Iranian state television has apparently just handed down a ban on shows where men appear shirtless, and is looking with disapproval on shows about men and women who work together. If True Blood and The Office are out, here in no particular order are five shows we (and the U.K.) could try exporting to or remaking for our favorite wacky-leadered Middle Eastern nation:
1. Entourage: It’s not like any of the show’s romantic relationships (other than Ari and his wife) are remotely compelling, so edit out ever scene of Vince having anonymous sex with a groupie, every scene of Domenick Lombardozzi (can’t. unsee.) and other characters having sex with hookers, and you’ll have a tight little Hollywood business drama. Ari’s Judaism might be a challenge for the Iranian market, though.
2. The League: What more comforting national stereotype can we export than the idea that America’s top doctors, lawyers, etc. become absolutely helpless between September and March in the face of the football season? The League is the perfect tool to explain to international audiences why we’re moving towards a multi-polar planet rather than a uni-polar one, while also expanding our soft power through the unifying awesomeness of football. The sight of Ochocinco rapping is enough to mollify all enemies.
3. Men of a Certain Age: Aches, sexual anxiety, and getting treated badly by your domineering father are all universal emotions. Plus, now that it’s canceled, I bet TNT is hungry for a syndication deal to keep the profits coming from it.
4. Spooks: See what happens when those decadent westerners let men and women work together in charged circumstances? Someone has an unfortunate encounter with a deep-fryer.
5. Real Housewives of…: Hey, if you want women to stay out of the office to avoid tension and can’t stand the sight of passionate romances, it’s hard to do better than the passionless marriages and substance-free lives of Bravo’s Real Housewives. As long as there’s not a ban on wig-snatching or table-flipping, the ladies should do just fine by Iranian state television censors. Or just shoot Real Housewives of Tehran already.