The CBS show “United States of Al” is a buddy comedy about a Marine veteran who helps his Afghan translator immigrate to the U.S. Both end up living in the Marine’s dad’s garage while they adjust to civilian and American life, respectively.
Reality is intruding on a comedy, though, since President Joe Biden announced that all U.S. forces will withdraw from Afghanistan before Sept. 11, 2021. There are currently 17,000 translators living in the country, and it’s unlikely that a potential Taliban-led government would look kindly on their collaboration with American forces.
The show’s producers have teamed with military charity No One Left Behind to produce a PSA that first aired at the end of the “United States of Al” episode that aired on May 6. You can watch the spot below.
While the show has used the complicated and unwieldy process required to help these translators immigrate as a source of comedy, the reality is now potentially much darker for these Afghans who risked their lives to help U.S. forces succeed in the country. No One Left Behind is dedicated to reforming the system and making it easier for Americans to sponsor this class of immigrants.
This issue has garnered bipartisan support at a time when that’s increasingly rare in Washington. As anyone who’s dealt with the military knows, entrenched processes can be difficult to modernize and reform so anyone who supports this issue will have to let their representatives know these changes should be a priority.
“United States of Al” has been gaining an audience on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. in the slot after “Young Sheldon” and finding its comic voice as the series works out what to do with the characters.
The show stars Parker Young (“Enlisted”) as Marine vet Riley, Adhir Kalyan (“Rules of Engagement”) as translator Awalmir (aka “Al”), Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”) as Riley’s dad, Art, and Elizabeth Alderfer (“Disjointed”) as sister Lizzie, whose fiancé was killed in combat.
The ratings have been good and executive producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men”) is one of the most important producers on the CBS schedule, so it’s likely that the show will be renewed beyond its initial 13-episode order.
You want more shows that deal with military issues and educate the broader populace about the issues service members face? Then at least you’ve got to give shows like “United States of Al” a try. Seven more new episodes are set to run this spring.
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