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S02.E10: Professor/Ustad

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When Al invites his professor over for dinner, Al's professor and Lizzie start flirting with each other. Also, Riley hits a snag in his physical relationship with Holly and seeks out his therapist for help, on the CBS Original series UNITED STATES OF AL, Thursday, Jan. 6 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. John Ross Bowie returns as Professor Williams, Al's psychology instructor.

 

 

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"At least stop lifting those weights. it is not your biceps that need to get bigger."

OMFG XD. That and Al's suggestion Riley take after Rocky with the raw eggs had me cackling. I got a kick out of Riley bugging his therapist, and I also liked him trying to talk to Art as well, but I am glad that he did ultimately talk things out with Holly at the end. I think his therapist is right about why he had the issues he did here, so hopefully now he's talked things out with her, that helps ease some of the pressure off him a bit. 

As for Al and his professor....interesting theory from him there about why Lizzie dating him might've bothered Al. Hm. I liked Al's response to that at the end with the whole projection thing, though I do wonder if there was at least a little truth to that theory all the same. Will be interesting to see how things play out between Lizzie and the professor going forward. I don't know that I can see them being a regular thing, but I can see it being a fun fling, a way for Lizzie to get herself out there again if nothing else. 

I also enjoyed Al's conversation with the professor early on. I picked the red circle, too :p. 

Edited by Annber03
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Pretty entertaining, especially the opening scene

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Is the red circle thing real, or did they just make it up for the show? I picked the purple circle. But if it's a real study, I'm curious about whether there's any further explanation or if it's just considered some random thing that most people gravitate to red.

 

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44 minutes ago, possibilities said:

Is the red circle thing real, or did they just make it up for the show? I picked the purple circle. But if it's a real study, I'm curious about whether there's any further explanation or if it's just considered some random thing that most people gravitate to red.

I'm wondering about that, too. In my case, I picked the red circle simply because that's my favorite color :p. 

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I agree with the Professor that Al has feelings for Lizzie.

The issue is I don't think Al is progressive enough for Lizzie.

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1 hour ago, greekmom said:

I agree with the Professor that Al has feelings for Lizzie.

The issue is I don't think Al is progressive enough for Lizzie.

I, too, think Al has unrealized feelings for Lizzie, and I agree, he is 100% not progressive enough for Lizzie.  I also don't think he needs to be, because while he is doing a fantastic job of assimilating, I don't think he needs to shift from all of his core values, which are different than Lizzie's. Do we know anything about his romantic history in Afghanistan? I don't recall if he left someone behind, or that they were killed.

I like Lizzie and the Professor. This could be her first actual date / possible "thing" since her fiancé was killed.

 

It's very commonPoor Riley. But yea, it's very common.

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1 hour ago, theredhead77 said:

Do we know anything about his romantic history in Afghanistan? I don't recall if he left someone behind, or that they were killed.

He did not have someone back home, no - he said in the...pilot, I think it was, that he moved around too much and was too concerned with trying to stay safe to be able to really do any dating.. 

Interestingly, Lizzie was the one who'd asked him if he had a girlfriend back home. I've gotten the sense at times she kinda likes him, too, so if Al does indeed have some deeper feelings for her, I think there's a chance they could be reciprocated. 

Course, if that is the case, then I'm curious what that'll mean not only for her relationship with the professor, but also for Al's relationship, such as it is, with Ariana. 

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Poor Riley, that's rough. Him following his therapist around was pretty hilarious though, even finding him at the hospital. He clearly has a lot of issues he is still working out but I am glad that he was honest with Holly. I like them together, she can relate to his experiences in a really personal way and I think that has been really good for him. 

Lizzie popping up out of nowhere after Riley's talk with Art was great. "Its very common." 

I like the idea of Lizzie and the professor, even if its just a fling, its good for her to get back out there. Interesting idea that Al maybe has feelings for Lizzie, I have caught a vibe between them a few times, but I don't think it would ever work. They're way too different for a romantic relationship I think. 

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I personally don't see any romantic sparks between Al and Lizzie.  They have a nice rapport and are developing a good relationship, but it feels more like brother and sister to me.  And Al kept referring to Lizzie as part of his family when he was upset about the professor flirting with her.  If he does have any kind of subconscious romantic feelings for her I think it's probably just a crush.  It seems like Lizzie is the first woman outside of his biological family that he's gotten to know well, and I can see how that emotional closeness might make him wonder at some point if there's something more there.  I don't think anything would come of it (and I hope the show doesn't go there) since as others have pointed out Al and Lizzie are so different that a romantic relationship really wouldn't work.

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2 minutes ago, Rose Quartz said:

It seems like Lizzie is the first woman outside of his biological family that he's gotten to know well, and I can see how that emotional closeness might make him wonder at some point if there's something more there.

