About (Late) Last Night: ‘The Daily Show’ test-screens a new Muslim sitcom
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What’s the best way for Muslim-Americans to combat persistent negative stereotypes? Lately, some pundits have suggested that it might be time for a Muslim ‘Cosby Show,’ a sitcom that portrays Muslim-Americans who are ‘just like us’ -- which is to say, white.
Last night, ‘The Daily Show’ took some time to evaluate this latest meme. Correspondent Aasif Mandvi consulted the experts. Did they think a new television show could eradicate Islamophobia the same way that ‘The Cosby Show’ had ‘cured racism against black people’? Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative (or, as the media likes to call it, the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’) was supportive of the idea, but suggested that more would be needed to completely shift perceptions. ‘So, like a Muslim ‘Jeffersons’?’ Mandvi asked. ‘What you want to do with a show with Muslims is just have them be like everybody else,’ said Alvin Pouissaint, a psychologist who consulted on the original ‘Cosby Show.’
With these ideas in mind, Mandvi put together a pilot, called ‘The Qu’osby Show,’ about a family that drinks pork juice, loves Toby Keith and just happens to be Muslim. Would this non-threatening portrait of Islam be enough to win over a test-audience of skeptical Americans? Watch and find out.
So, what do you think? Is the idea of a Muslim sitcom patently ridiculous? Or do you think it has some merit?
-- Meredith Blake