Aliens Show Off the Planet

Thanks to Chix19 for sending this in from the The Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand)!

Aliens Show Off the Planet

by Tom Cardy
Edition: 3
Column: Teleview

WHAT is it about teenagers and aliens? It’s stating the obvious that when you’re a teenager you feel, well . . . alienated. And the new show this week Roswell (TV2, Tuesdays) is another in a long line of films and TV shows to overdo the metaphor.

One of the best, from the 1950s, was the movie Teenagers From Outer Space. It had a great poster that read: “Teenage hoodlums from another world on a horrendous ray gun rampage! They blast the flesh off humans! ”

Roswell takes a more subtle approach, crossing The X-Files with Dawson’s Creek. In the opening episode human teenager Liz discovers that school mates Max, Michael and Isabel’s main problems have nothing to do with puberty or peer pressure. Liz works part-time as a waitress at the Crashdown Cafe and like everyone in Roswell, New Mexico, milks to death the legend that a
spacecraft crash-landed there in 1947.

Liz gets shot in the cafe by an angry customer (this is New Mexico), but Max instantly heals her by placing his hand on the wound. He then flees after pouring a bottle of tomato sauce over Liz in the hope no one suspects anything. (Instantly ruling out that these aliens are of a higher
intelligence . . .) Liz goes home and finds a silver handprint on her stomach where she was shot. She can’t wipe it off and is worried: the prevailing fashion at school is for girls to expose their midriffs.

In biology class the next day everyone has to do a mouth swab and look at the cells under a microscope. Max panics and flees to a bathroom. Liz checks her cell scraping: red and normal. Quickly she checks cells on the pencil Max left behind. Oh my God! His cells are green! (I’ m assuming Max didn’t in fact stick the pencil up his nose.)

Liz’s confrontation with Max produced some of the best lines. “What are you?” she asks.

“Well I’m not from around here,” Max replies while pointing a finger upwards.

“Up north?” Liz says.

Max points his finger higher up.

“You’re not an alien are you?”

“I prefer the term `not of this Earth’.”

Later we find Liz has been dating the sheriff’s son Kyle and the sheriff has always been suspicious of the three teens. One of the clues he pursues is that they always put heaps of hot Tabasco sauce on everything. In my experience that would mean half the population of the United States are
really space aliens.

Worried that the sheriff could be on to them and they’ll end up like their parents on a bad alien autopsy TV special, Max, Michael and Isabel argue about leaving.

Isabel: You know Roswell’s home.

Michael: Roswell’s not home. It isn’t even our solar system.

Mixed into The X-Files drama is plenty of teenage angst and soap opera. Max always had the hots for Liz and now that she knows men really are from Mars and women really are from Venus, he throws in the intergalactic pick-up line: “When I healed you I made this connection.”

“It’s like my whole life changed in an instant,” swoons Liz in her diary. “It’s just ironic that when it happened to me it was with an alien.”

Sadly there were no scenes where the three teens rip off their disguises to reveal that they really look like a cross between an octopus and a weta. In fact, the three are better looking than any of the human beings in Roswell.

Just so viewers did know they were aliens on the inside, we were treated to the standard alien-with-incredible-powers routine. Max could change the molecular structure of things and he proved it by smoothing out a clay sculpture. Isabel did the coolest things. She could reheat nachos with her
hand and listen to CDs by putting them up to her ear. (Yeah, but can she set her ear on random play, eh?)

Because Roswell is principally about being a teenager, expect the inevitable worries over sex. Ideally Liz will fret over sleeping with Max. Then Max will come up to her and say “Don’t worry Liz. You know that time I
sneezed on you last week? Well, that was how we make love on my home planet.”

“Arrgh!” screams Liz. “You could have at least used a handkerchief! “