Saturday, February 28, 2015

An FAQ For "Shahs Of Sunset"

As someone of Persian descent, I feel a strong sense of pride when I watch Shahs of Sunset. Slight shame, too. Perhaps more than slight shame. But also a strong sense of pride.

The cast is comprised entirely of Persians. I'm Persian. It's a bond I share with them. And that's why I support them, even though there are times when they may not portray themselves in the best of lights on the show. (GG, I'm looking at you and your knives.)

I've rooted for Persian celebrities my whole life, because there have been so few of them in U.S. pop culture. They are underdogs in that way. It made it easy for me to pull for Andre Agassi in his matches against Pete Sampras; the Iron Sheik in his title defense against Hulk Hogan; and Alfred Molina's character in Not Without My Daughter.

With the fourth season of Shahs of Sunset premiering Monday night on Bravo, I thought I'd devote some space on this blog to questions about the show I'm often asked by friends.

Are there many Persians in the Los Angeles area, where the show is set?
Yes. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest community of Iranian-Americans in the U.S. More than 500,000 Iranian-Americans live there. 

Why did so many people of Persian descent move to that part of the country?
For the same reason that a person of any other ethnicity would: to live the American dream and pursue a career as a struggling actor/waiter.

Are the cast members of Shahs of Sunset really shahs?
There is no concrete evidence at this time to prove that any of the cast members of Shahs of Sunset are shahs. The last known record of a shah dates back to 1979.

Occasionally the cast members will mix Farsi words into their conversations at random times. Is that typical for English-speaking Persians?
Yes. We are also known to put heavy Farsi accents on English words for no apparent reason. For example, let's say I'd like to see the number-one movie in the country with you. I would ask you, "Vood you like too see Feef-tee Shades of Gah-ray?" There you are: your first Farsi lesson. Now you can say Fifty Shades of Grey like a real Persian.

Is it customary for a white American man to throw a lavish Persian dinner party for his feuding Persian pals to help them resolve their differences? 
Yes. This happens all the time. If anyone can diffuse tension involving Persians, it's an American. The U.S. has a long history of brokering peace with its Iranian friends.

Can you possibly rationalize the release of the following two music videos, titled "Like a Persian" and "Bringing Persian Back"?

Can you grow a mustache like Reza's?
I wish!

How come there are never any cameos by other famous Persians on the show?
Excellent question. The show is mostly based in Beverly Hills. They can't find one A-list Persian star to make an appearance? The biggest celebrity cameo so far has been a member of the Jackson family, who, as best as I can tell, is not Persian. What Shahs of Sunset needs this season is a multi-episode arc by, say, the Iron Sheik. Or Alfred Molina.