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S02.E20: Sock/Jeraab

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Al decides to take his relationship with Cindy to the next level, but things go awry when he becomes incredibly nervous. Also, Riley learns some information about Vanessa that makes him wonder if they are on the same page about their relationship, on the CBS Original series UNITED STATES OF AL, Thursday, April 28 (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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Last season this was my must see #1 show but lately it’s just okay.  Can’t explain why, tho I wish  they’d revisit Lizzie and Al’s teacher.  Also Riley’s therapist is gold. Not fond of either of Al’s girl friends- maybe that’s part of it!

Ghosts is firmly #1 now.

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Cindy's line about sex being a conversation not a performance was incredibly insightful. It was the perfect way to describe it. In a good conversation, it should be about listening and and responding to the other person. 

It's sad that Vanessa wants to blow up her life so she doesn't have to make a decision. I think it's interesting that Art is a romantic and Lizzie is more of a realist. 

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I hate the Vanessa/Riley cheating plot arc. I don't care that they're legally married, they are cheating and it's not "sweet" or "romantic", it is disgusting.

That said, I enjoyed Al's date a lot more than I thought I would. Cindy may be a bit crazy, but she handled Al's "situation" just right.

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6 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

Cindy's line about sex being a conversation not a performance was incredibly insightful. It was the perfect way to describe it. In a good conversation, it should be about listening and and responding to the other person. 

It's sad that Vanessa wants to blow up her life so she doesn't have to make a decision. I think it's interesting that Art is a romantic and Lizzie is more of a realist. 

Yeah, I really liked Cindy and Al's talk at the end of this episode. It was nice to see Al being honest and vulnerable, and admitting to his own fears and insecurities. I agree Cindy handled that well - for all the craziness she's brought to his life thus far, I was pleasantly surprised by her response here. If Cindy is going to be around a little while longer, I'm all for seeing more scenes like this between her and Al. 

And it all ultimately worked out for Al in the end, so...:).

I do like the idea that Lizzie, who was known for being a bit more of a wild child who struggled so much when the show first started, has become the voice of reason in general for this family. She's been giving Al some good relationship advice with Ariana this season, she was right about Riley getting that tattoo (in more ways than one, evidently, since, y'know, he blew things up with Holly), and she's also right about this whole situation with Riley and Vanessa. I totally get why they're still so drawn to each other, of course, but yeah, if they do want to get back together, this is obviously not the best way to start things off. The whole thing of her and Art trying to get the sock back was oddly entertaining - at first, I was kind of surprised that Riley didn't slip into another room to call Vanessa once he found out he had the wrong sock with him, but then again, if he had done that, that would've just made Lizzie and Art more suspicious about why he was being so secretive, so... 

I also liked Art's reaction to the news that Riley and Vanessa were seeing each other. "Judas Priest!" XD. 

I do think Riley was right about her wanting to blow up her own life - there was the Christmas episode, when she was ranting about how frustrating it was to see him slowly working to get better, which was what she'd wanted from him for so long, only for Holly to potentially get that "better" version of him instead of her. So I wonder if perhaps she thought that maybe, if she'd messed up her life, that would draw him back to her, 'cause they'd be more on the same page again or something? I dunno. 

6 hours ago, MaryMitch said:

I hate the Vanessa/Riley cheating plot arc. I don't care that they're legally married, they are cheating and it's not "sweet" or "romantic", it is disgusting.

To be fair, I don't feel like the show is trying to paint it as "sweet" or "romantic". I think the fallout of what's happening is pretty realistic, and I do appreciate that they're acknowledging the messiness of what they're doing. Riley's feeling so guilty when he's around Freddy, Lizzie acknowledges the problems with what they're doing, and Al called Riley out on his guilt last episode, too. Vanessa may be in a blissful state of ignorance, seeing it as some kind of romantic thing, but it's clear that that's going to backfire on her at some point - she and Riley have already come close to being caught as it is. It's only a matter of time before it all blows up in their faces, and she'll have to acknowledge the reality of what she's doing along with Riley. I do think her rationalization that if they were still married, it didn't feel like cheating provides an interesting insight into her thinking, both about this situation and about her relationships with Riley and Freddy in general. 

10 hours ago, Packerbrewerbadger said:

Can’t explain why, tho I wish  they’d revisit Lizzie and Al’s teacher.  Also Riley’s therapist is gold. Not fond of either of Al’s girl friends- maybe that’s part of it!

I still like Ariana - I think her and Al finally getting on the same page relationship-wise has done a lot to benefit their interactions with each other in general, and helped them bond a little more deeply. I did like the way Cindy handled things with Al this episode, but yeah, I still don't see her as a long-term prospect for him. 

I do wonder how Lizzie and the professor are doing, though, yes. And indeed, this whole thing with Riley and Vanessa would be a PERFECT topic for Riley to bring up in his therapy sessions, so I do hope, before the season wraps up, we get at least one more scene with them together and talking about this. I'd be interested to see what his therapist would have to say about it all. 

Edited by Annber03
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9 hours ago, Packerbrewerbadger said:

Last season this was my must see #1 show but lately it’s just okay.  Can’t explain why, tho I wish  they’d revisit Lizzie and Al’s teacher.  Also Riley’s therapist is gold. Not fond of either of Al’s girl friends- maybe that’s part of it!

Ghosts is firmly #1 now.

I agree with you (on Ghosts, too).  It seems like the writers have lost a thread or two that made this show unique.  The way Al is currently being written, he could be Balki from Perfect Strangers rather than someone whose faith and culture influence his actions and decisions.  Maybe the writers have avoided stories that feature events in Afghanistan because they have no idea what world events will be happening when they are actually aired.  

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5 hours ago, Annber03 said:

I do like the idea that Lizzie, who was known for being a bit more of a wild child who struggled so much when the show first started, has become the voice of reason in general for this family.

In the first few episodes you got the sense that Lizzie was this wild child, but then partway through season 1 they showed that Lizzie had this very responsible side when it came to business/money. She might make stupid decisions/choices in the club on weekends, but Monday-Friday during business hours she is incredibly responsible and does what is best for her father's company. 

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