(CBS) – United States Of Al is back tonight at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS and available to stream with Paramount+. Tonight’s episode “Mo/Masoud” sees Al trying to find an Afghan-American bachelor to set up with his sister while Riley and Freddy challenge each other to a bowling match.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to series stars Adhir Kilyan and Parker Young about the incredible backstory behind their season two premiere and the authenticity behind the show as a whole.READ MORE: 2 Shot Aboard Subway Train In Harlem; Suspect At Large
MW- Adhir, Parker nice to see you both again. Second season of United States Of Al underway, congratulations right off the bat. How does it feel to be back for season two?
AK- Oh gosh, I mean what a thrill this is. The fact that we get to come back and shoot a second season was just a real treat, we feel lucky.
MW- What were some of the big differences in shooting season two compared to season one?
AK- Well, I think with the second season the biggest difference has been that we had to address what was happening in Afghanistan. When the writers came together to begin writing season two none of what happened was unfolding.
As Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban and we began to see the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan our writers had no choice but to scrap what we had and go back to the writer’s room.
PY- Yeah, I think this scenario unfolding was something that we were somewhat aware of and then the worst case scenario really unfolded. No one anticipated it unfolding as quickly as it did.
AK- We had already begun shooting season two and we had an entirely different premiere episode and we had to pivot. We had to adjust and address what had happened. We didn’t know what that story was or what the new premier would be or even what the season was going to look like moving forward.
PY- What we did know was that we had to help our Afghan colleagues get their loved ones out of Afghanistan, or at least do everything in our power to assist them in that in that process. So we literally put everything on hold and we were on the phone for days on end trying to get ahold of loved ones.
We were essentially conducting a rescue operation and through that rescue operation the premiere episode really revealed itself. Our art really imitated life.
AK- I think you know the opening episode of the season was incredibly strong. We certainly feel like it was authentic because it was. It was a reflection of the real-life experiences people were facing. Everyone really banded together to not only serve the story but to also be a source of support for real people.
We will continue to track the stories of these characters against the backdrop of everything that’s unfolding as the season progresses. We will also begin to see these characters truly develop their relationships. I think the outline gets even stronger as the season evolves.READ MORE: Connecticut Reports First Confirmed Case Of Omicron Variant
We’ll get to learn more about Riley’s readjustment to civilian life and the steps that he’s taking to get himself into a better headspace. We’ll learn more about how his family and we have some really, really funny episodes on the way.
I think our writers and Mr. Chuck Lorre have done a remarkable job of really trying to shed a spotlight on some very serious issues but doing so in a heartfelt sincere way, in a way that’s also quite touching.
PY- Yeah, it was obviously incredibly emotional for everyone. Everything felt so heightened at the time because it was. What we will endeavor to do on the show is to tell stories as truthful and as honest as possible whilst at the same time keeping audiences entertained.
This is ultimately a family show and you know we really want the show to reflect not only the lives of these characters but to offer something for everyone.
MW- Sounds like you went through a very real-life situation while making this season. How much work goes into making the show as authentic as possible with feedback from people you have behind the scenes?
AK- How lucky are we that we have such a wealth of experience and insight to be able to draw upon. Whether it’s our truth, or Afghan colleagues or veterans on staff or we have an incredible military consultant as well. They really are able to bring their own life experiences to the show. I think certainly from the responses we’ve gotten from the Afghan community and the military, they really feel that there’s a degree of authenticity that the show is bringing to the table.
PY- Absolutely, yeah these are true stories. I think that everybody is really endeavoring to make the show as great as possible, to honor our veterans. We’re taking this very serious subject matter but we’re making it fun and palatable and hope that everybody enjoys it as much as we’re enjoying making it.
AK- It’s such a great privilege that we have been working with such an amazing team of writers and producers and Mr. Chuck Lorre. They are all so incredibly adept at taking things that might not look like there are going to be funny when you look at them on a page but they just make things really heartfelt. We just hope these stories will continue to resonate with viewers
MW- Absolutely, thank you both so much for the time and all the best moving forward!
AK- Thanks, Matt!
PY- Thank you, man.MORE NEWS: Harlem Resident Who Helped Police Catch Suspect In Deadly Stabbing Recalls 'Unbelievable' Encounter With Alleged Killer
Tune in for new episodes of United States Of Al at 8:30 PM ET/PT on CBS and available to stream with Paramount+. Check your local listings for more information.