Even though the show has aired only seven episodes so far, CBS has given a season two order for “United States of Al,” the situation comedy about a Marine veteran of the Afghanistan War who helps his translator immigrate to the USA.
Parker Young plays Riley, the veteran who’s struggling with PTSD, and Adhir Kalyan is Awalmir (aka “Al”), the loyal translator who Riley spent years helping get out of his home country so he could join Riley in Ohio. The two men live with Riley’s dad, Art (Dean Norris), bunking in the garage after Riley splits up with his wife.
Comedy series often take a season or more to discover their strengths and find an audience. If you look back at early episodes of “Friends,” “Seinfeld” or “The Office,” those shows bear little resemblance to beloved episodes from those shows’ peaks.
“United States of Al” is currently growing into its premise. Last week’s episode was dead-on topic with a funny episode about how military members have a tendency to look only at the car payments and not the outrageous interest rates when they get rooked into terrible auto deals. That’s a show where the military advisers are delivering the inside dope.
While the humor is front and center on each episode, the show is seriously committed to highlighting the plight of 17,000 translators left behind by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, many of whom face an uncertain future after the U.S. withdraws its troops this year.
The 14 episodes filmed for season one are now set to be followed by another 22 shows in season two. “United States of Al” is getting its shot to find its voice and build an audience. For now, you can stream the show on CBS.com or Paramount+.
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