United States of Al: Season 1, Episode 8 “Roht/Sweet Bread” (B+)

It was fun to get to see Al involved in the first romance we’ve seen for him on this show, one that seemed destined to go great places despite the lengthy drive necessary for Al to get to his newfound Afghani second home. I didn’t realize that actress Azita Ghanizada, who had a starring role in “Alphas” and appeared recently opposite William Jackson Harper in “We Broke Up,” was actually born in Afghanistan, another instance of real life reflected on screen that isn’t the case with the admittedly charming but very South African portrayer of Al, Adhir Kalyan. What I didn’t expect was that his service with the United States military would rub her the wrong way and ruin the budding relationship, and though she could return again, I think this may just be something that wasn’t meant to work out. It was entertaining to see how into this possibility the family was, teasing him in the car, and I also enjoyed Hazel sneaking food in the backseat and licking her snacks so that Riley couldn’t have any of them. Art looking in the phonebook to try to find roht bread was endearing if not all that effective, and I like that he didn’t let Lizzie making a sex joke in front of him go, pointing out more than once that he’s her father. The relationship dynamics, particularly between different generations, aren’t always appropriate or normative, but that’s part of why they work well and why they’re appealing to watch.

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