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Thursday, January 18, 2007

DMc posts that Little Mosque's second ep got 1.2 million viewers. A big drop from 2.1 million, but still spectacular, especially after CBC did everything they could to confuse the audience about what night the show airs on.

I'm going to be grumpy and admit I don't dig the show. Here's what I wish the show was:

a. A really keenly observed look at Canadian Muslim people in conflict with each other over every little thing. You watch Annie Hall, you know what upper middle class New York Jews are like. You watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding and you feel like you're visiting a real Greek family. The funny version, sure, but real. Trailer Park Boys feels like the creators grew up in a trailer park, whether they did or not. They certainly know guys just like that. But while the Little Mosque characters seem to be recognizable to other Muslims, at least according to the newspapers, they don't ring true for me. Everyone seems a little too good natured. Everyone seems a little too reasonable. Comedy is about people being appalling to each other. Everyone on Seinfeld is a selfish ass. Where's the edge? Where's the honesty? Where's the pain?

b. A really clever look at Canadian society, seen from the point of view of people who are outsiders in some ways and insiders in others. Sometimes it takes a fish out of water to notice how odd terrestrial critters really are. This is where the show really fails for me. I don't feel its white characters are keenly observed at all. They seem to be mostly racist and all stupid. Whereas I bet most white people in the Canadian Prairies are extremely tolerant, and racists are in the minority. Most Canadians bend over backwards to be nice to minorities (except possibly not to the Natives), reserving their passive aggression and venom for empowered white people. Instead of making out every white character to be a buffoon, why not write episodes based on actual observation of white society, from a Muslim's perspective? How white people's kids are defiant to their faces? How white women wear push-up bras and low-cut shirts but get mad when people stare at their breasts? How white people worship an impoverished, anti-intellectual, rabble-rousing mystic carpenter and cherish money, hierarchy and dogma? Etc.

That would be where I would go with it.

But that's my style of comedy, not theirs. They're working more in the Everybody Loves Raymond tradition -- and so far, quite successfully.

UPDATE: And here's the Vancouver Courier's columnist confirming that Prairie people are not, in fact, all raging idiots.


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