Saturday, December 3, 2011

All-American Muslim: 2 Ep Catch-Up

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I had a little bit of difficulty keeping the families straight, especially in the interview scenes. I am enjoying learning bits of "old" culture, like how a woman spends the first 40 days after delivery with her parents. It's also an interesting change of pace to see the non-provocative clothing that infiltrates so many television programs today, reality and scripted alike. I think my favorite thing about this show so far, however, is the "I'm different" factor. Between Nina wanting to open a club and Shadia shunning some traditions (like the hijab) but embracing others (like Ramadan), I'm pretty intrigued with watching where this show is going. It was nice to get a little more timing information (it's August 2011 here), and I look forward to future stories, especially the Zaban family besides Fouad. As a reminder, here's some information about the families before I get into the recaps.

Aoudes - Nader & Nawal (almost 25) have been married for ten months and she's expecting a baby soon.

Zaban - Fouad and Zaynab have been married about 12 years, and they have four kids, one of whom is Jamilah.

Bazzy-Aliahmead - Nina Bazzy is an event planner who doesn't wear the hijab. She's a first-generation woman from Lebanon who has a husband and son. She wants to open a club in Dearborn, but is being discouraged.

Jaafar - Angela and Mike were high school sweethearts who have been married for 11 years. They have four kids - two boys and two girls. She's a liaison for an auto manufacturer and he is a Deputy Chief for the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Amen - Parents Mohsen and Lila have four grown children - Suehaila, Samira, Shadia, and Bilal. Suehaila is 32 and unmarried, considered an old maid in a way. Bilal is also unmarried. Pictured (L-R) is Bilal, Suehaila, Adam, Shadia, Jeff, Lila, Mohsen, Samira, Ali.

Fawaz - Samira (Amen) is married to Ali, and they've been trying to conceive for several years.

McDermott - Shadia (Amen) has a son, Adam, from a previous marriage and recently married Jeff. Shadia has piercings, tattooes, and wears a lot of makeup.

All-American Muslim "The Fast and the Furious" (S01E02): [Liked the opening.]
Aoudes: Nawal mentions that, when they're out of Dearborn, they are treated differently because there aren't as many Muslims in other areas. They receive poor service at a restaurant. Nader doesn't make as big a deal out of it, but it bothers Nawal. [that was a really weird scene.] They have friends over, plus Nawal's mom, Leila, who wants her to stay with them for 40 days, in bed, after she has the baby. This tradition ain't gonna work. [can't blame them! That sounds so outdated! And it can't be that common, otherwise Nawal would have at least heard of such a thing.]
Zaban: They're flipping the football schedule during Ramadan so that they can have energy. They're going to practice 10pm-5am. The superintendent and principal approve. Fouad says that it wouldn't be safe to not adjust. There are non-Muslim players, and one in particular teases the other guys about not being able to eat/drink in the daytime. That boy's parents come in to talk to the coach about the night practices and their son's schedule being thrown off by it. [it is a very rough thing to do. Luckily it's still summer! are they really practicing 7 hours a day?? this is only high school, after all...]
Bazzy-Aliahmeads: Nina oversees many weddings with her job, but she gets bored doing the same things all the time. [can't fault her there!] This is why she wants to do something else, like open a club.
Jaafars: At the American-Arab festival, there was some protesting, and hateful things were said. They need extra police presence at the mosques during Ramadan.
Amens: Suehaila explains that, at sunset, everyone comes together to break the fast. Bilal doesn't think it's too difficult to fast. [does he really feel that way, though? or is he just taking a shot at Jeff?] Mohsen says that he feels that he has his daughter back, now that Samira has restarted wearing the hijab. [wow. this was a loaded statement, and they knew it!]
Fawaz: Samira is a medical receptionist at an OBGYN office. She and her husband have been trying to have children for four years. They see a fertility specialist, and Mohsen comes along for support and to help with an explanation if necessary. The Shiite imam tells her that they can go thru IVF with her husband's sperm, but getting a donor is prohibited, as the child would belong to a man other than her husband. [that's not too difficult to follow...] She asks if the hijab is related to infertility and is told that the hijab gives you more blessings. Samira is interested in going back to the hijab, which she wore pre-9/11. She took it off because of discrimination. [that makes a lot of sense to me. If I'm in a situation where I don't think Christianity will be well-received, I don't wear a cross.] She learns some new scarf techniques and colors/shapes. [new shapes? what? I guess I don't understand. Maybe they'll teach this sort of thing at some point...] Wearing a hijab again scares Samira a little bit, because people may not understand. She does feel protected by God by wearing it. She and Ali take down photos of them on the walls where her hair shows. [wow. I didn't realize that you'd have to remove such things, but it makes sense!] Blood relatives, her husband, men she can't marry (like her husband's father, etc.) and other women can see her hair, but nobody else. [that's not actually all that bad. But a little confusing nonetheless. I hope that they cover the Muslim stance on divorce and remarriage...]
McDermott: Jeff & Shadia go to a Kenny Chesney concert in Detroit and tailgate ahead of time. [Detroit is known for tailgating?] This is Jeff's first Ramadan, and he's not looking forward to it - he gets irritated when he doesn't eat. [so does my husband, LoL.] Shadia wore the hijab from age 6 to 19. It didn't fit her style after that, and she doesn't feel it's proper for her to wear the scarf. [...why would she feel that it's not "proper"??] On the second day of Ramadan, Jeff isn't sure if he can make it the whole day without eating again, so he decides to eat chicken and drink water. Now that Samira has gone back to wearing the hijab, Shadia feels like "The Last of the Mohicans." [ I wonder what Mohsen and Lila have to say about that....]

