This short-lived sitcom was many people's introduction to comedienne Margaret Cho. Though it was supposed to be based on her stand-up act, in reality, it was about as far from her real personality as possible! Added to that, the writing of the show was often banal and inconsistent. In the DVD commentary, Margaret states that the network (ABC) was trying so hard to please different parties (i.e. Asians who thought the show wasn't "Asian enough," and non-Asians who thought it was "too Asian") that the show ultimately lost its direction. That explains some of the writing shortcomings.
But with all its flaws, "All-American Girl" is still fun to watch for several reasons. One, Amy Hill's portrayal of "Grandma Kim" is endearing and very funny. In fact, it will remind many of Margaret Cho's impersonations of her real-life mother in her more recent stand-up shows. Second, there is a quirky vibe to the show that results from its odd array of characters. They range from the talented Judy Gold playing an oddball co-worker of Margaret's at the mall department store, to an 11-year-old Ashley Johnson playing an offbeat nextdoor neighbor to the Kim's (the name of Margaret's family on the sitcom), to Jodi Long portraying Margaret's strict and traditional mother, and B.D. Wong acting as her successful, superior older brother. This variety makes for "a little something for everyone" that ultimately gives the show the ability to appeal to different ages, races, and people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Lastly, "All-American Girl" is intriguing to watch simply because it is sooo different than the Margaret Cho many of us have come to love. Given that a good chunk of her autobiography and first stand-up flick (both titled "I'm the One That I Want") focused on the trials and tribulations that doing the sitcom brought her, AAG has taken on a second life in recent years. Now, fans can see what all the fuss was all about, see how much she's changed, and enjoy a bit of nostalgia (yes, the show did, in fact, have a notable teenage following when it originally aired!).