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Series / United States of Al

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United States of Al is a sitcom created by Dave Goetsch and Maria Ferrari. Marine veteran Riley (Parker Young) has obtained a visa for Awalmir (Adhir Kalyan), better known as "Al," a translator from Afghanistan. Al could face retaliation from the Taliban, since his family is still in Afghanistan.

Riley has plenty of problems of his own, adjusting to life as a civilian. He lives with his father, Art (Dean Norris) and his daughter Hazel (Farrah Mackenzie), whose custody he shares with his estranged wife Vanessa (Kelli Goss). Riley's family also includes his sister, Lizzie (Elizabeth Alderfer), who is still recovering from the death of her fiancé.

The show premiered on April 1, 2021. A month later, it was renewed for a second season. On May 12, 2022, it was announced the series was cancelled. The news came a week before its series finale had aired.

Despite the similar titles, has no relation to United States of Tara.


  • Amicable Exes: Riley and Vanessa, the two have a good relationship as co-parents, and Riley has openly acknowledged he's still in love with her, once stating to her face, he's going to clean up his act and then win her back. Even more so, Vanessa seems to be this with the entire family. She and Lizzie are best friends, Art still looks upon her like a daughter, wing the two hanging out together every once in a while, and she and her boyfriend are often included in family functions.
  • Artistic License – Military: In "Fundraiser/Baspana Towlawal," the Marine Corps uniform replaces the iconic eagle, globe and anchor with a different symbol. The only explanation seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the law against impersonating military personnel, which includes an exception for theatrical productions.
  • Basement-Dweller: Riley lives in Art's garage as he struggles to get his life back together after his divorce while Lizzie is back in her childhood bedroom as she tries to cope with the death of her fiancé. Al starts the series moving into the garage with Riley as there's nowhere else for him to stay. Art, for his own part, is welcoming of Al but would like to see his kids on their own feet.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Al develops an attraction to Ariana, who reciprocates. Their interactions are prickly, however, because Ariana opposed American intervention in Afghanistan and doesn't understand why Al would work in support of American troops.
  • Canada, Eh?: Freddy, Vanessa's new boyfriend, is from Canada and used to play on a bowling team called the Petawawa Poutines.
  • Commonality Connection: After initially being hostile towards Freddy, Riley starts warming up to the guy over their shared love of bowling.
  • Dented Iron: Riley is suffering from a long list of chronic conditions from his time in uniform. When he finally submits his paperwork to the VA to access his benefits, he's shocked to learn that he has a 70% disability rating.
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday: Al. In "Birthday/Kaleeza," Hazel decides to share her birthday with Al.
  • Fish out of Water: Al in America.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Except for the pilot, each episode's title consists of a term given in both English and Pashto, usually in that order.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Riley and Art use the Air Force as a negative comparison when criticizing others.
  • The Matchmaker: In "Matchmaker/Roybar," Al tries to find a woman for Art.
  • Mundane Luxury: Al tells a story of how his family treasured a small bottle of Coke and tried to make it last as long as possible.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Translators and others who helped the Americans in Afghanistan faced reprisals from the Taliban. Efforts to bring them to America were hampered by then-President Donald Trump's travel ban, and the longstanding bias of the American immigration system for whites from Eastern Europe. This is further exacerbated by the Taliban’s sudden reclamation of Afghanistan in August 2021.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran:
    • Riley has PTSD and refused to seek treatment for years before relenting and entering therapy.
    • Al is also revealed to be suffering from trauma stemming from growing up under the Taliban and then risking his life for years as an interpreter, which gets exacerbated at seeing the Taliban rise back into power.
  • Very Special Episode: The season 2 premiere dealt with the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan. Notable that this was the first time that the show did not have a laugh track.