Archive for Sunday, March 11, 2012

Show offers little insight on Iranians

March 11, 2012


A week dominated by a political debate over clamor for war with Iran concludes with “Shahs of Sunset” (9 p.m., Bravo), a reality-television look at young Persians living large in Los Angeles. Or, as one calls it, “Tehrangeles.”

Very much in the tradition of “Real Housewives,” “Jersey Shore” and “Russian Dolls,” ‘‘Shahs” doesn’t so much take an anthropological look at its subjects as let vulgar stereotypes run wild in revealing, often pathetic ways.

After the Islamic Revolution of 1979 toppled the pro- Western shah, many Iranians decamped for the United States with only the clothes on their backs. How these immigrants and refugees became the fantastically wealthy parents of the narcissistic characters seen here is hardly discussed. We’re told that the Persian community includes doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, but the characters on “Shahs” consist of real estate-brokering men and marginally employed women all endowed with a remarkable sense of entitlement and boundless materialism.

MJ, a strenuously single woman, works in real estate with Reza, who struggles with his identity as an openly gay Persian male. But this is merely a speed bump on his superhighway of self-regard. Plump, arrogant Sammy also flips buildings and surrounds himself with female admirers, generously described as “hookerish.” GG does little of note except talk about her new nose and shop. She expects that any husband will spoil her as her parents have done.

At a time when insight into Iran, its people and its exiles might be welcome, Bravo offers more of the same, a gaggle of vain exhibitionists who appear willing to do anything to get on television.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): A former Israeli spymaster discusses tensions with Iran; a radical approach to teaching algebra; a profile of Aerosmith.

• Scheduled on “Dateline NBC” (6 p.m.): clerks who pilfer winning lottery tickets.

• Little Red Riding Hood gets itchy feet on “Once Upon a Time” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Alicia takes on Colin’s case on “The Good Wife” (8 p.m., CBS).

• A horse named Niagara Falls looms large on “Luck” (8 p.m., HBO).


Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

Years ago, I worked with several Iranians that had fled Iran after the fall of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi from the throne of Iran in 1979. Every one of them was a hard working individual, and not one of them was wealthy.

The only times they ever mentioned Iran was that once in a while they would wistfully remark that they wished they could go home again.

So, I'm quite sure that “Shahs of Sunset” would look like the dumbest and most ridiculous show I have ever seen on television, and remind me why I turned it off for the last time about a year and a half ago.

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