Saturday, December 18, 2021

What I’m Watching: United States of Al

United States of Al: Season 2, Episode 8 “Wisdom/Hikmat” (B+)

Mind-altering medication is usually a great opportunity for the truth to come out, and that was definitely the case here. This show tends to confront more serious themes like post-traumatic stress and Al being away from his family in Afghanistan, but there hasn’t been as much around Art and how he is as a father. When he’s in the right state of mind, Al is better at communicating things that might not come across the right way, but telling Art that he was a bad father crossed the line in a way he didn’t intend at all. The point was, of course, well taken in the end, but much of it has to do with the fact that the way in which Art interacts with his children doesn’t support the way that Al believes elders should be treated and respected by their offspring. It was definitely uncomfortable to see how offended Art was, and for Al, once he was able to come back to his senses to a degree, to be legitimately worried about and sorry for what he had done. Lizzie, as usual, was there to help fix things, ensuring that those who needed to hear each other actually took the time to stop and listen. This is where I think this show does tend to work well and achieve an interesting exploration of cultural differences and how they can blur the lines of what’s acceptable in one place and foreign in another, unable to be understood without the proper context.

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