SITCOM AVOIDS ALIENATING MUSLIMS
Catalyst November Issue 2007
The CW television network premiered a new sitcom, “Aliens in America,” on October 1. The show is about a family called the Tolchucks that takes in a Pakistani Muslim foreign exchange student. While the Tolchucks are portrayed as slightly dysfunctional, the Muslim boy is friendly, helpful and devout—a real joy to be around. The contrast between the foreign Muslim boy and the American family is integral to the plot. As television producer David Guarascio told The Times Union, “We wanted to bring a character who had a sense of his own faith, and who had a strong relationship with God into this family that really doesn’t have one.”
According to USA Today, the pilot “includes scenes that satirize perceptions about terrorism” and was screened by the Islamic Center of Southern California. Additionally, the Hollywood bureau of the Muslim Public Affairs Council provided advice to the producers about the show’s religious and cultural content.
It is admirable that “Aliens in America” includes a positive character who is devoted to God—something that is pretty hard to find in today’s TV lineup. Christians are hoping they too will see a positive reflection of their faith in the upcoming TV season, though we won’t hold our breath waiting for the networks to screen any shows with Catholic or Protestant organizations.