Little Mosque on the Prairie

10 01 2007

little mosque

This week was the debut of new Canadian sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie, its about a small group of Muslims in a rural community is Sask. Canada.

I can honestly say I had no intentions of watching the maiden episode of this show, I was planning on watching “Bones” but alas it was a re-run.

On a whole I enjoyed the show, and found myself laughing quite a few times.  I’m sure I’ll tune in again to see one of the other 5 episodes picked up by the CBC (No wonder Canadian Televison blows – shows never get a chance to get started)

I’m wondering though, who is the target audience?   Are the middle-class white folk like myself meant to learn tolerance to a misunderstood group of people?  Do Muslims actually find the show funny?

I have seen  the Albert Brooks film “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” and if that movie is anything to go by, then apparently Muslims don’t find much funny, which I’m sure isn’t true.  The truth, at least in my opinion – especially in regards to this film, is that Albert Brooks actually isn’t funny.

Getting back onto topic, Little Mosque on the Prairie is a cute show – and I’m looking foward to catching another episode.
CNN news story 

UPDATE:  January 11th 2007 

I’ve just gone and visited Common Placer’s blog, and she has written about the subject we were discussing below in the comments. 

http://commonplacer.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/muslim-laugh-they-really-do/ 

One thing I hate about the written word more than a healthy live debate is not being sure of one’s tone. . . . . . 

Her remarks on her own site seem to be quite scathing (although this could be case of the above – I just can’t read her tone) and I know it was my blog entry that prompted her to write. . .  .  

I guess my initial reasons for posting about topic was purely my curiosity about whether or not Muslims actually found the show funny, not if Muslims have a sense of humour at all.  Having said that: according to commonplacer’s blog, yes, in fact Muslims do find Little Mosque funny.  Phhhheeeew!   

I used reference to the Albert Brooks’ movie “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” which in my opinion, is not a very funny movie.  The movie is a thinking person’s film, so if you are a Scary Movie fan, or like movies with Adam Sandler – you aren’t going to enjoy this film.  I on the other hand just didn’t like the film.  

The main theme of the movie was not to say that Muslims don’t enjoy comedy, just that the western world doesn’t know what they find funny.  Which, lets be honest, if Little Mosque is groundbreaking – then it would be fair to say that the western world DOESN’T know what Muslims find funny, or we would have had half a dozen similar shows already available on cable. 

North American television stations are very easy to convince to new ideas from other countries for television shows, and I’m sure if they had been given material they were sure would be hit, they would have already put it on TV – on HBO at least. 

Having lived in England for several years, it amazed me how many shows in North America are based on some sitcom or game show first aired in
Britain.  What about Betty La Fea, probably the world best known and loved Spanish language novella.  It now airs in almost all countries, and many countries have created their own shows based on the novella – including
North America (US Title: Ugly Betty)
 

With Little Mosque on the Prairie, I thought perhaps Muslims might find it offensive, a whole show devoted to poking fun at their idiosyncrasies . . .  

I suppose I have a new question out there to all you Muslim bloggers – what does make you laugh? 

Do you enjoy 6 hour “Friends” marathon?  Do you stay home on Sunday evenings to watch “
America’s Funniest Home Videos”?  Do you like the Larry the Cable Guy?  Does David Chappelle float your boat?
 

I’m not looking for a political or politically correct answer. . . .if seeing a guy goosed in the nut sack is the thing that makes you laugh out loud and tear, that’s what I’m curious about. 

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9 responses

10 01 2007
commonplacer

I’m muslim. I find things funny. I found this show funny in a cute way. The characters were totally recognizable to a person like myself – middle-class muslim-canadian – who grew up in the community.

(the creator is actually a friend of mine)

[and i really don’t know where the stereotype of Muslims not finding things funny came from???? That’s not my reality.
~ commonplacer

10 01 2007
Joey

I have no idea where that sterotype came from either! I suppose its the same people who say all blacks are from the hood, and all chinese are geeks and Italian woman don’t shave!

Thanks very much for stopping by my blog, I was really hoping a “real muslim” would set the record straight and concrete that point.

