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S02:E08: Wisdom/Hikmat

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While Al is heavily medicated following surgery on his wisdom teeth, he mistakenly insults Art, forcing Riley to choose sides. Also, Lizzie tries to broker a peace among Art, Riley and Al, on the CBS Original series UNITED STATES OF AL, Thursday, Dec. 2 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

 

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Well. That got awkward and tense quickly. That dinner was...oof. When Al started talking about the Western way of parenting, I was like, "Stop, stop, before you dig yourself in deeper...". And then Art started in with his comments and...yeah, Hazel's "I don't think I was supposed to hear any of that" reaction at the end was mine. And then everything with Lizzie later on...

At first, it was a bit surprising to see Art react so strongly to Al's comments, given he was clearly hopped up on medication - I can see Art being a little hurt at the words, of course, but I also figured he'd acknowledge the fact that Al was medicated, and talk things out with him later once he'd cooled down and Al came out of his medication fog. 

But given some of Art's later observations of his parenting skills, and the fact that Riley immediately sided with Al over him, all of that certainly does explain some of his reaction to Al's comments, too. Art is a great father in many ways, for sure, but every parent still deals with those insecurities at some point, and sometimes it just takes one comment, even an unintentional one, to pick away at those insecurities. The idea that he thought Al's general polite/"respect your elders" attitude made it harder for him to just be honest in how he really felt was an interesting angle as well. I can see where he'd think that. Though, clearly, as Al showed, Afghans can be quick with the insults, so they're certainly not afraid to be honest with how they feel when needed :p. Just seems to be more of a "time and place" thing in a lot of ways. Plus, he's seen Al be critical of how Riley raises Hazel, and he wasn't medicated when he did that, so...

I do love how Al tried to make things right later, though, and I felt for him when he decided the best course of action was to just leave, so as not to burden or upset anyone any further. I especially liked him acknowledging that Art had become like a father to him, since his was no longer around (and now I'm wondering how Al's dad did die), and I'm glad they were able to make up in the end. And I did appreciate Riley defending Al as he did, and acknowledging he was family, too. I think Riley's also right that ticking off Art is a rite of passage to some degree, so if that's the case, then yes, Al's definitely fitting in just fine :D. Riley and Al's fort looked fun, too :p!

Also very glad that Lizzie's injuries weren't too serious, though, yes, texting and driving, bad idea. I did get a kick out of the bookend element of the episode - we started off with Al in pain and feeling miserable, and ended with Art and Lizzie in pain and feeling miserable. 

Edited by Annber03
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The conflict at the dinner table about Afghanistan was realistic, I thought.  The kind of thing that two reasonable people could get into.  I like that the show is trying to include that.   

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29 minutes ago, CattyK said:

The conflict at the dinner table about Afghanistan was realistic, I thought.  The kind of thing that two reasonable people could get into.  I like that the show is trying to include that.   

Yeah, my mom and I actually wound up having a bit of a discussion about that part of their fight during the commercial break. Like Riley, we tended to side with Al on that, too. 

That moment was also a good, subtle way to show how the effects of all the stress surrounding everything that's happened in Afghanistan are still affecting this family. Al would be sensitive about that issue as it is, but in light of all the recent goings-ons especially, and how they've affected him and his loved ones...yeah. That really cut him deep. And Riley being extra protective and understanding makes sense given his experience over there, too. 

Edited by Annber03
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Al not apologizing the next day (I mean begging for forgiveness and explaining he was hopped up on drugs) to me is very unlike Al.

Art not realizing that Al was hopped up on drugs (do we know that he was given "truth serum"?!) and what came out of his mouth was nonsense was again out of character. Yeah I can see Art being slightly hurt but Al was high.  I mean  he thought having his teeth in his pocket was cool.

Otherwise I can see Riley siding with Al. They are brothers and have gone through alot. Plus Riley is the only person Al has on his side.

 

 

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Ouch, I was right there with Hazel on feeling intense discomfort over that dinner. Its pretty unusual for people on this show to really fight so when it happens it feels even worse. It seems like Al and Art both really pushed some buttons, sometimes unintentionally, and tapped into some very sore subjects. Al is feeling very protective of his culture after everything that recently happened in his homeland, and Art does seem to have some insecurity/regrets about how his parenting skills. Art really is a great dad but I think that most parents can look back on their lives and say that they wish they had done some things different, so that was a really hard thing for him to hear from Al. The more both of them talked the more I cringed, I just kept wanting them to stop digging in deeper but it refused to stop. 

At least they made up quickly, even if it took Lizzie getting into a car accident for it to happen. Not surprised that Riley sided with Al, he's still feeling raw about Afghanistan and protective of Al, and probably has no idea his dad feels insecure about the job he is doing as a parent. They went through a lot together, of course he joined Al in running away from home. "Am I allowed here, or are there no girls allowed?"  

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On 12/2/2021 at 9:23 PM, theredhead77 said:

I would appreciate it if this show could go one week without making me cry. 

I really like this show, but this is why it takes me a few days to "gird my loins" and watch each episode. 

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On 12/5/2021 at 12:45 AM, SmithW6079 said:

I really like this show, but this is why it takes me a few days to "gird my loins" and watch each episode. 

I agree. It's not like other sitcoms. I tackles some really serious topics, some that cut close to the bone. However, there is laughter within the drama, and that's why I keep coming back and watch every week.

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On 12/3/2021 at 5:38 AM, greekmom said:

Al not apologizing the next day (I mean begging for forgiveness and explaining he was hopped up on drugs) to me is very unlike Al.

He had just woke up after taking a long nap and was still a little hazy from the drugs, so I think that explains some of that. I think he was about to apologize - he was clearly embarrassed upon learning what he'd said to Art - but Art kept cutting him off before he could say much of anything one way or another, so he never got the chance. 

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Art not realizing that Al was hopped up on drugs (do we know that he was given "truth serum"?!) and what came out of his mouth was nonsense was again out of character. 

I thought "truth serum" was just his nickname for the stuff they give you when you're put under. There's that whole idea that when someone is drunk or on drugs, that's when their "real self" tends to come out and that's when they're most honest, so I figured that's what they were going for here. Or at least, that's how Art saw it. Kinda like how, when he was drinking in the backyard, he was pretty candid with Lizzie, which apparently was what led her to just drive off afterward. 

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