Not all Persians are Muslims, of course, though I sort of doubt that Ryan Seacrest’s new show, Shahs of Sunset, is going to be a serious religious study of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and the Bahá’í Faith. Instead, it’s supposed to be a look at “the opulent lives of young adults who together navigate their post-college lives, careers, families and traditions.”
If we’re going to have a show with an all-Persian cast, I guess maybe it’s moderately better to have a show on Bravo, which likes its tacky to be at least moderately high end and about the disconnect between its characters’ stated classiness and their actual behavior, than it is to have a Persian Jersey Shore clone, which was apparently in the works at some point. And it’s worthwhile to have characters who demonstrate what ought to be an obvious lesson, that being Muslim (or having Middle Eastern ancestry) isn’t incompatible with liking America, whether it’s American pop culture in the case of Community‘s Abed, or American consumerism, as appears will be the case here. But if we’re looking for a Muslim archetype that could be useful if replicated frequently in pop culture as a way of selling folks on the idea that minority groups bring added value to the societies that accept them, I think the idea that Persians or Arabs are fabulously wealthy is probably not going to cut it.
On the other hand, I may totally change my mind if it turns out Asa Soltan’s involved in this. ‘Cause she’s kind of awesome: