Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aliens in America

OK, let's be honest: I only checked it out because there was suppose to be a big controversy about the show. If I go by the thing I saw on CNN, this TV show was getting Muslims panties in a bunch.

Here's the setup: midwest family applies to get a foreign exchange student from Britian (mainly because the son is such a loser Mom decides importing a friend might be a good idea). When the kid shows up - he's Pakistani and Muslim. In small town America.

Hijinks ensue.

I watched the show and - actually enjoyed it. Granted, it's a place that only exists in TV land, with moment such as this:

Teacher: So, who has an opinion on Rahja being different?

Girl: It makes me angry, because his people flew those plans into the World Trade Towers on 9-11.

Rajah: Pardon me, but those were not my people.

Teacher: Rajah, don't try to cover things up. Who else is mad because of what Rajah's people did?

Basically, the show is more about the stupidity of Americans about the outside world (and stupidity in general, such as when two bullies get into a fight about who would be boning their hot sister more. Right.). What I found interesting is that nobody seemed to be prejudiced against the blacks or hispanics in their school - just the "new" strange ethnic group with funny dress. Interesting, because one or two generations back the idea of a black school counselor in middle America would have been a crazy idea - as crazy now as a Muslim foreign exchange student, I guess.

But just when you think they're just going to pound you over the head with "Americans stupid", they show some flashes of brilliance. Such as when the teenage boy starts talking to Rajah (after ignoring him for an entire day), and discovers that this guy is actually pretty cool about stuff. Different, sure, but cool.

I'm curious to see if they can make the show more than a one trick pony of "Americans stupid and prejudiced", but if they can expand it out a bit more, I think the show will end up having a lot of things to say about people's perceptions of "those people", and how stupid those perceptions are.

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