I caught the first episode of the new reality series All-American Muslim on TLC last night. Announced several months ago, the series follows around a few Muslim families in the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the highest concentration of Arabs in the U.S.
I voiced my hesitation for this series when it was first announced but still watched it last night because this could be *The Thing* that really helps the average American citizen to get to know Muslims.
Having said that, I honestly don’t think I cared for the show.
I’ll admit, maybe I’m not really meant to be in the target audience for this. I have a strict “No reality show” TV diet so why did I honestly think that I would get into a reality show just because it was about Muslims? Also, it aired after another reality show called Sister Wives. SISTER WIVES. (I know!!)
My first issue with this show was the lack of cohesion. The first episode revolved mostly around one of the cast members, an Arab Muslim lady, getting married to an Irish Catholic guy, who ended up converting to Islam because of her. However, the episode jumped around to the different families covered in this show in a manner that didn’t make any sense.
Secondly, a lot of American Muslims don’t live in a town like Dearborn that is filled with mostly Muslims. Yeah, I live in the Bay and there are a lot of Muslims here but by a lot, I mean 1% or something like that (I made that number up, I have no idea how many Muslims are in the Bay Area). Also, unlike the population of Dearborn, we’re not all mostly Arab either. The Muslim population consists of Arabs, South Asians, African Americans, Caucasians (look at me, all politically correct!), and a host of other races. Some of us were born Muslim, some converted, some have lost touch with their faith while others have reconnected with it later in life.
My point is this – you can’t go to a principally Arab community and say that the life one has there represents the life of an All American Muslim.
And all of the above doesn’t even go into how easily this show could turn into a competition between Practicing vs. Not Practicing Muslims and who’s cooler.
Here’s the thing though – the above whining is all moot. Like I said, this show isn’t for me. I don’t care for reality shows and I don’t need to come to terms with Muslims and how they have infiltrated the U.S. with their Sharia Law and for goodness sakes, can’t they all just go back to their country?? If this show helps just one person understand that Muslims are human beings too with regular life issues, then that’s more than most of us will ever do. And I’ll be honest, I don’t think there could be any show about Muslims that would make all Muslims happy and represented because we’re all so different.
I really don’t think it was that entertaining though and considering how much TV I already watch (Chuck is back on! I’m finally all caught up with Parks and Recreation!!) I’m afraid All-American Muslim hasn’t made the cut to join my other DVR subscriptions.
Sidenote: One of the families featured is the family of the coach of the Fordson football team in Dearborn. The coach was already featured heavily in the documentary Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football. Do yourself a favor and watch that documentary instead of this show.