United States of Al, Season 2 Episode 11 Review


When Hazel (Farrah Mackenzie) decides to do a report on Al (Adhir Kalyan)  for school, a classmate insults her and Hazel punches him in the face. She's expelled from school. Riley (Parker Young) and Vanessa (Kelli Goss) disagree about how to punish Hazel. In fact, the two argue about whether Hazel was justified in punching out the other kid. The argument leads to an Al-led "intervention" where the entire family discusses the role of parenting, especially when the parents are separated.

This episode of USofAL fires on all cylinders. We are reminded of Al's history and refugee status. We get a taste of ignorance thanks to the classmate's insults. And we get the warm and fuzzies thanks to a sitcom returning to familiar territory - a disfunctional family comedy. The intervention was a great way to get the entire family cast members together, especially as past episodes had separate A and B storylines where the entire family rarely interacted.

There are times when episodes of USofAL still feel like it's getting its legs, but this particular episode was smart, insightful and, most importantly, funny.


Harrison Cheung is the author of the award-winning biography of Christian Bale (BenBella Books) and a contributor to Brave New Hollywood and The TV Ratings Guide.

@harrisonic (Twitter)

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