It’s not all rainbows and shining cities on a hill, though: “Little America” is also acutely aware of the country’s failings, and the challenges both big and small immigrant life can present. “The Bra Whisperer” follows an immigrant from Belize (Stacy Rose’s Ines) who’s built her own successful bra business—but flashbacks highlight what it cost to get her to that level, including missing her young daughter’s childhood and working as a nanny for an Orthodox Jewish woman who’ll never consider her part of the family. “Camel On a Stick”’s lead is a Somalian restaurateur (Hanad Abdi) stuck in a pressure cooker of impressing finicky white audiences with spicy Somalian food and representing his broader community. (“Captain Phillips”’ Barkhad Abdi shows up in a supporting role, which is nice to see.)
White America’s paternalistic side comes out most acutely in “The Indoor Arm,” as a pair of Nicaraguan sisters (Victoria Canal and Teresa Ruiz) find themselves in the employ of a nice-seeming older woman (June Squibb) whose benevolence is complicated by her family friendship with the Reagans—the very people responsible for their ousting given Iran-Contra.
Each of these stories paints a complex picture of the perseverance and endurance of American immigrants and the ways in which they add to the vast tapestry of the country they’ve chosen to call home. Like season one, all eight stories are narratively disconnected but watch them all together, and their cumulative effect hits with tremendous impact. It may not make as big a splash as “For All Mankind” or “Ted Lasso,” but “Little America” feels most attuned to the tiny victories and relatable crusades of the everyday American, no matter where they come from. It’s a small show, but it punches well above its weight class.
Whole season screened for review. On Apple TV+ now.