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Complications Ensue:
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

NOW Magazine has a mostly positive review of CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie, but this paragraph is worrisome:
Unlike the usual fish-out-of-water scenario in which an ignorant and often arrogant newcomer is taken down a peg or two by the quirky but knowing locals (see Men In Trees), Little Mosque makes the locals (God-fearing white folks) ignorant and intolerant and the butt of most of the jokes, while the members of the Muslim community are peaceful, conciliatory and occasionally sharp-tongued.
That might fly with pointy-headed TV critics who may not think much of God-fearing white folks themselves. But it's not going to go over well with the largely God-fearing, white audience.

I haven't seen the pilot, so I'm whistling in the dark. But it seems to me they might have missed an opportunity to use the Muslim experience to look at the strangenesses and contradictions of Canadian culture, not just their own immigrant experience. I find Wim Wenders' movies interesting because as a German he has a different perspective on American culture. One of the best early books on America was De Toqueville's -- it took a French aristocrat to see clearly what was unique about the new nation.

I'll be tuning my PVR in on Tuesday...


I was intrigued by what I read about it, but the clips I saw of it just seemed heavy-handed. It doesn't look like fun to watch; it looks like good-for-you TV, and that's not what keeps people coming back.

Your comment about it reminds me of the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, which was filmed near my hometown in Nebraska. (Some of my college friends were extras in it.) It's a cute movie, but I can't shake the feeling that the screenwriter sat in his New York apartment imagining what Nebraska must be like, and putting every idea he had of small-minded Midwestern yokels into it.

By Blogger Andrew, at 10:40 PM  

Paris, Texas was brilliant...

By Blogger wcdixon, at 11:14 PM  

I've only seen clips, and it does seem a bit heavy handed. That said, I think a lot of times when minority stories are told, there's the feeling that the depiction has to show as much of a idealised version of our lives as possible, mainly to contradict the negative portrayals that already on television. That doesn't necessarily create great television, but I think as subsequent programming with Muslims in the lead are broadcast, film makers will feel more comfortable making their minority characters more flawed.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:23 AM  

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