Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good start for "Little Mosque"

I saw the première of Little Mosque on the Prairie last night and I have to admit that my first impressions are quite high. This is definitely the show that's needed in a post-9/11 world. It plays to all the prejudices that have always been an undercurent of Western society and became exacerbated after that horrible day when every little nuance became the subject of scrutiny often to the point of being preposterous.

The show's title of course is taken from the 1970s and early 80s show Little House and in my mind there was an arc of episodes that could be directly lifted out of it that could directly relate to the culture clash in the new show -- in particular the ones where bad girl Nellie Olsen turned good and married Percival Dalton, a Jewish boy. A major family feud erupted when Nellie became pregnant and it was trying to be determined whether the child would be raised as a Christian or as a Jew. (Perhaps this was a shot at the undercurrent of anti-Semitism that has always pervaded a significant part of American society.) Eventually, Nelson, Nellie's father, offered a compromise -- Christian if a girl, Jewish if a boy. As it turned out, Nellie was pregnant with twins -- a girl and a boy. Family harmony was restored, and perhaps the most poignant moment was the town's men -- all Christian -- gathering at the church afterwards and reciting the Shema in Hebrew: "Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One."

The current series has one of the main characters, a former Christian, being married to a Muslim -- and trying to be a go between keeping the peace in the town -- as well as their daughter who's also caught up in the perceived clash between Western and Muslim values. For me, though, the most bombastic character is the radio talk show host -- to me a cross between Rafe Mair and Lowell Green -- and who play to the worst fears of people who like things "the way they used to be."

If the writers play their cards right, this could be the yang to Corner Gas' ying and could run for several seasons.

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