One of the most popular shows in Israel right now is a Seinfeld-esque family sitcom about an arab worker living in Israel. The show mines humor out of the problems (both real and imagined) of a Palestinian family living a solid middle class life in Jerusalem. Part Cosby Show, part Seinfeld and part Mideast peace process the show is a huge hit, and can be seen in the US on one of those channels nobody gets (Link TV, just in case..)
Arab Labor definitely has an edge to it. Imagine the Cosby show mining armed border checkpoints for humor? The show's creator finds humor in the uncomfortable situations these "inside Arabs" face every day, but also tweaks their stereotypes and prejudices. "This series (says), 'We all have our bad sides' and 'We're all human,' " says the actress who plays the wife in the show.
It looks like a fascinating chance to use art and humor to bring peace and mutual understanding to a situation drastically lacking in both. In particular, I thought the lead actors anecdote about how he now sails through Israeli security was interesting. And the shower story made me laugh (partly because I once moved to another apartment just because it had better water pressure…)
You can see the first episode of the show on Link TV's website. I recommend checking it out. Especially if you have never seen a sitcom from another culture. That can be a fascinating experience. Could a sitcom that confronts the weird combination of police state and banal middle class that these "inside Arabs" experience bridge some pretty heavily fortified cultural divides?
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