I’ve officially decided that Aliens in America is the sweetest show on the air. It has more heart packed into its 22 comedy-filled minutes a week than most shows have in an entire season. This week’s episode was perhaps the best one yet.
Desperate for time with her son, Mrs. Tolcuk (the hilarious Amy Pietz of Caroline in the City familiarity) convinces Justin to sign up to work on the community theatre’s production of Rent. Justin takes on the part of Roger when a cute college girl (Zoe) introduces herself as the actress playing Mimi. When Zoe quits at the last minute, Justin ends up playing the part opposite his mother. It was incomparably awkward and very very sweet.
Meanwhile, Claire has signed up for the school hot-line but isn’t receiving any actual calls and her family believes she can’t really help people. Raja (the greatest character of all time), who cares very much about Claire, calls in pretending to be someone named Doug who needs her help. They talk for hours over a couple of weeks and really start to bond until Raja is caught in the lie. Claire is hurt, she told him things she has never told anyone else and feels exposed. She eventually forgives him when she realizes why he did it and that most of the things they’d talked about had been real. He tells her that she’s more than she seems and that her family was wrong. This story line may sound cheesy when I recount it but this show manages somehow to be sweet, sentimental and touching without ever being actually cheesy; this storyline is a perfect example of that. The way Claire almost cried and how wonderfully innocent and caring Raja is is just so lovely. I’m glad they’re exploring that relationship a little bit more and seeing the influence Raja can have outside of his friendship with Justin.
This show is truly remarkable.