Some of the things that are brought up in the interviews... Can women have sperm donors in the Arab community? iffy. Adoption is rare. You shouldn't be near alcohol at all - not at the same table as drinking, etc. [not even being near it sounds like a tough situation!] Jeff gave up alcohol for the religion. Maybe one day he'll drink again, but not now. Women in charge aren't well-respected - people think they should be home raising kids or that things can be pulled over on them. [sad, but true.] Some men see the hijab as empowering to women, because it gives them control. Angela hasn't fasted the past few years because it's too difficult to work, handle her kids, etc.without eating. [interesting. and since most children don't fast until they're older, I wonder if it is a strange mix in her house during Ramadan?]

All-American Muslim "A Muslim Goes to Washington" (S01E03):
Aoudes: Nadar and Nawal attend a childbirth class at 35 weeks... even though it's a 5-week class. [I wonder how helpful that will be... since they likely won't get to attend the entire thing...] They learn about orgasmic births. She makes favors with chocolate. Nader is nervous around babies and has very little experience. Nawal has bloody discharge and some discomfort late one night. They don't want to be sent home with false labor, so they wait around another hour or so, but decide to head to the hospital, just to be on the safe side. Nader has to wait 45 minutes while Nawal is examined, but then learns that they broke Nawal's water and that things will be underway!
Zaban: The White House calls and invites Fouad to Iftar dinner. Zaynab thinks that her husband is a bit crazy for consiering missing the dinner because he'd miss a football practice - he hasn't missed one in 17 years. Fouad tells the team about the invitation, but says that he won't go unless they shape up. [dedication, yo!] They go to Zaynab's parents' house for an Iftar dinner, and Fouad reiterates that he won't go to Washington unless the team is doing well enough to miss him for a day. [wanting to do your job is one thing, but not having any assistants who can take your place once every 17 years is a problem...] Fouad decides to go, and brings President Obama a football jersey from the HS with the number 44, for the 44th President of the United States. [I thought that this was pretty cool. Also, I think that Ramadan being entirely in August is rough... dehydration sucks.]
Bazzy-Aliahmead: Nina thinks that a club with drinking and dancing would work in Dearborn. [I'm getting a bit skeptical...] Others take issue with modesty concerns. She goes to look at places with her real estate agent. She doesn't want to do lots of renovations. [that's reasonable, though I'm not in love with the place she chose in the end...]
Amen: Bilal flat-out asks Shadia if Jeff is fasting - and she says no. Bilal says it's mind over matter and that he needs to learn. Bilal worries that Jeff didn't convert for the right reasons. [well, yeah... he pretty much didn't....] Bilal talks to Jeff about his conversion and intentions.

Fawaz: Samira needs to buy more long-sleved clothing and has to get used to not having earrings show. [that's a big change!] There's mention of the burkini. [went and looked it up... cool stuff.] One of Samira's coworkers asks her about the hijab and about Muslims purchasing lingerie. [kinda weird, but glad that she feels comfortable talking about it.]
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1 comment:

J_Abdo said...

Love the show!

I thought the lingerie question was also wierd. The point of wearing modest clothing is that your body is for your husband, not everyone else, not to keep it bundled and secret from all human eyes. :) Many Christians, even if they don't dress as modestly as Muslims have this belief as well. The thought that ran through my head, was, where do YOU wear lingerie, out on the street??