Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning to laugh at yourself

The BBC has finally turned out a comedy sitcom involving Muslims called Citizen Khan, with the predictable results in 200 complaints. Which I have to admit is far lower than I expected, though again it might just be that not that many Muslims watch the BBC. It might even be that a lot of the complaints are outrage by proxy in that certain leftist/liberals feel obliged to be outraged on behalf of Muslims, something I suspect we'll never really know.
Citizen Khan, a BBC sitcom about a Muslim community leader, has attracted around 200 complaints after its first episode was broadcast on Monday.
It was suggested that the programme "takes the mickey out of Islam", contained "stereotypes about Asians" and that it was "disrespectful to the Koran".
A scene in which a heavily made-up girl, Mr Khan's daughter, rushed to put on a hijab and pretended to be reading the Koran when her father entered provoked particular ire, the Daily Mail reported.
The six-part series, created by and starring Adil Ray, a British Muslim, was shown for the first time on Monday at 10.35pm.
Thing is, most religious based comedy takes the mickey out of stereotypes all the way back to All gas and gaiters and beyond. However we're probably dealing with a certain type of Muslim here in the complaints as all religions seem to have them. We're talking about the humourless git here, you know the one, who believes laughter is a sin and that religion (of their particular type) is no laughing matter. I mean God forbid that Muslims should be portrayed as normal people with typical, normal teenagers and young adults who behave rebelliously. Perhaps they should instead all be shown either preparing to be suicide bombers or praying piously.Yes this blog has issues with radical Islam and no it doesn't ascribe to islamophobia as there are a lot of instances in which the followers of Islam have brought terror to the world. But not for one instant have we ever thought all Muslims are the same, perhaps easily lead by the odd extremist, but not all 'allah' clones. That's not to say there aren't some of course...
Learning to laugh at yourself and the foibles of your life, nation, race and religion is a sign of being a well balanced individual. After all, should Scots be offended by Rab C Nesbitt or the Irish by Father Ted or even Mrs Brown's Boys, should the English get upset over The Vicar of Dibley?
Well we don't and I suppose only 200 complaints from 3.6 million viewers is a good start.

5 annotations:

Durotrigan said...

I've not seen the programme, but as you point out, the number of complaints given the size of the audience on this occasion wasn't too bad. Whether it happens to be any good as a comedy in its own right I'll reserve judgement until I've watched it, but I somehow don't think that it'll live up to the excellence of Father Ted. Like the rich and the poor it would seem that unfortunately the humourless are “always with us”.

Pavlov's Cat said...

The Irish were offended by Father Ted or at least the PTB were and I'm sure it was initially banned (I believe RTE still has a Cardinal or Priest on the board of governors , a bit like the Archbishop of Canterbury having the casting vote on what is shown on the BBC)

My rellies in Dublin used to be able to pick it up from Channel4 Wales , video it and then pass it round. There was quite a market in underground Father Ted videos for a time

JuliaM said...

They should really be complaining because it's such a feeble attempt at comedy...

John M Ward said...

Did I get upset over The Vicar of Dibley? "No, no no no!"

We in the Salvation Army at least recognise that laughter is a gift from God; and indeed Nicky Gumbel tells a number of humorous anecdotes on the Alpha Course videos as well, so it goes beyond my church alone.

Thinking about the original point re complaints: I wonder whether Ben Elton's The Thin Blue Line had a similar response regarding Constable Habib, who was not only a very modern and 'enlightened' young lady, but in one episode went undercover dressed and behaving like those 'ladies of the night' we used to have in New Road here in Chatham/Rochester.

Her equally modern sister, on a visit, was found to have drugs in her possession, and the overall image was that these two were much more 'western normal' than some would like us to believe.

I think it made some useful points – as well as being a particularly entertaining sit-com of its time.

Woman on a Raft said...

I only saw a part of it but I thought the lead male was drawn sympathetically had great comic potential as he struggled valiantly against a world determined to frustrate his modest ambitions.

A frothy confection than hard-boiled comedy but that's a matter of taste. It wouldn't do for JuliaM but I'll happily have another helping as I think he identified enough universal themes to flesh out a 3-D character.

At any rate, it was much funnier than watching Jo Brand go on about how fat she is for the umpteenth time.