A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series about wealthy Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles contains lots of drinking (wine, cocktails, hard liquor), strong sexual references, and lots of cursing (bleeped "s--t", "f--k"). High-end logos (Audi, Rolex, Cristal, Yves St. Laurent, etc.) are constantly visible. While it breaks down some stereotypes about the Persian community, it also reinforces others.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The reality series SHAHS OF SUNSET features five Iranian-American friends negotiating 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.
Is it any good?
The show highlights some of the Persian community's cultural norms and values, including the diversity of religion that exists in the Persian community. Cast members briefly share how their families escaped from Iran after the 1979 revolution, and proudly note how financially successful they've become despite their difficult beginnings in America. But 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.
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. 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the immigrant experience in America. What are some of the challenges immigrants face when they come? What are some of the stereotypes that exist about immigrants? Do you think reality shows like this one help break them down, or do they reinforce them?
What trends in reality TV do you notice? Why are the "wives" shows so popular? How do these shows make you feel? Guilty? Ashamed? Lucky? Jealous? Proud? Something else?
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