CBS recently launched United States of Al, a new sitcom about a Marine combat veteran’s friendship with the interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan. Yes, it’s the charming story of US combatants winning the hearts and minds of people in the countries they’re illegally occupying – are you laughing yet?
Indeed, the whimsical, delightful misadventures of the US military has a rich sitcom history, from Hogan’s Heroes to Major Dad. But with never-ending increases to the US military budget to fund America’s hilarious acts of foreign aggression, it’s only right to have a never-ending increase to the number of sitcoms about them to match. So crack a tepid beer, wave a tiny flag, and please enjoy these Five white saviour sitcoms to make you feel better about American Imperialism,
1. United States of Habib
Twenty years ago, US intelligence arrested Habib for terrorism and threw him in Guantanamo Bay to be subjected to daily interrogations. Now, it turns out they had the wrong guy all along – whoops!
With nowhere to go (all his family and extended family were collateral damage of the American war on terror), Habib is taken in by one of his enhanced interrogators who helps him adjust to life in America. Unfortunately, he no longer has any marketable skills due to two decades of torture which involved non-stop Mariachi music while trying to sleep, standing around in extreme heat for up to 20 hours a day, and being force-fed Tabasco sauce through the anus.
Fortunately, his new ‘roomie’ bails him out with a gig at – wait for it – Gitmo! As fate would have it, the fabricated ‘intelligence’ that Habib provided led to more detainees which means more interrogators which means now he gets to live the American dream, going all the way from ‘(falsely accused) terrorist’ to ‘torturer.’
2. M*S*F (Mass surveillance Sans Frontières)
If you liked Scrubs and M*A*S*H, well, this mashup is the perfect sitcom for you. A fresh batch of residents (who are actually CIA operatives) join a MSF hospital in war torn Syria and use humor to cope with daily tragedies (and also as code to mask their covert operations which violate international treaties).
The series comes to an abrupt end midway through the fifth season as the MSF hospital they work in is mistaken for an ISIS facility and destroyed by an American air strike. On the bright side, unlike Scrubs, there isn’t a terrible last season.
3. Diferentes Golpes
A billionaire war industrialist takes in two Salvadoran children at the request of their aunt, his housekeeper, due to his fond memories of the show Diff’rent Strokes. Plus, they were displaced by conflict involving the very weapons he manufactures.
Through stories about the kids and their cousins going through adolescence, the show tackles important issues plaguing migrant communities like police brutality, ICE raids and good, old-fashioned racism in a way that will really make you wonder “Are all billionaires this kindly?” and “Wait, was he selling weapons to both the government and the rebels at the same time?”
Follow their heartwarming story of becoming the billionaire’s personal tokens to defuse charges of racism in his journey to become the President of the United States and do what he does best: arm fascist militias and destabilize foreign governments.
4. Frasier in Yemen
Frasier Crane is back! Why not? This time, he’s relocated to Yemen and through his call-in radio show is offering much needed psychiatric advice to the traumatized locals. Dr. Crane uses Freudian psychology to explain to his callers that their problems are of their own doing and have nothing to do with America and its allies’s insistence on waging war, all while ensuring that his callers stay on the line long enough for the intelligence agencies to run a trace on them for a targeted drone strike, if necessary. (It’s always necessary.)
Sure, if a call goes well you’ll hear laugh tracks, but if it goes really well, you’ll hear the ‘bomb tracks’ too.
5. Operation: Interstellar Laughter
Once again, America has proven itself to be the greatest power in the world, as Elon Musk successfully establishes a colony on Mars! Surprisingly, the Martian land is already inhabited, but that’s not going to stop this Silicon Valley innovator! Elon observes the natives living a barbaric, uncultured, and humorless existence and makes it his mission to bring them the gift of comedy and also, obviously, cryptocurrency.
As comedy is tragedy plus time, the only way to bring comedy to the natives is to instigate a series of atrocities and allow them to develop a sense of ‘gallows humor’ about their tragic circumstances. So he clears the Martian forests to build crypto mining bunkers, bankrupts their government with pointless tunnelling projects, and kills half the colony with his exploding space-cars.
The mission is eventually successful: the Martians laugh heartily when they hear how Elon doubled his wealth while they’re facing the environmental catastrophe brought on by adopting cryptocurrency at scale.