Friday, January 12

Little Mosque on the Prairie Click for more info

The first episode of this widely publicised "Muslim sitcom" was released earlier this week, and I have to say I am relatively impressed.

I usually wouldn't give these deliberately Muslim things much leeway. They almost always get it wrong and do more harm than good. Apart from that, I wasn't really expecting to get much Canadian humour (if it at all exists, that is). It's safe to say that my expectations were low.

But as is usually the case I was too quick to judge this show. Little Mosque was actually pretty good. Sure, it's low budget and simply (but tidily) made, but it seems to know and embrace its shortcomings so these things don't matter much. Technically it's a bit under par with poor shooting and continuity, but unless you're a pedant (or at least more pedantic than I am) you won't care.

On the other hand, as a sitcom, it does brilliantly. The basis is strong, with a quirky balanced family in the centre surrounded by some more extreme (yet likeable) characters. There's only been one episode so far, but the whole premise of a Canadian born city Imam coming to a small town hold bags of promise. It manages to cram sunnis, shias, converts, secularists, traditionalists, liberals, progressives and bigots all in one place. It's pretty amazing in that way.

Comedy wise it's okay. This is no Friends, folks, but I have to admit that I laughed out loud more than once. My parents liked it too - it's very rare nowadays that we can watch the same thing let alone laugh at the same jokes. Genius.

But the best thing about this show is its humility. It's not self indulgent or blatantly out to prove anything, and it doesn't carry any baggage either. It is topical in places, sure, but it's the story and humour that the makers appear to be focussing on. And because of that, the whole thing seems much more approachable and easy to relate to.

It's also the first time I've actually seen a fictional character that I can use as an example of a model wife. Rayyan is hot, intelligent, a doctor, hot and prays too. She even wears a hijab if that's your thing. I'm sure we'll see her cooking and cleaning in a future episode eventually. And she's hot too - expect to see Sitara Hewitt as a Shak's Choice sometime in the future; you know, once I get over those moral obstacles currently blocking me from pinning up someone who happens to wear a hijab on screen (yes, yes, I know). She is hot though.

So yes, I like and not just because it could have been much worse, but more for what it eventually turned out to be. And I think every one of you should at least give it a go to see if you like it too.