Since you know the creator, did she intend for this TV show was aimed at a broad audience, or a specfic group of people?

Do Muslims support this TV Show?

One of my friends back in Toronto married Greek Orthodox, and is family friends with the Vardolos family in Winnipeg (The creator of “my big fat greek wedding” Nia’s family) And I know from speaking to several of the Winnipeg greeks at the wedding, much in that movie was actually based on real people – including the windex obession!

HAve you ever seen that Albert Brooks film? I’d be interested in your take. . . and Please please please, drop Albert Brooks a line too and tell him what you find funny. . . he apparently has no clue.

10 01 2007
commonplacer

well, I pondered on that stereotype a bit more and then realized, the stereotype could be based on the fact that right now Muslims don’t have much to laugh about – given the situation around the world. – actually posted on the topic … directed to all the media reports hinting at the lack of Muslim humour.

– as for your other questions: I can’t speak for all but I know a lot of Muslims like the show and welcome it as a new phase in the Muslim-Canadian experience;

– my friend is just a person who views situations in her life with a light-hearted take; Because many of the situations she encounters has to do with her identity as a Muslim-Canadian, that happens to be what she writes about – and it’s for a broad audience…(but, I am speaking for her …these may not be her exact sentiments!)

I’m glad you liked the show; will try to pass it on to her…

11 01 2007
commonplacer

Hi, I come in peace! Actually, my post was not in direct response to your post (i.e. YOU didn’t set me off)…I actually found what you wrote to be very frank and I enjoyed reading it; It was totally directed at the writers I’ve been reading in newspapers and magazines lately… My post’s been brewing for a while: I could say ever since the Al Brooks movie was coming out and lots of stuff was written about whether “THE MUSLIMS” would find it funny and how the title was an oxymoron etc, etc. Also, the whole “oh, oh, it’s about Muslims, someone’s going to issue a death threat” refrain is always bought up whenever you have a product of the arts + Muslims/Islam in the title. So, when I saw the same type of thing being re-hashed with the little mosque on the prairie, I had to sharpen my pen…

WAS it really THAT scathing? i didn’t mean to scare you…just the bad guys!

As for your questions: having surveyed my fam. and friends, no one was offended by the little mosque; on the whole, we found it charmingly funny – most of the viewers liked that they could recognize the typical characters in our community: we all know a Baber, Yassir, Fatima etc. (shucks, we might even be one)

What makes me, a neophyte Muslim blogger, laugh? I’m ashamed to admit, I’m into the slapstick comedy genre(well, I think – I haven’t seen one for years) like Planes, Trains and Automobiles (with John Candy, Steve Martin) – which somehow still makes me laugh; I liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding but not in a laugh out loud way; And a secret: I found the tv show Malcolm in the Middle Really, REALLY funny! and I don’t watch tv much so never seen those acclaimed shows like arrested development etc.

Bye, and I leave in peace and hope we connect again!
~ commonplacer

12 01 2007
zeeshanhasan

Personally, my favourite TV comedy of recent years was Northern Exposure. The first few seasons of Buffy were also brilliant =)

For quintessentially Muslim humour, you should check out Mullah Nasruddin jokes at http://www.nasruddin.org or at wikibooks at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Nasrudin

19 01 2007
Joey

I’ve just taken a moment to go back to Commonplacer’s Blog.

Here are links to a post she made, as well as a link to a response she got on her blog.

http://commonplacer.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/muslim-laugh-they-really-do/

http://commonplacer.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/the-rave-after-the-rant/

http://proggiemuslima.wordpress.com/2007/01/13/humor-what-makes-muslims-laugh/

19 01 2007
How Do You Say Your Name? « miscellaneous musings & moggie mischief

[…] to a woman via my blog about what Muslims find funny, that post came on the heels of the release of “Little Mosque on the Prairie”.  I re-read one thing she said, and I was pleased to see her understanding, she said “She […]

28 01 2007
Shoaib

Hi,

Have only watched the show via youtube, but I found it quite funny.

17 11 2011
glasreinigung

This makes great sense to anyone!!

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