Chuck Lorre has a new show coming to CBS. For fans of the Big Bang Theory and a wide range of other Prime Time sitcoms, that’s likely good news. However, the famed producer’s newest project began drawing quite a bit of criticism on Sunday morning.
At the center of the United States of Al controversy is racial stereotypes, as well as CBS seemingly not working nearly as hard to find a lead actor as the network claimed. The trailer for the new sitcom aired earlier this month, but the backlash just started picking up steam this weekend.
Pia Glenn, an actor, singer and dancer, led most of the criticism on Twitter. Glenn quote tweeted a post by Palestinian filmaker Saeed Taji Farouky. His post started the outrage as he tweeted the trailer. He captioned the tweet with, “This is a real TV show. Actually made by human people. On Planet Earth. In 2021.”
It then showed that United States of Al focuses on a soldier who fought in the Afghanistan war returning home. He brings what was his Pashtun interpreter, known as Al in the war back to the United States with him.
Glenn then quote tweeted that post, expressing a similar level of disbelief.
“I remember hearing about this when it was in development & thinking NAH…surely someone will stop this from going into production,” she wrote. “I didn’t realize it was from television’s Wonder Bread, the very popular staple that’s neither delicious nor necessary, the unstoppable Chuck Lorre.”
This is a real TV show. Actually made by human people. On Planet Earth. In 2021. Behold: pic.twitter.com/hm9jDRq95O
— Saeed Taji Farouky (@saeedtaji) March 19, 2021
Chuck Lorre’s Many Weak Spots
Glenn then quote tweeted another post. This time it was a December 2019 casting announcement from BoomGen Studios. That studio is one that works with CBS and Lorre often.
The post claimed the studio had gone on global search for the actor to play Al. It settled on Adhir Kalyan, an Indian actor, who had worked on several other Chuck Lorre productions.
Glenn was outraged at the post.
“Please don’t fall for this utter bull—,” she wrote. “We’re supposed to believe that “after a sweeping global search,” they not only could NOT find an Afghan actor, but somehow magically landed on a series regular from a previous Chuck Lorre sitcom on CBS?”
The Show Offends
Glenn was far from the only Twitter user that had a problem with United States of Al.
“Why do Chuck Lorre sitcoms ALWAYS write their non-white characters the same way,” one user wrote. “Doesn’t it get old treating every single immigrant character from Asia like they’re naive, fish-out-of-water jokes that just serve to create situations for the white characters to feel awkward in.”
Others joined the parade of comments that were outraged at the show.
“I can’t believe this is real,” another tweeted. “What the hell is this?!?!?”
Other users pointed out that while there might be quite a bit of complaints about the show, Chuck Lorre knows his audience. Several Twitter users proclaimed the show would likely run for years and make a ton of money, while continuing to offend plenty.
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