The new sitcom Aliens in America courts controversy by planting a Muslim Pakistani in an American high school—but it ends up just another suburban comedy. A mom orders a foreign exchange student as an insta-friend for her dorky son, only to find the equally dorky Raja Musharaff waiting at the airport. The setup all but ensures “post-9/11 hijinx,” Slate says.
After a spot of faith-baiting—a teacher riffs, “Raja, you are so different from us. How does that feel?”—the show settles into easygoing high school comedy. Its resident alien becomes merely “a generic Other,” and after pledging major controversy, the show opts for basic teenage angst of the orthodontics and bullying variety.