We Need a Muslim Brady Bunch

Iranian-American essayist: 'Sitcom diplomacy' can go a long way
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2011 11:36 AM CST
In this Jan. 20, 1977 file photo, actress Farrah Fawcett-Majors, right, joins her husband Lee Majors in a television appearance together in the sit-com "The Brady Bunch."   (AP Photo/George Brich, file)

(Newser) – Katie Couric floated the idea of a Muslim Cosby Show a while back, and Firoozeh Dumas thinks the notion of "sitcom diplomacy" is a great idea. When she and her family moved here from Iran in 1972, "the first Americans I met were the Bradys and the Partridges," she writes in the Los Angeles Times. The big lesson: Underneath the superficial stuff, American and Iranian families are pretty much the same.

When she lectures around the country, Dumas often gets two reactions: "fear and surprise," she writes. "Fear of Middle Eastern immigrants, and surprise that I am nothing like the person they expected." The problem is that the mutterings of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and company have given Iranian Americans "a PR challenge worthy of Sisyphus." A sitcom can only help make one point clear: "Middle Easterners come in all shapes, sizes and belief levels, just like every other kind of American."

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