Shahs Of Sunset (2012–2016 USA)

Yet another “reality” TV show which applies the usual formula — identify an ethnic community’s most ridiculous characters, inviting ridicule — this time its L.A.’s Persian-American population on the griddle. The title itself seems like a particularly cheap shot at a community that, for better or for worse, is still struggling to come to terms with a revolution that happened four decades ago. “Shah” is the term for the king of Iran, a monarchy which fell in 1979 to today’s Islamic Republic. The Iranian-American community in Los Angeles was founded by those who immigrated to America as a result of that monarchy’s collapse.

Speaking of collapses, I’m struggling to keep this post dignified but the following is bound to crack under the strain given my weaknesses dealing with the unusual brew on display here….

Five Iranian-American friends negotiate their Persian identities while living stylish and affluent Southern California lifestyles. The gang includes commercial real estate leasing exec, Mike Shouhed, the spoiled and weapon-loving Golnea \”GG\” Gharachedaghi, real estate developer Sammy Younai, and the flamboyant Reza Farahan. Rounding out the group are Mercedes \”MJ\” Javid and Asa Soltan, a performance artist who doesn’t share her friends’ materialistic interests. From enjoying their active social lives and shopping trips to coping with their parents disapproval or pressure to live a more traditional lifestyle, the group shows how they navigate a world where image is everything. The show breaks down some stereotypes about the Iranian-American community, but what is being showcased here contributes to other problematic generalizations about its members.

But the people seen on these shows may occasionally speak to the importance of their cultural heritage and claim some special individuality therein, but soon enough they all get into the same fights, spit the same insults at one another, speed off in the same luxury SUVs and return to similar looking McMansion foyers that feature acres of marble. Almost to a person they show off their hard-won classiness with expensive shoes and handbags. They brag about the size of their real-estate deals. Only the slang changes. Meanwhile, it contains the expected drinking, cat fighting, and relationship issues that one expects from this sort of thing. Reality fans looking for some voyeuristic entertainment may find something here, but outside of this it has little else to offer. The real focus is on the drama created by the cast’s obnoxious and narcissistic attitudes, as well as their constant need to showcase their wealth and lifestyle.

Now the problem for me is I have never reviewed anything like this before and I won’t tell a lie. My eye (both of them actually) was caught by the voluptuous vixen, Mercedes Javid. Without her the series is a bore. This is one spunky lady who is rightfully proud of her curves, and so she should be. Checking out some trashy British tabloid articles about her, I was pleased to see a BBW in her forties getting some well-deserved attention from the media. The comment section was something else though. It seems a stubborn portion of the public hate women who aren’t skinny. They only accept boyish bags of bones. Whatever. In recent years we’ve seen many beautiful dusky maidens, such as Salma Hayek, as well as much larger ladies of all hues, finally getting their due. They are knocking the usual slim, pale, northern European female celebs off their pedestal. There’s nothing else to say except… you go girl!

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Comments

  1. How have I not heard of this? It’s like the Persian version of ‘Jersey Shore’. Trashy reality TV is my guilty pleasure sometimes so I’ll definitely be checking this out. Thanks for helping me discover it ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, this is Jersey Shore for Iranians….you will be hooked. 🙂

    Like

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