Resident Alien: Homesick
February 7, 2021 5:27 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

In his first week at the clinic, Harry struggles to diagnose a strange condition: human emotion.

Resident Alien isn't, and isn't really trying to be, deep or serious drama. But it remains well-written and makes Mrs Clanger and I chuckle throughout each episode, so it's doing its job. And, like many better-written dark comedies, there are some insightful observations tucked in there. Sam, for instance, was clearly very likeable and Asta adored him, but it's suggested through other characters that despite his good beside manner he wasn't a very good listener, and shied away from being frank with patients about bad news. In most obvious ways Harry is a worse doctor than Sam, but in some subtler but important ones he may be a better one.

Some of the humour is rather broad and will be rather hit-and-miss. I loved the cow gag (you think 'ah, the well-known trope of alien cattle mutilation' and oh no, it goes in quite a different direction, and then gets followed up hilariously) but I can see it not working for everyone. Bleeding Cool hated the pelvic exam joke, and I was slightly confused by the scene with Harry in D'arcy's bar, where she is so rude to the Asian patron - are we meant to read D'arcy as being small-town racist?

So, Deputy Liv seems to be in the I-want-to-believe crowd; is she humouring young Max - perhaps in a kindly way of wanting him not to feel dismissed by all adults - or does she really think something strange is going on?

The final scene jumped us suddenly into a Tales from the Loop vibe. Presumably that's Harry's spacecraft under the snow, and his worries about when it will thaw are even more justified than he feared.
posted by Major Clanger (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was slightly confused by the scene with Harry in D'arcy's bar, where she is so rude to the Asian patron - are we meant to read D'arcy as being small-town racist?

I’m pretty sure she just didn’t want to be bothered while flirting with Harry. The race of the patron had nothing to do with it.

Bleeding Cool needs to chill. Have they not watched TV before, never seen broad comedy? It seems like the writer is mad that the show is different from the comic.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the show. The Harry/kid antagonistic relationship is fun, and it helps that the kid actor is up to the task. I do wonder what happens when - I assume - Harry finds the device and decides he liked humans enough to spare their lives. Does the show turn into a “mystery of the season” comedy procedural?
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:55 AM on February 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm enjoying the show a great deal, except for two things. (I may also be conflating this with moments from episode three, although I don't think I'm sharing any spoilers).
  • Max's reaction to Harry seems to switch every time he sees him. At first, he his (understandably) terrified of him. But when next he meets Harry he turns confrontational, even sassy and superior. But then Max's mom says that her child can't sleep and is barely eating, and shows evidence of him constantly drawing pictures of his own death at the hands of the alien... so which is it?
  • I don't enjoy the shift of tone that briefly happens around three-quarters into the runtime of each episode, usually framing a moment of Asta's life. Accompanied by soft piano in minor keys and slow, mournful vocals, it's a motif I associate with hospital dramas like House and Grey's Anatomy, but it seems out of place here. I appreciate that Asta has had a hard life and a complex history, and I want to learn more, but the way they've been setting it up is jarring to me.

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:11 PM on February 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

But when next he meets Harry he turns confrontational, even sassy and superior.

To me, that was a real kid thing to do. He's being brave in the only way he can while also being terrified. Their dynamic is hilarious to me. You've got this fearsome alien creature who is exploring the ideas of emotion and beginning to feel attachments and even respect, and you have this kid that he is trying to kill about as well as Wile E. Coyote.

I could personally do with less humiliation-type humor. Also, there is another medical bit on episode 3 (which has been on On Demand) that is really going to upset people who were upset about the pelvic exam scene, and in fact upset me a little. Even so, I am still watching.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:31 PM on February 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

You sat on an earring.
posted by Marticus at 5:13 PM on February 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Yeah, now that we're out of the Pilot episode, I think my complaint is that while I understand that it can't be 100% Alan Tudyk trying to fit in / kill all humans, the tonal shift between his scenes and the scenes with Asta and the rest of the townies is a bit jarring. And I understand that the show can't really be 100% Alien out of water trying to fit in - everybody else gets to have a life too, but while shows like Eureka managed to integrate Colin Ferguson's straight-laced sheriff into the wacky nerdy science happenings more easily, while I'm not sure how you bring the Alien into Asta's emotional plot at all so they end up feeling like two separate shows.
posted by Kyol at 8:07 AM on February 8, 2021

Wife and I are enjoying it. I've never really cottoned to Tudyk in previous outings, but he is great in this role. Yes, there are certainly some nitpicks about this show, but overall it is entertaining and funny - enough to keep us watching. And that view of the town of Ladysmith is simply amazing.
posted by davidmsc at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Tudyk first got on my radar in the wonderful 'A Knight's Tale' (2001), and then won me completely over in the 'Firefly' (2002) tele series.

He then got big as a voice actor and then absolutely steamrolled a role in the TV series 'Dollhouse' (2009). He also had a brief a role in 'V' (2009) and 'Powerless' (2017) - will have to rewatch 'V' but moreso for Morena Baccarin, a castmate on 'Firefly.'

He starred (with Tyler Labine) in 'Tucker and Dale vs Evil' (2010). A masterpiece.

Prolific voice actor. Absolutely owned as the voice of Dangerboat on the unfortunately short lived live action 'The Tick' (2017). Carried 'Doom Patrol' (2019) as the primary antagonist/ narrator.
posted by porpoise at 1:44 AM on February 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

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