MTE. I can't imagine platonic male/female friendships are prevalent in Afghanistan, even without the Taliban, and this is another new situation Al is learning to navigate. I'd like to see more of Al and Ariana or a woman with a similar upbringing and value system. She's just outside his comfort zone, he would have to rethink a few things, but she's not so far outside of his core values that he would have to compromise who he is fundamentally. 

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On 1/7/2022 at 3:10 PM, theredhead77 said:

I, too, think Al has unrealized feelings for Lizzie, and I agree, he is 100% not progressive enough for Lizzie.  I also don't think he needs to be, because while he is doing a fantastic job of assimilating, I don't think he needs to shift from all of his core values, which are different than Lizzie's. Do we know anything about his romantic history in Afghanistan? I don't recall if he left someone behind, or that they were killed.

I like Lizzie and the Professor. This could be her first actual date / possible "thing" since her fiancé was killed.

I don't think it would work for so many reasons.

  1. While Muslim men can marry Christian women, Lizzie clearly is fairly secular and I don't think it would work, given how much value Al places on his faith. 
  2. Lizzie is too progressive for the traditional Al, and Al is wonderfully traditional and shouldn't have to shift his core values for love.
  3.  Lizzie just doesn't seem interested in guys like him, based on her crush on the professor and her late fiance. She's fiercely independent and Al seems more interested in someone who he needs to care take. 
  4. I think Al misses his sister, and transfers those feelings to Lizzie. 

I like Lizzie and the Professor, he's extremely intelligent and he makes her smile and appreciates her art. I think she really seemed comfortable with him. 

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Maybe because the professor is played by the same actor who played Kripke on TBBT to such perfect douche-baggeriness, but I don't like the professor. I find him creepy, and I think less of Lizzie for liking such a creep. I don't even like his little SJW snarky asides, because it implies he's gotten in trouble before for making inappropriate comments around students or engaged in inappropriate behavior around them.

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25 minutes ago, SmithW6079 said:

it implies he's gotten in trouble before for making inappropriate comments around students or engaged in inappropriate behavior around them.

Yeeeeeeeah, those little asides have me raising an eyebrow every time he makes them. It has me wondering if there'll be a storyline around that at some point. And if the professor's had inappropriate interactions with other women in the past, as his jokes seem to imply, his flirtation with Lizzie may be a glimpse into how those interactions played out. 

I'm not surprised Lizzie might be interested in someone like him, though. She hasn't dated anyone since Michael died, so I can see her being drawn to someone who knows how to compliment her and make her feel special, to where she might overlook some of their more questionable aspects. But yeah, I can't help but be a little wary about how this relationship will pan out all the same, because of all the stuff mentioned above. I actually wondered at one point if the professor insinuating Al had feelings for Lizzie was his way of giving Al a weird sort of test. He knows how enthusiastic Al is about the class, so I wondered if this was his way of trying to get Al to apply what he's learning in the class thus far to his everyday life, like with the whole thing about how Al stocked shelves at the grocery store. 

I've only ever seen a little of the first season of "Big Bang Theory", so I didn't realize the actor playing the professor was on there. But that is interesting, learning about his character on that show. Makes sense he'd wind up on this show, too, then - from what I do know about Lorre's shows, he seems to have a pretty steady stable of actors. Which is nice :). 

Edited by Annber03

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I think he also played the dad on Speechless. He was a good guy there, which was a helpful palate cleanser after Kripke of BBT.

But I agree there are red flags with his comments about trouble he's gotten into. Whether that's meant to warn us he's not great, or whether it's because the writers are oblivious to how obnoxious and red flaggy it is, I don't know yet. The show has been pretty good about not promoting bad behavior, plus it's pretty early in the show for Lizzie to have a serious relationship. So I'm guessing they do realize the red flags are red flags. I hope so anyway.

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The Kripke character was such a great foil for the four male characters on Big Bang, especially after we got to know them and they lost their quirkiness. His meanness combined with the brazenness of his inability to pronounce L or R makes it hard for me to take Al's professor seriously.  Kripke's name always made me think of Officer Krupke from West Side Story, but when he sang "At Wast" at the wedding,  I totally lost it.

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14 hours ago, possibilities said:

But I agree there are red flags with his comments about trouble he's gotten into. Whether that's meant to warn us he's not great, or whether it's because the writers are oblivious to how obnoxious and red flaggy it is, I don't know yet. The show has been pretty good about not promoting bad behavior, plus it's pretty early in the show for Lizzie to have a serious relationship. So I'm guessing they do realize the red flags are red flags. I hope so anyway.

Another line of thought on the red flags - Professor Brett is another "learning from his mistakes" character. Is he old enough to know better? 110%. But I can 100% buy that he got a stern talking to by HR, written up, maybe his position was threatened, he had a proverbial "come to Jesus" moment with himself and he truly trying to change his ways. His over-compensating with course correction someone that is so afraid of fucking up, again, because it's all on the line.

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