It debuted last night on Canadian television after tons of hype. Ratings: huge for indigenous programming.
Here’s how it opens:
Little Mosque on the Prairie is set in the fictitious prairie town of Mercy. In the opening scene, members of the Muslim community file into the local Anglican parish hall, which is renting out the space.
Inside, Baber (Manoj Sood), an imam, rails against the insidious nature of Western culture. Wine gums, rye bread and licorice are “traps designed to seduce Muslims to drink alcohol!”
Baber’s peculiar sermon continues as he cites Desperate Housewives: “Why should they be desperate when they’re only performing their natural womanly duties?”
This scene tells you two things about Little Mosque: 1. It’s willing to send up certain extremist elements that exist within Islam. 2. But only from the safe distance of over-the-top absurdity.
Ethnic comedy is hard to sustain. When you’ve got only one joke, it gets tired fast. Granted, with a gifted performer in the lead, it can be wildly successful.
Without one? Not so much.
Update: Why settle for fake Muslim comedy when you can get the real thing? It’s CAIR TV!